Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

quote- the mind December 26, 2013

The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n

Milton said that in Paradise Lost in 1667.  That’s 344 years ago, and as fine a statement on mental health as ever I’ve heard.

If you’re not clinically depressed, it expresses the simple concept that your  attitude to the situation is what’s important, not the situation itself.

I’ve known a lot of people over the years who are constantly saying negative things about their hard-working, diligent spouses.  For whatever reasons, they feel that bashing their spouse is acceptable sport.  Inevitably, their relationships crumble, and they blame the spouse for the divorce when in fact, their own attitude is what doomed the relationship.

Speak what you want to be true, and you will make it so.  Articulate thankfulness, appreciation, and passion and you will create those things.  

It may only be in your mind, but your mind controls the body.

If you are clinically depressed, this quote expressed the simple concept that your perception of the situation transforms it.  Other people may see simple delights, while you see complicated anguish.  Your perception is valid, but don’t let it ruin you.  See your doctor.  You’d be willing to medicate for a heart condition, your brain deserves just as much respect.

Your mind controls the body.  Make sure it’s healthy.


Optimism August 25, 2010

Filed under: Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:09 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
~Helen Keller

This was on the white board at Curves today.  It made me think of all the people I know with clinical depression, and how they so rarely achieve the things that the rest of us think they are capable of.  Depression steals optimism.  Pessimism does not breed greatness. 

If you have hope, then the pages you write, or the course you take, or the person you call up fit into a possible future that you are willing to trust will be a good one.  A depressed person thinks, “Why write it down?  It won’t be any good.  No one will ever want to read it.  No one would buy it.”  Words of genius are lost to the world.  A depressed person thinks, “I’ll probably fail the course.  The prof won’t like me.  It’ll probably be boring.”  They miss the inspiration and enlightenment of education.  A depressed person thinks, “Why call?  She’s probably not home.  She wouldn’t want to go out with me.  I would probably embarrass her.”  An opportunity for a new friend or a great romance is lost.

Optimism is just a glimmer of faith that not only will something be fine, but that it might be better than it is.  Optimists fuel creativity, exploration, adventure, and thought. 

I am optimistic by nature.  When I envision a poem, a painting, a needlework, a knitting project, a sewing project, a story or a lesson, I am not expecting failure.  This is not to say failure doesn’t happen.  I have a lot of unfinished knitting projects around, in particular.  However, that fact just makes it more exciting when one finally does get finished! 

If I wasn’t optimistic, I couldn’t do the job I do, particularly in the environment I’m in.  I have been teaching 18 years.  When I started, I never imagined that I would have spent 18 years without belonging to one school, without knowing that the school district valued my labour and creativity enough to attach me to a single school where I could blossom forth brilliance that would make my class one parents encouraged their own kids to take, as the generations wrapped around.  One that inspired kids to become teachers or writers.  Instead, even after all this time, I can’t even plan a semester in advance.  I can’t arrange a terrific field trip to Ashland Shakespeare Festival a year hence, because I don’t know where I’ll be in a year.  I can’t invest in products or literature for my classroom, because next semester I might not be in that school.  Keeping teachers ‘lean and hungry’ does not make for quality education.  I miss the teacher I could be with security.

Still, I’m blessed, because I always find some place that needs my service, and I know even if the students are in different schools around the district, and even if I’m only a semester in a school, that I am inspiring some of those I teach.  Just today I had an email from a former student wondering if she could switch into my English 12 class.  Ironic, since I don’t know what school I’ll be at this year, let alone what I’ll be teaching.  If I wasn’t optimistic I would have curled into a ball and given up a long time ago.

Optimism is the key to happiness and success. 

Anti-depressants don’t hurt.


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