Tuesday, December 8, 2009

On the spectrum of positive-negative

I was talking with a friend at work today who is going through a tough time. Heart-wrenching stuff that makes you remember you are alive because the pain is so bad. Earlier this morning I read something in a book I skim every now and then about "negativity". The author's premise was that it is only humans who actually feel and sometimes dwell on the negative. Other living beings just "are". He asserts that negativity is totally unnatural, and no other life form knows it. It's a psychic pollutant. Ever see an unhappy flower? Or a stressed out oak tree? What about a stressed or depressed dog? Maybe in the moment, but I think the author was right - in no other being does it last beyond the immediate situation. It's really just we inferior humans with this developed capacity to dwell on the past, obsess about the future, second guess our decisions, and just generally live anywhere but the present.

This makes me think of my dogs, and their view on the world. One of them has an irritated ear at the moment (Olivia). I needed to treat it with some stuff to help it heal. She's smart enough to know that when I picked up the squeeze bottle containing the medicine and then a paper towel, and called her to come to me, it couldn't be good. But, she came anyway. Sure, a little more slowly, and with her tail at half mast. Once the treatment was complete, she shook her head, looked up at me, and twirled in her characteristic circles that mean some version of "I love you and am really glad I'm yours!".

Two minutes later, in her little world it was all over, and she went back to her happy self, no feeling sorry for herself, or holding a grudge. Just being. Another simple lesson from these four-legged creatures we share the planet with. And another reminder that some of the things that come with being evolved humans may not be so evolved at all. If negativity is unnatural, then I vote for the back to nature approach. Life in this environment and economy is tough enough without piling any more on.