The decision to be happy can seem a bit obnoxious, but my attitude decides my experience. Some people think I live in my own little world full of hearts and flowers, completely unaware of harsh facts of reality, but that is untrue. I am not blind to the fact that our society is crumpling into a state of apathy, but getting mired down in the same negativity that caused this mess isn't going to fix anything.
Changing the state of this world begins within the state of our consciousness. The shift is subtle, first taking place at home and in our communities. Then the ripples are seen at work, when we no longer recognize where our job ends and another begins. And suddenly, there is an awareness beyond our front doors when a simple question is asked: What would happen if I stopped focusing on lack and limitation, and put all of my energy towards achieving instead?
I happen to know the outcome of this scenario. Why? Because the principle applies directly to me. Born in the disease called poverty, I spent the first 23 years of my life looking for a way to escape reality. Internal dialogue was deciding my experience and my perception wasn't pleasant. Have you ever noticed how everything goes wrong when you are having a bad day, or experienced contamination from another person's negativity? That is because discontentment is highly contagious and very destructive. If you agree with this theory, then the opposite must be true as well. A positive attitude can change everything.
What do you think would happen right now if I told you your happiness is only a thought away? Or your dreams are right there...waiting for you? Chances are you wouldn't believe me. You would give several justifiable reasons to why your aspirations are beyond your reach, but I'm asking you to humor me for just a minute. Think about what makes life worth living. If all of these blocks weren't in place, how would you spend your time? Something came to mind, I'm sure of it and the next step is pretty easy. Like the Nike ad says: "Just do it!" Stop worrying whether you have the talent or know how. That comes later with experience
Now, I'm not telling you to quit your day job in pursuit of rock and roll stardom. The chances of that happening are very unlikely, but I do want you to pick up your guitar and sing a few chords. Write a new song and see where that leads. Take a paint brush and dip it in oils, revealing a picture of your inner heart. The picture might not be perfect at first, but whose heart is? Coach a little league team, write a blog, or simply sit quietly with a child and read your favorite book. Maybe you find joy in cooking or spending an afternoon with a friend. Find whatever fills you with light. Give yourself permission to experience the joy and heartache that comes with loving. As your confidence grows, positive energy will take root and you will no longer care about the endless list of grievances towards your fellow men. See how your perception changes everyone around you?
Contentment is a state of mind that comes with achieving something unique to our experiences and sharing our joy and heartache with others. I may seem annoyingly optimistic at times, but that is because my heart is overflowing with love and gratitude for this life I have chosen. Everyday is another opportunity to bask in the miracle I could not see for so long. Open your eyes and walk with me, my friends. Together, we can move the blocks in front of us, rock by rock, if you are willing to believe it is possible...
Friday, December 16, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
From the time I was a small child, I have always struggled with feelings of inadequacy. Born with Attention Deficit Disorder and raised in feral environment, I fought my own brain, trying to comprehend the simplest tasks—like tying my shoes and addition. I watched my classmates excel above me in every way, both academically and socially, overwhelmed by an insurmountable closed gate between me and my dreams. They went on to college, but a higher education wasn’t even a consideration for someone like me. I told myself that the opinions of “they” didn’t matter, but my self-worth was slowly eroding away. How could I not feel insignificant when I failed in every measure society placed value on?
I’m not telling you any of this to have your pity, but to help you understand my inner workings. I learned to accept my limitations many years ago, and if I let my head do its thing, we actually mesh quite well. On most days, the voice inside declaring me sorely lacking remains silent, but I do have my moments, like today, when all of my previous feelings of insecurity come flooding back. I am torn down to my bare essence and faced with the same gate, taunting me. It is times like this, when I pose the same questions over and over…
Why have I chosen this path where rejection sits at every corner? Haven't I had enough of that already? What makes me believe that I even have a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding? There are times when I consider calling an ugly duckling an ugly duck, but the thought of giving up my dream and moving on is far more painful than being told I am deficient. Perhaps my childhood was only conditioning for what lies ahead. I know one thing for sure: quitting is not an option, but I have also decided that I can’t count on the doors miraculously flinging open either. I knew this going in, but I can’t change my hope or direction anymore than a leaf twisting in the wind can. As my thoughts keep circling back, I come to the same conclusion—I am not doing this for money or even recognition. I write because the alternative is too bleak to even consider.