Aiming Bad Energy

Some days are harder than others. We swing into dismal moods of gloom or anger and lash out at those around us. I am determined to spare those closest to me from the effects of my bad moods. I am determined to aim my negative energy elsewhere. And so I run.

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Sometimes I just need to feel the breeze rushing around me as my feet propel me forward and my legs burn with determination. I need to leave the frustration, pain, fear, and worry behind me at the starting line. When I run I feel strong and free and more like myself, and the debilitating thoughts disintegrate.

Sometimes we feel stuck, frustrated, down, impatient, dissatisfied, and we project those feelings onto the people who deserve it the least – the ones we love. We snap and yell and say mean things, or we close ourselves off. We subject them to our hostility or somberness because they are close by and are therefore easy targets by proximity.

Life is enough of a struggle already without making it even harder on each other. We have to care for and nurture each other, and that means managing our own emotions. There are other directions in which we can aim our negative energy besides at the ones we love. There are other ways to dispel it.

And so I run…

Or write. Or talk it out. Or do yoga. Or watch something funny.

What do you do to overcome a bad mood?

In response to the Daily Post photo challenge
Spare

It Could Be Worse

Sometimes when the good in a situation is nowhere in sight, the best place to find comfort is in realizing that things could be much worse. Three weeks ago, after experiencing a shocking and fearful event, I felt grateful that the situation hadn’t been worse than it was.

I arrived home from work, pulled my car into the garage, and opened the door into the house to see two of my dogs coming in from outside. As usual they greeted me with lots of excitement, jumping and vying for my attention. They followed me into the living room where I was about to set my bag down, but I paused. Something wasn’t right.

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The front door was open. I stared at it, my mind processing what I was seeing. How could that be possible? Did I leave it open before I left for work? Did my hubs leave it open? Then I saw the splintered door frame and the deadbolt still locked in place, the mechanism jutting out, connecting to nothing. Someone had kicked in my front door.

My heart began to pound in my chest. Adrenaline rushed through my body, and I felt tingly and flushed.   I looked down and saw that my third dog had wandered out of a bedroom and was staring at me with her big eyes, longing for attention. The realization that all of my dogs were safe calmed some of the chaos in my head. I took a deep breath and told myself to take action.

I called my husband, my hands shaking as I began looking through the house to take stock of the damage. “Are the computers still there?” he asked. Panic hit me. Please tell me my laptop is still here. All my writings, my personal documents, my photos… Both computers were resting undisturbed on our desks.

“What about the gun?” A feeling of dread overwhelmed me as I ran to our bedroom. We have a pistol for home protection. What if they took the gun? What if they used the gun to hurt or kill someone? How would we handle this? I yanked open the drawer to the nightstand. The gun was still there, barely visible, shoved to the back of the drawer.

I reviewed the situation. Dogs? Safe. Computers? Safe. Gun? Safe. The worst-case scenarios were no longer threatening to unravel me. An intense wave of relief washed over my being, and I suddenly felt as if this situation was not a big deal. I no longer cared what was missing. Nothing left was as important as what was still here. The relief felt so good and I felt so light compared to the heavy dread I had felt only moments before.

I completed a second walk-though of the house with the police. I made them a list of everything that was missing, which fortunately was limited to some of my jewelry and my husband’s change jar. My husband and a friend repaired our door that evening, and we had an alarm system installed over the next couple of days.

After the break-in, we kicked around theories about what happened. Why didn’t the thieves take more stuff? Why weren’t our dogs a deterrent? Why our house? What else could we have done to avoid this? Ultimately, the speculation got us nowhere except to the decisions not to move and to get an alarm system.

It could have been much worse. “That was brave of you coming into the house alone,” the cop had said to me. “What made you do that when saw your front door was open?” The thieves had tried to close the door when they left, but the bottom of caught on a splintered piece of wood on the floor and it didn’t close all the way. I couldn’t tell the door was open from the street. “Good thing they weren’t still in the house when you showed up,” the cop commented. That had never crossed my mind.

Any situation can always be worse. We can be grateful that it’s not.

Where Flowers Bloom: My Porch Project

“Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”
-Lady Bird Johnson

Nature gives us an infinitely flowing fountain of beauty, and it’s a flow that we can capture and bring home anytime we crave more of it.

Lady Bird Johnson grew up in the wide-open spaces of Texas and always felt at peace in the solace of the outdoors. Her love of nature stayed with her when she became First Lady of the United States and began her first city beautification initiative in D.C. through which her organization planted millions of flowers, inspiring beautification movements across the nation. She became the first First Lady to advocate for legislation when she actively promoted the Highway Beautification Act which aimed to limit billboards along the highway systems and plant flowers along roadside areas. Thanks to Lady Bird’s influence, the bill passed, and Americans can relish the scenery of wildflowers while driving through their cities or across the country.

We are drawn to beauty around us, and whether we are conscious of it or not, beauty in nature often provides a sense of peace and solace for us, just like it did for Lady Bird Johnson. We may not always have access to open spaces or fields of flowers, but there are green spaces everywhere. Walking and driving through my neighborhood, I found myself admiring the tidy lawns and decorative gardens and front porches of my neighbors. I decided to start a small beautification project of my own and create a more aesthetic view of my home to give passers-by something prettier to see and to emphasize the sense that my house is truly a home.

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My house is about 56 years old and needed substantial renovations when we first moved into it, including the neglected front yard. With the help of my mother-in-law who loves gardening, my husband did some early work on the front garden bed, planting a few things and cleaning up the shrubs. However, we since let it fall by the wayside, and it was past time to revive it.

Knowing little about outdoor plants and living in a dominantly warm area of the U.S., I began researching plants native to my state that could survive high temperatures. My mother-in-law, forever an invaluable resource, invited us to the local garden club plant sale and walked us through the endless arrays of greenery choices. I was in awe of how much I have to learn.

Back at home, my husband graciously offered to help me with my project. He trimmed the bushes, helped me pull up the 60’s throwback turf from the porch, and teamed up with me on raking leaves out of the flowerbed. We cleared the space, letting the sparse Lantana planted the previous year finally breathe and begin its delayed growth of the season.

Finally, it was time for the best part – planting my flowery finds in pots and in the ground. I skipped wearing gloves; I wanted to feel the thick soil in my hands to stimulate all my senses. I tenderly placed each plant in its new home, admiring the leaves, colors, and blooms. My knees and back protested as I laid down mulch over the flowerbed, but I felt good. Filling up my new watering can and raining water down over the garden, I felt a stronger connection to nature and life. I stood back and admired the new scenery, proud of my efforts and thankful for the time and efforts of my husband and mother-in-law. It feels gratifying to play a part in nature and to add more beauty to my realm.

It’s a good start. Over time with attention and care, the plants will grow and bloom, like the life my husband and I share together inside our home. They have already grown since I first planted them, and I love seeing their bright flowers and shades of green when passing from the comfort of home through my front door and out into the vast world beyond.

How can you play a part in nature, growth, and in nurturing your world? How can you add more beauty to it?