Positive versus Negative ...

There can be a lot of negative gossip in a village.  Endless recanting of who said or did what to whom.  The effect of simply being in earshot of all that negativity seems to affect me on an almost cellular level.  It is hard for me to imagine what effect it is having on my wife, but it worries me.

I was reminded of all this on a drive to town the other day.  The sister had asked to come along so she could do some shopping at BigC.  For nearly the entire trip to town my senses were bombarded by an endless torrent of radioactive emotional fallout from the sister.  Even though I refuse to speak Northern Thai my passive understanding of it is progressing, whether I like it or not.  As I noticed my own stress levels increasing and the beginning of a headache setting in, I told my wife that I was uncertain of my ability to withstand an entire day of this.

I noticed that she was subtly modifying her own tone of voice in her responses and acknowledgements of what her sister was saying.  It didn’t seem to have much of a calming effect, however.  There seemed to be little for it but to hope the rage would burn itself out with time.  We arrived in town before that happened and I headed immediately for the recuperative solace of my favorite cappuccino.  The rest of the day went well as there seemed to be plenty of activities to keep them busy and I managed to recuperate. 

Lest you think that I am indulging in the same kind of negativity, I’ll make an effort to get to the point.  We recently completed our fourth structure on our property, a Thai kitchen.  We have yet to start work on the inside of the actual kitchen area but my wife is enthusiastically at work beautifying the outside with potted and hanging plants.  We had begun to run out of shaded areas for orchids and the like.

As we have had more success with our own plants and our garden has matured, we now have adequate cuttings and new plantings to share with others.  It has turned into a very positive undertaking, with family and neighbors trading plants and even venturing off into the forest to gather new varieties.  Surely some will think this unwise, but given the rate at which the forests around here are being degrade and burned, it might not be a bad idea to gather some interesting plants before they no longer exist in this area.

The modern notion of exercise is still lost on the village populace but they will venture into the forest for food or monetary gain.  People get lots of exercise during the mushroom season, for example.  I am glad they have taken such an interest in their plants.  It is so nice, and I think important, to have fun and interesting activities that don’t include talk of money or malicious gossip. 

For your own edification, try watching yourself and others for a day.  How much of what is said is positive as opposed to negative?  I enjoyed this or really liked that, instead of I hate this person or that thing.  You might be surprised at the results.  Looking at the bright side really can brighten ones life.  Think about the people you like and admire the most.  What kind of attitude do they have?  I had best quit before I get too preachy.