The Cactus Conundrum

“Just because life hands you a cactus, doesn’t mean you have to sit on it.”

If you have seen the movie ‘Inside Out,’ (which if you haven’t, you should!) there is a character named sadness who, *spoiler alert* is sad. She accidentally touches happy memories and makes the mind remember them as being sad. Our brain is very powerful, but one if its downfalls, I believe, is that it has the power to change memories. This is why eyewitnesses of crimes can be unreliable, I can ask you what color hat the robber was wearing and your brain will fill in the blanks and choose a color, but the robber may not have even been wearing a hat at all (that was a test done on ‘Brain Games’ the tv show). It’s a little disturbing to think about since we rely on eyewitnesses a lot, but there is a positive to this ‘flaw.’

How many of us love our families? Most of us answer that positively, but how many times have you fought with your siblings? Did they ever get you in trouble with your parents? How many times were you grounded? We could focus on all of the negative, but we choose to look at all of the good times and choose to forget the bad. Here’s an example, one of my best friends moved away when I was young but every year we went to camp together. Every year we would always compete and fight, but by the next year, I would have completely forgotten and only remember all the fun we had. I chose to find the good and it kept our friendship going.

If you haven’t noticed by this point, I keep saying ‘choose or chose,’ and it is on purpose. But the fact is, we have a choice every day. Life is going to throw different things at us that we aren’t prepared for, but it’s what we do with them that defines who we are or who we want to be. Every day, every action is a choice and WE get to CHOOSE the direction we are going. And we should choose joy! Sure, some of you may be struggling with anxiety and depression (I get it–read my blog about fear) but we still have a choice. Yeah, some days may feel like the toughest battle to just get out of bed, but you have the choice to move forward and try.

Sometimes you need to fake it till you make it. If you struggle to find the joy and the things in life to be thankful for, then make a blessing journal. I have a little notebook that I try to write in every day, each day I fill one page of all of the blessings in my life. Now it’s not a large page, it is quite small and sometimes my page is overflowing with all the things I see as blessings. But, other days when I feel my depression lurking I FORCE myself to fill out the whole page, yeah my handwriting might be an inch tall that day and I only write three things. But, I had three things to be thankful for and that lifts me up and keeps me going. Life may give me a cactus but I sure as heck don’t want to sit on it. Cacti don’t really even need water so put that baby aside and choose joy. You can find joy in anything you do, as long as you look hard enough. So, grab your magnifying glass and let’s get this week going!


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