I have, over the past few days, specifically, made it a point to be grateful. To look around me, and reflect, how beautiful life is, and how many gifts I truly receive each day. A friend of mine, Tim Williams, told me this, he learned it somewhere, that if you start your day by being thankful for five things, you will have a great day. I read quite a bit of Dr. Wayne Dyer, and he is big on gratitude, too. And I have seen, in people I respect, and desire to be more like, that they, too, spend more time in gratitude than 'the norm'. The opposite of gratitude - is complaining - about - everything.
Because the world around us, the culture we've built, is one to bitch about everything. Nothing is right. If an alien - a spaceman - came down and secreted himself amoungst us, it would be easy to see how he might report back, "these people are miserable, what a terrible place this planet earth is". By how we talk - how we talk about the problems, endlessly; I look at it anymore that people actually entertain themselves bitching about the world around them. But somewhere along the way, I moved from being just like that, to desperately wanting to ask, at the end of a good long scather about - oh - healthcare, the economy, the housing market, jobs, Iraq, Afghanistan, pollution, the government - I desperately want to ask - "so what are you DOING about it?". I don't ask - because I know the dumb stare I'll get - and I'm fearful then that I'm making them uncomfortable. No one wants to feel uncomfortable now, do they? So then I'm marked - I won't play nice and join in the fun; bitch about it all, nod my head in agreement, and be confident that the problem lies completely outside present company. We, ourselves, are blameless. "Nothing I could do!". It's the rich. It's the corporations. The government. Not our decisions - the ones we make every day - but someone else, somewhere else, out of reach of us.
Somewhere along the way I accepted in myself that I am changing the world. As I sit here now and breath in and out, I am changing the world. By such a tiny amount - but how do I know - that perhaps I was given gifts - that I have been ignoring the signs, the encouragements of those gifts for a lifetime - that God - has been so gently, so persistently been trying to convince me to use, when instead, I deny them. And I bitch. A significant amount of time in a life. And by accepting that as my culture, our culture, I look at the world in a different way - I fill it with bad, because that's all I talk about, hear, see - I invite it every day through the news, the conversations I have with people. I make - I - Make - the world a little worse place.
Or, I choose to make the world a better place. To reject the idea that the world is a bad place at all. That somehow it fits someone elses agenda - manipulation of me - to buy something, to not do something, to do something - to live in fear, and make stunted ill informed choices - including doing nothing - in fact, that being the most often - doing nothing - feeling slighted if one second of my oh-so-earned leisure time is infringed on - becoming so incredibly self involved in the trinkets, the baubles, the nothing of a lifetime. A new car, a vacation, a new electronic device, a new amusement; advertising tells us daily how we cannot be happy unless we do THIS. Buy THAT. And we are on the treadwheel for life - never quite getting there - to contentment - to satisfaction, because then we lose the will to buy, we might find the energy to do something that helps one another, rather then the one another purchasing a service for that, buying a device for that, supporting a candidate that says he will provide that for free.
Somewhere along the way this beautiful farm of ours changed me, as much as I changed it. Perhaps the faith I had in nurturing it, putting all my good intentions, all my hope into what I absolutely convinced myself could be a better future - and did the same with my children; that I would not accept 'that's how kids are today', that 'the education system has failed us' and on and on and on - I took responsibility, I took consistent action, considerable sacrifice over time, and I have done so long enough to see that it does work, it doesn't have to be 'that' way one tiny bit.
It's so easy to say, I'm just one person. I can't do anything. But now I train myself to think about all that I do - I ask myself this question: "So what if everyone thought that same way, would it be a better or worse world?". I can talk myself into thinking - boy what a monkey's uncle I am - everyone else is 'doing it' - and here I am denying myself that thinking I'm changing the world - and I can convince myself very easily if I let me - that the smart play is to go along, get what I can while I can, it's a dog eat dog world out there, no one's going to look out for me if I don't - but it's not true at all.
As my mind has changed, I have attracted into my life, beautiful, giving people. The rate of change has increased; my appreciation and belief in the wonderment of it all - and the radical humility that I didn't do this - but my creator - God to me, perhaps it's Buddah or Allah or even Nature - just something so powerful beyond yourself that defies explanation.
If I allow myself to be happy then I am; if I insist on being unhappy I am, if I decide there is nothing I can do there isn't, if I do, there is, if I choose to make my life about service to others I will, if I decide that it's all about me and my needs then that is what it will be.
I choose love.
I choose service.
I choose to surround myself with people that want more than anything to make a better world for their children - for your children - for everyone's children, and I will not be convinced otherwise by any one or any thing. I will stumble, I will fall, I will cry more than I ever thought I would, but I will also feel joy I never knew I could. I will give even when I know the receiver will show no gratitude. I will give a thousand times - if only to know the chance exists that it will help - I will be smart - and know that I want to do the most good in this life - and so I've got to learn, adapt, and grow, and be more efficient - choose my words better, feel humility deeper, speak from the heart more often.
I choose love.
Who will join me?