Atlanta's George Murray circa 1982, winning Atlanta's first wheel-chair race.
“We can complain that rose bushes have thorns, or we can rejoice that thorn bushes have roses.” - Abraham Lincoln
♫ “You’ve got to accentuate the positive…♪ ♫” - Johnny Mercer
We are far better off when we are focusing on positive action rather than dwelling on negatives. This carries into many areas of endeavor. One of these is when we focus on “dont’s” rather than “do’s.” It can be something ordinary – like say we do not want to react badly to Aunt Mildred who always irritates us. We know we have to go to Mildred’s house this weekend, so what is our “self-talk?” If we spend our time telling ourselves we are not going to react to Mildred, we probably have ourselves pretty well convinced when we arrive that we are not going to react poorly no matter what Mildred does. So then we busy ourselves carefully analyzing everything she says so we know what it is that we are not reacting to. Even if Mildred doesn’t say anything that would usually set us off, our time with her is spent in anticipation that she will. If she doesn’t we will probably leave disappointed. If she does we will be proud of ourselves for not reacting or angry with ourselves for having reacted – both equally destructive manifestations of ego.
What if we instead say that we are going to Aunt Mildred’s and we are going to show love and understanding toward her no matter what she says or does? It is a completely different dynamic – we are looking for opportunities to connect rather than looking for fodder to congratulate ourselves over. The same applies to any behavior we want to change. If we focus on the behavior itself it tends to draw us in as never before. But if we develop and engage in a positive plan of action that precludes that behavior most of the struggle is lifted off of our shoulders.
The same holds true for guilt and shame. Are we going to make ourselves feel penitent or are we going to correct the behaviors, right the wrongs and bring ourselves back into alignment with the spirit? Are we going to live today trying to avoid doing things “wrong” and working to avoid “stepping on anyone’s toe” or are we going to focus on making the positive changes we can in our environment? Are we going to fall into self-pity over the things we are not or are we going to rejoice in what we are? Are we going to bemoan the things we cannot change or will we cheerfully engage the things we can? The choice is ours today – and we must remember, what we are doing with today is what we are doing with our life. Life is not something that is going to happen in the future – it is right here and it is right now. Let’s all embrace it today.
Today may I engage life.
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