Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘optimism’

Blue or Grey or Both

“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.” – Pema Chodron

“To be nobody but
yourself in a world
which is doing its best day and night to make you like
everybody else means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.”
― e.e. cummings

What do you see? The grey clouds or blue skies peeking through. Or both. What you look for, you find. If you look for the blue, you find it, not denying the grey, for the clouds make the blue even more brilliant. Take off old glasses and put on new glasses to see the same in a new light.

Become aware of your thoughts, words, what you see and do not see. Who influences you, who inspires, who leads you away from you? Return to yourself and keep on the path to becoming, unfolding and discovering. Look and listen without judgment or assumption, allowing wonder and awe to make their way through the cracks of time and experience. Create new experiences.

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” – Mary Oliver

Keep paying attention to find new things that are not ahead or behind but all around and available in this very moment.

“may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it’s sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there’s never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile”
― e.e. Cummings, e.e. Cummings: Complete Poems 1904-1962

Mind Your Mindset

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” – Karl Barth

“Gratitude is one of the strongest and most transformative states of being. It shifts your perspective from lack to abundance and allows you to focus on the good in your life, which in turn pulls more goodness into your reality.” – Jen Sincero

Begin each day in reflection and gratitude to foster a start line of abundance that is the throughline for the entire day, start to finish;
Plant it, say it, try it, stick to it to see how your reality shifts;
No need to compete in the “I’m having a tough day competition anymore;”
The path is old and worn, the traffic is jammed and the road leads to more of the same;
Your thoughts lead to words, to actions, to perspective;
Release all that is not in your control and create a space for abundance, light and optimism;
Carefully choose where your mind goes and guard your joy to anchor when the winds rise up;
Pause three seconds to respond rather than react – 1…2…3…

Optimists International has a variety of resources to place optimism front and center so you can break the daily negativity habit. An action calendar, desktop images and their Facebook page offer daily reminders and prompts.

The Optimist Creed, Optimists International

Promise Yourself
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

Give optimism a fighting chance by centering your thoughts and being intentional with your words and actions.

Mind your mindset and show others through your consistent actions that there is a better, different path, one of joy, abundance and light.

“The key to abundance is meeting limited circumstances with unlimited thoughts.” – Marianne Williamson

In Kindness Rather than In Kind

“Every day brings new choices.” – Martha Beck

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” – Saint Basil

I have had many conversations in my head with others, things I want to say to “set the record straight,” to “put them in their place,” to “lay it on the line.” Fortunately, I’ve kept most of those where they belong – unsaid. When they’ve escaped and actually came out, regret usually followed. At times, it is appropriate to not be a doormat as well and to speak our own voice.

Our choice is between reacting “in kind” – returning what’s given to us, especially the negativity and criticism or responding “in kindness” – by not returning the same so we don’t turn into that which we want to avoid. Complaint, negativity and criticism are rampant and only create a downward spiral. Gratitude, optimism and hope offer an alternative and multiplies rather than substracts, a whirlwind upward, a deep well to draw from.

So little of what people serve us in negativity, complaint and consternation has anything to do with us. When we take it personally, we allow them to steal our joy. That person who cut you off, the coworker who has a bad attitude and shares it every time you interact with her/him so you do everything to avoid her/him, the family member or friend who triggers that 10 year old in you are all carrying their own burdens and struggles. When we understand this, we have arrived at empathy and understanding and can move out from that place rather than the “what about me?” hole.

Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements are simple rules and principles to follow that can help us respond “in kindness” rather than “in kind,” freeing us from the power and winds of external forces that we allow to permeate our internal state of joy and peace:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
  4. Always Do Your Best.

As Maya Angelou said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” We can choose to respond with empathy, understanding, positivity and optimism to combat negativity and model a different path that creates contentment and joy, which is in short supply right now.

Choose mindfully and with forethought the energy that you put out into the world. You can be that thread of hope, that beam of light, that source of joy that someone desperately needs from you now.

