Friday, February 29, 2008

Weekend Chatter.....

I've made the decision to surround myself with positive books and positive thoughts for a while. This is like anything else. It's a habit. Thinking negatively and my own personal downfall, cynicism, takes a deliberate effort to change.

I ordered a few books this morning based on the recommendations of Olivia at Happy Luau. Any of you who have not visited her blog, please do. She is someone whose thoughts resonate very well with my own - but she has the added advantage of being good at translating motivation to action which is not one of my finer honed skills.

So I am following her lead on the books. I've ordered "The Yoga of Eating" and "The Ascent of Humanity", the latter of which I suspect more succinctly says what I've been trying to say on this site for the past seventeen months. The difference of course is that Charles Eisenstein is an educated, clear thinker where I am tangential.

This changing.. this changing our thinking.. I've never believed is a matter of simply choosing to do it differently. It's a process of education, of learning. We have to learn to think differently. Saying "I refuse these thoughts" is useless unless we replace it with something else.


On another issue, I was reading a blog this morning that seems to be promoting bigotry. She says (the only reason I am linking is for verification, not because I want to give her the link or unknowingly promote her blog.) that learning to say (and teaching others to say) "I hate fat people" will be one way to discourage people from eating too much, from getting fat to begin with. I find that manner of thinking to be small-minded and utterly hateful. In a way that is not typical of me, I left a snarky comment.

It wasn't anonymous. I own the comment and am willing to defend it.

The dialogue continues. Please feel free to come by and join. It could get interesting.. but please be nice. :)


There are a lot of people who believe that shaming works, that we can shame people into changing patterns or doing things differently. Shame and fear. "I better not be fat because people will hate me and I'll be shunned" is very different than "I don't want to be fat because I respect my body and my life. I want to be healthy."


So.. what do you do to stay positive?



heartinsanfrancisco said...

Hatred has never worked as an instrument of change and it never will.

You are right that it is not enough to cast out bad thoughts without replacing them with good ones. Nature abhors a vacuum, and there are always other bad ones waiting to come in if there is a vacancy.

We humans are creatures of habit, so choosing the behaviors we wish to become habitual in our lives is most important.

Amy Y said...

As a former fat girl, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that shaming people for being fat only makes them want to eat more. Because fat people use food as comfort. And being shamed hurts like hell... So that person is only making our society worse, not better.

To stay positive... I focus on the things I can change for the better in my life. I know it's cliche but I try to accept the things I can't change, that are beyond my control.

Having a positive attitude is an every day choice, though. It isn't always easy but it's always worth it, in the long run, I believe.

Great post, Chani! I love coming here because you make me think :)

Anvilcloud said...

Saying "I refuse these thoughts" is useless unless we replace it with something else.

That's what they say: that you can only replace bad habits with better habits. You can't simply white-knuckle it.

About your question. My answer might make me sound arrogant, but I'm not. It's just that I don't do anything to stay positive. It's just that I tend to be that way. Not in a Pollyanish sort of way though. Perhaps it's best to say that I don't tend to be negative. I'm probably just a non-thinking shmuck. :)

Jen said...

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. - Eleanor Roosevelt.

I try to keep that foremost in my thoughts at all times.

I also, sadly, lost my sister 11 years ago. She was 48. It helped me to realize how precious life is and that since being negative makes me feel negative, I try to choose otherwise.

Olivia said...


Yay, Chani!

I feel sorry for people who believe in using negative things like shame to motivate people. It must be the best tool they have in their toolbox, which shows what a sad and empty toolbox they have.

What do I do to stay positive? Collect support by visiting my online community (like here), filling my head with good books (like Charles Eisenstein), and just recently not watching as much good television, as even with TIVO and skipping over commercials it still plants things in my soul that I don't want there. Even more importantly, it takes time that I could use for other good, but even better things. It's just been a few days, ever since Kikipotamus wrote about television and how it made her ego dance, but it's made a big difference. I feel happier when my ego isn't dancing, but is relaxing quietly in the back of the bus.

Special Friday Blessings,


flutter said...

I haven't quite figured that out yet.....

