No matter what our life circumstances, there are things for which to be grateful, to be thankful. Think not? Imagine seriously for a moment all the various corners of the globe you wouldn’t want to be born in; think of all the things in your life you currently take for granted but would miss mightily if they vanished. There’s loads of stuff in the background of our lives that we have become used to, acclimatized to, for which we’ve lost our appreciation.
This is in part because our minds are focused on our survival and beyond that the betterment of our condition so as to create as great a buffer as possible between our current state and deprivation. As a result, our attention naturally flows to the deficits and dilemmas in our lives, no matter how marginally defined. Furthermore, we humans tend to be a task-oriented, problem-solving species and we get a sense of satisfaction from achieving difficult things.
All well and good… until it becomes excessive, until we forget to count our blessings, to walk, no run, on over to the sunny side of the street, let slip from our attention all the good in our lives. This solution-oriented, possibility premise policy, upward, onward, forward focus on the positive, on the good, frame of mind is not always easy to maintain. Indeed, it frequently takes significant effort (work!) in a world that seems determined to grab our attention with dramatic doom and gloom headlines/clickbait. It is vital that we 1) stand diligent guard at the entry way to our mind, allow entry only that which serves us 2) train our inner voices to be supportive, to call out to our best selves, to be coaches and cheerleaders showing the path to our highest selves.
Release, Release, Release: it is a phrase, a mantra, I frequently repeat to myself to force myself to let go of that which does not move me forward, to dismiss all thoughts that hurt, to disremember all toxic inputs. I will not rent out space in my mind to that which does not serve me, that which does not have mine or humanity’s best interest at heart. This is not always easy; at times it is hard work. Yet it is the (sometimes rocky) path to peace of mind, to contentment, to happiness.
PS: Please note that all of the quotes below are thousands of years old; the wisdom has always been there for the taking; the challenge is to DO as well as we know, day in and day out. The rewards are great and within the reach of all.
“Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.” – Aeschylus; circa 524 – 456 BC
“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” – Epictetus, 50-135 AD
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.” – Marcus Aurelius, 121-180 AD
“…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8, KJV
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier