These are words that a friend of mine posted today. I happen to have spent part of my day with her, and I agree with her seemingly simple assessment. How often do we fully recognize, give thanks for, and share our beautiful days??? How often is there “something” that gets to us or causes us angst and “ruins” our day? Why do we LET that happen? I am a firm believer in the fact that it isn’t WHAT happens but how one reacts that truly matters. We can’t always control the events, but we can control our attitude and our ability to show grace.
Today was a beautiful day because I spent it with some wonderful people from my not so distant and very distant past, had what was called by a friend a “divine intervention” type meeting/conversation, got to meet some new people, spent time talking about one of my favorite subjects, and was able to participate in a beginner yoga class that really “spoke” to me. I was also thrilled the temperature was such that I DID NOT have to wear a coat to walk Max today, and the snow melted. (I don’t like cold temps in case you didn’t know!! I’m a summertime and beach loving girl through and through!)
I’ve learned that since the recent deaths of my mom and husband, even the most magnificent moments are bittersweet; however, somehow the loss also makes me more aware of beauty and artistry. Life is SO fragile and tumultuous. One moment we can seemingly have everything and the next….it’s gone. Then just as quickly, we can have it again. It’s probably ALL an illusion; therefore, that’s why I always circle back to my belief that the only real thing is our attitude. I am sad that I lost those I loved, and I ache to talk to them; however, I am so so lucky to have had them, despite it not being nearly long enough. Is it ever long enough for our oh so programed to be time conscious minds?? Today during yoga, I swear I heard my husband talking to me a couple of times. Crazy? Maybe it is, but I’ll take more of that kind of crazy! I think it’s just that I often want him to talk to me so badly, that I don’t actually listen. Today I was just focused on the moment and at peace, so I heard him. That was beautiful!
On this particular Saturday, I also heard quite a bit of pain through a phone call from an old friend. It seems that she is having trouble finding any hope or joy. That makes me so sad for her and for others I know who suffer from hopelessness and depression. I know sometimes I FEEL lost, sad, and lonely; however, in my case, I am lucky that those feelings are usually fleeting. I haven’t given up on hope and joy even in the moments when I feel they might have given up on me. When I see and hear other’s pain, it makes me even more appreciative of whatever it is that I have in my chemical makeup that allows me to stay out of the darkest depths of despair. I can only lend an ear and pray that her torment (and the persecution of others by their own thoughts) will lessen soon.
There is always going to be awful with the good, sickness with health, dark before the light, and thorns on the roses. What can we do to enable ourselves and those we touch to focus on the beautiful instead of the ugly? Can we stop thinking about that which ruined our day and focus more on those things and people that bring joy? Slow down a little and recognize the beauty? Spend a silent moment being grateful for it? It might lower our blood pressure and lessen our heart attack risk a little. It certainly couldn’t hurt any of us.
A universal theme taught in most religions is to get outside of self to find joy. Help one another; love one another– no matter if enemies, neighbors, or friends. I know I find much more beauty on the days that I step outside of my own pity party and see what else is out there, even if I encounter the problems of others.
One last thought that I’ll leave you with on this, one of many beautiful days, came from my old friend as she taught today’s yoga class. Her chosen theme for class was focusing on Compassion for others and for self. Think about that. Do we do it enough? Do we give others the benefit of the doubt? What about ourselves? The following is a poem that was a fitting end to our class from one of my favorite authors who also happens to be from Arkansas–Miller Williams.
Have compassion for everyone you meet,
even if they don’t want it. What seems conceit,
bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign
of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on
down there where the spirit meets the bone.
Oh, and Miller’s daughter, Lucinda Williams, also performs this poem as a song. Link to Lucinda performing “Compassion”
Image credit: “Compassion,” painting by Mary Southard.