“Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.” -Martha Graham
Today is Day One of my wristband experiment. The wristband is used as a physical reminder to keep track of all the negative thoughts coming out of my mouth. Each time you witness yourself saying, or more challenging still, thinking something negative, you are supposed to change wrists. I lost count of how many times the band changed hands today. Positivity is harder than it seems.
As I watched everything I said today I was surprised how many times that I had to stop and ask myself if what I said was negative or a realistic assessment of the situation. The grey zone when dealing with reality is tricky. Can we and should we always spin everything positively? For instance, this morning I was talking about how Costa Rica had disbanded their army in 1949 and invested in education instead. The story was part of a bigger discussion about how they are the happiest people on the planet. My son asked me, “So does that mean that their education is better than the US?”
Without a beat, I commented, “That wouldn’t be hard.”
I wondered out loud if that was a negative comment. My daughter said, “Well, if it’s not studied and it’s just a comment, then yes.” It doesn’t make the grey zone that much clearer, but I used her sense of measure throughout the day. It was remarkable how many of my views and observations were realistic, yet negatively tinged. I moved the wristband anyway, even if I wasn’t sure, because the thought process alone gave me pause and made me realize how deeply our language reflects our beliefs.
The process reminds me of the year I learned to speak French. As I learned to translate my thoughts into new words I had to be really clear about what I really meant to say. It was a slow and arduous process that taught me as much about my own language as it did about the French. Even more, it made me look at my thoughts and slow down my speech. The wristband made me do the same today.
I hope to be able to track how many times I move the wristband some day soon. I think the process of re-learning to speak a positive language is a practice worthy of the effort.