Homebodies - Every minus is half of a plus


Rita Friesen
Neepawa Banner & Press

“Every minus is half of a plus, waiting for a stroke of vertical awareness.” Alan Cohen (author of 14 popular inspirational books, contributing writer for ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’, columnist and seminar leader on spiritual awakening and visionary living.) There are days when I need this simple reminder, every minus is half a plus. Sometimes I need it for myself and sometimes I need to share it with others. Most of us take a set back seriously. That’s okay as long as it challenges us to think further, and not crumple in defeat.

A negative comment can still take the wind out of my sails – if I allow it to. Which one of us has not come to a place where we see too many minus signs! Often they indicate change and most of us don’t like change.

It’s challenging to wait for that vertical awareness. Thinking above the circumstance? Waiting for Divine intervention? The phrase is rather open to the interpretation of the reader. Perhaps a bit of both. Reflecting on my life, there has been more than one time when a minus sign would have been a fait indicator of my place in the universe. Way back in childhood- leaning over a rail fence, the rail broke and I smashed my upper teeth against a sawn in half barrel of a water trough. The top four were pushed to the roof of my mouth, one broken in half. End result was years of dental work. What I remember most clearly was making the mold, trying to bite down on a mouthful of warm wax, waiting for it to solidify and then prying it out. And I have a quick gag reflex! But, as the children and grandchildren needed extensive dental work I could identify. It took a long time to note the vertical awareness.

It hasn’t always been easy raising a family, a blended family. It was a steep learning curve, requiring patience and diplomacy. Stepping into the role of mother for a teen and pre-teen, and needing them to accept and be accepted by two younger children. On-lookers would have graded the endeavor as a minus. But, the skills I learned in that era have stood me in very good stead. And the friendship I earned with the children are a wonderful plus.

This principle has applied to every aspect of my development. There are times even now, as I am older (not yet old!), that minus signs appear in my self- assessment. My search for vertical awareness comes in many forms. Sometimes stepping away from a situation clarifies the path to progress. Stepping away: reading a good book, or the Good Book, walking, losing myself in classical music, breathing, or spending time with a friend. Waiting rather than struggling works best for me.

The author concluded his reflection on the topic by encouraging us to take even the negative that gets thrown at us as raw material with which to grow. “ Even repulsive manure is good fertilizer when put in its proper place and recycled for the farmer’s purpose.”