What does a person do when four new novels seem to be stalled in the publication process, and it appears that things are temporarily on hold?
If you are me, you write. There are several other stories I’m working on, so that is not a problem.
But what do you do if all you hear on the news is negative, and it appears the world is headed in a downward spin toward an unhopeful outcome?
I said to two of my cousins not long ago that what the world needs is a TV channel devoted to positive things. By that I don’t mean just heart warming anecdotes, but stories about people making breakthroughs in science, medicine, human relations, energy resources, and so on. (Somewhat like the TED conferences, only with a specific slant.)
It struck me some years past that we do not have an energy crisis on this planet, we have a thinking crisis. What I meant by that is when people put their minds and energy and resources into solving problems, what seemed insurmountable gets resolved. That is how originally we put a man on the moon, and, in my opinion, if the nation I live in put half as much money into research for solutions to things like global warming, and the rising cost of energy consumption instead of figuring out new ways to kill people or latch onto other’s natural resources, we would be a lot better off.
I’m going to take that TV programming idea a step farther. Creating a television station devoted to happenings that move the residents of our planet in a more positive direction might seem an overwhelming undertaking (it did to me, at first). However, people blog all the time, and that is something available to a great many folks with little expense needed. I’m doing it right now. Let’s say a blogger focused on new breakthroughs, and let’s say that the number of people tired of hearing about calamitous and discouraging events began paying attention to him or her, and someone got a related idea and decided they wanted to start a website like YouTube, except with a narrower focus, streaming videos such as how to build a greenhouse on the side of your home so that you could grow your own food, supplementally heat your dwelling, and beneficially oxygenate the air you breath (I have built one). Perhaps someone else might decide to start a website like Wikipedia, but with this new and distinctly positive focus. As time goes on, others could choose to create a website with the flavor of The Last Whole Earth Catalog, providing not just how-to information, but the resources to help people achieve their goals of having more positive lives. Then, somebody else might come along and start a TV channel devoted to covering all of this stuff. I think you begin to get the picture.
As just one example, over twenty years ago a man invented a pedal car that if it were in production today would be a likely contender as one alternative to conventionally powered vehicles, and some of us would be getting so much exercise, we wouldn’t be riding stationary bicycles in our homes, or a gym somewhere. It does not take a genius to see how that could help reduce global emissions and global warming, and also lessen the consumption of petroleum products, or even conventionally generated electricity. Not to mention keeping us physically fit.
What stands in our way of accomplishing this? One line of thinking will see the hand of big companies—conspiracy theories—but I imagine it is mainly our thought processes. Most people are so inundated by negativity, and just getting through their daily lives, that they feel powerless. The truth is, we are anything but helpless. We are exactly the opposite, and I think it is about time we woke up and became the powerhouses we really are. I’m not sure if you have noticed lately, but government has become part of the problem; waiting for them to do the right thing does not appear to be working too well. We, on the other hand, are the solution.
I’m about to digress, but you will soon see how this mental byway fits in. As a child and family therapist and later a child development specialist, I often utilized a therapeutic approach termed Brief Solution Focus Therapy. It was developed by Steve de Shazer and his cohorts in Milwaukie, Wisconsin. Previous to that, the general approach to therapy in most mental health modalities was to uncover a lot of facts about peoples’ problems. This was often an intense and lengthy process (not to mention expensive). But with Solution Focus, the question arose: “When does the problem not occur?” and the answer followed: “Let’s find out more about that exception.”
Most of us today focus on our PROBLEM(s) to the point that we are seemingly incapable of action, or of finding our SOLUTION(s). If, for instance, when I mentioned the ideas of a TV station, an innovative blogger, and various websites devoted to positive breakthroughs—if the reaction to that was to think of reasons why those things are impractical, unlikely, or impossible, the person(s) with such reaction(s) have probably become problem saturated. That is the plight of most of us, but it is not our fault, and it can be overcome.
The truth is, positive exceptions are everywhere, but we have mostly become too numb to recognize them. With a little observation, this condition of a negative, narrow-viewpoint can be overcome. One can begin accumulating positive awareness by capturing those exceptional moments, and putting them together with other similar occurrences. We can start physical files, or computer files, which include the rare newspaper or TV accounts that make us feel good. Or whatever information that points us toward a more helpful and hopeful life experience. It could be as simple for those of us with computers and Internet access as bookmarking videos and other resources in a specially marked folder. Hey, if this blog entry was at all helpful, start with it.
I look forward to hearing about your accomplishments.
Pardon, me, but I’m being interrupted here. What is that sound? A deafeningly loud
roaring sort of noise—and smoke. It smells awful. Oh, now I see….
“Squire, fetch my armor, my biggest shield and my lance, and then saddle my charger—be quick about it—we have a dragon to fight!”
Sorry, but I’ll have to report back on the outcome of this interruption in a later blog. This may take a while.
“No—my longest lance.” He is a new squire, but he means well. “Yes, that’s the one.”
1. a link to a site where a gentleman claims we can add one million people to our workforce with no government intervention, and the WE is you and me. Surprisingly, I think this can work. (Pun intended) Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/v/4FrGxO2Fn_M
2. a link to a talk by Neil Gaiman, well-known British author, who builds a strong case for literacy and creativity, and the fact that the prison population in the US can be predicted by a simple formula based on the number of eleven-year-olds who can't read: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming