There should be some basic rules for living and thinking. Like never letting a nasty thought or a painful one in the door? Like switching channels when something dysfunctional comes on the television, or turning off the t.v. when we see something ugly or painful that makes us FLINCH?

Why couldn't we switch channels when we are on a Sorrow Channel in our HEADS...or about to react to some 'perceived-as-impactful' sorrow and create something disharmonious with our mouth that multiplies it in our mind and in others' minds?

Why couldn't we use some magical switch, or remote control and not give in to that urge to knock someone off their feet with a harsh retort, weep, scream or throw a tantrum, or lose a few days to a major depression complete with binging?

The trick that I discovered is a few easy-to-master rules that aren't don'ts ---but which are do's. Like CHOOSING the best tickertape available to be let loose, wandering through your head. Yes,  THE habit of THINKING BEAUTIFUL THOUGHTS only -- rather than having your brain bouncing on the ground like a tin can tied to the tail of a galloping, wild horse.

As an example, Last nite, I dreamt that my ex Boyfriend of thirty years announced he was marrying the other woman, which he had done, but without announcing it to me....and I AWOKE in great pain. I was having the dream just at my waking time and in it this cutie said "I went to Vegas last night and married HER." He was wearing the sweater I'd given him. The dream tore me like a knife, opening old wounds as he'd married three other women over the more than thirty years that he dated me!

I WOKE in acute agony. I should have told myself, right away, 'hey Sands, you are so lucky he never married YOU. The truth is that if you'd have married him, --you baby machine,-- there'd be a lot MORE fatherless kids in your house and it wouldn't be the house where he was. Well I hear that thought and quickly I say to myself, "let's never go back to I woulda, coulda shoulda.  He was Trouble with a capital T, PERIOD!"  But I didn't get firm with my mental demons, not at first. No, I chose to let the dream brood and fester in me all day.

The WHOLE DAY  I stumbled around devastated, feeling so HURT. Mind you he's been dead TWO YEARS (don't worry, he was ninety when he went) and I was still reactive. I  joke and tell pals he died intestate as he didn't have the balls to leave me, the loyal girlfriend, a thing. I started to tell a pal only I started crying so I didn't. My brain had caught hold of my emotions now, and was dragging THEM over Razorblade Street, corner of ANGUISH avenue!

Meanwhile I'm puttering around my shabby rented home, no husband, an out of work writer, a jobless spinster of sixty. The ancient car I drive is dead. It needs a little gas filter put in, My grown son ignores anything anyone wants, me or his young wife, both. He has chosen to believe he's King in this house where he has contributed no rent in three years. KING JERK THE RIDICULOUS..It gets to be l0 pm and I have now spent an entire day, BLUE.  I am now involved with and bothered by how my SON is ignoring my simple request that he just pull out my old gas filter, stick in a new one, save me having to get a tow truck for my 23 year old Honda Civic to go to a mechanic. Instead I could drive it to the mechanic and have him tune it up. I explain that a TOW Truck is NOT going to be cheap. The  Son won't do it, won't throw in a little part that all boys and men know how to throw in there on top of the motor. My car is dead, won't move.Lying in bed is too important to him all day long. He has a head cold. No wonder. He and his wife eat in restaurants three times a day, have plenty of cash to do that, not having paid rent in the 3 yrs that they're here. His wife sweetly volunteers to hold the flash light if he'll go outside and install this. . He won't. But the problem is not that he won't do it, it's that after he says 'go screw yourself", I am mentally going over all these details "I have no car, my Boyfriend of thirty years a multi millionaire, died intestate, I am poor, etc," all to add to the razor blade drag I'm shredding myself with. I'm virtually beating myself with a mental whip! A litany of "Oh I got this bad kid, Oh he's so bad to me, etc."

So I went helplessly straight into an emotional breakdown. I go lie on the bed crying and find myself going back to the morning's pain of the dream and I'm having my unconscious FLOOD me with the pain of the ex BF, who also never did a thing for me in thirty long years. I can't stop it, it's worse than a mind overflowing, it's the toilet of the unconscious. BUT PRIMAL GURU ART JANOV tells us that a good cry totally cleans the psyche. READ THE POWER OF PRIMALING OUT YOUR GRIEF and learn to do it to yourself. Do it to others and charge 100$ an hour! (Combine it with rolfing massage and sad music! Boy, does that work!)  WHen I got to the bottom of my tears, I stopped and had a thought. I'm so lucky I didn't marry that snooty screenwriter guy. He destroyed all his women. And next, my son's poor wife, what she suffers with this kid of mine! And I laughed. I was high as a kite suddenly. Accidentally, I touched the mind-switch that gave me ONE POSITIVE EMOTION and do you know the entire choo-choo train of pain disappeared! (Well, frankly a crying fit is good for one thing. It releases a lot of pressure, and in the wake of a good crying fit, clarity does ASSAIL even the most petulant of minds!) There's something humbling about a good cry.

