Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"

My mother used to say that, along with many other motherly pearls of wisdom. I have been thinking about how much value there is in finding something nice to say. It can be easy at times and harder at others, and some people do challenge you to stretch your imagination. But, I think it's worth the effort. Imagine what life would be like if people could count on hearing positive, affirming messages. Think about how at Christmas we say, we wish life was like this all year long. What we are really saying is, we wish people were thoughtful, tolerant, generous, forgiving, gentle, kind, happy, light-hearted more often.

What is it that prevents us from being more Christmas like more often? Well there's the distractions of everyday life - bills, dishes, laundry, meetings, deadlines, generally too much to do in one day, no matter what that list includes. Can we be pleasant and upbeat amidst the frenzy? Sure, but it takes effort. That's why Christmas helps, it focuses our effort. It reminds us to make the effort. We could be more cheery, supportive, helpful and sparkly more often if we stopped and thought about it, decided to do it and just did it.

So much about positive thinking and behaving is driven by a level of consciousness and intention. If we are conscious of our mental attitude and focus, we can ensure that our attention is headed in a positive direction. It's when we let ourselves get weighed down by the details, that we can forget the purpose. If you want a cheery greeting in the morning, be a cheerful greeter in the morning, I promise you'll reap what you sow. If you want to get feedback on a job you worked hard on, give feedback on other's hard work.

If you see someone making an effort, even if they haven't gotten where they (or you) think they need to be, praise the effort, don't remind them that they haven't arrived. Appreciate people. Acknowledge those who help you, even if it's their job. Don't take for granted that people know how you feel, tell them. We could all use a little life applause. Give Love, however you can. Say something nice. Just do it!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I'm okay with the gray...

The following is an excerpt from a well forwarded email from my "administrative assistant", Hildred. I related to it, as I'm sure the many people forwarding it along through cyber space did.

"I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant."

One of the gifts that comes with age is the perspective to see what really matters. We learn that our appearance; good or bad, doesn't bring happiness or sadness, it's our response to our appearance that creates the joy or the pain. No matter what the circumstance, it's our response to the circumstance that drives our feelings about it. The secret many of us take a life time discovering, is that we wholly control our response, so therefore we wholly control our feelings.

That's not to say we should just tell ourselves, it's ok to be overweight, it's ok to keep being self-indulgent in some manner that's not healthy. But rather, focus on that we can choose to do something for our own good, that we have control when we choose to exercise it.