Reframing your experiences

Haggadah Section: Maggid - Beginning

Woody Woodpecker

Imagine renting a wooden cabin in the forest for your honeymoon. The place is charming. At dawn, however, woodpeckers start pounding on the roof. You can’t sleep because of the noise. It happens again at dawn every morning. What would you do? Most people would conclude the cabin experience was a failure.

This happened to Gracie and Walter on their honeymoon. But instead of deciding that the cabin was a failure they asked, “What if it is an opportunity?” By the time they had returned from their honeymoon they found it. It became a huge commercial success. They created the cartoon character Woody Woodpecker. Walter [Lantz] was the illustrator. Gracie, the voice [after Mel Blanc and Ben Hardaway].

When interviewed on their 50th anniversary, Gracie said, “It was the best thing that ever happened to us.” If Gracie and Walter had become upset and decided the honeymoon was a failure, it would have been a failure. But because they said it was a success, it became a success.

Our perception shapes our reality. So, it’s not about changing careers, houses, or spouses. That’s not necessarily the path to happiness. It’s about changing our mindset. Think positive. Be positive and positive things will happen.

Becky Johnen

Discuss these quotes

Nietzsche: "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.

Winston Churchill: The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Viktor Frankl: We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin's ways to happiness:

I assume there is a benefit. What is good about this? (Develop the skill of reframing. Find positive ways of viewing events, situations, and circumstances.)

I focus on solutions. What outcome am I looking for? (If a problem arises, first clarify the problem. Then ask, "What can I do now to solve it?")

I let challenges develop my character. "This too will develop my character." (Look at difficulties as divinely sent opportunities to upgrade who you are. What quality can you develop now with a challenge that you faced or are facing now?)

I consistently access positive states. My awesome brain stores my best states. What state do I want for right now? (When you give names to your favorite and best moments, you will find them easier to access. Just tell your brain to access the specific state you want to experience now.)

From a mass email!

I woke up in the Morning, sick. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I got out of bed because I didn’t want to miss work. I arrived to work late. At 3pm I was laid off from work! At 3pm I left work to go home. On the way home my tire got flat. I went to find the spare but the spare was also flat! Someone saw me and stopped to give me a ride. That person offered me a job. I start tomorrow morning.

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