The Way I See It
Written By Shawn Ryan
Episode 1: “You’re So Lucky”
I hear it daily from various sources. “You’re so lucky!” “What a lucky guy!” “Your life is so amazing! What luck you have!” I do have a phenomenal life. My husband and I are both working actors in Hollywood, we own a very successful children’s theatre camp, our families are wonderfully supportive and we’ve got a thriving relationship. “Do you want all of this and more?” asks the infomercial host that lives deep down inside of me. “Well, I can show you how!”
Step One: It’s not luck! While I do feel grateful and blessed with the wonderful abundance this world presents me, I am NOT lucky. What I am is positive. I am positive that each day I wake up, I have the opportunities to relish in the riches of this world. I have my body, my mind, my heart and my soul and I use these things to navigate me through this remarkable and breathtaking adventure we call life. If you are already thinking, “Oh great, another blind optimist”, I would ask you first to pause and consider what I have to say. My theories have been proven to work over and over again, by myself and by my teachers. So let’s put a spin on this ‘living positive’ game I play and see how it can work in your daily lives.
Quick question: When you hear the alarm go off in the morning, is it a positive sound or negative sound? Does the beeping of your alarm piss you off each day, even in a small way that maybe you’ve just made your peace with it? We’ve all heard the saying that “When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade” but how many of us are applying that in our daily lives? How many of us have lost the recipe for lemonade? You need to find your own personal recipe so that each day you awaken to a fresh glass of lemonade, complete with mint sprigs and a little lavender syrup, or whatever accoutrement you’d like to add to give your glass that “little special something” in order to spice up your life.
Positive living starts with small changes. For example, changing the alarm clock to your favorite song (currently mine is “It’s All About the Bass” – I just can’t help but smile and dance along) and then slowly changing your mind about what lies beyond the bedroom each morning. Do you wake up each day thinking, “Ughhhh – I hate work, I hate Mondays, I hate Carol.” I don’t know who Carol is, or why you hate her so much, but my guess is it’s because there are many other factors that aren’t being addressed and aren’t allowing you to live life positively. We’ll tackle a new factor each week, right here.
Back to your morning routine… might I make a suggestion? Or nine? What about getting the coffee pot ready the night before? My husband taught me this wonderful trick. When you arise in the morning and you’ve set up all the coffee stuff the night before, all you have to do is walk into the kitchen to find that the magical Elf Barista has snuck into your kitchen and fixed you the perfect cup of coffee. It’s small. It’s really small, but it’s a great start. Or how about this one? Wake up early each day to give yourself 15 minutes to meditate? Or when the dog has to go outside, rather than viewing it as a mundane chore, why not join Sparky on his adventure and see it as a chance to go outside and play—like when we were kids and we couldn’t wait to go outside. Try matching his level of excitement as you get his leash and you’ll be surprised how his attitude climbs to complement yours. There is much to be learned from our furry friends and how they perceive the world. To them, everything is fresh and new and the day at hand is a journey waiting to be taken.
Everything I learned about positive thinking I learned in Kindergarten. No, that’s not true. That’s too much of a cliché, and also too much of a 1991 poster I bought at Spencer’s Gifts in the Mill Valley Mall. Everything I learned about the way I live my life comes from my parents. My Father, a professional Rodeo Cowboy (and three-time PRCA Champion, thank you very much), always challenged me to correct my negative thoughts that I would unknowingly send into the Universe. “I have to go to school,” I’d whine. My father would subtly suggest, “You mean you get to go to school.” While initially annoyed by his verbiage, I quickly learned to appreciate that everything in my life could be turned into a positive. Going to school, doing my homework and even folding the laundry became opportunities to see the world through a different lens. The lens of good fortune and joy. My Mother, a motivated sales manager, would constantly show us that anything was possible. And I do mean anything. She would never have been so presumptuous as to argue that we couldn’t fly. “Mo” (as she is known by all) realized that she didn’t have all the answers. And who was she to say that we wouldn’t be able to find a new way to fly? One that no one else had ever thought of. That said, she is not insane. She did regularly stop me from climbing the trellis to the roof, as she realized that keeping my body safe was just as important as keeping my dreams alive.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my writing, and I hope that it will allow you to look at the world through a different lens, as I often have to remind myself to do as well. I hope I can become your friend, your confidant and your go to guy for Inspiration. Here’s to our journey together. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity, and let’s, as my Dad always said, “Go Get ‘Em!”
Shawn Ryan is a lot of things. He doesn’t want to settle on one. You know him as an Actor/Singer/Writer/Director and Camp Director but he fancies himself a Dancer/Poet/Lyrical Savant/Brother/Son/and Terrific Husband. He doesn’t enjoy speaking about himself in the third person – – Oh, who are we kidding; he got into this business so he could speak about himself in the third person. His greatest wish is that someday Barbara Walters will come out of retirement and make him cry on ABC at 10pm/9 Central. He lives in a state of adoring bliss with his husband, actor John Ainsworth, and their two adorable furry children, Mr. Kitty and Gazpacho the Chihuahua. It seems as though things couldn’t get much better, but day by day, they continue to do just that.