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  • So, is it possible to be living in the real world, to see the devestation that man is wreaking on the planet, to watch people struggle with cancer, to see people struggle with living, with life, and still be grateful, still remain optimistic about life?

    Of course it is. It’s not easy sometimes, but I also don’t think it requires sticking one’s head in the sand, not acknowledging that all of that is out there while singing some pollyanna tune to yourself to keep the chin up and the hope going.

    For me, it’s like the whole fear and courage thing. When someone acts courageously, others look at them and think “they must have no fear.” The act would not be courageous if the person had no fear. What makes it courageous is that, despite their fears, they did what they had to do to overcome the fear, and do whatever it was that they had to do.

    It’s kind of like that. If we’re truly connected, then we know what’s happening in the Pacific Ocean, we know what’s happening to the world’s climate, how the rich just keep getting richer while the poor seem to be getting even poorer still. It’s out there, and it’s right there for all to see, should they choose to be awake and alive. I do so choose.
  • But, it doesn’t mean that I have to be devestated by it all, and live in constant worry and fear and get depressed by it all, allowing it to anger me to the point of being in a continual slow-burn rage and wreak my health over worrying about that which I cannot change. No. I’ve been there, and done that. My outrage, my anger, my depression, my frustration, didn’t change any of it – not a thing. It just rendered me completely ineffective at living my life – the only life I’ve been given to live. My old approach to life was not sustainable. If I try to go back to it, I could not expect different results. I know for sure that, should I so choose to embrace the rage, and anger, and frustration, surely depression awaits me, and I could sink right into it, without much effort.

    But, I do have a choice. And, that is simply not how I choose to live my life, today. Today, I take up the tools that I have picked up along my path, and I use them. I apply them. I try to incorporate them into my life. If something I try works, I share it with others. My upbringing in recovery taught me that that’s how it works. You can’t keep anything to yourself, hoarding it away – it just doesn’t work like that. You have to give it away in order to keep it.

    One of the tools that I have found works especially well is gratitude. It’s not something that you just wake up one day, and it’s there. It takes effort. I work at it. Force myself to think about what I am grateful for. After awhile, it becomes a habit. A good habit. And, instead of just a list, it becomes a source of joy and life and positive energy.
  • Does it change what’s happening in the Pacific? No, it doesn’t. Does it change the struggle that people are going through? I don’t think it does. Does it mean I turn my back on all of that, and just revel in my joy in some la-la land? Not at all.

    What it does do, is allow me to be a force for positive energy and change, and to contribute, in whatever small way I can, to making the world a better place to live in. I can only do what I can do, with the gifts that I’ve been given, and the opportunities that I encounter. By being open to opportunity and change, I do encounter more opportunities for change. By honing my own sense of gratitude for what is right with the world, taking care of my own sense of well-being and gratitiude, I am given the energy and the werewithal to face the difficulties ahead, without being all defeated and down in the tooth about the whole world.

    This works for me!

    (Photos are all ones I took this weekend on Sand Key, in Clearwater Beach, Florida, where I attended a Board meeting for an Association I am a board member of. In case anyone wonders, no taxpayer dollars were spent on this trip – it’s an independent association. We worked all weekend – but had incredible scenery to enjoy in between the meetings.)
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