Sunday, January 16, 2011

Attitude and Gratitude.

I’m a people watcher. My husband and I will go to the mall sometimes just to sit and watch shoppers. 20 years from now, we’ll be the only older couple in the park who doesn’t keep an eye on the pigeons. All kidding aside, my husband and I have found that lots of our major discoveries and attitude changes came from watching people behave and interact. It’s amazing how much you can learn just by listening. Remember as I often say: “Listening isn’t only about what moves through the ears.” It’s about being present to your environment with all 6 of your senses.

Recently G and I went out for a walk with Bella and JC (our trainer). On our journey around our neighbourhood we met up with a woman and her 2 year old son. On asphalt, this lady was literally dragging the boy on a plastic sleigh. The screeching sounds showed it wasn’t a smooth ride. The pebbles and mud were splashing over the child’s winter attire (he kept his eyes closed the whole way) and the woman’s red cheeks were more from exhaustion and regret (bad idea to go sleighing in melting slush) than from the cold. The pair stopped for a breather just as we were coming down the road. The boy seemed genuinely excited to see the dog; but the mother showed fear and apprehension. When we told the mother that Bella was a puppy and incredibly affectionate, it didn’t appease her worries. The boy asked if he could pet the dog; but the mother finally made the choice.

“No!” she said “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

When we left the scene both G and I said at the same time in our own way: “This is a good example of wearing your fears on your sleeve and handing down baggage to the next generation.”

It’s clear most people don’t notice the attitudes they’ve adopted and how much of an impact these attitudes have on their daily living or even their loved ones. Recently I was telling JP, a young woman who lives with us; that she has the bad habit of greeting family members in the morning not because she’s happy to see them; but because she feels uncomfortable and awkward. JP depends on an indoctrinated program rather than behaving by sensing herself and her environment, and making conscious choices. JP agreed and even added that in certain instances she’s regretted some of her comments because in the aftermath she realized they were totally absurd. Just last week for example I was emptying milk bags that were passed the expiring date. She watched me do the task and then, said: “Oh you’re emptying the bags because the milk must have been bad.” I chuckled and sarcastically murmured: “Why else would I do it?”

“What’s wrong with staying silent?” I asked JP as we discussed the matter.

Countless people fear silence because it means that they’ll have to sit still in the unceasing noise that they continually create in their minds. My son once said to me that his friends wonder how he can possibly be calm without smoking weed.

“How do you do it?” they ask, “how do you stop the thinking, the worrying, the constant wanting etc… on your own?”

His reply was simple: “My mom taught us… “

I was pregnant with my kids during my initiation as a traditional dreamer. During that time I learnt how important it was to adopt good attitudes. The goal was to reach a state of gratitude. LD, my teacher at the time, would often repeat to me: “You can’t dream medicine dreams if you’re struggling with shadow.” I remember thinking it was impossible to step out of mainstream thinking. How do you get away from gossiping and complaining when that’s all people do? Luckily I spent all my time with my kids and so, I shared with them what I was learning. I had to work at climbing out of my box of programs, fears, anxieties, insecurities and issues etc…. but they were starting fresh: No need for any of it!

We (my husband and I) showed them how to develop their senses, trust their instinct and intuition. We showed them how to play and imagine. Fortunately or unfortunately (it doesn’t really matter) we didn’t give much importance to vocabulary. We wanted them to see words as medicine (power) and to master only the words that would feed them rather than having them store away in their minds a whole dictionary. We paid attention to everything they did, to everything they said and didn’t say. And most of all we taught them how to pay attention to others in the same way. Rather than see them as children or teenagers, we saw them as future adults, master of their own lives, and even parents. We wanted to touch the seed of our family and give an inheritance to the seven generations to come. It seemed important to give our children a sense of their full story: A circular feel of who they are. We knew they would have to live hardships; but we didn’t want them to get lost in the darkness or trapped in it like so many do these days. We were clear on our objectives and we knew that the best way to accomplish them was to be as whole as we could be one day at a time.

