429 Anti-Inflammatory Flames of Good

C. Coimbra photo

C. Coimbra photo

I took my first anti-inflammatory step into the fire of peace—or the search thereof—twenty months ago.[1] As of today, I am 429 steps deeper into my quest.

What has changed?  I let my hair show its natural color-gray;  I haven’t lost weight; I eat less meat, but maintain a fondness of good wines;  and I still cuss.  And, oh, yes, I discovered no peace in the writing of the greatest book of all times—my memoir.

Again, I missed a listing in “Top 10 Success Stories” in 2011.  But that was never my goal. My goal was and is to navigate my way through the less than charming political rhetoric, upside down views of religious beliefs, and philosophical greed.  No, I’m not an Occupy person—mainly because I don’t have enough energy or time to occupy much more than I already do.

“What do you occupy?” one might ask.

My bullet point reply:

  • Computer time researching/editing/writing/posting  429 stories for The Daily Prism
  • Volunteering
  •  Computer time researching/editing/writing/posting over 100 stories for Neptune 911
  • Volunteering
  • Internal research for crafting memoir
  • Volunteering
  • Finding relevant material for this blog
  • Volunteering
  • Piano practice, preparing healthy meals with a stringent budget, pulling weeds and planting seeds, walking, and thinking.

Between each bullet point pencil in: partnership with spouse, mothering, friendships and accommodating my cat’s demands.

I’m occupied.

“Then what are those 429 steps?” one continues questioning.

It’s the 429 points of evidence that there is more good in our world than what our broadcasters, news media, and pontificates would have us believe.  I took the first 215 steps on Facebook and Vibrant Nation posting the good things that everyday people do.  It was a bit laborious to count each post, so on January 3, 2011, I started The Daily Prism.  I’ve managed 264 posts (steps) since then.

It’s not a unique concept and I’m not the first to create such a blog.  In fact, I resourced like-blogs for my first 200 steps.  Slowly the doors opened and a flood of new resources landed in my search tool that linked one good to another.

This floodgate of what I now call “sparks of light from the prism” amaze me.  It is everywhere. I find good deeds in my newspaper’s letters to the editor, on Facebook, in books I’m given, and from random discoveries.   A heightened awareness of good seems to foster more good.  It also spins my Irish temper into an Irish toast.  What would once have given me cause to jump all over some nincompoop now coerce me into smiles and humor.

It’s weird.  For instance, over the New Year’s weekend, my part-time neighbors arrived, bringing their dog and another dog that created an unholy nuisance of barking each time my neighbors left the house.  The high-pitched yelp of the canine duo endlessly echoed throughout our quiet neighborhood.  Yes, I wanted to scream but I was short on energy and directed what I had on watching football.  Suddenly, spouse and I heard someone yelling for us from our driveway.  Spouse peered through the window. A woman, absolutely filled with rage, screamed at him because our neighbor’s dogs were barking. (At her antics, the dogs went into hyper-speed yaps that surely surpassed 100 decibels.)  Spouse tried to explain that there was nothing he could do, but she would not have it.  Fortunate for her, spouse’s team was on the verge of a much-needed touchdown. He shrugged his shoulders toward her and rushed back to the television to watch a six-point score.

Yesterday morning my neighbor came over with a most wonderful bottle of local wine.  “I’m really sorry about the dogs. We had no idea they were out of control,” he confessed as he handed the wine to spouse.  He asked if we knew who left a nasty note on his front door.  Spouse recounted the screaming woman story and said that  he had no idea who she was—but if that bit of ugly garnered a wonderful red wine in hand, apologies accepted.

Moral: Yelping pooches create unreasonable angry woman, we maintain peace and are gifted with us a tasty bottle of wine for dinner.  It’s all good.

Okay, this is a silly example of good begetting peace begetting good, but it did, nevertheless.

This small event represents a multitude of moments where I (and spouse) have reached for the flames of anti-inflammatory behavior with positive results.

My head is not buried in unspeakable places. I remain informed and read. (There is an apparent dearth of news-junky methadone available.) I don’t like some of what I learn.  But I’ve discovered that it is very temporary.

This stroll along Anti-Inflammatory Avenue has also introduced me to some remarkable other avenue strollers, like this brief encounter I posted last May on The Daily Prism:

Yesterday I stood in gale force winds that pierced right through the visitors to Piedras Blancas Bluffs near San Simeon, Ca.–most dressed for summer beach weather.  A tiny, older woman flew from her car amazed at the sight of hundreds of northern elephant seals resting on the beach. She was as joyous as a child on Christmas morning.  I called her to come closer to the seals and that I’d explain the view.  Her husband, also demure, braced himself from the winds.  Her English was okay, her husband spoke none.  She translated my information for him. 

 Suddenly she broke away and dashed to a nearby young couple, not dressed for the weather, struggling to keep their baby from the winds and trying to get a photo of the three of them. 

“Here, I take your photo,” she said smiling as the wind nearly blew her away. She was irresistible and they handed her their camera.  “Stand there, okay. I see you now,” she said looking through the camera’s screen. “Good photo! You enjoy,” she said returning their camera with a smile bigger than the rest of her.

We went back to talking about seals.  “This is good,” she said.  Her husband, I assumed, said, “Can we get out of this wind now?”

She turned around and gave me a warm hug thanking me.  A buzz shot through my body and I knew I had just encountered one of those special souls who spread light where ever they go.

[1] On May 20, 2010 I was near personal implosion from the BP oil disaster and other such unmindful errors and misbehavior by the powerful.  That same day the Dalai Lama spoke of temporary and man-made mischievous deeds, and that the world is better.  Suddenly my over-heated heart cooled as if a gentle white cloud encompassed me and removed my inflamed discomfort.

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