csmonitor.com October 12, 2018
By Michelle Boccanfuso Nanouche
Recently I came across a joke online that said, “It’s Monday. I am refreshed and ready to hate my job.” This reminded me of the 1993 film “Groundhog Day,” which tells the story of a guy stuck repeating the same rotten scenario every time his alarm goes off in the morning. Perpetually waking to the same day, Feb. 2 (observed as Groundhog Day in the United States and Canada), the lead character goes with the miserable flow, trapped in a cycle: His job is a mess. His relationships are a mess. As a result he sinks into despair.
But my favorite part of the film is when this lead character changes his approach. It starts with a mental shift: He decides to take each moment to master something good. Among other things, he tries to be helpful to others and to live more generously. There is progress, with occasional setbacks, but he begins to see in each day new opportunities to express more grace.
I could relate to this situation. I remember when Mondays were dreaded days for me as I prepared to go to what felt like a dead-end job. I changed employers three times, but found that my experience remained miserable. I was so unhappy that my weekends were full of fear of the impending workweek. Something needed to change, and moving to another job clearly hadn’t been the answer.
Trying to think more positively was certainly a possibility, but I’ve found that isn’t enough to effect a radical change and produce stable joy in one’s experience. What had helped me in numerous ways was Christian Science, discovered by Mary Baker Eddy, which has given me a different view of what really brings progress. It teaches that God, as divine Life, is the only true source, maintainer, and motivator of creation, including each one of us as God’s spiritual offspring, and it reveals that this infinite Life is solely good.
Acknowledging Life as the divine Principle of good can open one’s eyes to see God’s blessings all around us, breaking us free from negative thought patterns. Even more, prayer that explores the true nature of creation as the spiritual manifestation, or expression, of Life, God, can uplift our expectations and inspire steady, graceful forward momentum in daily life.
So I began devoting my early mornings before work to searching the Scriptures for insights into the nature of God as Life, to understand more of what God had in store for me. I found this study empowering and strengthening as I learned that God’s will for me (and everyone) includes a truly substantial joy. For instance, after explaining the permanent, nurturing relation of God to His creation, Christ Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11). And I began to carry a Bible verse or hymn to work in my pocket, which I could pull out during the day to remind me that God created and maintained me as joyful.
Not long after I incorporated such prayer into my morning routine, I began to wake up on Mondays eager to get up, because I was looking forward to expressing more of God’s goodness during the day, including at my job. As a result, the days felt more meaningful no matter what tasks I was doing, and the recurring dread did not return. It was a transformative experience and one I will always cherish.
Each of us can break out of a negative cycle in which days seem to replicate themselves as joyless, void of inspiration or the promise of progress. Divine Life provides us with daily opportunities to experience and express good. And seeking clearer views of this Life allows us to expect and experience a more abundant joy and progress.