Only after I unloaded my personal me-centered universe grief could it occur to me that my daughter in law suffered worse than I did.  She deserved my utmost compassion! I, for one second, took a look at, or considered my poor ASHA -- how she's married to, trapped with and stuck with this coke sniffing, non-helpful putz of a kid, and what he did to MOM, he will probably one day do to HER unless the cops stop him in traffic, run a blood test and throw him in REHAB...(PS. since that date, this happened. He's cured and nice again.) .and how one day she will have to realize that King Jerk has some serious problems....and I am overcome with compassion and pity for her. That pity clears the air immediately. I seem to get a few feet over my paltry problems, poor, car-less, in a freeway city. All that flies away way below, and I'm considering this poor girl with compassion!

SUDDENLY I repeat to myself, being married to that horrid boyfriend of mine probably would have been worse than what my daughter in law goes thru and certainly worse than the pain of not nailing my sweetie which after all was just WHIM and EGO. And hey, in the intervening thirty years, I sure had to find a real life, and doing WEBSITES on SURVIVAL was a good choice. Admit it, Sands, at times you wanted to stick a knife in him. Marriage  would have been a daily in and out grind of rage, jealousy, feeling slighted, even worse than he caused when he was a perpetual dinner/nookie date. Marrige being a forever kind of thing. I AM SO LUCKY he married that other last girl instead of me.... THANK YOU GOD, I said.

I got off the bed. The entire depression had moved away. The panic at the non-working car was gone. Wow. A thought or memory of the dream of the morning returned.  I said "dream, stop hounding me! You're a joke." it fled. My ghosts fled.

I walked around the house and garden, noting I was happy. The stars were bright. The garden fragrant. Wow! So, from nervous break down to pity for another human, then gratitude to God, then the chutzpah to send my devils packing and then on with the business of  actually enjoying my pretty rented house. My garden is like a Balinese Jungle. People can't figure out how I took a huge empty front yard of a rented shack and a bigger back yard and did this in three years. I am an advertisement for PLANTING SEEDS FROM SUPER MARKET FRUIT, also a few bare root fruit trees from Home Depot and a lot of purloined cuttings. GARDEN INDEX TELLS MY CHEEPIE EZ NO WORK METHOD. Third year perennials grown from cuttings are magnificent lifetime friend plants! And soon I'm out in the yard with a bucket of compost, tucking bundles of fresh compost from my huge driveway strip, 30x6, where neighbors green trash cans are dumped, and taking this now fine humus soil and mounding it over thirsty little roots.

In one mini second, my depression left. It scurried out the door. Chased away by a single feeling of gratitude to my Maker for giving me perfect order. A genuine thought of GRATITUDE to GOD. What do they say, I used to weep because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet? Another relevant one: Better the devil we know than the devil we don't know. Meaning Single mother of Four & Spinsterism is waaay better than being married to a jerk. And what led me to that gratitude? A heart squeeze of compassion for a loved one who suffered, for another who suffered.

Each step toward heaven is an important one. To feel compassion for others. With love, concern, and make that prayer that they do not suffer what you have. Then to feel upwards into the unknown with reverence for the kind, benefic creator who really never gives us more load than we can tote. And what load he gives us, may be for a reason.

In our own way we each have to learn to say, remember to say, that how it IS --- is BETTER than what could have been and Thank you God, I'm grateful! That attitude of gratitude is the secret to moving a heavy depression off you. Or FEAR. Fear is just as bad. Read what Castaneda said about it "BEATING FEAR"

Archimedes, a great Greek mathematician, many thousands of years ago, said that we could lift anything heavy, even the planet Earth itself, if we could get a fixed FULCRUM to lay the iron bar across. The lever must rest on something. It's some physical principle related to very little pressure being req'd when a lever can rest on an object. The lever is the grateful thought and it rests on the feeling heart. The heart is the stable place. If we can get to our HEART, by seeing how someone else has it bad, by reaching out to them, caring, praying for them, --- if we can have a grateful thought and connect ourselves with joy, praise to the Supreme Creator, the Scenic Designer, the script writer of this Soap opera, then we can be restored to our power. And when we are in power, we can send devils scurrying from our own house. You don't have to watch bad t.v. If it's a dysfunctional soap opera where you live, you can change the dynamics by subtracting yourself from the pain machine, first of all. Then, when you move toward those children who drive you nuts, you do it with compassion, concern that somehow they see the karma of what they're doing. You do it with a quiet word, not an acid one. A word that is beaming love and forgiveness.

For me one thought of gratitude at HOW IT IS can wipe out all the PINING thoughts for how it wasn't! Or for the pain of NOT GETTING something, --- someone. Even the pain of being rejected so awfully and my sweetheart continually  favoring other younger prettier girls. I knew him 30 years and he married three other women and saw me between marriages during those 30 years. He wanted to see me during the marriage, but that much I didn't love him. He always told me my four children put him off. Hey, that was as close to a walking paper as one could get. I stayed around so I did that! I created that disaster. A cat will wait outside a mouse hole where there is no mouse for an hour. A human will wait thirty years. Deduce we're not as clever as a cat!