“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” – Stephen Grellet

The Creative Spirit

“When you seek the presence of your creative Spirit and are filled with passion about virtually everything you undertake, you’ll successfully remove the roadblocks from your life and enjoy the active presence of Spirit.” – Wayne Dyer

“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” – Ansel Adams

My nephew Liam finished coloring the Peacock picture with bright brilliant colors. He proudly handed it to me to tell me he made it for me so I could hang it on the refrigerator. I happily accepted his work of art and witnessed the pure joy that comes from acknowledgement, praise and encouragement. He understands the deep joy of dancing with his creative spirit. All children do.

People say it again and again – “I’m not creative.” Every person is creative. It is rooted in the human spirit. First signs show up when we are children. Then the opinions, judgment, rules, criticism, comparison of others who had the same thing done to them demand that we “grow up,” be realistic and get to work, leaving dreams and spirit by the side of the road.

Enough. Time to get off that ride and reclaim your creative spirit through play, adventure, trying new things, art, music, literature, nature – fuel to drive, water to nourish, sunlight to grow. There’s power in creative expression, joy and wonder, in returning to the pure child within us that remains through our life, longing to come out to partake.

Optimism is the best way to reclaim that creative spirit. It forces us to look at all sides and still choose positivity and best-case scenario thinking over cynicism and “reality.” When we move out into the world through the lens of optimism, we invite others to come out and play in the sandbox of hope, light and exploration. It’s your turn. Would you come out to play?

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” – Colin Powell

The Unmaking

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

“It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.”― Seneca

Change and transitions invite us to awaken, observe and be opened. The struggle is not in change itself, but in the resistance to it. The process of being “broken” releases the power of transformation and transcendence of circumstances, other people and our own ego.

When we observe our life broadly and deeply, we uncover and discover that blessings are woven through burdens. The uncertainty and struggle that accompanies, is our calling to the “unmaking” of what has accumulated and collected, been protected and fed.

We own our response, create our daily condition and influence the outcome. When we choose the transformative journey over the shortcut, we go deeper into “demolition day” to start again, daring to be made new with no desire to return to the old. The lyrics of Nicole Nordeman’s The Unmaking say it so well:

“This is where the walls gave way
This is demolition day
All the debris and all this dust
What is left of what once was
Sorting through what goes and what should stay

What happens now?
When all I’ve made is torn down
What happens next?
When all of you is all that’s left
This is the unmaking
Beauty and the breaking
Had to lose myself to find out who you are
Before each beginning
There must be an ending
Sitting in the rubble
I can see the stars
This is the unmaking”

If willing and open, release the old to create space for the new. “Before each beginning, there must be an ending.” Welcome the endings so new beginnings can ensue. New heart and spirit.

Optimism and hope show us the finish line, providing the fuel to get there. Never underestimate the power of gratitude, laughter, joy and light to change the world. It’s the only thing that ever has or ever will. Keep searching for light, accept it and cast it back out again in ordinary everyday exchanges. We are the heroes and authors of our own life. Write your story well.

“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you.” – Ezekiel 36:26

Simple. Real. Optimism.

“Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.” – Anne Frank

“I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out.” – Anne Frank

Today lived up to its Monday-level reputation. The rush, the rally of activity disguised as strategy. Noise to fill the open space. Optimism is hard. It’s rigor, discipline and fluid. We need to be open to having sucky, shitty days and know that they are few and far between, letting them happen so they can pass like a kidney stone. Honest and real today, unapologetic. And it all reveals the most important strategy that we must execute consistently – simple. real. optimism with a side of hope. Optimism is the only real and sustainable option worthy of our passion and pursuit.

As I concluded the day with a walk in the woods, sharing the same sucky day stories with my best friends – one human, two dogs, two beautiful deer appeared in the woods feeding on some leaves, unassuming, unfraid and at ease. God’s brilliant reminder that He’s got this, so settle in for the ride. It’s quite simple, keep it that way.

