In Times of Difficulties…

“In times of difficulties, we must not lose sight of our achievements.”  ~ Mao Zedong

As we witness our news media, with the S&P’s downgrade of the US credit rating, the stock market drop, the debt-ceiling political process, we may feel fear, pessimism and hopelessness about our current situation and our future. That’s totally understandable as we’re barraged with this news.  But I know the choice is ours, whether to see our present and the future with a sense of possibility or with a dark cloud of doom.

This situation is not just about the United States as a country or a government.  It reflects each of us, in our work, our schooling and our personal lives.  For each of us, whether in our personal or professional life, there has been a point when we thought all hope was lost.  From personal experience and from a review of history, it’s evident to me that in these dire moments lives the opportunity for renewal, reawakening and re-commitment.

Rather than becoming mired in all that is not good, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, choose to do otherwise (we have choice about how we think and feel). Why choose fear and despair  when you can choose joy and hope? Choose to look around and see all that is good and hopeful.   See it in the everyday small stuff.  The birth of a healthy baby.  A kind samaritan helping an elderly person cross the street. Food on our dinner table.  Choose to remember accomplishments.  When you landed your dream job.  When you achieved something you thought impossible. When you realized how uniquely amazing you are at a particular skill.

What we see, what we choose to see, becomes our lives.  I urge you in these moments, to find moments of gratitude, moments of joy, remembrances of things good.  Do the small things that really matter.  An act of simple kindness to a stranger on the street.  Invite friends to an impromptu BBQ. Host a pizza party at work. Tell your children and partner how much they mean to you. This is not an escape from reality (can you really affect the debt ceiling, credit rating or stock market?). Instead, these are choices to focus on the goodness in your life.  Have the faith to set goals that reinforce optimism and possibility. Surround yourself with positive thinking and positive people to offset the pervasive noise of despair.  Keep at it.  And your life will reveal itself so.  Trust it.  I do.