Today was wash day.

I woke up happy, to a lovely rainy morning with cool breezes and a pet bird in a good mood (pet bird not in a good mood means Mom is not in a good mood).

My world can encourage or repel deadly emotional weather - the choice is mine alone.

I stripped the bed, made the rounds picking up Mommy towels and birdie towels, and trundled it all down to the local washateria, where the proprietor had the television set to CNN on full volume.

In the space of literally less than five minutes, the good mood faded as I was informed about a Secret Service sex scandal, casualties from a bombing in Afghanistan, a new form of popular plastic surgery sweeping the nation, and an attempt to tax the “haves” in this country that would most surely be quickly tabled.

Suddenly the gentle rain and dark clouds no longer seemed refreshing and nourishing to the parched Houston earth, but ominous and threatening, with a spiraling tornado of doom hidden behind every bank of dark clouds.

But this is the world we live in. It just is. It doesn’t mean this has to be the world I personally live in each and every day.

This is why I restrict my own access to news programs and print articles, and am careful to keep my eyes set to “scan” when visiting facebook, doctor’s offices, and (now) washaterias.

My mentor, Lynn, once told me that a feeling of peace is like finding True North in an often confusing and conflicting set of messages the world is constantly sending. So I have trained myself to seek out peace, to cultivate joy, at the expense of anything that evokes its opposite.

This does not mean, by the way, that I am someone who resists plumbing the depths when depths are what is required of me. It just means I stay there only so long as is necessary to accomplish the task at hand, and then I discipline myself to return to a state where peace and joy can once again be accessed.

Today’s Takeaway: If you had to take a reading of your inner “peace meter” on a daily basis, on a scale of 1 to 10, how many feelings of peace would you say you have throughout an average day? When peace or joy approaches you of their own accord, what level of effort (1 to 10 again) do you make to encourage them to stay a bit longer? We do live in an upsetting, sometimes frightening, and often confusing world. But if it is painful to focus on the world’s problems, then it is important to recognize that you DO have a choice.