Tomorrow – a clean slate, another day. Simple. Real. Optimism.

“In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.” – Anne Frank

Empathy and Optimism

“Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.” – M Michel de Montaigne

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” – Romans 12:15

At the start of a meeting yesterday, each person was asked to share two words that described them in that moment. I listened intently and it was a mix. As I thought about my own words, I chose “empathy and optimism.”

When we are empathetic, we can listen and “weep with those who weep” and by harnessing the power and fuel of optimism, we can simultaneously “rejoice with those who rejoice.” Weeping is real, required and will pass with time. Rejoicing is a way to live, even in the midst of weeping moments.

We are a mix of opposites, contradictions, imperfection, resilience and beautiful music. Pursue awareness – self first so you can see yourself in others and genuinely feel empathy rather than judgment and assumptions. Awareness prompts action and necessary change. As Maya Angelo said, “when you know better, you do better.”

We need to both weep and rejoice, with a bias toward rejoicing and optimism. Life is fragile, strong, short, long and no day returns to repeat so seize today, let go of yesterday and hope for tomorrow.

“To live would be an awfully big adventure.” – Peter Pan

Change Your Explanations

“While you can’t control your experiences, you can control your explanations.”― Martin E.P. Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

We want things to be different but are unwilling to change. When we shift our energy and effort from trying to change other people and circumstances, we can focus on the only thing we can change – ME.

Studies have shown that optimism and gratitude improve our health including preventing chronic disease, improving our immune system, reducing stress and increasing life longevity.

And, yes it can be difficult to be optimistic when other people are pessimistic, complaining, gossiping and chirping. But with attention and practice, you can strengthen your optimism muscles and be healthier and happier. A worthy pursuit to be sure.

In her article How to Be Optimistic When the World Around You Isn’t, Amy Morin, LCSW offers a few suggestions:

  1. Optimism is a choice – turn your mindset around and think positive thoughts;
  2. Decide to be optimistic – it’s a daily decision, start each day reading, thinking and saying positive things. Force it until it takes hold;
  3. Avoid positive energy vampires – boundaries and limits on toxic people and the news;
  4. Recognize your negative thoughts – catch yourself in the act, reframe and flip it;
  5. Bestow positivity on others – share positive feedback with others – BONUS – it returns to you!;
  6. Imagine a positive future – dream big;
  7. Practice gratitude – an instant boost of optimism.

There is no risk, only reward in becoming optimistic. Changing your perspective, old stories and explanations = happier life.

 

Jump Start

I wasn’t feeling it this morning, so I was going to put off posting until tonight. Putting it off is the recipe for not doing it. Stop procrastinating and start right where you are now. Change your attitude and perspective.

When you don’t feel it inside, go outside for some inspiration, motivation and optimism. Day 14 – 30 day positive thinking habit. Make it a GREAT day!

Here’s 5 Positive Quotes to Jump Start Your Day!:

  1. “Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.” – Norman Vincent Peale
  2. “Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” – Henri Nouwen
  3. “Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A ‘you can do it’ when things are tough.” – Richard M. DeVos
  4. “A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug.” – Patricia Neal
  5. “It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.” – Robert H. Schuller

4 Simple Things

“I am here and I’m alive. That’s enough.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

The morning is the best time to plant seeds, to set the tone for the day. Set your mind on how you will enter the world. Little things push us over the edge. Stop before you talk or say anything negative. Bring light into the world and it shines back on you tenfold.

Day 2 – optimism rocks – spread it!

“Light originates from a single point…and that point is everywhere.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements offers simple and straightforward directions to live by to find joy daily.

  1. Be Impeccable with Your Word.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
  4. Always Do Your Best.

Check out more encouraging articles and resources here.

Impeccable words, don’t take it personally, no assumptions, do your best no matter what’s going on.

Cast light!

%d bloggers like this: