Saturday, June 28, 2008

Finding your reset button

There is a marvelous artist/philosopher/storyteller whose work I really appreciate. Brian Andreas has a website named StoryPeople from which his works are available for purchase, but more to the point today, from whence comes, every day, a different story delivered to my mailbox at good old Gmail.

Brian's way is to write stories, often only a single sentence long, which one can puzzle over or giggle about, or even shrug and move on when one of the stories doesn't make sense.

There is always a drawing accompanying the story.

His art is something which, for most people, is probably an acquired taste. I like it--in fact, I own several prints of his work--but of the people who have seen one print I have hanging in my office, probably more than half frown and make no comment. I know disapproval when I see it! Go to his website and see what you think.

Today, the StoryPeople message arrived, and it is called "Reset Button"...and here is the story in its entirety, along with the illustration it came with:

He discovered his reset button early on & there were not many things that bothered him all the rest of his days just because of that.

As soon as I read it, I knew I was going to write about it here. What a wonderful concept! If you are like me, there are days which begin less than well, get gradually worse as they go along, and by the end of the day, you are ready to strangle something. It may not be any one element of the day which totally throws one off kilter, but more the accumulation of little insults to the grand design you had for the day.

What if, instead of allowing the pile to continue to grow, we could pause early in the game and simply press our reset button, wiping the slate clean and starting fresh, even if it is lunch time? What if we could shrug off the opinion that "I'm having a bad day" and replace it with, "Whew! Glad the bad part of my day is over now, and I'm doing fine." What if we could enjoy the miracle of turning around a bad day in the instant it takes to mentally press our own reset button?

We all get to decide, of course, and this is not a new idea, that of simply turning away from the seeming momentum of little stuff we interpret as bad, and deciding to have a good day. What's new is the simple concept of relating it to the single-most important button any of our fancy electronic toys have. We have satellite-delivered TV now, and while we joke about the fact that, on the rare occasion when we need to reset the receiver, it takes 90% of its reboot or reset time for the first 90% of the process, and it takes the other 90% of its reset time for the remaining 10% (it takes a looooong time), we would be lost without that reset button. When the signal fails and all we see is a blank TV screen, we do the one thing we know how to do: we push the reset button.

So, carrying the concept into the imagination, one can easily relate to the idea, right? When things are going poorly, to heck with it! I'm resetting, and right now. I'll be back...[RESETTING>: PLEASE STAND BY]

It's a perfect tie-in, too, to the teaching of my gorgeous and very smart better half: Easy World. If you have not read about Easy World, you will be excited to hear how simply and instantly you can make your life easier. Heck, read all her stuff! It's thought-provoking and uplifting.

I figure you can never have enough little memory triggers to remind yourself that you need to choose Easy World (or, in the case of today's story, press your reset button) when you want to turn things around. It's a choice, just as it was an earlier choice, consciously made or not, to experience a lousy few hours of a day.


thailandchani said...

I agree. It is a choice. Sometimes it's an exceptionally difficult choice to make... but it is a choice. :)

Rick Hamrick said...

Chani--thanks so much for stopping by!

One note: who is it, exactly, that decides it is a difficult choice? Is that the final answer, as the game show host asks? What if it only seems difficult until one blows the facade away and discovers there is no real difficulty, only an unwillingness inside to turn the ship around?

Olivia said...

I like the idea of a reset button for the day. This can be a great way to get us to wipe away the past and be really in the moment, really present.

I am thinking here about Chani's comment and your response. I'm wondering why it can seem difficult. In computer world, we reset when we just can't take it anymore and we're willing to take a break, lose some of our work, and start over. Or when things freeze up and we have no choice--to go on we must reboot.

I'm trying to apply this to the real world, but striking out. What do you think, Rick?

Peace and rest,


Rick Hamrick said...

O, I think your description of the sometimes-difficult choice one makes to reboot one's computer is a good analogy to what can happen in our lives.

Once you get so tied into a story, be it for the day, the week, or your entire life, you can have a great deal of ego-self tied in, as well.

Just as you don't want to reboot if it means you might lose something you have been working on, your ego will not want you to push your imaginary human reset button for exactly the same reason!

And, when you refuse to back down to ego's warnings of the dire consequences in letting go of your story and go ahead with your intent to push Reset, letting go of it all, you get exactly what you described, Olivia: the gift of Now.

For me, some days it is like the actor who becomes so caught up in his role that he forgets it's a role! He is living it, not acting. When I get too caught up in frustration at how my day is going, I can completely forget that it is *my* day, and I get to choose how to feel about it! I can, though, toss the script away and ad-lib some smelling of the flowers or staring at the clouds, imagining they are all huge sailing ships at sea, or just sitting quietly for a few minutes with absolutely nothing on my mind.

Thanks so much for pondering with us, O!

Olivia said...

The Gift of Now! And what a gift. This post has given me so much food for thought. Thank you, Rick for your always provocative posts. I am grateful for you (and Chani) who help me to expand my thought processes, who see through to the quick of things!

I am finally going to bed here, late Sunday night (early Monday morning). We spent all day in Seattle, mainly to escape a hothouse here in Olympia. We've never had air conditioning. Today, however, we stopped at Costco Federal Way, Costco Olympia, and Home Depot Olympia and came home with a portable air conditioner. LoveHubbie Mark set it up and collapsed into bed to enjoy it. I am SO on my way there, perspiring in the middle of the night.

It cools one room of our house, but we can sleep. Sigh! Such bliss!

Peace and joy and cool nights,


Angela said...

I'm familiar with this concept under the words: You can start your day over at any time. I love the reset metaphor and the drawing and am going to check out the rest of this guy's work. Really great posts, Rick.

Julie said...

Oh man did I need this reminder. It is so easy for me to simply "check my energy" in the morning and make a decision about the entire day.