When you look at this photo that I took minutes ago, what do you see?
(Click to enlarge the photo.) This is the view from my office as I write this, looking out over the Strait of Juan de Fuca toward the San Juan Islands (and on a clear day, beyond to Vancouver Island in British Columbia). This is the very edge of our country, a boundary between the U.S. and Canada.
That takes care of the geography, but what do you believe is happening in this photo? Surely there are ominous clouds hovering and rain falling somewhere.
• But is the storm advancing or receding?
• How big is the storm?
• Did you notice the sunlight on the water in the foreground?
• Did you see how it emphasizes whitecaps in the water?
• How about the seagull—is she battered by high winds or having fun riding the updrafts?
Clearly, a storm is either coming or going, and in truth it doesn’t matter which really happened. It does matter how you perceived it. Are you feeling engulfed with storms in your life right now? That’s an easy emotion to tap into at this time on our planet. What’s wrong with life is always available, and it’s easy to find people to wallow with.
What’s increasingly rare, are voices that still see light, that still observe opportunity, that still express gratitude every day for this magnificent earth we inhabit.
If you allow the Dow Jones Industrial Average to be your barometer, to color your emotional life, to drive your well-being, then you see your happiness as having an external source.
Try instead to meditate on what’s going well in your world. Make a gratitude list. Read it aloud. Tell your friends and family what you appreciate about them and about life. Honor the good that exists all around you if you just look for it. Living far from towns, I have a long drive to get anywhere, and sometimes I take that opportunity to speak aloud things I’m grateful for. I do this as a challenge, to name them and not stop until I reach my destination (which is often 30-some minutes away).
I have never run out of sources of gratitude.
It may feel like the sky is falling sometimes, but notice how it’s still up there.
Meditation can be an essential tool in coping with difficult times. Click on any of the following links for more information: