Though I don’t see them every day,
I know there are countless blessings in my life
for which I am eternally grateful.
For the past six days I’ve been with my wife Suzanne, island-hopping across the South Pacific. We’ve spent time on The Isle of Pines; Mystery Island; Port Vila; and Espiritu Santo. We ventured off the beaten track and had the opportunity to experience first-hand, the hospitality of the real people of these island nations.
The weather has been mixed but we dodged the heat and showers while exploring and as we have a suite on the cruise ship The Carnival Legend, we have nothing whatsoever to complain about. It’s our second trip to some of the islands, and we’re continually struck by the positive disposition of the people. They’re happy and smiling, not because they have to be: We’re convinced it’s because it’s their nature. We on the other hand can always complain about the heat and the humidity; the lack of air-conditioning in the stores, and anything else that transgresses our own sense of righteousness and comfort.
Sometimes it’s too easy to complain about the least little thing and forget what struggle really implies. We have to constantly remind ourselves that no matter how tough we think our lives might be, there is always someone out in the big wide world who is suffering far more. I’ve seen it first hand on these islands.
There was a young man yesterday in Port Vila. It was Sunday afternoon and he was standing outside a ‘general store’ (I use that word very loosely). He had an old, battered acoustic guitar, a microphone stand, and a CD player. I heard his voice before I saw him. He wasn’t totally melodic and he was not always in tune. He was however, a young man with a passion for life: He was also disabled.
As we passed, he smiled mid verse at Suzanne and me. We stood and listened to him for a few minutes: A small crowd gathered. It was his moment to shine as he lifted his voice and gave us an unrivaled version of the Bon Jovi classic, “Its My Life.”
Perhaps he thought I was a record executive, because he belted out that tune like his future depended on it. At the end, we applauded (as did several other people), and we put some money in his hat, followed by others. His face lit up and he said, “Thank you and God bless you.” I shook his hand and said, “Thank you Sir. That was worth the admission price.” He beamed and bowed.
It’s moments like these that bring us back to earth and help us focus on what’s relevant in our lives. They also help us to be thankful for the goodness that enriches every aspect of our existence.
We can continue to complain about the things which go wrong, or we can be grateful for all the blessings in our lives, which put us in a position to do what we do, with the people we choose to have in our lives. There are so many individuals in this world who are not as fortunate. I met one of them yesterday. His name was Callum.
When I look around here on this mammoth city on the water, with her 3,000 passengers, I’m yet to see a homeless person or someone begging for a few coins or some food. I see people who have perhaps saved their money for a long time to enjoy this journey. There are single people, couples, families, and friends. I see newlyweds, young lovers, and elderly folk celebrating; perhaps a wedding anniversary or some other major landmark in their lives. These are times for celebration.
A cruise gives so many of us the opportunity to sit back and relax while others do the work for us. It’s in those moments we should take the opportunity to reflect on our lives. In your case it might not be a cruise but a road trip or a flight to another town or city for a family or school reunion. Or perhaps a camping weekend or attending a rock concert with friends. There are so many who never have that opportunity. It’s easy to forget the efforts of so many (very often behind the scenes) who make that trip possible.
I’m blessed with the ability to explore other cultures and speak to people whose lifestyles are vastly different from my own. It’s a wonderful experience for which I am eternally grateful. I feel blessed to do what I do. There are of course moments which are not as fulfilling as others, but it’s those times which teach me the importance of change in my life and the value of acceptance.
When things are not going as we hope, it’s an indication that some modifications are necessary. That means a change in direction; our thought processes, and behaviors. Perhaps we’ve been negative in our interaction with other people.
You can’t expect to get a different outcome if you keep doing things the same old way. When driving your car or catching public transport, you can’t expect the journey to take you to a different place if you keep to the same route.
Consider the following steps to help remain on track and provide the energy, outlook and optimism to keep looking on the bright side of life:-
- Begin each day with a smile
- Spend a few moments contemplating the day ahead
- Have a plan for each day so you don’t waste valuable time
- Give a quiet ‘thanks’ for both the obstacles and the blessing in life
- Use positive affirmations to map out the future
- Ensure you have some quiet moments in every day
- Be positive and respectful with everyone you meet
- Always have time for people who ask for your assistance
- End each day with a quiet word of thanks.
There is always goodness to be found in your life, irrespective of who you are or what your circumstances might be. If you truly feel that nothing is going right in your life, it’s time for a mental adjustment. If you keep hold of negative thoughts, that’s all you can hope to attract. If you’re filled with anger and resentment and never appreciate even the smallest blessings in your life, you will continue on that path.
When you encounter an obstacle, appreciate the significance of the momentary hurdle. Make adjustments to your behavior and your thinking and continue to move forward with a renewed enthusiasm. Instead of focusing on what’s going wrong, use your mental energy to focus on all of those great opportunities which are around you every day, whether or not you acknowledge them.
If you begin to embrace the positive aspects of your life, no matter how small and insignificant you think they might be, you will begin to see even greater opportunities materialize. Like attracts like, and positive energy thrives in an enlightened environment.
Imagine the possibilities ….
Photo by Still ePsiLoN/Flickr