Monday, January 10, 2011
The reason for my aspirations usually comes after a time of tragedy. Mass shootings, politically charged rhetoric that inspires exclusion or separatist thought, ecological disaster, you know the icky, big stuff. I would profess, and still do, that it would be nice to be able to escape it all, to simply go to a beautiful place where these thorns could not grow in my garden.
I would accept the restricted diet of fish and limited produce for the peace of a hammock between to palms, a hut, and many hours of unmolested reflection at the water’s edge. Maybe the diet would solve my expanding waistline as well, and the hunting/gathering would become sufficient exercise.
“Anyone...anyone??!” (We then hear the crickets...)
I then find that I hold a majority of the potential for change. I myself can drop the proverbial “pebble in the pond”, and stare as the ripples retract concentrically outward reaching far shores.
My world is simply a reflection of myself and how I see it.
When I say, “The world sucks”...it often proves me correct.
When I say, “People today are crazy”...they often act in such a manner.
When I say, “Life is rough”...I meet quite a bit of adversity.
However, when I tell myself, “The world has beauty and promise, contains an abundance of compassionate, intelligent, and beautiful people who are willing to take on the same challenges as I, so none of us are alone”, I find my burdens lighten.
Same world, same people, same life–different perspective. My choice.
I have three simple tools in my tool kit. They like a hammer, screwdriver, and duct tape can fix most any a household dilemma.
Second–the questions I ask myself. “Why are you such a loser?” is not the best way to try to motivate yourself to overcome your shortcomings. When I ask myself questions like this, amazingly I have many, many answers. Most of them are rooted in past behavior. Behavior I no longer can do anything about. Why? Because it is PAST behavior! When I ask, “How can I make today better than yesterday?” Or, “How can I be a better person, husband, wife, employee, citizen, etc.”, interestingly enough, I get answers here too. These answers usually come in the context of things I can do in the present and will affect my future. The opportunities presented to me in this life appear often in direct proportion to the questions I ask myself.
Finally–the window I peer out into the world is one I place before myself. What we focus on is what we see. If I constantly focus on death, pain, belligerence, debauchery, suffering, madness, loss, and hatred, guess what I see? If focus on people making a difference, compassion, growth, ingenuity, progress, and miracles, yes–miracles; I will see them too. Same planet–different worlds.
Yes, it can be challenging at times. If you want a good workout on these principles, turn on the news. There are many people who are willing to spiritually spar and test our resolve. It is empowering to know that my armor thickens with my recall of these ideals. However if this is a bit hard, the S.S. Minnow always is an option.