Perspective Is Your Choice

Woman Standing by a Deathbed null by Sir David Wilkie 1785-1841

Bronnie Ware, a palliative care nurse, who worked exclusively with the terminally ill wrote a book titled “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing Regrets of the Dying”. For many years she was with patients during the last three to twelve weeks of their life and from her experiences came a list of the regrets people make most frequently on their deathbed:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

In the article Ms. Ware was especially emphatic about most not realizing that happiness is a choice until it was almost too late. Fear of change was the number one reason patients cited for pretending to themselves and others they were happy. At the same time most secretly longed to laugh more and better and to simply have more silliness in their life.

With gratitude for the chance encounter with Ms. Ware’s article (thank you to my friend Katie for bringing it to my attention), I commit to laugh easier and be silly more often. With that in mind, the rest of the week is going to be a lot more fun that the first half (and it was pretty darn good!).

The same view you look at every day,
the same life, can become something brand new
by focusing on its gifts rather than the negative aspects.
Perspective is your own choice and the best way to shift
that perspective is through gratitude, by acknowledging
and appreciating the positives.
Bronnie Ware

A Two-Edge Sword

light-in-the-dark-13lviur

Hatred is like a long, dark shadow.
Not even the person it falls upon knows
where it comes from, in most cases.
It is like a two-edged sword.
When you cut the other person, you cut yourself.
The more violently you hack at the other person,
the more violently you hack at yourself. It can often be fatal.
But it is not easy to dispose of.
Please be careful… It is very dangerous.
Once it has taken root in your heart,
hatred is the most difficult thing in the world to shake off.
From The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” by Haruki Murakami

Bouncing Back and Forth

lust vs love

Her self description is: I’m Paula. I love sparkly things and hate cauliflowers. I believe in individuality and self-expression. Music geek. Love life in its simplest ways. Spend way too much time thinking and wandering. My brain is chaotic. I’ve never been pregnant. Nice to meet you. On her page http://tinkerthinker.tumblr.com/ she wrote:

A battle between the comfort of familiarity and the rush of meeting someone new.

Sometimes it does feel like a battle between that.

On one side, there’s the peaceful kind of love; the one that offers stability, comfort, and security. There are fights included, of course, but minor and infrequent ones. It’s mostly a soothing, tender love that dominates the relationship. And you think that’s all you want and need, until…

You discover a different side. It’s almost foreign to you and completely unlike the usual, stable type of feelings you get with that other person…but that’s precisely what makes it appealing. A rush.  An unknown adventure, inviting you in to discover it.

Then it becomes a problem.

The tranquility of spotting your lucky bracelet vs. the excitement of unfolding a new gift.

The hospitality in knowing that tomorrow’s Monday vs. the realization that with him, it’s always Fridays.

The boring vs. the new,

Truth vs. passion. Which in the end translates to love vs. lust.

And what sets them apart, is that love is always worth it.

That fairly well describes the fight within me that I let rage for years. The toll of bouncing back and forth between love and lust cost me dearly. So glad that confusion is long behind me. I am grateful to fully know now it’s love that matters. The other is just an itch that wants to be scratched and nothing more. The hardest learned lessons have become my most vivid wisdom.

Love is the rose.
Lust is the thorn.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba

When We Are Afraid

build-business-confidence-with-inbound-marketing-roi copy

I used to regularly be a liar. With my friends, in business and generally I was a ‘boy scout’ and told the truth. But in love relationships my words at times contained less than the full truth; sometimes very little of the truth.

Now living an authentic life I look back to see it was my insecurities at the root of my lying. I did it to be perceived as more than I actually was. And worse, there were times I was liar to cover my tracks of even greater dishonesty: being unfaithful. Deep down there was a compulsion to fill a hole within using the affection of someone new, however impossible it actually was. And oh, the stress, worry and anxiety of an affair! Doing wrong when one knows it’s wrong, then living with it is a sort of slow strangulation.

Lying requires a lot of effort. When you tell the truth, you simply remember what happens. When you lie you have to consider what you’re trying to hide, figure out a believable version of the opposite, give a convincing performance to sell that lie, and then remember it for the rest of eternity so you never get caught. Furthermore, it builds and builds every time you lie.

