Monday, February 20, 2017

Gratitude Opens The Door to One's Heart

I have always been impressed with people who have a positive attitude. I sense that it starts with gratitude. People who are grateful for what they have show that in their countenance. You can see that in their face and especially in their eyes.

We all love to be around such people. What keeps us from being that way? . We live in a world of negativity. It seems like the media thrives on this. Are we going to allow the television, movies and newspapers to control our attitude? I hope not. We control our destiny. Looking back on this recent presidential campaign both parties seemed to thrive on criticizing one another. The more they could dig up “dark secrets” from the past the more influence they could have on the voters. Think back on how you felt listening to what they were saying?

Our minds are a product of what we put into them. Consider some of the following: 1. Read things that lift you up and make you feel good about yourself; 2.Genuinely compliment others; . I love reading biographies of notable people like Lincoln and Churchill.  I have read their biographies  and learned much about why they were life. They both had their share of adversity and trials however they persevered. They did not let those setbacks take control of their thoughts. They believed in themselves

Abraham Lincoln chose some of the members in his cabinet from those who ran against him during the campaign for president.  When asked why he said this country deserves the best minds to represent the country.  He would not deprive us of the gifts they can share in such a capacity.  He was our president at a time when our country was divided.  I am convinced that he was the only one who could have led our country at that time.

My dear friends.  We are each blessed with a unique story. We each have a unique set of experiences that has brought us to this point in our lives.  I love to hear of those defining moments in one’s life. Those “trigger points” like the ones I will be sharing. Share those with your friends. That is why I am so passionate about biographies.

Much has been written on this subject and yet we fall into the same trap. We allow the negativity around us to control our thoughts and our attitude. We are agents to act and not to be acted upon. We are not victims of our circumstances.

I challenge any who might read this blog. Do some serious self reflecting. If you're like me you have read a great deal of material on this subject. I am going to go back to what I started with. Truly be grateful for what you have. Find your ways to express it. One of my ways is through music. I love “You Raise Me Up” and “Climb Every Mountain”. I have created links to these two musical numbers. There are beautiful videos that go with the music that add to the experience. You can move that bar at the bottom of the video to move it to the video portions. Try it before you continue with this blog. See if it motivates you like it does me.

Another is through inspirational talks. One of my favorites involved a man's skiing experience with his grandson. I am going to try to create a link to his talk. He fell, got stuck in the snow and could not get up. His grandson came to him and said: "Oopa get up now." After all his futile efforts, it was those words from his grandson that inspired him and gave him what he needed to get up. Again, before moving on try this link.

Do this every day. Be creative with it. You may want to do it differently every day. I love to paint water colors. You could express your gratitude by painting a beautiful scene. You could do the same with photography of a sunset. Gratitude can be expressed in a smile or letting a person know you love them

I have always been impressed with a quote of JFK: He is famous for his expression in asking not what this country can do for us, but what we can do for this country.  He was the first president I voted for and that thought inspired me to enter the Peace Corps after my graduation from the University of Illinois which I have already shared with you. That experience came in my life just months after he was assassinated.  

Think about what people will say about you at your funeral.  If we truly want to make a difference, find ways such as these or others that may be constructive passions in your life to get you fired up. This will make you more productive and you will be the agent who acts and not the one that is acted upon.  You will be the one others enjoy being around.

We live in a wonderful country . Let us not take for granted the precious freedom we enjoy here.  Many gave their lives for that freedom.  I love the history of our country that led to the formation of our constitution. Do not hesitate to express and show gratitude for this wonderful country and that precious freedom.

It is so interesting to contemplate the dynamics of the world we live in. There are two forces at work: good and bad.  We are either influenced by one or the other.  I remember hearing an analogy of three stick figures running in the same direction. The one in front is the positive force and the one in the middle is us. The one behind is the negative force.  Our objective is to keep up with the positive force. If we fall back the negative force takes charge.  Our ability to stay connected to the positive force becomes easier the more often we keep up and stay connected to it.

If we are serious about living a happy life, let us find a way to stay connected to positive forces.  Those forces start with gratitude and build from there.  These forces are infectious.  They not only become stronger in ourselves but radiate or affect those we associate with. We are creatures of habit and the more this becomes part of our makeup the stronger it gets. “What we will eventually be we are now becoming.”

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