How many times have you seen someone with a disability or living with some hardship, but they haven't lost their smile? Beliefs and attitude have a lot to do with health, happiness and how well your life or your day goes.
A couple of years ago a client gave me a book that has made a big impact on me. “Peace Is Every Step”, by Thich Nhat Hanh is a little treasure of essays and vignettes of mindfulness and everyday life. One essay, “Flowers and Garbage” is about how everything is inter-related. The garbage is offensive and foul. The Rose is sweet-smelling and beautiful. You can’t have one without the other. The seeds of the rose need the nutrients of the composting garbage and the garbage needs the rose, as it declines and breakdowns, only to once again create the rose.
The challenges and struggles you’ve experienced help hone you into the person you are and/or want to become. Rather than be angry, resentful and hate those events and people that have hurt you, be grateful. You are a diamond that is being cut and polished by the good and bad.
Each negative has a positive. Sometimes you have to search or wait, but you will find it. Loss creates a void that makes room for something better.
Sitting here, I am listening to Andrea Bocelli, a blind man that has a voice from heaven. Thank goodness he chose to make the best of his talents instead of sinking into self-pity and despair. Steve Reeves was a handsome and skilled actor that suffered a horrific accident that resulted in his becoming so disabled he couldn’t even breath for himself. This pushed him to advocate for disabled people and a lot of good was accomplished. Michael Fox, who suffers from Parkinsons, is another example of someone well known and afflicted that has done good work.
Only through acceptance and “surrender” to the circumstances you find yourself in, can true healing and growth take place. Alcoholics Anonymous is an organization that was built on this premise. Holding onto hate, anger, resentment is actually letting your pride resist change. It takes courage and humility to endure and welcome challenge.
Does this mean you need to make big, earth shattering changes? No. Just like a move of even one pawn on the chessboard changes the possibilities of the game, start with small steps. Here are some easy things to do to begin the process:
Life isn’t easy and it can be a struggle to imagine anything good as the outcome. However, staying stuck in that belief only hurts you and attracts more of the same. Whatever you can do to find your smile will heal yourself and move things toward the positive.
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