It all started innocently enough. I began sharing some of my thoughts and what I've learned through this process of recovery and self-improvement in the form of "notes" on Facebook. Slowly, people began to respond beginning in the summer and fall of 2009. I want to emphasize this point, however; I am neither a preacher nor do I wish to be. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not one to quote scripture and far be it from me of all people, to give advice to others or judge their character or manner of living. I set a poor example because of my own actions for years. Still, there is some truth to these statements people have said about me. I DO have a tendency to "preach", but that's not my intent. I'm merely sharing some of my own personal experiences that I've found helpful in this life journey. And, Lord knows, I have moments like everyone else. Moments of self-doubt and a tendency in not "practicing what I preach." I'm human, just like you, and we all make mistakes. Isn't that what life is about? It's a never-ending journey of self-discovery and self-improvement.
One of the ways I've discovered that has been very helpful during this time is the notion of staying POSITIVE. What many people don't know, that I wish to share with you now, is my "little black book" entitled very simply, "Twenty-Four Hours a Day." It was given to me over 4 years ago and it's been with me ever since. This book has "seen" a lot during that time and there's a reason for that. You might say God made sure!
Basically, this 3" x 6" book, published by Hazelden, contains Thoughts, Meditations, and Prayers of the Day for every day of the year. I have roughly 20 or so pages dog-eared that stand out, many of which I've shared on my Facebook page, but one stands out the most. It's October 16th and here is the Meditation for that Day:
"If your heart is right, your world will be right. The beginning of all reform must be in yourself. It's not what happens to you, it's how you take it. However restricted your circumstances, however little you may be able to remedy personal issues, career matters, or financial affairs, you can always turn to your inward self and, seeing something not in order there, seek to right it. And as all reform is from within outward, you will always find that the outward is improved as the inward is improved. As you improve yourself, your outward circumstances will change for the better. The power released from within yourself will change your outward life."
If you read that short paragraph a few times, you will see it carries a very powerful message. It's more than just words though. When I first read it myself, I wasn't really sure how I could APPLY this message in a PRACTICAL sense in day-to-day life. Since then, however, it has morphed into something that carries a HUGE impact on my life today and in the way I interact with others.
For example, I've encountered, and CONTINUE to encounter people every day who seem to see nothing but negative in their life. Call it law of attraction, self-fulfilling prophecy, or whatever term you wish to use, it all means the same. You think and act negatively, then you will get negative results. Of course, it CAN work the other way and that's what I WANT in my life. I WANT solutions, I WANT positive people in my life, people with energy to move forward in a positive way, both with their own lives and with others. Many times though, I've discovered God puts people in my life that run counter to this desire and the reason is to test my character and strength. More importantly, I believe He's using me in those situations as a channel to help others. Here's what I mean.
When I first read that meditation, I was struck by the thought that it was written on October 16th, the day my daughter was born. I shared that meditation in the form of one of my very first Facebook "notes" in the fall of 2009. And it's one that many people have responded to in a POSITIVE way. They find it inspiring. Though my daughter hasn't responded directly to me about it, I know for a fact this way of living has had a positive impact on her life. There are others I know, particularly within my own family, who don't seem to "cotton" to this concept quite yet. It's these people I will continue to reach out to, including people I hardly know. Why? Because people NEED it. In a world so full of negative news, lack of trust, lack of truth, lack of security, and lack of hope, people are thirsting for something, ANYTHING, that can give them cause to burst out of bed in the morning with a surge of positive energy about their lives.
People are hurting. The economy is bad, people are tired of dirty politics, dead-end jobs, financial problems, substance abuse, family issues, the list goes on and on. I call it the "Negative Vortex." Once you're in it, and believe me, I was DEEP in it, its darned tough to get out of that cycle. But, I found hope and that started within myself. People can say well, "You have to have a relationship with God" during trying times. I don't discount that and I do have one, in my own way. But, the bottom line is it still comes down to YOU. No ONE person and no ONE thing can MAKE you happy, not even God. People can complain all they want about their lives, that their job would be better if they had a different supervisor, if they only had money they would be happy, if they had this or had that, it all doesn't matter in the end. At the end of the day, it's gut-check time. What am I going to do about it? What are YOU going to do about it? It starts with me and it starts with each one of us. If something isn't "right" in our lives, we need to look "inside" first, rather than expecting our world to change for us. Once we do that, and start changing from within, our outward circumstances will change for the better. The power released from within ourselves will change our world.
When I hear people complain or speak negatively about their lives in whatever fashion, these questions pop into my head, questions I sometimes ask, "Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have a job? Are you healthy for the most part? Do you have a car? Money in the bank? Food?" These are the basic necessities of life and that's the whole point. If you are ALIVE and live in a country that allows you the FREEDOM to choose the way you want to live, what ELSE could you ask for? Those other things are icing on the cake! So, be grateful for them! Don't complain that it's not enough or not just EXACTLY what you what. Be thankful for what you DO have and most of all, speak, act, and live POSITIVELY if you want something better for yourself and your family. YOU have that power. And YOU have the choice to use it. Question is, are you going to use it positively or negatively? I know what I want. Do YOU?