"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow." ~ Helen Keller

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hope and Change...REALLY.

This is a blog I have wanted to do for a long time. I actually set it up several months ago and then just left it on the back burner. Like so many of my "brilliant" ideas, I am good at thinking of them...but the following through...not so much! I am endeavoring to do better.

Well folks it's a new year, a new decade, a time for fresh starts. Thank GOD. I have been hearing so much talk lately about how 2000 to 2009 was the "decade from hell" and the "decade we would all like to forget." Hard to argue with. I mean it started out with 9/11, proceeded to two lengthy wars, corporate corruption, economic disaster, and a new president who promised "hope and change" but has yet to deliver.

I don't really want to make this about politics so I will just leave him out of it. I bring him up because he was such a figure of hope for so many...with this "decade from hell" winding down, I think a lot of people saw in him a chance for a fresh start. A lot of people are finding a fresh start isn't as easy as it sounds, and that "change" certainly doesn't happen over night.

The good news is change does happen, slowly and over time. If there are things in your life that are not working for you, you can change them. There are no quick fixes. Any one who has tried to lose weight or make money on the internet knows that. Fad diets and get rich quick schemes leave you feeling worse than before because you haven't changed anything, you feel like a doof, and you have shelled out money.

There is no "get happy overnight" scheme. If you want to enjoy your life, you have to work at it...every day. There are little things you can do each and every day to shift your thinking, change your attitude and turn the negativity around.

Let's face it, we live in an extremely difficult time and a very negative world. But that doesn't mean we can't find joy and hope and beauty on a daily basis. Even Holocaust prisoners found a way to not only survive, but even find joy in that awful situation.

Read the story of Victor Frankl and you will be beyond inspired. An Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist, Frankl was a prisoner in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. During his time there he concluded that no matter what the circumstances are around you, even if seemingly everything is taken from you and you are stripped of all your rights, no one can force you to be unhappy. You can choose joy just to spite the enemy, whatever it is.

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own wa

Victor Frankl went on to write a famous book about the meaning of life and did much work in the area of finding purpose in his work as a doctor. This sums up what he ascertained through his research and practice.

"We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one's predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation - just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer - we are challenged to change ourselves."

Remember, those are the words of a man who spent years in concentration camps. A brilliant man, a scientist and doctor, was abused and belittled in every way imaginable. The one thing the Nazis could not take from him was his hope.

I am so glad you stopped by, and I hope you will come back often. Let's work to build each other up. There is more than enough tearing down in this world. We all need a little encouragement from time to time. If I can help to provide that to you, then that is my honor and my joy.

God bless.