Seasonal Affective Disorder, more deeply missing those loved ones whom we’ve laid to rest, adjusting to darkness and a winding-down of the typically busy summer season. But, I’m trying-on a new way of thinking about Fall.
Lately, our ChristCare group has been studying a book called, The Happiness Connection, The Bible & The Brain by Christine Schader. Its basic premise is that most of your happiness depends on your outlook, on being purposeful in finding that state. We had a guest speaker on Wednesday, Laura Jongeward, who shared with us the method she uses in coaching clients towards this similar goal.
You sort out the factual circumstances: let’s use the “dying plants and flowers” statement. Then you identify the thoughts in your head about that: these once-beautiful tomato plants and petunias are withering and dying. The next step is identifying the feeling or emotion you feel about that: sadness. So, you figure out an action to deal with that: what are the positive things I can say about that circumstance? I canned crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and shared the bounty with others to spread the joy of the fresh produce and stored on into the winter months. I’m replacing the petunias with bulbs to bring beauty in the Springtime. Then you create the results of that change in thinking: the plants and flowers produced bounty and joy in their summer season and now it’s time to find joy in the next season.
Okay, let me expand on my idea, then. Tom and I are going to take a leisurely mini-vacation next week and drive over to Montana and back into Salmon, Idaho to photograph the beauty of the changing colors of Autumn. Then, we’ll continue onto Stanley Lake and Redfish Lake, then onto Ontario, Oregon and Moscow, Idaho. Woohoo! I’m sure we’ll see some beautiful colors in the fields and forests as the trees and bushes adapt to the season. Sounds like I’m getting the hang of this happiness thing!
Sheesh! I feel better already! That’s her point: we get to choose and have power over our circumstances and thoughts. The next big step is getting in the habit of acknowledging those emotions, grieving/living in them, and then moving onto a new way of feeling and creating that wanted emotion.
Let’s see: yes, it’s darker, but nowhere near as dark as it got in Northern Alaska where we went lickety-split from 9 months of winter right into 3 months of summer! And, it’s so inviting to warm those cold toes in front of the fireplace while reading a book and wrapping-up in a fleece blanket! I also think I’ll try to call this season “Autumn” instead of “Fall,” because the word paints a prettier picture in my head.
Yes, I do feel better! I know this is a simple example, and it will take some hard work for me to get into the habit of reorienting my way of thinking, but I’m looking forward to the journey.
And, perhaps all I could have done is refer to Ecclesiastes 3 to bring me back. What amazing words from even long before Christ inhabited Earth!
Amen! What can be added to those wise words? Okay, Autumn: bring it on! I’m choosing a new way of thinking about you!
Your friend in Christ,