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I am seeing lots of info these days about how to stay positive regardless of the corona virus pandemic….and I figured why add to the noise? But, then I said, Why not? It’s my blog after all 🙂
I don’t know that I have anything especially unique to add to the information I have seen out there. Staying positive or happy in trying times is really largely the same as staying positive or happy in good times, truth be told.
What I wanted to focus on with this post is perspective.
“Every day may not be good…but there’s something good in every day”
― Alice Morse Earle
We Didn’t Start the Fire…
My parents grew up in The Great Depression. I grew up in the tumultuous 60’s. In the 50+ years I have been on this earth it seems like there’s always something to be worried or bothered about if that’s where you want to put your energy 🙂
I get it. It’s so easy to get drawn in with news and information coming at us from all angles! And there are real and valid concerns (like the corona virus and all the repercussions of containment).
When I was a teenager, I read On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross for school. And then a handful of other stories about people dying and the grace and happiness they found amidst their illness. This both surprised and impressed me 🙂
Yet, examples abound of people finding meaning and happiness, knowing how to stay positive, in extreme circumstances: Victor Frankl in a concentration camp, as well as the main character in Life is Beautiful (admittedly he is just loosely based on a true story, but he really moved me with his cheerfulness and spirit in completely horrible circumstances).
Helen Keller despite being deaf and blind and Nick Vujicic, born without arms or legs are two more examples off the top of my head. Nick is a painter, swimmer, skydiver, and motivational speaker!
Lessons From a Seagull
In high school, we read Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, and I wrote a paper entitled Perception vs Reality (don’t remember the subtitle 🙂 ) The gist of it was that one’s perception is reality…your reality. For Jonathan, flying was fun and adventurous. For the rest of the flock, flying was practical –flying for the fun of it was foolishness.
The reality of flying for Jonathan was not the reality of flying for the flock–for each of them, the “truth” about the external circumstance of flying had only to do with their internal state/perspective.
The point I am trying to make is that happiness is always a possibility, despite external circumstances or even personal challenges. It’s all about perspective and how you decide to look at things.
You can focus on what is wrong, what is missing, what might happen…or you can choose to look for and find goodness, beauty, kindness, love and so on.
So Now What?
So today we have a pandemic. It’s a bummer, for sure. But, as always, I am starting to hear stories of people figuring out how to stay positive…people helping people, people re-connecting with less distractions, people making the most of the forced distancing. I have also seen good ideas and solutions for various issues popping up and so on (yes, there are some negative stories of people hoarding supplies etc…but I am choosing not to dwell on that 🙂 ).
I am noticing kindness when I have to go out, and humor...lots of humor (I hope you picked up on the play on words in the title?)! And beauty. For example, I saw a flock of tufted titmice in a tree in the parking lot today. It’s not a great video but it was very cool in person. They moved from one tree to another in that cool way flocks of birds have of flying together…
On my drive to and from the store, I listened to my fave–Peter Mayer (from Minnesota). There were two songs in particular that seemed apropos of what I am sharing here. Here are some lyrics from Beauty of the World, album Catching Rain (italics mine):
If you look to the daily news
So that you can stay attuned to what matters
You might find that headlines
Don’t describe the beauty of the world
So if you hang your head straight out of bed
Because you read the doom and gloom and got discouraged
Ignore your computer screen
And look to see the beauty of the world
Beauty like the sun coming down
Beauty like a seed in the ground
Rising and reaching out, reaching for the sky
Beauty like the life in the land
Moving in your own two hands
Beauty like the wondrous chance to be alive
And here’s the audio:
The second snippet is from What If Love, also from the Catching Rain album:
Then when we feel undone
Or sick because we’ve been spun
Around on the wheel of despair
We can just breathe it in
Reach for that source again
Reach out to what’s already there
The mystery from whence we came
Just for a song let’s give it a name….What if Love is all it was
I love the idea of breathing in “source”…that I live and move and have my being in something mysterious and loving. ? I realize this thought may not speak to everyone …
Here’s Pete performing What If Love (live–song starts at 3:43 Pete likes to talk 🙂 ):
I don’t know if any of this will be helpful to you, my reader …the hope is that it will be! If you like the idea of happiness being a choice you can make, I have a free guide and planner here.
I will leave you with this Ted Talk about how to be happy every day. It’s a great idea for always, but also in a trying time. Giving and gratitude are real spirit boosters!
Stay safe, stay healthy, stay positive (in spirit, not for cornona virus!! 😉 )