I am again at my favorite coffee shop enjoying the company of its proprietor and another friend. The rain was coming down in sheets just a minute ago, but all is quiet now. Although life has been a very busy place recently, right now I can take a breather – there is nothing that has to be done right now. Oddly enough, as busy as I have been, stress has not been a factor in my life lately.
This coffee shop provides broadband wireless Internet service free of charge to its customers. It is refreshing when compared to the Starbucks and such with their “Hotspots” and similar pay by the hour/day/month access services. It is this kind of customer service that is so lacking in the world today. Too much, it seams, it’s all about the mighty dollar. That, however, is a rant for a different day. There is no need to spoil a perfectly serene moment with what is wrong in the world.
That leaves, for me, an appreciation for what is right. That’s right, what’s right. I think that sometimes we forget to appreciate the marvel that life really is. I have been known to speak of perspective on this site and today is no exception. Although it is easy to point to someone who may have it worse than me and be grateful in that respect, I think that gratitude can more effectively be gained from an appreciation for what is regardless of what isn’t.
Gratitude by comparison sets one up for the opposite effect – envy. The same means of measuring oneself against another stratifies the outcome in that in one respect I can come out “on top,” in another I will come up short. Then the questions start to come: Why me? How come I never get that kind of luck? Why not me? Indeed, why not? Luck is created, not granted. It is a consequence, not a precursor. It is perspective. All the luck in the world will not make one successful, desirable or happy – it will not give me serenity.
Being at peace is not a result, it is an action. It takes effort to get and stay here. It is an ongoing practice, a skill that can be improved, but like any other skill, it will erode without daily maintenance – without practice. It doesn't serve me near as well to get all sideways and try to fight my way back to this place as it does to do the preemptive work necessary to stay here. It is about keeping a positive outlook even when it is not needed.
I look for the good in everything. This is sometimes not only difficult, but impossible to find. If I end up with no resolution, no peace… if I find that best I can do is fret about a given person, place or thing - some situation, I’ll move on. Spending mental energy to create negativism does not serve me or anyone else. It is a waste of time. At any given time there are numerous things I can do that do have a positive effect. That I can shift gears and arrive at the next positive place takes awareness and an ability – developed over time and with practice – to just step away and get a better look at the big picture and then act accordingly. It takes a different perspective.