Positive Thoughts Multiplying

I made a happy discovery this week. I had just walked into my acupuncturist’s office, and was closing the door behind me, when I saw the woman whose appointment is just before mine coming down the hall. Holding the door open for her, I stepped back and greeted her as she entered. Silence. Then she walked right past me.

Despite being in a good mood, I felt my anger flare. How dare she, I thought. I just did something nice for her and she ignored me. What a bitch!

Several minutes later, waiting for my acupuncturist to call me in, I could still see her stony eyes above her mask, still feel the fire of anger inside me. Then I remembered small and I knew what I had to do.

I scanned the room for something lovely to contemplate. On the table across from me I noticed a Chinese Money Plant whose long elliptical leaves were all bending downward at different angles. The difference was slight, but the subtle variation of angles was pleasing. It was as if I were gazing at a troupe of ballet dancers who had all assumed the same position, the spectacle nuanced by their particularities and styles. Suddenly the leaves were individuals with personalities and quirks, each one part of the whole in their own personal way.

One leaf leaned a bit toward the right, another toward the left. One leaf appeared more linear, another just slightly more arched. One of the leaves closest to me curled a bit toward its center, another appeared more convex.

The leaves had become for me a corps de ballet, dancers all working together to support the troupe that rose out of the pot toward the light. Each single leaf an individual, all the leaves together forming a Money Plant.

By now, I had forgotten about the patient who had scowled at me and I felt peaceful and relaxed. But the payoff of small was even greater. After several minutes had passed, I realized that other positive thoughts had floated into my mind: looking through the David Austin catalogue to select a new climbing rose for my garden, cooking egg muffins over Zoom with my granddaughter Amelie, picking up a tiny golden leaf from the sidewalk during my morning walk.

Positive thoughts beget more positive thoughts, I realized. Small not only helps shift my mind away from the negative, it keeps feeding me with the positive, and sustaining my happiness and wellbeing. And what could be better than that, especially now when we are still living under Covid and political uncertainty?

Sidewalk Ramp in Berkeley


3 thoughts on “Positive Thoughts Multiplying”

  • I hope this small step will lead to more.
    It is my habit to try to collect, synthesize and then hopefully simplifying dispirit elements into a whole. Sorting and cross connecting. An overwhelming task. In some sense it could be said I’m am trying to make the very large small enough to fit me. Is this process top down or bottom up? I don’t see it as linear. I have had the experience repainting a very small single change of one element, one small area in a painting and have that small thing change the whole picture. Magic it seems.
    I can look at a small thing and see a world of associations but I find it difficult if not impossible to stay just with what I see before me. I will try. I’m not sure if it is calming or anxiety provoking to practice this. Time will tell.

  • Lovely as always. Thanks. I wish I could be less disparaging of the people who completely ignore the fact that when Lincoln and I come toward them on the sidewalk, we move into the street to give them six feet. I seem to be able to hold a degree of annoyance even as I appreciate the scenery! I’ll work on it! Thanks again. You are always an inspiration.

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