“Let your past be your springboard, not your quicksand.” Moraboli

When I was a little boy growing up in Chicago, my mother had a penchant for shopping. In those days, that meant going “downtown.” In New York, that was Macy’s or Gimbal’s. In Detroit, it took you to Hudson. In Chicago, that dictated excursions to Marshall Field. But my mother’s bribe in exchange for being meandered through miles of aisles was: Lunch at the Mayflower Donut Shop.

The allure of the Mayflower wasn’t just in the eating of donuts, although was fun as well. It had more to do with the presentation than the meal. The real draw was how a little kid received the treat. After the baker prepared the doughy cholesterol- carriers, they would be delivered to your table by a tiny train. Those six or seven seconds of donut delivery were a fair trade for hours of shopping misery. It doesn’t take much to please a child.

Is this newsletter about donuts? No, it’s about a sign and the message it conveyed. My readers will find the sign in front of the Mayflower Donut Shop below. Please observe the two harlequin figures carefully, their held donuts, and, most importantly, the poem the two are leaning on. As a boy, I was able to read the sign, but I did not understand the message until many years later.

Certainly, its point is reflected in many different ways and via various metaphors. “The glass is half full or half empty”. Or, “Look on the bright side.” Or,” it’s always darkest before the dawn.” These are the clichés of positive thinking psychology. But, like all clichés, the fundamental wisdom conveyed endures. For whatever reason, my experience with toy delivery trains and fried cakes stuck with me, along with the message between those bookend donut holders. In fact, my wife and I chose to engrave four important symbols on our wedding bands; one of those was the donut as a reminder to look for the good in everything.

Last month, our newsletter focused on past script messages: voices from our upbringing that had the ability to shape who we are. Today’s theme is about choice and the past. As we gaze into the vast ocean of previous experience, we get to choose from our list of positive people, events and messages, or the opposite.

See the donut rather than the hole.

“Every saint has a past; every sinner has a future..”