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, well, I'm not sure how this is going to sound but I don't do anything to stay anything, positive or negative or whathaveyou. I just am what I am in a moment. Like one big, ongoing mindful meditation. Allowing it all to be as it is.

Dunno, maybe I should change this?
I wonder about it now and zen, then make peace with what is one mo' time,
then let go.
Works for me. A lifetime lesson--accepting what is--as I mentioned here the other day...

/shrugging shoulders

(smiling at you)


LittlePea said...

Oh that post was disturbing. I didn't read any others from her blog so I don't even know what sort of blog that is or what kind of person she may be so I thought best not to comment. But I read yours and I whole heartedly agree with you. I feel a little hypocritical since I say,"I hate so and so," all the time. In my defense it's usually something silly like "I hate that color" or "I hate ketchup." Recently I did post that I hate the people who work for my doctors' appointment department but in all honesty it's a huge exaggeration and reaction to how frustrated and dark I've been feeling lately as you already knew. But reading that post made me question myself for taking a strong word like 'hate' so lightly and if something good came out of that post it's that for me. To single out a certain group of people and embrace hatred towards them as a method to shame them or "change" things, frankly scares me. Maybe I'm taking it too far when I say it's that kind of thinking that led people to look the other way when humans were being put in gas chambers.

And to answer your question about staying positive. Oh that's a hard one for me lately, I've been feeling so negative. I think it's important to feel ones way out of negativity. To acknowledge, to say, "yeah I feel bad right now," but not to dwell. Positivity has to be 'fed' to oneself in other ways I think, be it a favorite movie or calling an old friend, maybe a comfort food even. That's just my way.

Rima said...

Chani, I agree with you that changing one's attitude is not just about a mindset, but also educating yourself and working at it every day. As you know, I've been reading books to this end, as well, and I do believe "daily lessons", at least for me, are the way to go. Now I must go check out this blog of which you speak, although I'm not really sure if I want to give her the extra traffic!

SUEB0B said...

Staying positive is a discipline, and a difficult one at that. A Course in Miracles says "Happiness is a decision I must make." It is not a state, not a prize - it is a decision.

My best advice is to find a group of like-minded people and meet with them at least once a week for a few hours. This is what my ACIM group provides for me - an accepting, gentle reminder that we are all traveling the same path together. We tell our stories about our successes and failures and laugh and cry together. It is very helpful.

P&O said...

Wow. I wonder if she thinks that "I hate black people" will stop black people from procreating.

"I hate lesbians" could be used to improve 'Steak & Blowjob Day'.

We could combine, "I hate ugly" with business cards for plastic surgeons.. that's sure to drum up business.

"I hate old people" might be enough to scare them into staying home and off our roads and out of our way in the supermarket check-out.

What do I do to cheer myself when I am reminded that some people are moronic.

I used to write rants in their comment sections about how "I hate morons". Now, I am just so glad I'm not a moron, too.

I still write the rants but because I'm compelled, not for cheer. lol!

Just checking in on you! :)

Lots of Love!

molly said...

Saying negative things and expecting a positive outcome is insane. Making people feel small and rejected doesn't make them want to live their life according to your gospel. This has irked me for a long time----you always hit on such interesting topics.....I believe something I read ages ago: Treat people [especially children] as though they already are the wonderful unique people you want them to grow up to be and they won't disappoint you. Of course I get called Pollyanna a lot.....

P&O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
P&O said...

In case that fat-hater (I hope she never has to suffer from a thyroid problem) erases my comment, I'll leave it here, with you, Chani.


"While I completely agree with what the mass consumption of fast food does to our bodies and planet, I vehemently disagree with your method. And, I would suggest not throwing stones. We are all guilty. You could add that you hate people who do nothing to protest but write posts on their blogs. You could add a lot of things.

I think hatred is a poor, unimaginative, hostile, ignorant, insensitive manner in which to deal with this serious concern, if you're serious.

I think it's a great post. I do.

(uh.. yeah.. that's meant to be sarcastic. She had a great point in there somewhere, but it got lost in all easy-fix solution of the narrow-mind.)

