Winner: 2013’s Blog of the Year #6
Imagine that you wake up each morning and strap two quivers onto your back, like an archer has for his arrows. One is filled with Red Balls and one filled with Green Balls and each moment of your life you offer the world either one colour or the other. Green Balls say—come toward me and connect.
Green Balls are confident, quiet, patient, courageous, empathetic, loving and supportive. Red Balls say—move away from me. Red Balls are all about isolation, sympathy, judgment, pretension, impatience, anger, sadness, disappointment and negativity. Here’s how it plays out in a day:
You wake up and you start criticizing your weight or your looks or your diet or what you did last night. Criticism is criticism, and those are definitely Red Balls. Then you start yelling at your kids for the same things you yell at them for every day. More Red Balls. Kids are kids. Not recognizing much responsibility outside of themselves, they tend to not comprehend the value of some behaviours. Besides, if you yell every day and they always act the same way, then you’re just teaching them to yell. Red balls, Red Balls, Red Balls.
If you drive to work and are mad at all of the drivers on the road, that’s more Red Balls, because you could have been enjoying a drive filled with Green Balls just by noticing the music on the stereo, or a view out a window, or drivers who were polite. And if you’re walking through the parkade and you don’t smile at someone you pass, then that’s a Red Ball too—because if you would have looked up and smiled, that would have been a Green Ball. Did you get that?
Stated again to make it clear: the opposite of what is possible is where you place yourself through inaction. Essentially the inactivity in ignoring an opportunity to connect or be joyful acts as a Red Ball. Likewise, telling your spouse about how they could improve is not a Green Ball just because it’s talking about their excellent potential. It’s a Red Ball because it’s stating that the way they are right now isn’t enough.
You and your spouse always argue over the same things. You hand Red Balls back and forth and then wonder why you don’t enjoy each others company. Yes, it is entirely reasonable that a grown person could pick clothes up off the floor. It is also entirely reasonable that a person could be very good at driving and parallel parking. But if that doesn’t happen to be true in your home, why make it so?
Why not do as the Buddhist’s suggest, and just accept how they are and stop handing our loved ones Red Balls over it? Instead of throwing Red Balls, just pick up the socks yourself, or use your power of self control to sit in the passenger seat silently. Then you’d have a Green Ball experience for being helpful or respectful, rather than a Red Ball for being negative or critical.
When you say I had a bad day what you mean is that you received and emitted a great deal of Red Balls. Likewise, a good day is when you gave and got a lot of Green Balls. To keep you in balance, the universe will always replace any ball you emit. So if you give out all Green Balls, the universe will tend to see you get more Green Balls.
Despite whatever Green Balling you do, other people may load you with an unusually large amount of Red Balls some days. That’s just the nature of life. The balls roil around like weather in a giant ball pit. Sometimes you’re in a big vein of Green Balls, sometimes Red, and sometimes it’s salt-and-peppered with both. The only thing you control is what colour you give out, and that’s very important for two reasons:
Firstly, if you give a Green Ball away you now have room to collect another Green Ball. So the behaviour sets you up to be able to grab more joy and success in life. Secondly, precisely because of the first reason, people tend to congregate based on the frequency with which you emit Red or Green Balls. They simply make it easier to get the colour you’re low on and you do likewise for them.
So people who give out a lot of Red Balls will attract a lot of other people who also give out a lot of Red Balls. But so it is with Green Balls. Happy people flock together for the same reasons unhappy ones do—because then the world is supporting them in what they’re doing with their life.
Remember, if you give out a lot of Red Balls, you have more room to collect them too. So if giving them means getting them, that which means you will believe the world deserves your Red Balls because that’s all it gives you. Do you see how it self-supports? Using the same principle, the wise person knows that anyone can give Green Balls, and so even in the face of getting mostly Reds, they’ll give back Greens and thereby maintain their attractiveness to other Green Ballers, who in turn make it easier for the more positive person to continue with their belief that the world is a good place.
No matter what the world is doing around you, focus on giving out as many Green Balls as possible, every day. Actually become conscious of your moments and of what colour ball you’re giving yourself, someone else, or the world—because really those are all one thing anyway and that really really matters.
Start today. Ask yourself after each encounter: which colour did you give out? Because whatever you surrendered to the world, you’ve now created more room for that within yourself. Become conscious. This is the route to your salvation. You must become responsible for your portion of the universe. You must learn that the source of happiness is your own being. Be Happiness itself. Be a source of Green Balls as much as you’re able and that’s as good as life can get.
You’ll be fine. Reading this is good for you, so this activity was already a Green Ball. Plus I’m going to remind you I love you—there’s another Green Ball. See? It’s that easy. Each moment a new ball. You are free to go Green Ball your life. Enjoy. 😉
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.