Lies, just like many other things, cause stress and anxiety. If you need proof, consider the polygraph machine (what’s come to be known as the “lie detector”). They don’t actually detect lies, specifically, but rather the signs of stress that accompany telling them. While stress isn’t a definitive indicator of lying, it’s often a good clue.

You probably know that stress harms your brain and body in several horrible ways. Since lying contributes to your stress level… you need to consider the impact of your secrets. The harm isn’t self-evident, but it readily exists in the numerous health issues you encounter in your daily life. By Adam Dachis http://lifehacker.com/5968613/what-lying-actually-does-to-your-brain-and-body-every-day

Secrets are poison. Any relationship seasoned even with small ones will suffer a little short-term and a lot eventually. Emotional intimacy can be based only on truth and honesty. To do otherwise is self-foolery, delusional and a touch of self-induced madness. My heart smiles and my mind beams with pride that I learned better to grasp and practice honesty today. I am grateful for the heartache that taught me how to be a ‘good guy’ who tells the truth and is worthy of someone’s complete love. Mistakes are great teachers if one pays attention to the lessons.

We tell lies when we are afraid…
afraid of what we don’t know,
afraid of what others will think,
afraid of what will be found out about us.
But every time we tell a lie,
the thing that we fear grows stronger.
Tad Williams

Too Precious to Waste… Never Long Enough to Worry About

For the total of fifty cents, plus tax, yesterday I bought a used copy of a small book published in 2010 by Dr. Criswell Freeman titled “When Life Throws You a Curveball… Hit It!”. The little thing is only about a quarter of an inch thick containing not much more than a hundred pages in a four by six-inch cover.

Being previously unknown to me my searching on-line for info about Dr. Freeman yielded surprising results. With little fanfare, he has compiled and edited well over a hundred titles that have now sold over 8,000,000 copies. The Washington Post calls him “possibly the most prolific ‘quote book’ writer in America. Dr. Freeman jokes about himself saying “I’m one of the best-selling unknown authors in the world”.

The following is called “The Two Most Tiring Days” and comes from the “…Curveball” book by Dr. Criswell Freeman mentioned in my first paragraph:

If you’ve been facing tough times, you’re probably tired. Tough times have a way of leaving you exhausted before the day has even begun. The weariness comes not from physical labor but from constant worry. That’s why it’s so important to understand the source of your energy drain. Your fatigue results not from physical strain but, instead, from your attitude toward the two most tiring days of the week: yesterday and tomorrow.

What are yesterday and tomorrow so draining? Those two days represent those two limitless reservoirs of exhaustion: the past and the future. If we could simply concern ourselves with the day at hand, the world would become much simpler. But sometimes we lack both the ability to accept the past and the faith to accept the future. As if today’s tasks weren’t enough, we take on the burdens of yesterday and the obligations of tomorrow. When we do, today’s work goes wanting and tomorrow’s happiness is placed in jeopardy.

If you can learn from yesterday without undue regret, you are insightful. If you can plan for tomorrow without worry, you are wise. If you can live your life in one-day packages, you are blessed.

When you live in the present, there’s little to worry about anyway. After all, the present is a very small sliver of time, suddenly upon us and too quickly gone. The present moment is too precious to waste but never long enough to worry about.

Dr. Criswell Freeman’s little book which the paragraphs just above come from is subtitled “Simple Wisdom for Life’s Ups and Downs” and is exactly as advertised. I am grateful for the discovery of it and look forward to finding more of the hundred titles or so he has published.

More and more what I need seems to come to me naturally when I need it without doing much except being open to receive. The longer I write about gratitude the more grateful I become. Attention magnifies and multiplies what it is applied to.

Look to this day for it is life,
The very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the realities
And truths of existence;
The joy of growth,
The splendor of action,
The glory of power.
For yesterday is but a memory,
And tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived makes every
Yesterday a memory of happiness.
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.
Ancient Sanskrit poem by Kelidasa