But, seriously.

Do you think it might be a good idea for those so inclined to promote their belief system with proud in-your-face statements like, "I hate black people." Maybe it will stop black people from procreating.

"I hate lesbians" could be used to improve 'Steak & Blowjob Day'.

We could combine, "I hate ugly" with business cards for plastic surgeons.. that's sure to drum up business.

"I hate old people" might be enough to scare them into staying home and off our roads and out of our way in the supermarket check-out.

"I hate morons" could simplify rants and raves and comments with a condensed version of intelligent thought. Time saving, energy-saving and very to the point.

Please do not take offence. I mean, I'm not fat, so I wasn't supposed to, right?"


I should have added that I could say, "I hate bitches", but then I'd be negating the poor educational standards in some towns and its low level of priority in some families. Except that this chick went to University. Which either speaks for the quality of the University, or her lack of critical thinking and abstract reasoning and ability to formulate well-thought opinions and solutions with which to benefit society.

Mariposa said...

People here have said it all...for the first time I slept early and had enough sleep and whoa, this is what I miss...LOL Talking about least I did my share by finally getting enough sleep for myself after a week of "wakefulness"!

THAT post on hating people is amazing! And I'm more amazed on how pushy she gets on her stand...and how she drops "university" in support/ defense of her rally against "fat people". Well, the school I've been with taught me to attack issues and not people...and we just have all the ways to do that...blogging could be one! I would have been more delighted if she makes a post on how to prepare a 5-minute healthy snacks!

Mommahbear's comments crack me up!

blooming desertpea said...

We have a saying that says more or less "the echo comes back as you shouted it". If you say negative things or think negative thoughts, they will come back to haunt you.

I believe that staying positive is a constant work, a battle sometimes because the negative is surrounding us too and we will always be confronted with it, so like other commenters have stated before me, we need to shield us from negative people and their statements ("it's not our business") and let go of negative thoughts (I have to fight them) - surrounds ourselves with nice people, do positive things and think positive thoughts.

Btw. I think you are doing exactly that with this blog.

QT said...

Wow - i chose to concentrate on what my body can accomplish vs. how it looks. I am far from being my ideal size or shape, but that is not my focus. That post is amazing - amazingly bad!

niobe said...

Well, anyone who knows me even a little realizes I'm not exactly talented at being positive. Why I try, it always rings false to me.

Anonymous said...

That is so cool that you've made the conscious decision to surround yourself w positive stuff. That's a wonderful step to take. It works!

BOSLady said...

You were nice. 4expat wasn't. Agreed hate is useless except to introduce toxic energy into your life. I try so hard to teach my son not to hate ... anything....

Poor kids getting fat like that all over my neighborhood, their parents from poor countries so pround to have them well fed, enjoying abundance. it can be perspective. In some dialects 'estoy gordo' means 'I'm feeling well."

I was in China recently and shocked to see the KFC brand everywhere! But so is rampant pollution, uncontrolled growth, poor health and safety rules, anxiety over money and lust for luxury goods. Shall we hate them all or search for the teaching moment?

Bec said...

That blog is short sighted & the premise is one dimensional imo. In poorer countries fat is a sign of prosperity, so there is real confusion as to what/who needs her hate directed at.

Is it the corporations or the indivual to blame? Or is it the march of consumerism finally reaching those areas?

Wanting to be seen as healthy & happy (in some asian ideals, thin=hungry, why would a hungry person be happy?) is ingrained.
Yes the corporations are provinding this junk food to them but who is forcing them to eat it?

If you look at macdonalds for example in any thai town it is full of thais, same a burger king, pizza hut etc, why??? because it is also a sign of modernisaion, majority thais want modernisation, they want the westernisation that westerners complain has occurred in these far away shores, they (thai) rule the choice, if they didn't want it they wouldn't use it, just as we westerners used it & the majority continue to do so.

Why dictate that they "can't" have it. Who has that right?

