I awoke this morning to my daily email delivery of the New York Times and the headline read ”Nation’s Mood at Lowest Level in Two Years, Poll Shows”
I get the paper delivered to me each day in order to kind of keep up on things that are happening in the world. The Times (I feel) has a good range of both national and world articles and does a good job in keeping me updated with what is happening. I also get the Chicago Tribune sent to me, which arrives around lunch. Unlike the Times, the Tribune has more local stories about things happening in the Chicago area. I like that too because it keep me close to my roots in Chicago. When reading it, I feel like I am still connected to a place that I grew up. Somehow I find comfort in that.
As you may or may not remember, I do not have regular television. I realized that in this day and age that is practically unheard of, but it is true. We do own a 50 inch screen, but it is networked with our computers and when we do watch, we spend most of our time watching instructional DVD’s or older series of shows or movies and what is available via the computer. I haven’t seen a commercial in over two years here at home. I don’t think that is a bad thing at all.
While on my recent adventure, many nights were spent in various hotel rooms. I can honestly say that the only time the TV was even turned on was one night in the first room in Saratoga Springs. I don’t even know which show was on and couldn’t tell you if someone had a gun to my head, but I suppose that it just goes to show how little importance it is to me. The most we watched anything was at my son’s house one night we sat in on a couple of shows from The Food Network. I like cooking shows and I do sometime miss that. But not really enough to subscribe.
So why am I off on this tangent, you may ask?
I suppose reading that headline made me realize something. Many times I am asked how I stay so upbeat and positive all the time. For you who read regularly, you know that I do have my up days and my down days, but I try to stay focused on the positive and good aspects of life and look at it from what I refer to as my “pink cloud world”. Even pink clouds get dark some days though. And it is my own responsibility to pull myself back up again.
I have a wonderful friend who taught me that we follow where we focus. It is a simple statement to me and makes a lot of sense. For myself (and I am only talking of myself) I choose not to bombard myself with and focus on the negative things and people around me. I find that if I look for the positive things in people and life, there is certainly enough good happening around me to fill up the day. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for the negative things.
That doesn’t mean that I have no compassion for what others are going through – I think it is quite the opposite. But I feel that in some very small way I do help people by being positive and introducing positive things for them to focus on. It may seem trivial to some, but I find that people in general are looking for happiness and hope and migrate to positive things. And that is good.
In reading down the list of my emails further this morning, I saw an email from an old friend that I have not spoken to in over a year. He lives near Digby where I used to live and he had several major tragedies in his life in the past several years. When I lived closer, he and his wife and I had become good friends. At the time, I was going through some difficult times myself and they were both there through the worst of it with me. I was alone then and they had each other and together they supported me with their kindness and friendship. As things got better for me, I in turn did my best to support them and help them as friends. That is what true friendship is.
With me moving, it has been difficult for me to keep in touch with them. They don’t have a phone which makes it very hard. The busy-ness of all our lives has caused us to lose touch.
But this email today, sitting right under the above headline from the Tiimes, was like a gift. My friend said that they had gone through hell, but now things were getting better. The letter told of their plight, and I was proud of them both for what they had overcome.
And then the final paragraph. It made me stop and really think about things and my life in general. Below is an excerpt from what was written:
I really hope you never, ever have any crap chase you
into your future because you have inspired me where no other
person ever has. You are the reason I set out, without fear, into
the market once again. You continued to forge ahead with the
world’s weight upon your shoulders ,nothing truly stopped
you and it is that persistent desire to succeed facing the worst the
world had to offer that motivates me now.
I am at a loss for words which can describe how I feel after reading these words. During my own difficult times, I only did what I could to survive. No more and no less. I couldn’t, however, have made it without friends like them and others who have helped me. I know that in my heart.
So why am I telling you this?
It isn’t to pat myself on the back and say “look what I did!” Please be assured of that. It is to ask you to look into yourself and understand how much each and every one of us affects the people around us. We do it without even realizing it. Through our actions. Through our creativity. Through our teaching. And of course, through our woodworking. We never know when others will look upon us as an example.
I had a different post that I was going to write today. But that can wait until tomorrow. I felt – especially after reading the headline in the New York Times, that this was more important. We all unknowingly touch so many lives throughout our day. There are people around us who are going through who knows what. Sometimes even just a smile or a small act of courtesy or kindness can go a long way to heal our wounded world. I hope you all think about that and remember it. You don’t know how many people you can potentially help.
Have a wonderful day!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"