Enough with those negative ways, Moriarity. – Kelley’s Heroes
Moriarity was the driver and mechanic for the rogue American tank, who kept complaining about the condition of the tank and the impossibility of their mission in the wonderfully funny movie, Kelley’s Heroes. The tank commander, Oddball, played magnificently by Donald Sutherland, would admonish Moriarity when he would complain with the quote above or another one, “There you go again with those negative waves.”
Last week, as Tom and I took one of our beach walks our conversation turned to the Sufi belief that what attitude, what emotions, what feelings, one puts out, is returned in kind. In other words, if you put out “negative waves” one should expect “negativity” in return. Tom talked about practicing putting out positive emotions even when events are negative in order to attract positive results in return. I of course put out “negative waves” by commenting on the laws of nature that opposites attract, and like polarizations of magnets repel each other. Tom talked more about the Sufi belief that people conveying positive feelings attract others who want to be positive, and that people who complain about their life only attract similar complainers. Tom says part of his meditative work includes practicing seeing the positive in a negative situation, and staying upbeat when events take a downward turn. Tom suggested I think about how successful people attract each other, and if we wish to be successful.
I witnessed Tom put this attitude in practice when he tried to return to his conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was met with flight cancellations and an airline that suggested they could get him there in “two weeks.” See Tom’s recounting of the events in an e-mail:
“By the way, as Casey mentioned to Suzy on the phone, our flight out of Charleston was cancelled, and it took 2 hours to find a way to get to Halifax… at first they were telling us it would be 2 weeks before they could get us to Halifax…we were beginning to explore how to get to Portland, ME and then drive to Nova Scotia…but we held on to our love and patience throughout, and really appreciated their efforts…. eventually, they found an answer, getting us to Philly that evening, and then to Halifax the next day”
I can’t say I would have held on to “our love and patience” in quite the same way. However, from our walks and discussions I did gain a reaffirmation of what I have known for a long time – to attract love, give love. “Enough of those negative waves, Webb Hubbell.”
In keeping with our Lenten Preparation I am republishing Last Year’s preparation meditation and The Book Of Common Prayer’s invitation:
The best way to be hopeful is to do hopeful things. – Daniel Berrigan
Luis reminds us on the eve of Lent that our Prayer Book invites us to observe Lent by entering into a process of “self-examination and repentance; prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” (BCP, pg. 265).
This spiritual tradition requires a daily discipline. For me that means taking a certain amount of time to sit and welcome God’s love and allow God to disarm me and heal me of my self-destructiveness. The more I do this, the more I remember that I am loved by God, just as every human being is loved. This daily discipline makes it easier to work on God’s work and know that the outcome is in God’s hands. Whenever I feel like I am in charge, like this is my work, I fall into despair and need to start afresh.
If through self-examination I can identify God’s work and begin to pursue it, I will be strengthened and renewed. The observation of Lent will be well worth it, because I will be “hopeful” once again.
January 28, 2010