We don’t all have a choice about our circumstances in life — where and when you were born, your skin color, gender and medical condition when you were born, the resources your family had were all dealt to you.
We do have a choice about how we view our circumstances.
For everything I can think of to complain about in my life, I can easily think of two reasons to give thanks. It is my choice where to put my attention and intention.
We all have the power within us to tell these stories … to use our platforms, however big or small, online and off, to spread messages about good people doing good work. It’s common these days to complain about the mainstream media; but what can you do, as an individual, to counter that media? To diversify it? To add new voices and perspectives and information to the mix?
The answer is: You can do a lot. You can be the change you wish to see in the world, through what you share, and how you share it.
Her friend Sara Hill Isacson built on that idea by sharing a story on Facebook about her dad. It made me laugh and warmed my heart, so I asked Sara for permission to share here. I’ve preserved her e.e. cummings lack of capitalization so you get the full effect of her intimate voice.
“you can be the change you wish to see in the world, through what you share, and how you share it …” Amanda Hirsch
there are few things i believe in more. i love this wonderful and important post from Amanda’s fantastic blog (and not just because she describes my facebook posts as works of art — though i’ve gotta say that’s one of the coolest compliments i’ve ever received esp b/c it comes from one the coolest people i’ve ever known.)
when i was in my late 20’s, i went through a pretty tough time, so tough that i honestly became pretty convinced i’d somehow been cursed. i mentioned this to my father over brunch one morning. he was quiet for a few seconds (as a father should be when his kid tells him she believes her life’s problems are the result of a hex) then looked and me and said (in his wonderful nyc tough guy accent), “look sar, you think you’ve got shit? well guess what, everybody’s got shit. what defines you and your life is whether or not you let the shit stick to you. because if you let it stick to you, then your life’s gonna stink. you don’t want to walk around stinking, right? then you’ve got to deal with your shit, and find sweeter places to live and focus on, so better things stick to you.”
(it’s true, my dad’s a genius. and he’s a genius who often sends wake up texts with photos of the sunrise from whatever city he happens to be in. including this morning. he finds the good. and he shares it. and by doing so, he very actively makes my days, and my life better … as does my mom, who started my day with fresh homemade blueberry pie.)
as rob breszny puts it, “do you want to move and breathe amidst infertile chaos where nothing makes sense and no one really loves anyone? then speak with unconscious carelessness, expressing yourself lazily. constantly materialize and entertain angry thoughts in the privacy of your own imagination, beaming silent curses out into eternity.
or would you prefer to live in a realm that’s rich with fluid epiphanies and intriguing coincidences and mysterious harmonies? then be discerning and inventive in how you speak. turn your imagination into an ebullient laboratory where the somethings you create out of nothings are tinctured with the secret light you see in your dreams of invisible fire.”
i choose the second option. i very actively choose to find the good, to see the beauty, every single day. it is not always easy, but it always makes things better. and i promise to keep taking you along on this joyride as i go.
I choose to share this reminder to focus on the good, and hope you’ll share something good, too. If you do, Amanda’s encouraging us to use the hashtag #spreadthegood.
- Are you the kind of person who gets joy from life or who is irritated by life?
- Starting a gratitude journal
- Finding gratitude in grief
- Life’s messy and that’s OK
- I am thankful for: things that could have been worse
- 12 tips to cultivate your own happiness
- It was the best of times, it was the worst of times — which should I focus on?
- Are you being polished by life?
- What do you love?