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Positive Thoughts

Our columnist shares random humorous nuggets about living in the here and now.

by Fran LoBiondo

Fran LoBiondoThis morning we woke to a dusting of snow that fell overnight. It was not enough to cover the roads and it melted before noon, but still it was enough to spook me. My son, who is autistic, calls it “Winter Flowers, although I’m pretty sure he hates it as much as I do.

Today his bus arrived on time, and off he went with a smile.

There have been mornings, though, when his program cancelled all transportation. They remained open, and the staff was there, but if I wanted him to attend, I’d have to drive him all the way from our home in East Vineland to the program site in North Vineland and arrive late. This causes an intolerable rift in Greg’s morning routine, not to mention dropping a huge stinkbomb into mine.

Because of the time of morning, it’s rush hour for school buses, too, so no matter which way I drive across town, I cannot find a shorter route.

I am now leaving The Whining Zone in order not to bore you.

Recently, I read a quote from Confucius, a scholar, philosopher, teacher and writer who lived two and a half millennia ago, and still inspires people today. Confucius said, “Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof when your own doorstep is unclean.”

Today we say, “Sweep off your own front porch.” This quote came from Dale Carnegie’s book How To Win Friends and Influence People.

And while we’re talking about self- improvement, here’s a little nugget from Charles Schwab, the first U.S. millionaire, president of U.S. Steel, then Bethlehem Steel: “There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticism from superiors. I never criticize anyone. I believe in giving a person incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault.If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.”

I’m pretty sure I know a few people who might like to stick those words of wisdom on the boss’s computer screen. It just might change the whole atmosphere at work.

It could happen.

So far I have been sentenced to advertisements of Sales! Sales! Sales! In the paper, on television, on the internet, and in the malls.

Black Friday, Thanksgiving Monday – Buy a car! Buy a puppy!

Buy a facelift! Buy a stationary bicycle and pedal your brains out while your loved ones sleep!

There’s been such a push for exercise bikes and watches to gauge your progress that I anticipate the internet will explode sometime around June with used Pelotons—the “It” gift for slim, sweaty millennials who got one for Christmas and said, ooh! But who cannot now face another early morning or late night spinning in front of a wide window with the snow falling gently outside and going nowhere.

Whatever happened to diamonds? So easy. Your loved one goes to a store and makes a purchase and presents it to you for Christmas or Hanukkah, and you say oooh! and put it on, kiss your gallant and that’s it. There’s no guilt if you don’t log 50 miles a day on your bike. Pain free, right? That’s why they’re A Girl’s Best Friend.

Where are the Nordic Trax and Bowflexes of yore? Gone to yard sales every one. When will we ever learn? Oh, when will we ever learn?

When I see what Big Advertising is doing to make me and my kids Buy! Buy! Buy! I want to take us all to a bomb shelter and not come out until Groundhog Day, February second. Of course, that’s prime advertising season for Lincoln’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Washington’s Birthday and Ash Wednesday. We may even be convinced to buy an all-parks family vacation to Disney.

Just kidding. I hate that place.

One more quote by one of today’s positive thinkers, spiritual writer Eckhart Tolle: “Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now. And that’s a revelation for some people. To realize that your life is only ever now.”

I was given Tolle’s book, The Power of Now, a few years ago, and his ideas about not looking ahead or back intrigued me.

But I lost that book one day when I was not present in the now.

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