I'm of divided opinion on the clustering of good and bad events. On the one hand, I've lived through some pretty compelling real-life evidence for the Bad Luck Streak; on the other hand, I'm rational and objective enough to understand that at any given moment, there are people going through much worse for much longer who manage their troubles with relative equanimity, so attitude clearly plays a large role in determining what is 'good' or 'bad' (cf Anthony de Mello's Chinese farmer story*).
The more I read about Buddhism, and I haven't read much, the more I think they have something with this non-attachment thing. And a bonus-extra goodie with Buddhism (or Method acting, or talk therapy, or lots of other ways-in) is that you can benefit from its tenets (hey! that rhymes!) no matter where you step into the river. When you're feeling crappy and resistant or angry and resentful or joyous and light, you can examine why and, if you're honest about it (and when I say 'you', I mean 'me'), you'll probably learn something incredibly useful about yourself that you can apply not ony to alleviate your situation, but to do a quicker end-run around it next time.
What's tricky for me is that I usually don't feel much like dispassionate self-examination when I'm feeling good. Feeling good is the goal in this part of the world, with the added implication that feeling good as quickly as possible is even better.
Am I preaching? I don't mean to. This is about no one else but me right now, me not getting down with whatever is happening in my Now, me being crabby and cranky and resistant. Me willfully shifting my gaze from the undeniably good, The BF, my health, my friends, financial solvency, to fret over the shadowy parts that lie just ahead. Fear slips its cool, slippery tentacles around me, one by one, and starts to squeeze slowly, until I can't remember what it was like just to breathe easily.
Okay. I'm being a little histrionic for effect. Not that fear isn't doing its slippery, squeezy thing; it is and it probably always will. The difference between how it happens now and how it happened 20 years ago is that I've gotten a little better at recognizing it ("oh, that old thing") and understanding that (a) my hard-wired, primal reaction is not the only one at my disposal and (b) if I can keep it at bay, I will probably come up with one that will be far more useful for dealing with the situation at hand.
And so I add yet another category to the messy sidebar that communicatrix-dot-com seems destined to remain: fear. I've written about it before, of course, but I've always couched it in some more positive term: 'change' or 'life' or, let's face it, 'rants'. Sometimes, though, it's just plain fear, of moving forward, of what will happen next, of the coat on the chair that looks like a monster, and there may be value in calling that particular spade a spade.
Besides, 'negative'...'positive'...who's to say?
Putting aside the real horrors of the world (which are all and always too recognizable), there's a good deal of room for interpretation.
*It bears noting that both the title of this post and the Chinese farmer story come to you by way of my favorite ex-boyfriend, who has been nicknameless and seldom-mentioned to date, whom I now christen "The Whippersnapper" and to whom I say:
"Be careful what you wish for...Trevor."
PHOTO CREDIT: akoestner's "Bellagio Ceiling" copyright akoestner, via Flickr.