Ripples

Image courtesy of winnond/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Back in the day, I would thought that title referred to a cheap bottle of wine that was being passed around a circle of friends who were engaging in a bit of “social drug use.”  Today it has a totally different meaning for me. One of the Facebook  “posters” I shared this morning (accessed 1/1/2014 at PreventDisease.com) urged people to spread happiness as a candle shares light. A wise friend replied to my posting with this comment: ” It [happiness] just spreads like ripples from a thrown pebble.” That left me wondering, how can I live my life so that I create at least one positive ripple a day? Today’s blog will be focused on trying to answer that question for myself.

I hope what I write and share with others in these blogs and on my church Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christ-Episcopal-Church-Cape-Girardeau-MO) will be able to create a positive ripple here and there. It is harder for me to spreading happiness with my actions—-by what I say and do. Since I am a “professional communicator” I sometimes prefer introverted solitude when I am not focused on helping others. Granted, I need a certain amount of that for “self-maintenance.” But,  when does self-maintenance turn into selfishness?

Obviously, I need to take  a quick inventory of actions I’ve taken in the past few days that have had the potential to block or create positive ripples. First of all, on the “negative” side of this inventory are the actions I took that isolated me from others even after I had sufficient time to “re-energize” myself. There were calls to friends I did not make because I did not want to let them know I was feeling just a bit depressed after this last trip home.  Although I did not drink, I found solace in  eating pistachios alone in my self-imposed fortress and rationalized the entire time  I was eating them that they were full of healthy antioxidants and fats. Some would say my refusal to do laundry, clean house, or wash dishes  were expressions of negative energy that blocks “positive ripples.” Others would say I was demonstrating signs and symptoms of a mild depression.

On the positive side of this inventory are the twelve step meetings I’ve attended and in which my presence and comments actively supported recovery—-as did everyone’s there. Giving my phone number to a new comer, offering  long distance solace via telephone conversation to friends experiencing emotional anguish, meeting a friend for lunch and “catching up” on our friendship, writing these blogs, and, finally, calling a friend this morning and admitting I am depressed—-all of these actions were related to positive ripples/outcomes…..probably more for myself than anyone else.

Looking at this inventory, it is obvious to me that I spread more “positive ripples” when I socially interact with others and less when I indulge in my character defect of isolation. One important insight this “exercise” has given me is the knowledge that meeting face-to-face with others allows their “positive ripples” to have a positive effect on me.  Granted, interacting with my four dogs can have that effect to a certain extent, but not to the extent talking to another human being face to face can.

I abhor New Year resolutions. I prefer  relating to one day at a time outcomes. So, today, I accept that I need to seek the company of my fellow two-leggeds on a regular basis even when I feel a very strong urge to isolate. I need to do this every day, one day at a time or my retirement will become, as it does for many, a descent into isolated depression. Yes, I will be attending a sixth step discussion group tonight.  Happiness is a choice, and if I want to continue traveling a spiritual path, I need to do what it takes to support that choice. For me,  that means besides seeking the company of others and continuing to take my anti-depressant medication as prescribed.

Thanks for letting me do a little “self-therapy” in regards to this “spread happiness” idea. May God bless and keep you.

Advertisements