Monday, March 06, 2006

What's Right

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.


neal said...

I guess it is kinda like the old 'is your glass half empty or half full' way of looking at things. I am the half full kinda guy and my wife is the half empty. I take what life gives me and try to go with the flow. I do get upset about some things but I try not to let the little stuff bother me.

Ellen said...

I found that it became tiresome to keep worrying about the little stuff.... and most of it is all little stuff. Maybe I'm just getting old....

Taking time to stop and smell the roses a bit made me realize that picking my battles was an important key, and it helps me to keep focased better. Things fall into place as long as I am aware that everything has a place.

I've fallen so many times, and risen back up, because of my survival tactics. It was all a matter of getting my head back into the right place to do it, and not blaming everything and everybody else on the negative that comes up.
Life's a beach!

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I'm basically a glass half empty person..BUT, at the same time, what brings me joy and perspective and serenity I find are the things of Garden, the plants, the flowers, the Birds, The Lizards, my cat, etc... More than people...these things that somehow give me a feeling of hope and a piece of serenity..I Thank Whomever for them, and if there is a God, it's in these things which grow and flourish, often, in spite of what we do to stop them....

X said...

LOL, I have my days :) I am usually a positive person and I make the best at what the day gives me...but when I look at the bigger picture and everything that must be done in my life - or what must be achieved to make myself feel accomplished - I panic and get negative. I will one day learn to stop spazzing and take in all life has to offer without worrying so much :)

Bar L. said...

Mike, I would like to stand up and applaud after reading this!

I have been struggling with the peace issue because was mis-interpreting something I read in the Bible (Phil 4:6-7, BUT when I read vs. 8 it basically says what you just said, think about the good, the positive, the be thankful.

Thanks, Mike for confirming something that's been on my mind lately.

Oh, and - Peace Out!!

Saur♥Kraut said...

You are doing so well, you should be proud of yourself. The positive attitude is healthy both for yourself and those of us whom you effect.

The coffee shop looks wonderful! I wish WE had one here, instead of that horrid Starbucks.

JR said...

Hello Mr. A., didn't notice you had this blog site as well, so this is my first visit here. I'm a half-full type of person. In general, most people say I'm very calm, laid back and go with the flow. Those are the people who don't know me very well. In addition to being all of the above, I'm also very passionate about creating my life, instigating change for the better, and when I spin my wheels for just so long and feel like nothing I'm doing is making a difference, then I get stressed for a short while, before I blow my top, then I'm back on an even keel. I do need to "recognize the things I cannot change" and stop wasting my time on them. But some things grab me like puzzles and I just think if I examine it long enough, chisel away at the problem, I might someday solve it. That seldom works, but the fact that it has worked on occasion feeds my perverse need to run into brick walls until I figure out how to go over, under, around or through them. There aren't many brick walls I've walked away from. But I think I would find more peace in my life if when I spotted those brick walls, I had enough sense to go down a different path. *sigh*

blair said...

I used to be one of those people who smiled ALL of the time. People thought I was on drugs. I wasn't. I was just happy. I found the more I learned and the wiser I became, the more my smile turned upside down. Ignorance is bliss. But then I found that to be positive in the face of knowledge and doubt was the ultimate challenge! It is almost an unnatural feeling at first but can be fun as well. I like to turn others around. That really makes my day. Negativity is a disease that spreads like wild fire.

On the pay as you go wireless internet - nothing positive about that. I would like to find a coffee house that offers it free? Where do you go Mike?

Lee Ann said...

Have you ever noticed how much more fun it is to be around a positive type person?

Sorry, I just had to throw that in!

Mike, I also wanted to tell you that you are great, thank you for the encouragement!

Helene said...

Nice blog! I wrote a blog on happiness and the meaning of life. I found research that actually supports your ideas here that it is a skill or as they put it, a choice.

I do think that you can find some good in anything. When my brother took his life for instance... not much could be worse... but I found peace in knowing that his struggle was over. I found peace in the fact that he was found on his bed and not in the street somewhere... that is was an overdose not a violent end... ok perhaps TMI sorry, but it goes to support your thought that you can find positive everywhere if you choose to do so.

With that all being said, I dont do this all the time! I am currently sitting and wallowing in self pitty about one issue in my life. A biggie, but I am not choosing to see the positive. Sometimes we know what to do but just dont do it!

JR said...

Oops, sorry about the mix up with the blogs. I must have visited one too many last night. I kept seeing your picture in the different comments windows and I was visiting Aginoth's page and well, somehow my brain crunched your picture with Aggie's blog. I was wondering why the CA address if you were living in the UK. Please forgive my blonde moment. :-)

Unknown said...

NEW POST!!!! Come and see for yourself! :)

Lacey said...

Hey Mike, where is this cool coffee shop? I'd like to check it out sometime.

Yay for cool places. :)

Kathleen Jennette said...

Thanks for this. If we just logged into the positive everything should turn out just the way it is suppose to be. I just like to stay happy and to be nice. Being nice is a good start to a good day.

Unknown said...

You wrote: 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.

Beautiful words, and so true. Thanks for sharing, Mike. Keep spreading the sunshine. Like you say, it must be cultivated; it's not a given.


WooleyBugger said...

I am a 'the glass is half full' sort myself.
I rememeber when I was young, my father gave me that test. He said there was no right or wrong answer to it.
When I said the glass was half full he asked me what my reasoning was. My reply: "How could the glass be half empty if it was never full to start with".

Later in life I became very negative but a few years ago I began the walk back over to the positive side. It seems to piss those off around me though who wish to keep being negative. I find that worrying about each and every little detail is just a waste of time and energy.
So what if I forgot to take out the trash or left my wet towel on the bed. Is the world going to implode because of it? The plus side to look at is that I put my trash in the bag and I'm clean.