Filtering Attitudes

We had an unfortunate event happen over the long July 4th weekend.  Our pool filter decided to slow and eventually completely stop working.  We called a company specializing in cleaning filtration systems but found they had such a backlog we were at least a week away from help.  The timing could not have been worse:  we had two major dust storms and several days with temperatures over 110.  In no time at all we became the proud owners of a swamp.  A green-algae, dirt-at-the-bottom swamp.

We had just taken over the maintenance of our pool after firing our pool guy for doing a less than stellar job.  We determined, as the filtration system slowed, that back-washing the system and cleaning the DE (diatomaceous earth) filter had been completely neglected. Knowing we were still several days away from professional help, I spent an evening on YouTube researching “My pool is green, what do I do?” I learned just enough to be dangerous.  I mean, it looked so easy!  While Andy was a work, my son-in-law helped my break down the system and clean out the filter.  It was so full of sludge I was amazed it had worked at all.  Whatever I had seen on YouTube was magnified by ten.  It was absolutely awful!!

We cleaned out the filter and put it back together but the system still didn’t have enough oomph to run the pop-ups.  And then the poor motor let me know our attempts were too little too late by completely giving up the ghost.  Sigh.  Clearly a clear pool was not in our immediate future.  And getting there was not going to be easy.

I started thinking about this whole thing metaphorically.  If my outlook is like a pool, a continual filtration of positive thinking and gratitude is necessary to keep my thoughts clear.  In my case, it takes effort.  It’s easy for me to get down on myself or be jealous of others.  My blog isn’t growing like so-and-so, I have a ton of tax returns I’ll never finish by the deadline, I’m not meeting my fitness goals, blah, blah, blah. I set expectations I don’t meet, then beat myself up about it.  Such a completely useless waste of energy, but it happens.  My focus becomes as murky as my poor, green pool.

That isn’t the only area where my attitude needs filtration.  Have you listened to the news lately?  It seems we are becoming more and more divided.  Why is that? We’ve all witnessed the behavior of drivers on the road.  They will cut in line, box you out, merge into you and force you into another lane.  They can do that because they are wrapped in a steel cocoon, but more importantly, they can do it because they have a certain level of anonymity.  It’s easy to be a jerk when you’re protected and have the ability to speed off, never to be seen again.  They would never do that in the grocery line!

I sometimes see the same thing in social media.  I’ve been the recipient of a few rude comments over time.  Fortunately not too many, but it happens.  I’ve also received some really sweet, encouraging messages that make it all worthwhile.  We are all different.  We have different opinions, different ideas, different ways of solving problems, different politics.  I don’t agree with everyone, but I can work to find common ground with just about anyone.  I can filter out hatred and anger by replacing it with love and understanding.  To understand another doesn’t mean I give up my own beliefs.  It means I value a person as a person.  If that person doesn’t want to find common ground, I’ll move on.

It’s vital to count my blessings and keep up the prayer and postive self-talk to filter my attitude.  It’s easier when I’m consistent.  Like my green pool, it takes a lot more effort if I’ve neglected bolstering my attitude.  I have to work at cleaning out the negative.  It’s amazing how quickly a negative outlook can take over, even for a normally upbeat person like me.  Staying positive is not a “one and done” step, it’s a constant filtration process.  Keeping those thoughts in check.

I remember the words of Michael Irvin in his Hall of Fame induction speech, “Look up, get up, and don’t ever give up.”  I’ve adopted that as my daily attitude filter.  I hope you find one that works for you.

Thank you so much for reading!

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