When I was a little girl, my mother force-fed me a bunch of Pollyanna books.  I hated them.  Pollyanna was a goody, goody two shoes who always saw the bright side of everything.  I suppose my mother hoped that Pollyanna might become a role model and transform me from the gloomy, depressed child I was into the happy, malleable little girl she wished I was.  It didn’t work.  I loathed humorless Pollyanna.

I have been more in tune with Monty Python’s bitterly funny song sung by a man hanging from a cross “Always look on the bright side of life!  Deedee dee dee dee dee dee dee!”

However, after years of practicing the Being Present process I see myself starting to slip into Pollyanna Land–surprising myself when I don’t lapse into negativity or worry as I used to.  I said to a friend recently, “Well, it’s been one thing after the other,” and then realized how cheerful I was because these events did come one after the other rather than all at once! Wonderful.  Such timing seemed miraculous.

First the water heater broke and created the Great Flood downstairs.  The company I called showed up immediately with a crew and finished everything but the carpeting.  During the work, I struck up a conversation with the guy who was redoing the wood around the doors.  “Say,” I said.  “Would you take a look at my barn?  It’s really old.  I’ve been using it as a kind of garage, but it’s been tilting more and more over the 33 years I’ve been here.  The posts it’s standing on are really rotten, and I’m scared it’s going to just collapse.”

He walked around looking at it—admiring the great old hand-hewn beams and the barn wood, noticing the tilt, the gaping holes above in the ridge of the roof, and said, “Sure.  I can reinforce it.  No problem.”   He gave me a reasonable quote and I hired him on the spot to come back in a few days and save my barn and maybe me.  How lucky the water heater broke which led to this great guy to take care of the barn!

But, then he had to cancel for whatever reason, and said he would come back after the much- advertised Frankenstorm Sandy passed through.

I’m probably the only person who evacuated to the coast of Connecticut for the storm.  My friend Liz who has a house high above a cove with a generator and a complete, separate apartment invited me to stay with her.  I really didn’t want to ride it out alone, so I was exceedingly grateful.

Some instinct told me to take both my van and my car over to her place, thank God, because after the storm, when I went back to visit my house, trees were downed by my driveway which was obstructed by many small logs and branches.  Clearly some freak gust of wind must have whipped through like a train, creating general chaos and then exited out my old barn knocking down what was left of the back and leaving half a tree on the roof tilting the whole thing even more.  Somehow, my poor barn was still standing, but had my vehicles been there, no doubt they would have been severely damaged.  How fortuitous!

The fact that these events did happen one after the other was in perfect order.  Had The Great Floodt occurred after Hurricane Sandy—the machines to suck out the water and dry the basement couldn’t have been plugged in because of the power outage.  The company who did the work probably would have been too overwhelmed with emergency calls to respond as fast as they did—if at all.  How fortunate, too, that the carpeting had not been put down because the power shut off and caused a water leak onto the floor. from a toilet pump.  It wasn’t a flood and was pretty easy to clean up, but the rusty water would have ruined any new carpet.  Thank goodness I didn’t spend the money to reinforce the barn before Sandy, because now it’s going to be torn down and replaced with a simple garage thanks to my insurance company!

Barn after Sandy

It’s all good!  Oh, I’m so lucky, lucky, lucky!  I can look on the bright side of life!  Dee dee.  Dee dee dee dee dee dee!

Uh oh!  Here comes Pollyanna.  Oh, no!  Maybe my Mother was right after all.





  1. Being a pessimistic little miser is better than being glad about life, not sitting around bawling your eyes out for yourself? and pessimists are known for having a sense of humor? Lol.

    I see no logic there but all right. I always noticed how people who call others “goody goodies” are always betching about the world and moaning about how sucky it is, yet do nothing to fix that. they feel entitled to happiness and get mad when they don’t get it, and hate those who do even when they are in unhappy situations.

    Sorry if that sounded snarky but seriously, what is with all the anti-Pollyanna hate on the Internet? do people enjoy being angry and depressed constantly or something? Ha.

    • I have found that happiness is ALL an inside job and learning how to Be Present has taught me that all the negative thinking is really about not being present. If you understand that, great, if you don’t, take a look at my book, take my workshop….whatever. Thanks for your comment.

  2. I think what you say about being present explains something about a friend of mine that always surprised me. Mike was one of the most cynical people I knew. It could be a beautiful, sunny day but he would predict that by the time we got to the lake it would be pouring rain and if not that then our picnic would be spoiled by ants. You get the idea. Then he got AIDS and he was sick and he was dying and suddenly he became an incredibly positive person, determined to live and enjoy each day and so he did. Months before he died, already bound to a wheelchair he flew to New York to attend the 25th Anniversary of Stonewall. That was an act of incredible hope and optimism, he could easily have died on that trip, but he didn’t and he was part of something that was very important to him. Mike lived until he died. I hope to follow his example but not for another 20 years or so.

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