Bad News Doesn’t Have To Make Me Feel Bad!

I’m going to start this final post for 2013 with the exact same sentence I used to begin last month’s post: “Wow!  I keep discovering new things.”

As a kid in Brooklyn I was taught by watching the adults around me.  It seemed to me that it was right to get very sad and low when we heard someone was ill or had a love or business mishap. We were taught to get angry if a governor made a decision that our parents or our friends’ parents thought went against the best interests of the people and to get scared if a Hurricane was headed our way.  All of this was very understandable, given the year in which I was born. Many of the people in my neighborhood had faced or had family who’d recently faced the “Holocaust” in Europe. Although the exact time of Hitler’s proclamation ordering the slaying of the Jewish people is under some question, we do know that it was sometime around 1941. I turned 1 year old in May of 1941 and I my family was Jewish. Three out of four of my grandparents came to America as young children with their parents, when their parents had to flee the Pogroms against the Jews in the 1880s. My daddy sailed off to the South Pacific in1942. I can understand how it could be hard for many people in my neighborhood to “Always Look at the Bright Side of Life” a la Monty Python. Still – they managed to succeed and create great lives for themselves in New York City.

Through my life until, I’d say, the last six years or so, I’d listen to the news and get affected  (worried) by the reports of murders or robberies. I’d find my stomach get calmer as neighborhoods were improving. In recent years I started thinking about what would happen if crimes weren’t continually reported a hundred times over. I wonder if repeating and repeating the story of any crime really helps or hinders progress.

While writing this, I realized that in a past post I wrote about my friend who thought a person to whom he had became very attracted to was just lying when he said he’d call him and that my friend didn’t attracted the other person at all. He was feeling unattractive and forgettable. Then I told him the person he felt found him unattractive had passed away a couple of months after they’d met. We can choose to be happy because we usually don’t really know what’s happening in other people’s heads or what they’re going through.  It always pays to choose happiness whatever may be happening in the world.  If we can take action to keep it from recurring that’s a good thing – and we needn’t let it ruffle our feathers. Plus – the action we take will be clearer and probably more successful if our feathers aren’t in the process of being ruffled.

I do the “Spiritual Reading” the first Sunday of each month at The Unity Center of New York. I came upon writings by Eric Butterworth in articles on what he calls Healthy Mindedness. Reading these calmed my soul and every time I find myself getting aggravated I look at them again.  Here is part of one of the readings:

The word “happiness,’ comes from the same root as the word, “happen.”    Life is a constant process of unfolding experiences. When something happens to you, you have a choice as to what you will do about it. And, the healthy minded person lets it happen. Like a pneumatic tire, he gives with the bumps of the road, thus the jolt is minimal and he moves steadily forward. The sick soul, on the other hand, is jarred by every bump. He may “come apart at the seams,” because he has no resiliency. He fights back. He tries to “un-happen” the experience. Thus, every bump has the power to be “the straw that breaks the camel’s back.” And he is forever receiving full vindication of his conviction that life is unjust, that people are beasts, that “there just is no justice.”

“The healthy minded person turns on his lights at the beginning of each day and keeps them on, no matter what other persons do, and despite what happens in the world. He’s the one who can think clearly and act wisely, because he’s always plugged in, while the sick soul allows himself to become easily uncoupled and to “come apart at the seams.”

So, even as you select your wardrobe for the day, choose your mood. Choose joy. Choose faith. Choose optimism. Choose to see the good in people, rather than concealment of it, and supposed evil. Choose to believe that “God is in His Heaven and all is right with the world,” as Robert Browning would say, rather than to believe that the world is falling down around you. Be a healthy minded person, and you will be a part of what is right with the world.”

Eric Butterworth


Whatever age you are now – this is worth remembering every day. I’m certainly finding out it’s worth it – and I thought I’d had it pretty together.  I’ve learned that it never hurts to learn new ways of looking at things:  ways to help you “Say “YES” To You!”