Finally Marshmallow-Free!

Okay, so some of you really love marshmallows and don’t understand why I’d single them out for derision.

Allow me to explain.

Stay-Puft Marhsmallow Man,Maggie McReynoldsI don’t actually like marshmallows—never have. To me, they are little plump blobs of sugar and who-the-the-heck-knows-what-else. They are weird and unnatural.

But as it happens, I’m not talking about literal marshmallows. I’m talking about metaphorical ones: the sticky, gooey, unnecessary, over-the-top unhealthy stuff that so many of us pile into our holidays just as we pile them atop our sweet potato casseroles.

We don’t really like them. We don’t really want them. We certainly don’t need them. But there they are anyway, because Grandma always used them, or because we think everyone expects them or because it “wouldn’t seem like (insert holiday here) without them.”

These metaphorical marshmallows are white, fluffy La Brea tarpits of expectation and obligation, all our shoulds and supposed-tos and have-tos and ought-tos miring us in “tradition” and perpetuating guilt, shame and major blood sugar crashes.

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Maggie McReynolds blog

237 Kinds of Blind

In E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality, author Pam Grout postulates that we see what we expect to see. It sounds sort of obvious, but go beyond that first reflexive response to get to the deeper truth: all the things we habitually think about show up for us, every day. Piece by piece, moment by moment, they make up our experience of life.

Leave aside arguments about whether or not that’s because we manifest them with our thoughts. Just consider that if you are thinking about seeing yellow cars, you’re probably going to notice yellow cars. Which is fine, of course. Unless it would serve you better to see/find an orange car, in which case, you may be blinding yourself to it.

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Damn You, AutoCorrect


It’s called “predictive text.” Based on your past texting vocabulary and also on a quirky little algorithm that thinks it knows what you’re going to say next, autocorrect comes up with not-so-helpful suggestions.

Our brains sometimes work like that, too. We’ve worn a neural groove so deep with our painful thought or fear that no matter what we are doing, saying, or hearing, we fill in the blanks with some serious ick.

Our boss says, “We need to talk.”

And the autocorrect in our brains fills in “I’m going to fire you.”

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