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The Power of Pronoia

Hello Gold Star Revolution Squad! From time to time, I will shine a spotlight on books that I really enjoy that are relevant to the topic of appreciation.


Today, I hope that you will indulge me as I quote extensively from a fantastic book by Rob Brezsny called Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia.**


Rob is an extremely talented and creative writer, and, if you aren’t familiar with his weekly Free Will Astrology column, you should definitely check it out. Even if you don’t believe in astrology at all, the column is very well-written and thought-provoking.


Lately, I have been thinking about how easy it is to get caught up in the things that go wrong in our lives, while it can often be difficult to notice, much less appreciate, all of the things that are going right.


Rob addresses this topic at the very beginning of his book (pages 4-5) in a passage entitled “Glory in the Highest:”


“Thousands of things go right for you every day, beginning the moment that you wake up. Through some magic you don’t fully understand, you’re still breathing and your heart is beating, even though you have been unconscious for many hours. The air is a mix of gases that’s just right for your body’s needs, as it was before you fell asleep.


You can see! Light of many colors floods into your eyes, registered by the nerves that took God or evolution or some process millions of years to perfect. The interesting gift of these vivid hues comes to you courtesy of an unimaginably immense globe of fire, the sun, which continually detonates nuclear reactions in order to convert its body into light and heat and energy for your personal use. . . .


On this day, like almost every other, you have awoken inside a temperature-controlled shelter. You have a home! Your bed and pillow are soft and you’re covered by comfortable blankets. The electricity is turned on, as usual. Somehow, in ways you’re barely aware of, a massive power plant at an unknown distance from your home is transforming fuel into currents of electricity that reach you through mostly hidden conduits in the exact amounts you need, and all you have to do to control the flow is flick small switches with your fingers.


You can walk! Your legs work wonderfully well. Your heart circulates your blood all the way down to replenish the energy of the muscles in your feet and calves and thighs, and when the blood is depleted it finds its way back to your heart to be refreshed. This blessing recurs over and over again without stopping every hour of your life.


Your home is perhaps not a million-dollar palace, but it’s sturdy and gigantic compared to the typical domicile in every culture that has preceded you. The floors aren’t crumbling, and the walls and ceilings are holding up well, too. Doors open and close without trouble, and so do the windows. What skillful geniuses built this sanctuary for you? How and where did they learn their craft?


In your bathroom, the toilet is functioning perfectly, as are several other convenient devices. You have at your disposal soaps, creams, razors, clippers, tooth-cleaning accessories: a host of products that enhance your hygiene and appearance. You trust that unidentified scientists somewhere tested them to be sure they’re safe for you to use.


Amazingly, the water you need so much of comes out of your faucets in an even flow, with the volume you want, and either hot or cold as you desire. It’s pure and clean; you’re confident no parasites are lurking in it. There is someone somewhere making sure these boons will continue to arrive for you without interruption for as long as you require

them. . . .


In your closet are many clothes you like to wear. Who gathered the materials to make the fabrics they’re made of? Who imbued them with colors, and how did they do it? Who sewed them for you?


In your kitchen, appetizing food in secure packaging is waiting for you. Many people you’ve never met worked hard to grow it, process it, and get it to the store where you bought it. The bounty of tasty nourishment you get to choose from is unprecedented in the history of the world.


Your many appliances are working flawlessly. Despite the fact that they feed on electricity, which could kill you instantly if you touched it directly, you feel no fear that you’re in danger. Why? Your faith in the people who invented, designed, and produced these machines is impressive.


It’s as if there is a benevolent conspiracy of unknown people that is tirelessly creating hundreds of useful things that you like and need. . . .


Let’s say it’s 9:30a.m. You’ve been awake for two hours, and a hundred things have already gone right for you. If three of those hundred things had not gone right – your toaster was broken, the hot water wasn’t hot enough, there was a stain on the pants you wanted to wear – you might feel today that the universe is against you, your luck is bad, that nothing’s going right. And yet the fact is that the vast majority of everything is working with breathtaking efficiency and consistency. You would clearly be deluded to imagine that life is primarily an ordeal.”

I am fully aware that not everyone’s life is like this and that people do go through tough times. I myself have had to work my way through quite a number of sad and trying life experiences throughout the course of my life.


But I do have to admit that, most of the time, my life runs pretty smoothly. Sometimes I just don’t want to recognize that. It's easy to play the victim or to get caught up in the drama that is created by complaining about things that go wrong.


Today, I am not going to complain! Today, I am appreciating all of the things that go right for me, big and small, that I usually take for granted, and I hope that you will too!!!


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** Please note:  Any mentions or endorsements of websites, books, etc. that I make on this site are made solely because I like them.  They aren't advertisements, and I do not receive any compensation for mentioning them.  You can assume that the only compensation that I receive is for endorsements of Zazzle or Zazzle products.  If any exceptions arise along the way, I will expressly note that I am being compensated. 

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