Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Red Sox and the Yankees

I consider myself very lucky for many reasons. One of the reasons is that I have had the privilege to live in so many beautiful and unique places. My first urban love was Boston; I lived there from 1999 to 2003 while I studied at Emerson College. I came to know a certain kind of freedom during those years. I stayed up late, I stayed wherever I wanted, I ate, drank and smoked whatever I wanted. I learned how to play chess and fell in love for the first time. The first time I watched the Boston Marathon, I was bulldozed by awe and tingly all over. "Running 26 miles is so cool," I remember thinking, and I still do. I loved cheering on the runners in Boston and continued to marathon cheer when I moved to New York.

I didn't sleep very well last night because I was thinking about Boston. Boston is so small. And the incident where the bombs went off is so central and so many people so affected. I used to live right there. Seven people from my school got hurt, one of my friends missed being in the middle of it by a tiny act of fate. I poured over the news about it right before bed and probably looked at too many pictures.

Thing is, reading the news a lot, being distraught over what happened, worrying about whether or not it could happen again, doesn't make me a better person. In fact, it could make me a less healthy person. According to Morter, "[y]our conscious thoughts and attitudes dictate subconscious physiological responses over which you have no control. And subconscious physiological responses dictate health. Fill your conscious mind with gloom, doom, anger, guilt, and general negativity and your physiology will respond accordingly" (1997, 59).

In New York I learned about another kind of freedom: I decided I could be both a Yankees and a Red Sox fan. That decision wasn't particularly popular, but it was mine. In Taos, I have learned about yet another kind of freedom: freedom from negative thoughts. I am not going to stop reading the news, but instead of feeling afraid, I can pray. More and more studies are showing that praying works. And it is one of the few things I can give from this far away. The positive feelings I feel because of prayer, whether hope, sincerity, or peace are better for my physiology.

In honor of Patriot's Day, in honor of the heroes, the runners, and all of the people in Boston, I will choose freedom from negative thoughts.

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