23 September 2012

GET! OUT! Stupid birds.


There's a Chinese proverb that says

"You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair."

I love that proverb.  But I'm no good at it.  I've got nests all over the place.

Pete told me that when he was twelve his Sunday school teacher did an object lesson using a toilet paper roll, some black cotton balls and some white cotton balls.  He filled the roll with black cotton balls,

"These are bad thoughts in your brain."  He dumped them all out, but pointed out that in the empty space they easily found their way back in.  So gradually he started shoving white cotton balls into the toilet paper roll, and Lo! Behold! The black ones popped out, one by one. 

I've been thinking about what to do with the negative thoughts that are floating in my head.

Jealousy, resentment, judgment.  I don't want them there.  They drag me down.  The trouble is, in the moment that the birds of sorrow are gathering twigs, I don't have the energy to fight them.  I make a few weak efforts to conjure up some positive images or find gratitude, but it's half-hearted. 

For example: Today on Facebook (yes, I'm STILL on FB), one my friends posted a picture of Honey Boo Boo with her mother, and some other ridiculously dressed pageant obsessed women and their own victims of vain obsession daughters.  My friend's caption said "Love me some Honey Boo Boo!"

What?! I never thought  R----  would be the type to be into that warped world of veneers and fake tans on toddlers?  I mean seriously people! Honey Boo Boo represents everything that is wrong with our society. Worth based on beauty, sexualizing young girls, etc, etc.  I need to comment, I need to point out the error of R---'s thinking.  Where is my soapbox, I need it NOW. 

Meanwhile conflict takes over my entire being, I get agitated and annoyed, I've lost all peace and kindness.  The birds are laying eggs already. 

Later today... I'm cooking dinner and Pete comes in and playfully sticks his hand between my legs. 

What?! He is so horny.  He is always so horny.  Does he think I'm going to take my clothes off right here?  I'm busy.  His timing is terrible, I would rather he just cut that onion.

My body language is icy cold and he withdraws, hurt and rejected.  A giant wall has instantly gone up between us. 

I think what I need is some stand-by positive thoughts.  Some easy to retrieve, "go-to" catch phrases to be the equivalent of my white cotton balls.  That's going to be my project this week.  A creed.  Or more like, 5 Creeds. 

#1- Positive thoughts to combat the birds of comparison.  Thoughts on worth.
#2- Positive thoughts to overcome judgment.  Charitable thoughts.
#3- Affectionate thoughts about Pete. 
#4- Positive thoughts to ward off jealousy, thoughts of gratitude.
#5- Positive thoughts to squash pride.  Thoughts on humility.


  1. I love this Jane! I am with you...I need to get rid of the bird nests in my hair.

    I started a postive thoughts journal a few years ago and I continue to add to it when I need upliftment.

    Here are some I am passing on to you:

    #1. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13

    #2."The storms will still beat at our doors from time to time, for they are an inescapable part of our existence in mortality. We, however, will be far better equipped to deal with them. to learn from them, and to overcome them if we have the gospel at our core and the love of the Savior in our hearts."--Thomas S. Monson, "Stand in Holy Places," 0ct. 2011

    #3. "Humbel yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up."-- James 4:10

    #4. "For God hath not given us [me] the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

    #5.I can recieve the miracles of sufficient strength to endure my trials by simply repeating endlessly these words, "I know that my Redemeer lives."--From Henry B. Eyrings talk "Mountains to Climb," May 2012

    Hope these help!! They sure have me and numerous others.

    Remember your better than you think you are!

    Hugs and Prayers!

    Love, Sparrow

  2. Great analogy! Thank you for the laugh about how you'd rather have Pete up up onion. I know it wasn't meant that way, but these days it's things those kind of things that bring a crack of a smile on my face. Thanks for the continued reminder of how we can always do better ! This post made me once again think of Hilary Weeks talk at TOFW about the power of thoughts ! Better go get my clicker so I can focus on the good & not the insanity all around me. Like amazing women like you in my life!

  3. I love this! I totally agree! I always feel like your posts are so insightful! I really like that you decided to recite 5 creeds in your head before you jump in to a situation with your soap box, or judge or whatnot.

    I felt like I needed some similar calm ground in my life as well before I reacted to a situation. Mostly my reactions come when someone does something that I find hurtful or irritating, and I want to react in pain. But I don't think that's particularly healthy either. So I decided to memorize a quote and I have to recite it to myself every time someone does something that spurs and emotional response in me. So I say it in my head, breathing deeply, and then when it's done, I usually feel calm and positive. And if I still don't, then I leave the situation before I react.

    I really like this post though because it shows me that we are all trying to figure out ways to get the birds nests out of our hair. We are all on the same path of trying to be better and improve our own character flaws.

    Thank you Jane. You are always so insightful!