When my kids were young, I took them to an amazing dental practice. This particular dental practice had always struck me as the most enlightened of pediatric affairs. When one arrived with children in tow, cheeful hygienists and assistants greeted you and immediately whisked your children away for the duration of the visit. The children were never made to wait with you in an actual “waiting room” where you might have to nag them or shush them….no! They were immediately taken to “the back” where they awaited their turns alternating between game stations, video games and dental chairs. You, the parent, had at least 30 minutes to relax, peruse a magazine, read a book or sit to enjoy the momentary quiet. The children were delivered back and you never had to “mom” them through the visit.

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On one such visit, after my own children had been promptly escorted to their appointments, a fellow mom came into the waiting room. Once her children were also escorted away, she immediately got on the phone to a friend. She was recounting some terrible and negative event that had happened that day. After hanging up, the same lady dialed another number and repeated the same negative story and some additional crises. Following her second phone call, she made a third call and told the story yet again. With each retelling, this poor woman got visibly upset. I watched her dive deeper into the negative aspects of her past as she not only retold her tale, but re-experienced it with each conversation. She was completely missing the glory and peace of the waiting room. She was wasting a chance to regroup and move on.

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Her day sounded like a series of adversity adventures written by Lemony Snicket. The worst part was that it didn’t have to continue. She could have stopped re-experiencing those negative things in the waiting room. “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become,” said Buddha. We all have a choice to see the bright side, or to see the cloud in every silver lining. We can decide to get stuck and repeat or to change our attitude and move along.

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Firm Up Your Focus

The trick to happiness is the cultivation of positivity and abundance in the mind. That means being aware of your attitudes and opinions. When the outer events are unexpected or less than delightful, you have the divinely-given-creative-ability to make it otherwise. What you think about, you give power to. There is always bad stuff, but there is also much to celebrate. Often we just need to make an internal shift of focus.

Here are 5 ways to feel positive, to radiate abundance and to get peaceful from the inside out:

1) Be grateful for all the things that brought you to your current place in life.

Yes, this means that even the “bad” stuff can be celebrated because it was an integral part of what made you who you are. Day doesn’t exist without night, and light doesn’t exist without dark. It’s the rainy days that help make the sunny days so sweet. Learn to appreciate the bad stuff not just as obstacles or stumbling blocks, but as stepping stones and life lessons that can be used for success in the future.

2) Expect and anticipate goodness from everyone all the time.

Johann Goethe, the famous philosopher said, “What gets measured, gets done.” Expectations are a powerful, invisible force in the world. Your expectations can create an atmosphere of possibility and potential. Those around you will rise to meet it. It’s why the medical community can observe the placebo effect in research and must take measures to take it into account. Life is what it is, but you can make it what it will become.

3) Forget the negative stuff immediately.

Reliving, retelling and remembering will only reinforce that which you maybe never even wanted to have happen. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do the work of processing or understanding. It does mean, though, that eventually, you have to move on. Stop using the negative stuff as an excuse, as gossip, or as fodder for your next conversation. Let the negative fade as it should, into the backshelf and background of your life.

4) Don’t confuse excellence with perfection.

The word perfect comes from two roots: “per” meaning “through”, and “fect” meaning “made”. Made- through. As in complete or finished. This means that “perfect” is NOT about flawlessness; it is about balance or completeness. Know that almost nothing in life can actually be flawless, but with a balanced approach to life’s circumstances, anything can be made complete. Efforts at generosity and kindness bring soul-quality to the world, and that makes anything perfect.

5) Remember that treading water IS swimming

Treading water develops strength just as moving through the water does. Swimming laps might have a satisfying aspect, but it’s not always possible to move ahead. Learn to appreciate your routine, your sameness, your old car, and the worn out shoes. It will change soon enough, as life always does, without always thinking about it too much. Know that “this too shall pass”. Appreciate the mundane and ordinary. As Mary Poppins said, “Enough is as good as a feast!” BE the sunshine for the world. Celebrate the positive. Focus on silver linings…Revere a good attitude. Your life will follow your mind.

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2 Comments on Are You Celebrating Abundance or Dramatizing Lack?

  1. kelly
    October 15, 2015 at 6:22 pm (9 years ago)

    I love these words! Thank you for reminding me to be more grateful for my wonderful life. What a good reminder for the upcoming thanksgiving season.

  2. Burnell Yow!
    November 23, 2015 at 12:08 am (8 years ago)

    You are radiant, Mara!! Thank you.


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