Monday, January 16, 2017

How to Find Joy in Uncertain Times

The transition of U.S. Presidential power that will take place later this week has caused many to be concerned about the changing vision and policies of our country and where they will fit into the new President’s agenda. At times of uncertainty, how do we find joy?

First, turn off the TV, put down the newspaper, stash the electronic devices in a drawer and simply be. Be. Be a human being.

Now, more than ever, we need to reach deep into ourselves to find the good that still rests in each of us and to make every effort to truly see it in others.

When we seek to find the light in another human being, it can’t help but shine back on us.

When we focus on gratitude for the abundance in our lives, it multiplies.

When we reach out with compassion and engage in active listening, we find more similarities between us and fewer differences.

When we clearly identify what we can control, what we can change -- and what we cannot, our energies become more focused and we can take appropriate, positive action.

When we engage in an act of kindness, no matter how small, the world becomes a more loving place.

When we confront our fears, hand wringing and worry dissipate. Our fears become feathers and they float away when they are no longer empowered.

When we adopt a mindfulness practice to rest our minds and souls, our thoughts quiet and we become renewed.

When we spend time in the quiet of a church service, we connect to a higher power and our spirits are fed.

When we exercise and eat in a healthy fashion, we fuel the gift of our bodies.

When we spend time in nature, we discover our connection to something much larger than ourselves and we come away refreshed.

When we volunteer our time for causes that are important to us, we lift up others and ourselves at the same time.

As a three-time cancer survivor and someone who has suffered two benign tumors, one in my brain and another in my spine that caused temporary paralysis and many therapy sessions to learn how to walk again, I understand on a personal, visceral level what uncertainty is. But, I also know hope. I know faith. I know love. I know goodness. I know joy. I know blessing.

When the uncertainties of life feel overwhelming, hang onto hope, look for goodness, count your blessings and use your energies to take constructive action. We’re all in this together.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Good Wishes for the New Year

As the calendar turns over to a new year, it gives me time to pause and reflect on what I would like this fresh, new time to look and feel like. The slate is clean, the opportunities vast. What will we do with them? In a time when news comes to us instantly and constantly, there seems to be a growing trend toward the negative. Such heightened negativity poured into our minds and hearts can only lead to increased stress, anxiety, divisiveness and a focus on lack and our differences. More than ever, I feel the need to focus my energies on joy, abundance, love, hope and kindness. I choose to see the abundance of blessing, rather than becoming drawn into the depths of fear and unhappiness. If each of us were to devote our hours to kind words, happy thoughts, loving gestures and respectful responses, I believe the world would be a more peaceful place and the turmoil and injustices that plague our society and world might be resolved with more creative, communal solutions. Through our differences of opinion and thought, consensus can be reached. However, the more we focus on our differences, the larger the chasm becomes. The less we see hope, the more we create despair. The more we focus on hatred and violence, the less energy we dedicate to lifting each other up. We live in a time of uncertainty, but those times have always been and likely always will be. What we, as individuals, do with today will have a ripple effect on the shaping of our collective tomorrows. May this new year be one of hope and kindness, where extraordinary joy comes from our ordinary moments and our affirmation of each other becomes the norm.