To many thai I know (rural) it is a real sign of their propserity to be able to pay the 115 baht hamburger meal (guessing cost here!) rather than "having" to eat 20baht chicken on rice from a street stall or like my husbands family when he was small, sometimes eating just rice with some ground dried fish & chilli paste for dinner when times were lean. It's a status symbol for a lot of people. Like a buying a mercedes on hp when your house is practically falling down!!

I personaly don't know any thais who would rather be poor & hungry, noble as it may seem to many, forced to eat the same plain food every day & not have a tv, safe comfortable house, car, the trappings of wealth. They all want what we in the west already have access too & that includes the food. If the writer of that blog can't see that they they are looking from a tunnel.

So to the fat;

What about the fat people who don't eat it, the ones with medical issues, should they be hated too cause the greedy can't control thier urges & offend the blogger? To say "I hate fat people" simplifies a global issue that has many layers & causes. To blame the corporations for providing what people want removes the rights of those who want it.

There is no right or wrong only freedom of choice but no one needs the hate.

Bec said...

sorry chani, I went off on one there a bit!! :)

Angela said...

I'm reading two books I ordered for before my surgery, knowing I would have the extra time to read. "The Astonishing Power of Emotions" Abraham-Hicks and "The Age of Miracles" by Marianne Williamson. I can definitely recommend the Marianne Williamson book. The other one I'm still deciding on - although it has already been helpful to me.

Getting out of the shame that I allowed others to put on me is a big part of my process. Shaming never worked to move me in a positive direction, but there will always be shamers - it's up to us to move away from that.

Brandi Reynolds said...

yeah, because bigotry has always worked so well in the past *roll eyes* I am amazed-appalled that anyone would think that is an okay perspective!!!!!

anyway, what do I do to stay positive??? With the help of my life coach, I have created a list of ten healthy habits. I do not need to do them all each day but to choose several to do every day and I keep a log taped to my mirror where I check them off as I do them. Examples are: read inspiration cards, meditate, gratitude journal, floss teeth, etc.

Anonymous said...

Being torn down was never a motivator for me. I can't see it actually working unless you are intentionally trying to brings someones self esteem so low that you can convince them of anything.

A few years ago I couldn't find happy if it came up and made me laugh. I was really struggling. Then a moment of clarity happened and I realised it was my perception that needed changing. It took time and earnestness. But eventually, I refound happy.

Carla said...

Chani, To stay positive, I'm really trying to consciously focus on my thoughts...starting out with the right ones. Two people can have very different perspectives on the same event depending on their initial attitude. I am wondering about that woman promoting bigotry though. I might stop over just to have a look, but am quite appalled by the thought.

storyteller said...

As you well know … this is what I try to do with my life and in my posts (especially at Sacred Ruminations). I’m reminded of a quote (perhaps by Tony Robbins?) that says something like ‘Change your thoughts, change your life’ … and methinks there’s a great deal of truth in such a concept. Didn't Will Rogers say something like 'Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be' ...?
Hugs and blessings,

Unknown said...

Since you are in the mood for positive input, are you participating in the Ekhert Tolle online class that starts tomorrow?

Mary said...

The last statement on shame of being's a "shame" so many people dread feeling shamed instead of loving themselves, therefore nurturing their bodies.

I'm not always an optimist and people remind me so. I try to look for the good in everything. Ain't easy. That's why I retreat to my little outdoor habitat every day.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be helpful to prepare some positive or encouraging mantras and have them at hand until it becomes more natural. I always mean to do this, but i'm not good at follow through.

I subscribed to happy luau, but before I even had a chance to read any of the posts, there were half a dozen more...I don't know if I can keep up with all that - it's been a hard few days, with sick kids and catching up...

I took a look at 4amexpat's post and I can sum up my opinion in one word: stupid. Today I saw a clip from the Ellen show about a young boy who was murdered by another because he was gay and asked him to be his valentine. That's where her kind of thinking gets people and it's wrong.

Not long ago, my husband was interviewing people for a potential office position. One of the candidates seemed to be the likely choice, but he said he hesitated to hire her because of all the flak that would come of hiring a "large" person. (I have only met two of the three women that work at this male-dominated office, but they are also overweight.) One thing I take away from this is that when I go back to work, I want a large corporation with a by-the-book HR department.