WHICH WOULD YOU KEEP?

I have had countless conversations where people ask me which of the five senses I could most easily do without, but recently I was asked the question, “Which sense do you think you would keep if you could only keep one?” Slightly different question, but changed the entire way I look at the situation. Instead of pondering what sense I valued the least, this made me consider which of the senses I valued the greatest. This caused me to ponder several things which could serve me well.

The first being which sense did I rely the most on. My first inclination was to say sight. After all being an writer it is rather an important one. Then I considered there have been blind writers in the past. Helen Keller not being the least of these. She not only did quite well, but brought very important messages to the world.

Secondly, as I continued to ponder which of my five senses was most important, I thought of things I teach in my book. The chapter ‘A Happy Playlist’ came to mind. In it’s simplest form it is about creating a playlist of songs that bring you joy. These can be accessed when life puts you in stressful or difficult situations. I thought of my love for music and the emotional power it can bring. There were also deaf musicians such as Beethoven, who did great things musically.

As I continued to go through my senses I thought of my beautiful Margie, the love of my life. I appreciate her beautiful face and can’t imagine not being able to stare lovingly at it. Her smile and goofy faces can transform the darkest of days for me. I thought of her angelic voice. Her singing is one of the reasons I fell in love with her. I couldn’t imagine not hearing her say I love you, which melts my heart each and every time. Not being able to feel her warm and reassuring hugs or smell her perfume as I hold her close or even the scent of her shampoo as I lay next to her on the pillow. Being able to enjoy the taste of the delicious dishes she creates is one of the many joys of being her man. Not to mention the taste of her lips in a kiss for dessert.

This was just one person, one example albeit the most important one, in my life. I was overcome with a feeling of gratitude and new-found appreciation for all of my senses and the fact that I did not face the daunting task of having to keep just one. I began to appreciate how much they work in unison and how dependent I am on all of them. Each one of them bringing me joy in an entirely different way.

Then I just began to feel gratitude and appreciation for my beautiful Margie and how she blesses my life in each of the five senses. (and some senses I can neither explain, or would be fit to mention here) I also admired all those brave souls I mentioned above and those that I did not mention who have not only overcome the physical challenges life has gave them, but went on to excel in areas that would seem impossible. It was not only inspiring, but motivating. If Helen Keller can become a best-selling author without having the use of her vision, why can’t I, who has fairly good vision do great things as well. If Beethoven did not let his deafness stop him from transforming the world of music, what excuse do we have for giving in to our limitations?

BE ON PURPOSE

I did a YouTube video on this subject a while back titled Waking up in Neutral. You can find the link on the bottom of this blog post. It is a subject that bears repeating. In my daily work I see and hear people who leave their lives up to circumstance. Oh sure, they may not view it or certainly say it this way, but that is indeed what they are doing. I will hear such reasoning as “Did you see how much mail I have to deliver?” or “Can’t you see it is raining outside?” Quite often I have to stop myself from inquiring, “Let me get this straight, you are telling me the amount of work/sunshine will determine how happy you are going to be?”

What I want to remind all of us, including myself is that we are giving away one of the greatest powers we have – choice. When we put our feet on the ground first thing in the morning we have a choice. We can decide it is going to be a bad day, a good day or as most of us do, wait and see what kind of day it will be. As someone who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder and lives in a state where the two seasons consist of 9 months of winter and 3 months of really bad sledding, I can fully understand some days are a little bit more of a struggle to smile in than others.

Some of us wake up in pain every single day. Some of us are facing life-long health challenges. Some of us are really going through some tough challenges. Understand in no way am I making light of your challenges. What I am telling you is even though it may not seem like it, you have a choice. Let us take the example of Helen Keller. She was both deaf and blind. More of a challenge than most of us face. Yet she wrote several books, became the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. Do you think she could have done all that by saying “I’ll be happy when I can see and hear again.”? Of course not. What did she have to say about life?

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

If someone facing that much of an obstacle can overcome their own feelings and accomplish great things, why can’t we? When you wake up first thing in the morning you can say to yourself or out loud would be even better, “Today will be a great day!” Why let you job, the weather, your health or anything else tell you what kind of day you are going to have? You decide. Say to yourself, “No matter what comes my way, I am going to have a great day.” You might feel down at times, you may get angry, you may cry, but do not let that stop you from having a great day. You boss may chew you out, don’t let them ruin your day. Your spouse may be in a bad mood, don’t let that ruin your day.

Easier said than done? You bet, but that is due in large part because we are out of practice. We have given away control over our own emotional well-being for so long it is almost hard for us to understand that we can have control over how we feel. I am going to give you 3 quick tips to help you along the way. Use these when the car breaks down, when you are asked to work overtime and you really just want to go home or any other such challenge comes up.

First and most important, begin each day with gratitude. This has been such a cliché these days you may be tempted to overlook it – don’t. Beginning your day saying to yourself, “At least I am still employed. I am have chance to earn some money.” starts you off in a far better mood than “Do I really have to go to work again?” The next two items can turn any day into a game of finding the way to succeed. When a challenge comes up I want you to do two things. First ask yourself, “Am I going to let this have control over MY day?” It is indeed your day. Why give your happiness, your well-being over to the boss, the spilled cup of coffee or whatever else is upsetting. Next I want you to ask yourself this question, “How can I use this?” The boss blaming you for something that isn’t your fault? How can you use that? Maybe practice your ability to stay calm and convey your opinions in a constructive manner. It is raining and you had a fun day at the ballpark planned. How can you use that? Stay home and work on that book you planned on writing.

If you look hard enough you can always find ways to use whatever life throws at you. If Helen Keller can use her blindness and deafness to her advantage, can’t we do the same with whatever struggle we are facing?

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO