Think about how many choices you make a day. When to set the alarm, what to have for breakfast, what to wear, which route to take to work, when to make a doctors' appointment, what to cook the kids for dinner? Sometimes I think I make a hundred decisions a day. Some decisions come quickly and others we ponder for hours, days, weeks. I've learned that one of the best decisions we can make for ourselves is deciding to be happy. That may seem hard to do with all of the challenges that are thrown at us on a daily basis. It's hard to be happy when you have piles of bills to pay, if you are struggling with a health crisis, if your kids or spouse seem ungrateful for your sacrifices, if you have to deal with difficult co-workers or a boss that doesn't recognize your worth - the list goes on and on. But, it's important that we don't let negative events or the negative energy of others invade our peace of mind. For me, one of the best ways to accomplish this is to focus on God's blessings, no matter how small.
I was facing a very challenging day. There were some things that were weighing heavily on my mind and I could feel myself having a small pity party and I wanted to put the brakes on it right away. So, I decided that I throughout the day, I was going to take note of any and everything that was beautiful, funny or that I was just plain grateful for. As soon as I put the words into the universe, the first thing happened: my dad called me. I always love talking to Dad because he's so philosophical and he always puts me in a good mood, letting me know that I can handle anything. It might have been a conversation that I took for granted before I decided that everything good that day was going to hold some significance. But, when I got off the phone, I gave thanks that I had my daddy and that he loves me. The next thing, that I took note of - the beautiful weather. It was a sunny and beautiful day. I had been watching the news and other parts of the country were dealing with tremendously cold weather. Being here in LA, we get spoiled with the good weather - taking it for granted. But, today, I gave thanks that the day was clear and I could see the mountains from my window. On my way to run errands for the day, I was distracted for a moment and about to miss my exit on the freeway. As, I tried to make my way from the middle lane to the right, a couple cars sped up preventing me from getting over. As I was about to get frustrated by the thought of having to go a mile out of my way, a nice woman slowed a bit so I could get over and I was able to make my exit. Small, but, today, I'm taking note of all that I can. In search of more stuff in the "good" column, I was in the elevator at the public building and this little boy looked at his mom and said, loudly, "Mommy, I have to poop!". The look on the mother's face caused everyone to smile. Was good enough for me. The day went on and I wrote down everything that I could: seeing an old friend in the post office who told me about the new Zumba class that she was teaching, a residual check for .01 cent that I was able to laugh with my girlfriend about, my cousin from Georgia sending me an encouraging text, a parking spot right in front of the mall - the list went on and on. On a usual day, most of these things would never have been remembered but, once I made the decision to be happy that day, they all made me feel better. By the end of the day, I had about 20 positive things written down and it made me realize that the blessings are always there - I just had to look for them. In no way do these things erase real problems and real problems still have to be dealt with. But, what I found was that I wasn't OVERWHELMED by the issues of the day, and it gave me the control over what to focus on. And, I have to admit, when I need a laugh, I just remember the little boy in the elevator and instantly, I feel better. xo, Shaun