Today an unfortunate tragedy happened in Boston, the product of insane thinking. Every day similar tragedies happen all over the world, heart-breaking events that occur because someone believed a crazy, despairing thought and acted on it, thus sucking so many into terrible suffering.
I was in the gym when I saw footage of the explosions. As every TV in the gym began to issue forth terrible, chaotic scenes of violence and despair, the heavy clanking of muscle-ripped men and curvy women in short shorts lifting and dropping heavy things ceased and everyone around me gazed spell-bound up at the screens like stunned prey waiting to be swallowed up whole by the mesmerizing light of darkness.
I acknowledged what happened, said a prayer and let my heart be touched, and then looked away and got back to my workout.
There’s just so much working beautifully in the world. So many things are going completely, undeniably, deliciously right … right now.
Were we to pay attention to what’s actually working in our individual and collective favor, instead of always seeking out what’s going wrong, we would see that every corner of the planet, every continent, every community, most everyone everywhere could report an incessant and completely overwhelming news stream of goodness, love, laughter, beauty and possibility all conspiring to bless them and the world around them with the remarkable experience of simply being alive, for at least a short time.
I’d like to see this report someday:
“It’s a bonafide miracle, John. The folks in this suburban community are somehow NOT simply flying off the face of the earth. We just don’t know how this thing called gravity happens, but in spite of the earth spinning so rapidly no one here is suddenly shooting off into space. This appears to be happening all over the world in fact, day after day, although there are occasional sightings from top-secret Area 51 where anonymous witnesses report this so-called gravity force breaking down. But otherwise, it’s an extraordinary thing to witness … every … single … day. I’m Rachel for Channel 5 news. Stay grounded, Seattle!”
You think that’s an exaggeration?
Why is it an exaggeration to be seriously impressed by some miracle force we don’t even understand that magically keeps our feet on the ground so we can even live out these wild, unpredictable lives?
Do you get that we’re all standing on a giant, wet rock floating in the middle of probably not even God really knows where?? Why not, for one moment, let this be a simple starting point for noticing just how much is working wildly in our favor every day, every moment, since the beginning of time and as far into the future as we can see!!
Yes, let’s be deeply touched by this world’s heart-wrenching tragedies. Let us be stirred to firm and compassionate action in seeking solutions and justice. Let us also ask and fully live the deeper, more empowering questions that tragedies like this can powerfully initiate us into: questions about our lives and the societies we create.
But let us not ever forget the absurdly overwhelming evidence that life is working in our favor everywhere, everyday, in absolutely countless ways.
Just consider all the tiny good acts that people do the world over in every moment of every day – the kindnesses, the beautiful, benevolent, and inspiring creativity, the infinite services we do for each other, the smiles freely given, the food shared and so, so much more – which by far easily outweigh the bad actions of humanity. You must know the good grossly outweighs the bad, otherwise few of us could genuinely sleep safely at night … and the vast majority of humanity does.
Focusing on the endless menu of what’s working every day can make a real difference in our own daily lives. It would likely lessen the frequency of preventable tragedies like the Boston Marathon explosions.
It would definitely lessen the explosions that continue to blast through our TV sets and inside our own heads long after the original ones have faded silent into history.
I pray for solace for the families now experiencing the wrenching agony of loss due to this tragedy.
Here are some websites that report consistently what’s working great on our planet:
Ode Magazine (News for Intelligent Optimists)
Hilarious TED Talk about the Real Promise of Positive Psychology: