“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
I told someone this morning that I regretted not placing as much value on a friendship when I had it as I did once I lost it. It reminded me again how often I take the things that add meaning to my day-to-day life for granted. When I think about it, it is not the highlights that make my life as good as it is; it is all the things that I have that don’t create stress or pain. It is the recliner in the den where I relax and watch television, it is the warm greeting of a friend at my Thursday morning Kiwanis meeting and it is reading on Facebook the thoughts of one of my grandchildren. It is more, it is the movie theatre where I often drop out on a Friday morning for a few hours, it is the directors of the organizations who provide me the opportunity to do something for someone else, and it is the venues that provide me a place to learn. I often don’t even give thanks for those things that have meaning in my life for I am truly fortunate to be able to spend a lifetime with a wife who is willing to forgive my foibles and to have children near who allow me to take pleasure in their successes. You know, when I add up all I have I find that I am truly wealthy, I may not have a lot of money but I have something better, a full life with plenty left to see and plenty left to do. And oh yes I have all of you.
Here is an edited article written by author Mike Robbins that I think is worth your consideration.
Want What You Have
How much of what you have in your life do you truly want (i.e. desire and choose)? How much time and energy do you spend wishing things were different, or that you had a little more of this and a little less of that?
While the circumstances of our lives – both “positive” and “negative” – do have an impact on us, the truth is that we always have a choice about how we relate to our circumstances and to ourselves in the process. A great job, big house, large amount of money, fit body, incredible relationship, or anything else we say we want, can’t and won’t make us happy if we don’t choose to be.
Wanting what we have doesn’t mean everything is “perfect” in our lives, which is almost never the case, or that we can’t desire for things to change or evolve in a way we deem positive. It simply means we choose to accept what we have in our life, right now, with a sense of gratitude and surrender. Surrendering is not about complacency, weakness, or giving up – it’s about learning to make peace with life as it is. It’s important for us to remember that the passion, joy, and fulfillment we experience doesn’t come from life itself, it comes from us and our ability to accept, appreciate, and celebrate what we have in our lives.
Here are some great questions to ask yourself when dealing with some of the most difficult and challenging aspects of your life (i.e. the stuff you say you don’t want):
What good is here that I’m currently not seeing?
What is this situation teaching me that I’m grateful for?
Why is this happening for (not to) me?
What would it look like if I surrendered to this instead of fighting against it?
What aspect of myself can I appreciate more deeply as a way of loosening the grip of this issue in my life?
By asking and answering these questions (and others like it), you’ll give yourself an opportunity to look more deeply at some of the challenges in your life, realize that these things are here to instigate growth and expansion, and remind you that you have the ability to choose them consciously – which can take away much of the suffering you may currently experience.
By putting more of our attention on wanting what we already have, and less attention on fixing things or wanting what we don’t yet have, we can create a deep sense of peace and joy in our lives, our work, and our relationships, which, more than most specific outcomes or material possessions, is what most of us truly want anyway.
“One of the greatest titles we can have is “old friend”. We never appreciate how important old friends are until we are older. The problem is we need to start our old friendships when we are young. We then have to nurture and grow those friendships over our middle age when a busy life and changing geographies can cause us to neglect those friends. Today is the day to invest in those people we hope will call us ‘old friend” in the years to come.”
Tom and Darryl were out hunting deer. Tom asked, “Did you see that?”
“No,” Darryl replies.
“Well, a bald eagle just flew overhead.”
“Oh,” responded Darryl.
A couple of minutes later, Tom said, “Did you see that?”
“Are you blind? There was a big, black bear walking on that hill, over there.”
A few minutes later Tom again said, “Did you see that?”
By now, Darryl is getting aggravated, so he says, “Yes, I did!”
And Tom says: “Then why did you step in it?”
The five most essential words for a healthy, vital relationship are “I apologize” and “You are right.”
He said: On my four-year-old daughter’s first trip to Disneyland, she couldn’t wait to get on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. As the car zoomed through the crazy rooms, into the path of a speeding train, and through walls that fell away at the last second, she clutched the little steering wheel in front of her.
When the ride was over, she said to me a little shakily, “Next time, you drive. I didn’t know where I was going.”
Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.
A Chinese scholar was lecturing when all the lights in the auditorium went out. He asked members of the audience to raise their hands. As soon as they had all complied, the lights went on again. He then said, “Prove wisdom of Old Chinese saying: ‘Many hands make light work.”
A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities; an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.
Reginald B. Mansell
Visiting St Patrick’s Cathedral on a tour of New York City, my daughter and her children were awed by the sight. The kids were especially curious about the votive candles, so my daughter asked if they’d each like to light one. She explained that is it customary to say a prayer of petition or thanks, and she was careful to tell them that these are not like birthday candles.
“Do you have any questions?” she asked.
“No,” said the five-year-old, “but if there’s a pony outside, it’s mine.”
“I had a friend who was a clown. When he died, all his friends went to the funeral in one car.” Steven Wright
Mrs. Smith pulled Mrs. Jones out of earshot of the porch, where Mrs. Jones’ lovely young daughter, Linda, sat. “It is really none of my business,” whispered Mrs. Smith, “but have you noticed what your daughter is doing?”
“Why, no. Is she up to anything special?”
Mrs. Smith leaned closer. “Haven’t you noticed? She has started knitting tiny garments!”
Mrs. Jones’ troubled brow cleared. “Well, thank goodness,” she said smiling, “at last she has taken an interest in something besides running around with boys.”
“Happiness lies for those who cry, those who hurt, those who have searched, and those who have tried for only they can appreciate the importance of people who have touched their lives.”
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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