Monday, July 19, 2010

Meditation: Attitude

“I am responsible. Although I may not be able to prevent the worst from happening, I am responsible for my attitude toward the inevitable misfortunes that darken life. Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.”
 ~ Walter Anderson
I need constant reminders that much of how we perceive life is shaped by our attitude towards our circumstances.  I have a bad habit of wallowing in misery when bad things happen.  This is especially true when I face physical pain - not only do I suffer physiologically, but also psychologically.  It requires an extraordinary effort to train my mind to avoid succombing to dark thoughts.  But it makes a huge difference when I'm able to do it.  And not only that, I know that Mayumi is watching me and I feel the weight of my responsibility to set a good example.  I want her to be a person of character.  I want her to experience joy in this life.  I want her to be an optimist.  Which means that I need to be that way, too (or at least try to be!).

This reminds me of a quote by Martin Luther King Jr: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."  This week I will focus on adjusting my attitude, especially during times of duress (terrible twos anyone?), with the understanding that I control my reponses, I mold my world and I have power over my own happiness.  "Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course." (William Shakespeare - Henry VI Part 3 in case you were curious).

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