What's behind the mask
As we enter fall in Pennsylvania, we’re surrounded by all the telltale “signs of the season.” Everywhere we look we see the beautiful leaves that are now orange, red and yellow. Mums are displayed in their vibrant colors of yellow, orange, and deep burgundy and we also see those with two colors. We can’t miss the pumpkins – those in their natural dress and the ones we’re starting to see carved in amazing designs and painted like they’re a painter’s canvas. Candy, including the famous candy corn, is everywhere you look. Other small snack items are displayed as well as we gear up for the Halloween trick-or-treaters. And we can’t escape the never-ending advertisements of costumes and more costumes! Halloween is certainly not just for kids anymore as the variety of these costumes grows more each year and almost as many adults are featured in them, as are children. And one particularly caught my attention as it reminded me of one of the principles of positive psychology that I’m learning about. This character is the well-known Zorro.
The Zorro Circle principle is, in my opinion, one of the most helpful as it teaches us to begin our journey to happiness and fulfillment on a smaller, more manageable scale and growing from there. The story of the legend of Zorro is fascinating and one that was unfamiliar to me. In reading about his life and the training he received from his mentor, I was intrigued by this idea of mastering the smaller tasks on a limited level and building on them. The term “Zorro Circle” is an easy one to remember and visualize as he trained in a restricted area and only when this area was mastered did he move on to the next. And in my learning the use of the seven principles of positive psychology in my life, I’m finding myself surrounded by tools and ideas necessary to actually bring about the changes that will guide me to a happier and more meaningful life.
So as we prepare for the upcoming Halloween holiday season, we can enjoy the fun that goes along with it. I’ve always viewed it as a time to enjoy the fun of masquerading and dressing up as characters, parades, and parties and of course the candy! And part of ending one season and beginning another one. Fall, to me, represents not only the fun that we have in carving pumpkins and other Halloween traditions, but also the Thanksgiving holiday that is right on its heels. We’re so blessed and it’s a time for those of us who have much to help those of us who don’t. It’s a time to appreciate that we live in a country that allows us the freedom to choose which holidays to celebrate and how we want to celebrate them.
So as we approach the fall season complete with Halloween and Thanksgiving, we can take from these holidays what we want to enrich our lives. I’m especially thankful for what I’m learning in positive psychology and for the fact that when I encounter a Zorro character, I’ll think of the legend and realize the direction my life is now taking. I’m still in the early learning stages on my path to happiness and a life full of challenges that I’m not afraid to take on. So when you encounter one of the masked characters, just remember it’s only a dress-up celebration and that behind some of those masks lie real heroes who look out for those less fortunate and fight for those unable to fight for themselves. It’s not the mystery of the mask but what lies beneath it that is important. On a holiday complete with characters of all kinds, some scary and some not so scary, we realize that what we’re seeing is “make-believe” and that the true spirit is just a mask away.