In the final analysis, I made that thirty year wait. He didn't deny me what I most wanted, I did. He didn't make me into nothing more than his spare tire. I did. He didn't use me for those times when there was no one else, I put myself there to be used..Those three decades of searing pain were brought back on me by the dream. one whiff and I was GRIPPED all day, all evening.

So, then, the third step. I forced my brain to look at the distaff argument, the other view. And see that I should be grateful I DID NOT END UP NEAR HIM. I was able to see a correlation, the object at hand, --- my poor daughter in law l9 years old, very religious, unable to get her husband, my son into her religion, stumbling around in my son's dumb universe. She lives here with me. She is possibly ashamed at his treatment of me. And maybe of his treatment of HER. He for some mysterious reason feels endlessly entitled. Poor little child. I had a surge of affection for my poor daughter in law. Love is able to blow sorrow right out of my heart. Compassion, love, gratitude are feelings that make a remote control channel changer exist in your hand.

The next morning, full of life, I called the "dream tow truck of all time", whom my mechanic Oscar recommended. Dovi the Israeli does nothing but tow. Freelance and cheap. 25$ for a tow, and my car was fixed by Oscar and I had Dov's card in my wallet for life. I can never go towless. What a gift.

So try the triple whammy approach next time you have a nightmare or wake in the morning, bowed under a black cloud. If we can learn to blow off black clouds, and teach it to everyone we know, maybe we can (as a planet), lose all the problems we have in society today. This oil lobby president! Their deliberate oil wars in the Middle East, the terrorism they deliberately let happen. The Emperor is naked as when Enron hit, we saw the Prexy's best buddies and contributors were gas and oil people. What a scandal. The possibility now actually exists that maybe we can send them all packing as this war is such a scandal. Its roots so pecuniary.

Though a lie walk a thousand miles, the truth will catch up with it. There is a wonderful Indian agronomist named Vandana Shiva who says that no matter what terminator seeds, and bankruptcy- engendering pesticides the corporations lay on the third world peasant, we shouldn't worry. Such enormous ecologic and economic disaster emerges from these non-sustainable agrarian practices that they self-destruct automatically and with horrid effects, like the wave of farmer suicides in India now. Vandana really does not have to preach against these practices. Their end is automatic, built into them.

Depression is somewhat like that. It is abnormal, mind created. It will self destruct, given the slightest chance.  If there is ever a feeling of hopelessness and we start to feel that we are trapped, we have no recourse, no 'out,' remember that this is just an illusion created by the Dark side of the universe.. We can beat that illusion by going beyond thought. There are many ways to do that. The ones we know about are yoga, positive diets, staying out of the mind with less caffeine, STAYING away from THINKING, being MENTAL,, emotional equanim thru auto suggestion, positive affirmations and oh yes psychdelic DRUGS but you couldn't stay stoned  so I'll let that one go. Remember, demons have short attention spans. This isn't like valve clatter where you have to redrill the cylinders and re-seat the heads. No, this  only lasts for minutes at a time.  Don't buy into the illusion that you are trapped in your habits, totally powerless --during this two week black square period. Let that fear response be poohpoohed by your HIGHER SELF so the demon gives up and flies off. Like the little pitchfork devil lightweight that this kind of thought is.  Inhale deeply, exhale deeper, say 'move away, diablito' so the devil moves, then move your thinking elsewhere. Don't wrestle as a worse trigger would be your own need to have POWER over these illusory threats. Put controlling the sitch on the mental back burner.   The bright side of depressing moment  is that you are going to see your own dirty underwear, get fear flashes from a buncha old unconscious devils, stinky burps from under the floorboards where the postponed rot was hiding, black pictures that come in a flash with a sick aroma all around it, instant heartpain. The bright side is that this whole procedure is GOOD as you get to look way within, identify some old, 'baby fears.' Take a quick mental photo of it, identify what's in THE FRIGHT NITE PICTURE  in just one second, then stick the photo away in your pocket, out of mind. Next dark moment the same. You're going to get wallets full of hopelessness pics. Just keep putting them away til your brain can't drive you loco anymore, runs out and STOPS SENDING the fright burps which will occur when the dark side sees that you cannot be disturbed, that you are invincible in the face of persecution.
Tell those diabllitos as much You handle the remote control that snaps off the picture So pick up that remote control that has a handful of easy-to-master buttons on it: Compassion for others in this same situation. The resulting love and concern that you will suddenly feel for these others which will motivate you to go and to teach others not to go that way. You want to teach them to love themselves more than that. Next, Gratitude that you are where you are now and survived that episode. Realization that all that horror was self chosen, self-instigated and last, a Vow to never do that to yourself again!

WE CREATE UNIVERSES WITH OUR WORDS, MINDS AND THOUGHTS, just as we do with OUR HANDS. BE ATTENTIVE to what you DO OR THINK OR SAY when you're least paying attention. Learn to CREATE!

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