Without realizing it, I'd adjust my reality based on these sad stats - I'd plan to drive the longer route home rather than go near the Little League field and start worrying that the basement would flood if heavy rains were expected.

It's a manifestation of an insidious disease: "Theway-itis." Accepting life the way it is. This generally entails looking intently at all the bad things happening in the world and letting them weigh on our minds as we go through the day. We're so used to filling our heads with horrible news that there's even a virtual ticker tape across the bottom of the screen while the news is on - here's more bad news, scrolling into your psyche.

Dwelling on negative things doesn't safeguard us from harm; if anything, it has the opposite effect. The answer may be to cultivate a certain degree of selective amnesia. It might be a stretch to tell people they can solve a problem if they will just "name it and claim it," but why not stop marinating in the negativity? Turn off the constant barrage of what's wrong with the world today, and focus on what's right in it. Even if things are hard for you now, it's important to stay positive.

What if everything in life was as alarmist as the evening news? We'd be reading the "Classified Bads" to find a job that will suck the life out of us and ensure that we use the heck out of our health benefits. We'll leave with a gold watch, a bleeding ulcer, and half a head of gray hair.

We'd be using "Mismatch.com" to find a spouse so outrageously wrong for us that the relationship is destined for failure, even though the marriage persists for twenty years.

"Horrorscopes" would say, "Today, you will grow a goiter, look like Hell, and catch all the red lights. Just pull up the covers and call it a day!"

Let's all agree to stop filling our minds with bad news, just for a week. Let's only hang out with positive people and do things that uplift us. The antidote for, "Theway-itis," is tenacious, voracious, audacious hope, so let's all make that our default setting as we head out into the world. It could become a habit that changes the way you look at life.

Clearer Vision

Looking at the world the way it seems to be
is such an exhausting endeavor.
It takes a lot of energy to process the bad news,
to deal with the crotchety co-workers,
and to budget my time and talents.
Re-train my mind so that I see what might be, first.
Be with me as I look at what is and sift through it
to find that kernel of hope.
Allow me to face reality but focus on possibility
as I keep my feet on the ground and my eyes to the sky.

-Ruth Williams


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