Have you ever looked at your life and questioned what you have achieved? Sometimes we get dissatisfied as we see ourselves still struggling; juggling our numerous commitments and responsibilities. We go on vacation and see how others live, and think we could be happier if only we lived there. If we live in the States we go home to Jamaica, check out the lives our friends are leading and think, maybe it would have been better if I had stayed. Or we get a glimpse of the lives others are leading as we scroll through their facebook pages and see nothing but happy times, smiling faces.
But that kind of thinking leads to bitterness and resentment. And it usually is not even grounded in facts. We have no idea what others are going through, or how hard they had to work for what they have. So how do we flip the switch on our thinking and recognize what we have, instead of keeping track of what we don’t have? Buddhists tell you that what brings pain and suffering in our lives is wishing that things were different from how they are. Yearning for our situations to be change. Peace of mind comes from accepting what you have and being happy with it. Not only that, but once you flip that switch, you actually begin to see how much you do have.
How do you make the most of your life, even if it is stressful, challenging, not what you thought it would be? One secret is to savor the little things of life. Take a moment to appreciate the sky when you step outside in the morning. Notice that beautiful rose in the garden. As you prepare a salad relish the texture and colors of the vegetables you are handling. Treasure the conversations you have with your friends and family. Life is fleeting and things change suddenly. You never know…
Remember that your brain believes what you tell it. Perception is reality to your brain. So if you look out and see rain, tell your brain you are looking at Dunns River Falls, and it will believe you, and give you a rush of neurotransmitters and a glow of happiness. If you are facing a boring day at work, tell yourself you have the most exciting job in the world! If you are stuck behind a slowpoke driver, tell yourself that he is saving you from getting in an accident up the road. Change your perception, become an optimist. Bad things may happen, but don’t waste the good times dreading them!
There is a photo shared on facebook, a negative print of a woman. Remember when we used to take our films to the drugstore to get printed? We would get a strip of the ‘negatives’ for future reprinting. There may be those who have no idea what that means today with our digital world! But when you focus on this negative print, at a bright red spot on her nose for 30 seconds, then look away to a blank surface you see the normal view of the woman. This demonstrates my point perfectly – when you look at a negative situation, focus on the one bright spot. Your brain will then see the positive.
Deepak Chopra has written about the fact that happy people are good for your wellbeing. Be one of those happy people that make others better! Don’t waste your time or life on being negative; focus on the good things in your life. Flip that switch! Savor the moments and put your best face forwards – you will attract good things when you seek the positive. Oprah often speaks about gratitude; it is when you truly appreciate what you have, no matter how little that may appear, that you receive more blessings.
I have lived in flat South Florida for many years now, and long to see mountains every day. When it is a cloudy day down here, I pretend there are mountains hidden behind the clouds. It may sound silly, but it works. I would love to go and live up in the hills, but until that is really possible, I turn my flatlands into my dreamscape. It’s not that crazy!
So make the most of today, don’t wish you were somewhere else; celebrate the life you are leading now. Trust me, there is someone in the world wishing they were you, wishing they lived where you live, and wishing they had your job. Flip the switch, look at the bright side, and love your life. To adapt an old song: “And if you can’t live in the life you love; love the life you’re in.”
Have a great Friday family; a great weekend, and a great life!