feeding the good dog

Posted: December 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

The holiday season is a time that seems to be fraught with extremes.  Some love it, some dread it.  Some enjoy the yearly rituals, some are overwhelmed and just try to figure out how to get through.  Some are filled with warm feelings and memories, some are weighed down by sadness, depression, and disappointment.

I am noticing in my own life that I have ample opportunity to go either way.  I have a pile of blessings and positives – reasons to rejoice.  And I pretty consistently notice a steady stream of reasons to be annoyed, overwhelmed, or disappointed. 

Of course, there is that old tried and true tale that says basically you have two “dogs” fighting for your soul, with one being good and the other, bad.  The one that will win?  The one you feed! 

That story sounds cliche, but it sure does ring true for me.  If I expend my energy focusing on, thinking about, talking about, writing about, and celebrating in other various ways the good things in my life, they grow.  I grow.  Contentment grows in me.  People’s enjoyment in spending time with me grows.  I sleep better.  I smile more.  I spend less time stuffing my feelings under with big bites of food. 

On the other hand, I can focus on the negative.  I can speak aloud each thing that tries, taxes, or otherwise troubles me.  I can post Facebook statuses about how much it sucks.  I can chase the thoughts about it in circles, telling myself what is wrong with each irritation, why it never should have happened to me, what should have been different.  I can go around trying to “assert my rights” and otherwise attempting to fix things that are coming out in ways I don’t prefer.  I can do all of that.  And if I do…well then, THAT TOO will grow.  And I will get smaller.  More narrow-minded.  More bitter.  More jealous.  More resentful.  People will do their best to avoid getting stuck in conversations with me.  I will lose sleep and be troubled with more bad dreams than usual.  I will grow frown lines that I can carry into old age, as evidence of where my thoughts have dwelled most often.  And most likely I will shove unhealthy foods down, down, down my throat in an attempt to numb it all. 

As for me, I’d like to enjoy this season.  I can’t control all the things that happen in ways I don’t prefer.  I can’t prevent every irritation and inconvenience.  But the choice of what to focus on?  It’s all mine. 

Here’s to exercising my freedom.  And I pray you will find your way to do the same!

  1. Pam Spangler says:

    Thanks Karen! You have touched my heart today with your words-need to reassess my life!

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