None of it is complicated. Ironically it’s all about perspective. Always tell yourself: “Is this empowering me or taking something away from me?” Remember if you’re teaching this lesson to children they learn faster than adults. You can’t be inconsistent. I found that it was much harder for me to learn and apply these lessons than it was for my kids. I often got caught up in indoctrinated programs. It became confusing after a while. When should I be polite? It was often my kids who gave me the answers. It was G who said one day: “I don’t bother stepping into a conflict or getting angry if it’s not with someone I care about. Resolution is a gift you should give only to your loved ones.” We all thought his statement was inspiring and so we adopted it mostly as a rule.

Every day has to start with an inspiration. And every inspiration has to be formed in the dreaming; which means every inspiration is born in the evening just before bed. Gratitude is what creates inspiration. So morning and night I encourage a time of stillness and silence where we can get inspired.

“It starts with a happy place,” I use to tell my children.

Even when they cried or they hurt, I could help them move through different perspectives which eventually made them step out of darkness and see some light. I always told my kids to sit in the pain first and glance around with it. It was crucial for them to understand the value of impressions. Again a lesson for better dreaming.

“Often impressions,” I would tell them, “ guides people to choices. Impressions are at the bottom of what it means to be aware.”

It’s hard to step out of the box, take a chance, and create a situation where we can be comfortable and ourselves. Yet, it’s well worth the time and effort. Today, my daughter bought some second hand chairs for hairdressing. She’s setting up a spot in the garage where she can welcome some clients. Before we headed out to go see the equipment she was trilled. She spent a few hours day dreaming and sitting in her happy place. I even advised her not to go too far with her happy place because I didn’t want her to be disappointed. She told me she didn’t have any attachment, she just liked the way she felt alone in her inner salon. Magically, her attitudes created perfect circumstances because no only did she buy all the chairs; but the elder who sold them to her also chose to make her the heir of her hairdressing experience. KT came back home with boxes of surprises. Rollers, brushes, combs, and more equipment hide in carefully wrapped baskets. KT was smiling from ear to ear.

“It pays” KT said “to believe in yourself, in fate, and in others.”
Attitude certainly brought us all to gratitude today.

P.S. If you're asking yourself the question: How does the picture fit? Even that comes with a story....
My son was 18 years old the last time we went on a cruise. He wanted to be part of the entertainment: Play with one of the bands. Yet, he couldn't go to any of the bars. He was still a minor in the States. One night, my husband and I told CT to take a chance. "YOU won't know if you don't try" we said, "don't ever let your head make up obstacles and get in the way of your destiny and your dreams."

One night, we stopped at one of the bars before opening time. The band was practicing. CT took a big breath and went over to introduce himself. He told his story: How he loved music and how he would love to play with a band on the cruise. They doubted his abilities at first and thought he was a bit strange. It showed in the way they behaved but since it was practice time -- they gave him a try. They liked him so much that they promised him some air time. He played 3 songs with them and got their e-mails. He was trilled. He learnt that you don't get anything unless you try. Since then, he's always the one stepping out of the box and making the impossible --- possible.


Fishrarr said...

Lisa you are a gift, thank you for sharing this.

Michelle said...

This fits so well with what i have been living at work and it is Attitude and Gratitude. You helped me see I do not need to live in that darkness see it and expereience it but the move to a different attitude. Nice to get the boost I needed to shift my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I read this blog post to my partner M. I wanted him to hear your words and teachings on attitudes and gratitude, as this is something that we argue about often. He sat and listened to the whole blog and we discussed it breifly. Thank you for impacting our life with the amazing way that put stories together, and the teachings that you bring us.

Emily said...

I smiled when I read the part about JP commenting on your 'pouring away the milk'.
I can completely relate here..
So many are afraid to be silent.
It is ok to not say anything at all!
I for one, need and love to have silence first thing in the morning. But it is not always easy when you share space with people who do not have this same idea.. I find I have to be alone in order to have silence.

Thank you.


Wapeyit Malsom said...


I'm someone who enjoys silence as well.
I think it's important to share silence with others.
I find it incredibly intimate and peaceful to be able to be in the presence of others in silence.


Emily said...

I find myself drifting back to my last day with you. I sat in silence with Bella at my feet, G and J in the room also. Each of us being quiet. You resting. I loved it. It was very intimate and comfortable. :)
Sometimes I feel we can be MORE present in SILENCE than in speaking..