How Do You Flip Your Attitude Switch?
by Diane Cretin
What do you do to flip your switch and improve your attitude?
Olivia and I went blueberry picking again on Saturday at Duckworth Family Farm in Sebastopol. The farm was so overrun with people two weeks ago that they started selling parking passes by hourly time slots to control the quantity of people on the farm at any one time. They take social distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing seriously.
I was able to get an 8 am time slot. I like to pick first thing as it is quite simply easier to pick lots of blueberries faster then. I generally pick for about an hour. Olivia was my picking buddy again. I thought all was well. But very shortly after we arrived the complaining started. "I'm tired." "I'm cold." (She had a sweatshirt on.) "My feet hurt." " I'm scared!" What? How can you be scared? "Spiders!"
There are always some spiders around on the blueberries. You just need to not pick certain bunches if you see webs. So Olivia just stood there - repeating some complaints. Then working around after a while to "I'm hot!" What?! I thought you were cold! And on it went.
I need to be honest and tell you that I was not the nicest. I told her that she made the choice to come. After a while I told her that she was ruining the experience for me. And I just kept picking. At one point I told her I was not going to buy her their homemade blueberry ice cream if she did not pick.
This was not my finest moment. I looked at some information later that day about how to improve your attitude and one thing listed was: Forgive the limitations of others. Ouch! On this particular morning my picking buddy simply had more limitations than normal. And I also realized then that she only came with me this time because she knows how much I like her to be with me when I pick.
By 9:15 I called it quits. As we went to pay, I decided to buy us both ice cream. Truthfully there is no way I would have enjoyed eating mine with Olivia sitting there with nothing. We were able to sit on a bench in the shade, cooling off and gazing out over the farm. Our attitudes started to improve.
I asked Olivia if she wanted to go see the sheep they had put in a pen under a tree. (The other sheep were free roaming.) She gave me an enthusiastic, "Yes!" We decided to put our 7 lbs. of blueberries and our sweatshirts in the car, then head over to see the sheep closer. This is when our attitudes started getting even better.
As we headed to the sheep pen, we saw a dragonfly. We love dragonflies! When we got to the sheep pen, a lovely lady who worked there started talking to Olivia about the sheep. She told her about the lanolin in the wool and other things.
Then the woman asked if we had seen the crawdads. Why no, we hadn't. She walked
us over to the pond and pointed out the best spot to look, then even pulled up their crawdad cage to give Olivia a closer look. Olivia was delighted! We could also see the tiny fish in the pond. We checked the second pond as well, but it was harder to see into the water because it was shaded.
Happy with our crawdad adventure, we headed to the car. But part way there we heard the sound of running hooves; the free roaming sheep were on the move! They streamed past us, heading to a shed. Olivia had a brief moment of panic as she loudly said, "Stampede!" I told her to stand still next to me and we would be perfectly safe. The sheep had no interest in getting too close to us.
With that adventure over, we again headed to my van which was parked near the shed. We peered into the shed as we passed to see the sheep, but did not enter since it is not ours. But then the lovely man who directed people to parking told us to go on in for a closer look. There was some interesting stuff in there, including a little carousel.
Then the man said some magical words, "We have 5 baby barn owls. If you are quiet you might see them in the rafters." We looked but could not find the owls. I love kids. Olivia told me, "Gram, I cannot see the owls so you won't be able to."
As we headed to the car one more time, the man asked if we had seen the owls. We said no. He said, "I see one now." Music to our ears! He calmly pointed out the owl that was at the far end of the shed in the outer section.
Homemade blueberry ice cream, sheep, dragonflies, crawdads, an owl, and nice people in a lovely setting - all of these things helped flip our attitude switch from bad to good.
I realize that our changing attitudes was also in part due to me switching from being task oriented to being more relationship oriented. I needed to not solely focus on picking blueberries; Olivia needed to know she was still my buddy. This reminded me of the book for which Pastor Emily is currently leading a study on Fridays at noon, "Survival Guide for the Soul : How to Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve". I know you can still join the group if you sign up before this Friday at noon.
I encourage you to take a moment and think about what helps you change your attitude from being negative to being positive. It is no fun to stay in a negative mindset - for you or those around you. When I am home, that frequently involves spending time in my garden. Spending quiet time with God and listening to calm music with my diffuser and salt lamp on also helps me. One other thing that invariably improves my attitude is when I process something that is bothering me with my best friend. I hope you are able to figure out what works best for you to flip your attitude switch from bad to good. The effort is so worth it.