Stop, don’t think, just love

“Change the scenery of your life. You don’t have to travel far. It’s an adventure. A chance to refresh. To learn. To compare. To meet new people. To make new friends. To view things anew. To grow.” —

My kids and I went to a concert a while back which is bound, in some way, to lift spirits, whether they’re low or not. And it did.

One of the performers explained that a song they were about to sing was written as a reminder that even though “this place” can be a scary place, especially when we feel bombarded with news of attacks and the political drama going on (and on and on), that love might just be an alternative to all of that.

Then they sang this: “Stop, just wait. We’ve traveled this road before and always come around. Stop, don’t think, just love. Ain’t nothing gonna bring us down.”

It was lovely and we, along with thousands and thousands of other people, felt happy for awhile.

So, could we have some more of that?

Without much prompting, if I don’t stay mindful of what’s happening, I know how easily I get pulled in a doomsday direction. Whether it’s personal with small dramas around me or wider with big dramas around everything, it doesn’t take much of a nudge to spiral.

Maybe I’m too easily influenced. Maybe I pay attention to the wrong things.

Maybe I let myself adopt the collective thought “things just aren’t like they used to be.” Saying that assumes things used to be better, which could be flipped into “things are bad now.” And that can only lead to “they’re only going to get worse.” (Did someone mention a spiral?)

I am not OK with this. I have big plans. And kids who have big plans. In order to see all of this through, I need other people to not be OK with this.

I don’t think any of us realize how much influence we potentially have every day. Anyone who has been around negativity for any extended length of time knows what I mean. Repeatedly hearing it face to face is no different than seeing it on a 24-hour news station. It. beats. you. down.

I was told recently that I’m always on the road—always going somewhere. And my response is, “I try to be.” Because if I’m not doing, I might be tempted to wallow. And that’s interesting considering I actually don’t have much to wallow about.

There’s a spoof commercial about treating anxiety and sadness with a dose of “prescription strength nature.”

They ask: “Do you find yourself longing for the apocalypse? …Are you feeling tired, irritable, stressed out? Well you might consider nature… the non-harmful medication shown to relieve the crippling symptoms of modern life…. Nature can reduce cynicism, meaningless, anal-retentiveness and murderous rage.” (The entire video, well worth watching, is at Nature is an option. Doing is an option.

There’s always an choice to find something positive. In the very least, there’s most likely a good song lyric around to remind us to do smart things like: “Stop, don’t think.”

Shelley Plett is a graphic designer for the Free Press and Kansas Publishing Ven­tures. The original version of this column ran May 2016.

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