Chapter 4.2 The Lay of the Land

Chapter 4.2   The Lay of the Land

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.”
Helen Keller (1880-1968)   American Author/Activist

On the Plateau of Positive+, I’m sitting on top of the world.  Now, wait a minute.  This is not Mount Everest.  I am not on a peak, just a plateau.  You see, there is only one way to step when you are on a peak … and that would be down!  The Plateau of Positive+ embraces averageness, a high level of averageness.

“Plateau: a high form of flattery.”

There is a lot of room to wander here.   When you are on the Plateau of Positive+, you can see forever, you are filled with good thoughts, life is beautiful.  And what I have found when I’m up here, is that it’s usually not very crowded.
The Plateau of Positive+ … when I get a chance to hang out up here (or up there, depending on what day it is), I enjoy the sun’s warmth, I bask in its rays.  Occasionally, I’ll look over the side and notice the hoards of people struggling to scale the path.  I might even try to help someone up the last few steps.

“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.”
Jesse Jackson  Minister/Civil Rights Activist

The problem with looking down is that I see the paths I took to get here, and sometimes the edge gives way, and I scramble to keep from slipping down the slope into Negativity again. Is it because I’m not convinced I should stay up here too long?  Or is it just because I get dizzy looking down from heights? (Yep, I’m one of those.) The good thing about being on the Plateau of Positive+ is that no one is pushing anyone off. Looking back at past paths, however, is not always uplifting … that time is gone, let it go.

“No man is rich enough to buy back his past.”
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)  Anglo-Irish Writer

Another thing I have discovered is that I have not thrown enough ropes way down the hillside.  I have cleared wider paths for some, but I have not cleared as many paths as I can.  My gut says I should.
One particular day I began to ponder the huge number of people that were climbing their way up the crumbly slope to the Plateau, and as I looked over the edge, wondering how I could help them, the over-hang collapsed, and I went head over heels, tumbling and bumping down the hill, past myriads of others, until I finally landed in the brush…hurt, scraped, and wounded, whimpering at my misfortune.  I wandered around down in the lowlands for a couple of weeks, bemoaning my bad luck, still feeling sorry for myself,

“Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives
momentary pleasure and separates victims from reality.”
John Gardner (1912-2002)   American Writer/Secretary of H.E.W.

I began to ask a few others to direct me to a path that leads up the Plateau of Positive+.  And I followed them for a bit.  But they didn’t really know how to get there.  They were looking too.  See, the only ones that can truly help you find the way are already up there, and many of the people who are stuck in the lowland don’t know or don’t remember what it is like to be in the sunlight on the Plateau of Pos+.
You have to find your path up the slope.  With some luck, someone special will throw you a rope and help to pull you up.  Just be careful that you don’t tug on them too hard and pull them down with you.  They have offered to share some of their positive energy with you …. don’t be an energy thief and steal too much from them. They are strong, but they are not all powerful.  You have to walk up the path, using your own legs.  Your helpers and supporters can direct and guide, but you’re the one that has to do the work.

“Things turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out.”
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)   16th. President of the United States

It would be great if one day we could just wake up and say “I’m going to be completely positive now.”  Just saying these words does actually gives us a small jolt of energy.  The burdens of the me-world lighten up a bit. Unfortunately changing our mindset isn’t quite that easy.  In fact, often the mind can’t get itself out of a continuing cycling, thinking through the same stuff, over and over …  So how do you go about breaking out of these dark clouds?
Awareness. When we listen to others talking about various topics or when we read the newspapers or watch TV … the dramas of the lives around us are filled with Negativity.  Now we all know that the news has a tendency toward negative stuff … natural disasters, heinous crimes, governments’ deceptions, political party slandering, disease, corruption, celebrity bashing.
Each bit of negative news, helps to enhance “The Fear”, so aptly identified in James Redfield’s The Tenth Insight.  The Fear of what may happen is what holds us back from achieving our goals, both individually and collectively.

“Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed.”
Michael Pritchard    Motivational Speaker

At times, it almost seems like we feed on Negativity.  As I started to specifically monitor discussions and comments … even in personal conversations … I realized that much of what people talk about is focused on what is wrong with ___________ (you pick-it). We have negative reactions, negative responses, negative projections … pretty much negative mindsets. I quickly understood that battling Negativity could be an overwhelming task.  It lurks around the next corner, under every stone, ready to pounce and over-power any positive feelings we may be nurturing.

“You come into the world with nothing and the purpose of your life is to make something out of nothing.”
Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)   American journalist

I’ve come to realize that one purpose for my life should be to fight this negativity and to promote positivity in others.  This concept may sound rather simplified, obvious.  Yet, the more I think about this purpose, I do believe that I’m onto something that may ring true for a lot of other people.

In this life, it probably is not possible to completely erase negativity from one’s life without taking the path of a complete aesthetic, like a Buddhist monk that strives to clear away all negativity in his life (yet consider the problems in Tibet right now.) It is probably only possible through long periods of meditation and, interestingly, isolation from other people.

“We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.”
Dalai Lama    Leader of Tibetan Buddhists

Since isolation from others is not possible for most people (nor the path I have chosen,) my aim is to develop a strategy to minimize my negative moments, to carry a positive edge more often, and perhaps, to be able to raise the level of my averageness.
As I analyzed the multitude of sources of negativity, I realized that I will require some objective detachment.  Negativity is often very subtle, hiding itself in a day’s little complaints, simple minor screw-ups, casual topical discussions, unfortunate disagreements, those dang news reports, even those morning alarm clocks, for some.  This task to significantly reduce negative situations will certainly test my resolve.

“I am speaking of an act of will, a concrete desire to do battle against everything that is unsatisfying in everyday life.”
The Pilgrimage Paul Coelho



Do you dare read on?

6 Responses to “Chapter 4.2 The Lay of the Land”

  1. greencat3 Says:

    Love the metaphor of the Plateau…especially how easy it is to get pulled down by others, or sometimes just fall down yourself! It’s amazing to me how I can be in such a strong, positive, zen place one month, then three months later, something shifts and I’m at the bottom of the slope again. Why can’t I just stay up there? Would it still feel as good to be up there if we never fell? Sadly, I think not. And perhaps that’s what life is all about– falling, and getting back up, and working to get back up a little bit quicker each time.

  2. znic Says:

    Yes, we all go thru the ups and downs in life. It really comes down to how in tune you are with your own feelings. You know when you get angry, or get to complaining about something, you feel a tightness in your chest, or your brow is furled. These are just a few of the physical signs that all is not well with yourself. It is these times that one must talk to yourself, if alone and get yourself back to a more meaningful self. I try to find how I feel about situations, or what others say and how I feel about it. Does this make me angry, or disappointed, or happy and respond to how I feel first, before I respond to others. If you want to reside on the “plateau”, then you have to check on your feelings constantly and make adjustments every day to your situation. Your legacy in this world is the effect you have on others. And your own feelings is a great compass.

    • alpinerainn Says:

      I love this concept of our legacy being the effect we have on others. Perhaps this is why I fall off the plateau so often…when I reach for others on the path, I sometimes take a fall myself. This can be painful, tedious work sometimes…but always worth it! 🙂

  3. Pismo Painter Says:

    You always have a choice to make when facing any situation. It’s that choice that dictates whether your life is satisfying (internally at peace) or agonizing. But first, to make the right choice, one needs clearly defined principles.

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