A Christmas Carol

My all-time favorite Christmas movie is “A Christmas Carol,” with Scrooge played by the incomparable Alastair Sim. It was filmed in black and white in 1951, and it remains in my opinion the finest version of this classic Dickens tale.

The message I always carry away from it is that redemption is available to us all. It is possible to transcend our weaknesses, fears, worries and doubts; we all have the choice to decide to be our own better angels.

Being positive takes practice, but it can be done. What’s the first thing to come to mind when nothing seems to work out the way you planned? Is it “Oh, NO! Everything always happens to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” or is it “Well, this will set things back a little, but I can work with it.”

Being positive is a choice. We really can choose our moods, not let them choose us. After years of being moody, rude and sarcastic (well, I haven’t quite stopped being snarky from time to time), I realized that I was deliberately pushing people away and I certainly didn’t feel any better.

Again I will refer to the amazing *Noreen McDonald and her life-changing classes. In taking her Positive Thinking class, everything changed for me. I found out that I can actually choose to be positive, not always slip into negativity. I am slowly learning to find the lesson in whatever major or minor disaster that has caused me to get my knickers in a twist.

It can be as simple as this: when someone cuts me off in traffic, scaring me into near incontinence, I can choose to be glad that nothing happened. A thoughtless and dangerous action caused by someone whose mind was elsewhere did NOT cause damage to me or my vehicle. I have to concentrate on gratitude. To further clear out any negative emotions on my part, I also say out loud, “That was dumb and dangerous. Don’t do it again.” Then I thank God and all the angels that nothing worse happened.

I also find that deep breathing helps clear my mind and de-stress my body. As I said, it takes practice, but changing our attitudes really does help. When something negative happens, more and more you can go to that place in your mind that says, “Whoa! You don’t need to ruin your day over this. Calm down, be grateful, and go on with your day.”

Nine times out of ten, the person who ticked me off in the first place did not pick me out personally to torment. It is rarely personal. We can’t know what is going on in another person’s head, nor can we know what has happened to that person to distract them. After losing my mother a week ago, I have noticed that I am forgetful, subject to sudden laughter or tears, and that I can’t always keep my thoughts in order. What has happened to me has happened to hundreds of thousands of people; we just never know who is suffering, angry, scared or worried.

This isn’t to say that I have overcome anger and snarkiness forever–far from it. I just have to keep reminding myself that I do have a choice.

Some of my favorite quotes from “A Christmas Carol” are these:

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
“No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused.”
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, every one!”
Merry Christmas, everyone!

*Check out her classes at www.noreenmcdonald.com.

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