Sunday, April 27, 2014

8/26/10 Positive Attitudes and Other Impossible Tasks

Each of us literally chooses, by his way of attending to things, what sort of universe he shall appear to himself to inhabit.  - William James
The basic thing is that everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering. And happiness mainly comes from our own attitude, rather than from external factors. If your own mental attitude is correct, even if you remain in a hostile atmosphere, you feel happy.  - Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different.  ~Katherine Mansfield

The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.  - Carlos Castaneda
Thought is the sculptor who can create the person you want to be. - Henry David Thoreau
There was a time quotes like this were a wake-up call.  Thought provoking and inspiration to take a look at how I approach life and how I could do it so much better.   Spend as much time thinking positive thoughts as I do negative ones?  Man, I could be blissful within 6 months to a year.   But then, in the same way you get motivated to undertake an exercise program, even if you start conservatively to improve your chances of success, you find yourself doing the same old thing before you even know what’s happening.  Over and over and over...
It’s the same thinking people blame New Agers of promoting with Law of Attraction and The Secret.   Just packaged differently.   It seems we as a people keep trying to find new ways to say that in large part, we control how we experience our life.   It’s a noble endeavor, I even think it’s true.   Don’t we all know someone who has an uncanny ability to be sunny and uplifting in circumstances that might well have us complaining?  Stuff rolls off them and they seem to handle life with grace and a greater sense of acceptance.   People we look forward to seeing, admire, breathe a little easier after being around them.   And the other side - people we straighten up a little bit for to steel ourselves against.   Those who constantly have something to bitch about and you find yourself wanting to shake like a wet dog after having spent 5 minutes with them?   They’re heavy and annoying and take sooooo much energy.
Guess which one I am?   
I married the other.   No doubt whatsoever he’s the reason our neighbors like ‘us’.   He’s always welcoming, easy, has time for you, really listens, remembers details of your life... he makes you feel wanted and important.  Honestly, how I got so lucky with him...sometimes it’s truly a mystery to me.  
Anyway, while Brad and I were in the hospital after Anna died, I distinctly remember our OB saying to me that “losing a child destroys some people”, and then something like “or it inspires them to do great things” (not surprisingly it’s the first part I remember clearly).   It was obvious that he was pushing for me to be the latter.  I remember thinking, 1) it would certainly make him feel better, and 2) don’t hold your breath.
I read quotes like those above now and think, “I’m screwed.”  I wasn’t good at it before, and now I get mentally/emotionally tired just meeting new people or seeing old people for the first time or spending a few hours having a conversation with a friend or....a million different things.   Anything that requires me to Show Up.   I don’t have the extra ‘umph’ it takes for self-improvement.  Or to create happiness through my approach.   How how HOW do I become a person I  want to be around?!?!

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