Wednesday, August 19, 2009

7 Years Later: How to let go of negative thoughts


Hi friends,

Well, today is the day. The "deathiversary," as I've coined it, even though I'm still trying to think of a more positive word. August 19, 2009: 7 years since Sally passed away.

When I woke up this morning that was my first thought: 7 years. And then I thought of the curse we taunt as children: Break a mirror, 7 years of bad luck. I endured my 7 years, not necessarily of bad luck, but of longing and missing and wishing for impossibilities -- similar to the characters in The Lovely Bones. Now, today, 7 years later, I want to be rid of it. I don't know if you can get rid of grief entirely, but I'd at least like to exchange the bad luck grief for the good luck grief.

So I'm doing things differently today. For the first time in 7 years, I'm going to work instead of taking the day off. I know some of you had different ideas of what I should do today, but this seemed like the right idea. I'm not giving up the tradition of going to the cemetery with my family entirely. We just plan to go on Sunday instead.

I also tried to treat the month of August differently this year. In the past, I've let the whole month be sabotaged by this date. I've relived every second of her last summer. I've despised August. On August 1st of this year, I woke up in Chicago feeling full of dread. I went for a run and decided mid-run that I was in control of August. I could choose to have a good month and focus on the positive. And most days this month, I didn't even have to remind myself to be happy. It just happened because I had established a new mindset.

Focusing on the positive can be difficult. A few weeks ago, I saw the first cockroach in my new apartment, and after that I put on my "Bardach Surveillance Camera" and scanned the apartment for more. Soon I realized I was dreading coming home, even though I had been so happy here with Mark until then. So lately, every time I think of the cockroach, I immediately think of something positive to counter it, like how much I love all our plants that hang in our sun-filled windows. Similarly, today I don't want to think about all the negative. I just want to remember Sally as someone I really loved talking to, the best conversationalist you could get on the phone, the wisest words echoing out of this little 5-foot woman.

Mom, today I let go of the negativity. I let go, I let go, I let go.

What do you do on the "deathiversary" of someone you loved? And can you PLEASE help me think of a better name!

Love,
Marisa

10 comments:

  1. Love you friend. Let's keep thinking positive thoughts together!

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  2. Marisa,

    Nice blog, I am thinking of you today....!

    I think your plans are great, luv....!!!

    ashley :)

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  3. Thinking of you today and sending love and positive thoughts your way. xo
    -Joanne

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  4. Wonderful post Marisa. You have such a way with words. My thoughts are with you and your fam today. Be happy and mazel on your first of many cockroaches in your apt!

    Dara R.

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  5. Dear Marisa: Every year there will be another anniversary on August 19th. Yes, it's very sad. But, let's try to dwell on the good memories we have of Sally...her constant great wit, our shopping trips where she'd talk to and even make friends with strangers, our family vacations out west, and her overall wonderful zest for life.
    All we need to do is to look at our kayaking photos fron Utah to remind us of those good times. Great memories forever!

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  6. Well Marisa first let me tell you, you really have an amazing way with words. Today is my parents wedding anniversary and even though my dad died in December today is also very sad for myself, my mom and the rest of my family. We went to breakfast this morning because that is something my father loved to do. But thank you for writing and sharing your feelings because I know I am not alone with the way I am feeling around these anniversary. I am happy that you are going to be staying positive and that has given me a whole new look. Stop thinking about the negative. Thank you!

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  7. What your Dad wrote was wonderful. I am remembering the giggle/laugh Sally did while talking! and that smile....amazing

    Angela

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  8. Marissa, I found you when you guest blog on "Life with Cancer" and I always come back to read your post, and occasionally comment. I agree with your Dad...my mom's anniversary was on Aug 21st (5 yrs) and I try to think of the great memories I will have forever. Wow! I can relate how the months of June - Aug 21st are a bit of a downer for me. June is when she was went in the hospital through her passing (of pancreatic cancer too) Best of luck with your job as a professor. XX Glenda

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  9. A valuable post on positive thinking

    Thanks,
    Karim - Positive thinking

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  10. The Power of Positive Thought.

    A positive frame of mind is important for so many reasons. Positive thinking is proven to enhance performance in productivity and quality. We tend to think more creatively and perform better when we are feeling positive and well. When you are on top form, your confidence levels will go through the roof and this can only help you in your work and personal life. If you can sustain yourself with regular challenges and honest self appraisal, the benefits are enormous.
    Fear induces us to put the brakes on; to stop thinking in a productive way. Fear of poverty, of losing face, of being proved wrong hold us back from taking part in active decision making. As our judgement becomes clouded with negative thinking, we become timid in the face of adversity. Opportunity becomes redefined as an impossible challenge and we end up standing still whilst the rest of the world passes us by. Negative emotions are emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety, jealousy regret, sadness. These emotions are capable of not only having a powerful, unwanted effect on you physically, but also of having a significant impact the way you conduct your life. Negative emotions can engrain habits of limiting decision making.


    One of the benefits of personal development is that it can encourage all the healthy parts of you to grow and the less savoury parts to whither on the vine. It can improve our general well being and make us more harmonious inside. All of our emotional processes, attitudes, values, our beliefs and motivations are interconnected.

    If life was easy then we would have nothing to be motivated for. That is why by bringing in other challenges and goals - be it learning another language or taking up a new creative hobby – you can develop a highly disciplined mind that will assist you in many other areas of life. Maintaining confidence and motivation is the secret to long term success. However, long term success is achieved from short term goals! What this means is through setting smaller goals and then rewarding yourself for achieving them on a regular basis.

    Thinking well is being well. There are only a minority of people who achieve success without having any belief in them self or in what they are doing. Be proud of the positive steps you have decided to take in asserting control over your life

    Think well of yourself. Change negative self-talk to positive self-encouragement. Give yourself the same consideration you would give a cherished friend. Learn to become your own cheer leader instead of your own worst critic. Once you have banished these negative thoughts, you should turn your attention towards coming up with an action plan. This plan will form the bedrock of your positive state of mind. You can take this even further by putting reward days into the planner to act as an extra bit of motivation. By breaking your routine down into a series of short term goals you will have more fun and experience a greater sense of accomplishment along the way. Of course this will only work if you are honest and open with yourself. Your journal should never lie otherwise you are only telling lies to yourself and defeating the object of your goal.

    Your plan should be customised according to your own personal set of requirements and informed judgement. The effects of this are that you will be proving to yourself that you can take control of your own destiny. With a clear structure in place, you will never lose focus of the task in hand. This will help to avoid the feelings of helplessness and submissiveness that can happen to people who feel like they are not in control of a situation.

    Andrew James offers a no cost video showing you step-by-step how to overcome negative thinking patterns. please visit
    www.stopthenegativewaves.com

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