One of the most obvious, if least utilized practices of positivity is creating a strong social network. I am not talking about digital friends here, but rather actual 3D situations where you do things with people you like. Ironically, all of the hyper online social connectivity is leaving many people with less time and opportunities for real interactions. So I have been starting positivity circles and clubs lately.
I started with a women’s positivity circle, selecting people I had known in a certain context but didn’t see very often. I chose women I admire and enjoy listening to; people that made me laugh. Although we haven’t totally succeeded at setting regular dates, we are in touch regularly and forming the early bonds of friendship that will hopefully translate into years of circle meetings.
Another strong precept of positivity comes from helping others. Our circle had been seeking ways to volunteer regularly. We hadn’t landed on anything when another friend mentioned the idea of turning one of the overgrown and unused courtyards of our children’s high school into a beautiful, reflective memorial garden for the students.
Last winter, two boys from the graduating class were tragically lost in an accident at the ocean. Swept into the sea and drowned in front of their closest friends. It wracked the school and also created the most powerful community response I have ever witnessed. The kids felt the amazing support the community offered and this school year, with cuts leaving kids sitting on window sills, have lamented that they didn’t want that support to end.
We began the Positive Charge Club and after the kids collected hundreds of signatures on a schoolwide petition to create the garden, we just got the administrative go-ahead to re-design this huge outdoor space. It was last developed by the graduating class of 1958. I made two pots of split pea soup for the kids and taught them the first and most pivotal lesson of positivity – that we are what we think; our thoughts create the world. They found the author easily on their iPhones, but looking at how that truth presents itself in their own lives is the real homework.
They were excited to brainstorm so many ideas for the space and several of them were even ready to step into leadership roles. I still get to be the coordinator, but I think my job will, in the not-so-distant future, be more of a secretary. It is true that if you are lucky as you age, the younger ones still want you around to watch them re-create the world.
I can’t wait to watch the space transform, too. The mission statement that they made up today is: “We want to learn how to become more positive as well as help other people become positive. Hopefully this outdoor space can help us grow, reflect, and remember. We want to be happy and remember how truly unique and special everyone of us is.” How blessed is this life….