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Thoughts on Perspective - A Hideous Bouquet or the Emergence of New Life?

I find myself gazing through the pollen-stained window of a my bedroom. It feels like a typical mundane Sunday afternoon. But my mind is racing yet again. I am intently still as I take in the kaleidoscope of colors, the playful sounds of chirping birds, and the crisp, rolling waves of fresh air as Spring makes its strikingly bold appearance across the living canvas of nature. But I am unsettled. There are so many things to do, so many tasks undone. There are friends and family I have not seen or spoken to in a while. I feel nostalgic.

My joy and laughter, these few days and weeks, have been rudely dismissed by a barrage of disturbing news - the tragic demise of persons I know, news of illness and suffering, reports of conflicts on the job, loss of income and financial strain. The list goes on and on. It is difficult to comfort others when one has no right words to say. A listening ear, an empathetic heart, and a warm embrace are the only graces I have to offer it seems. It is depressing. Yet, I sit in the truth of the moment, letting myself feel what I feel. To go on as if all is well, is for me, an absurd act of self-deceit and self-defeat. But a change in perspective, however, makes all the difference in my outlook. What do I mean by that?

The death of a loved one or friend is indescribably painful and searingly tragic. But knowing that I was fortunate enough to have shared, what feels like a brief moment in time with them, laughing, loving, and living life, makes me treasure those I still have around, much, much more. I am determined to be a safe place for those I love. There is absolutely no time to waste on drama, petty grievances, or unforgiveness. A grieving family would do anything to have just one more day with a loved one lost - to hear their laughter, taste their cooking, feel their love or enjoy their playful dance. The true value and impact of a life is only felt when it is gone. So it is my intention today, to love the ones I still have in my life with every fiber of my being. I am thankful for life.

It almost seems second nature to feel self-pity when one's health is compromised by a diagnosis of some sort. No one ever wants to face the uncertainty of a life that sometimes feels as if it has an expiration date. Truth be told, whether one receives a diagnosis or not, time is borrowed. I have experienced my own share of health crises. But while I'm tempted to complain about having to take pills every morning, at this moment, somewhere, there is someone fighting for their life in a cold and sterile ICU. Does this outlook make my situation less important or serious? No, not at all. But the mother or father who is fighting for their very life would do anything to be in my place, just to be able to live a little longer and watch their little babies grow up. So, I am grateful for time.

A stressful job can be exhausting and mentally debilitating. There are some work environments that should require the use of a HAZMAT suit - not because one has to work with/alongside dangerous chemicals but because of the pervasive toxic work culture. In spite of this, it is still one's responsibility to incorporate positive coping strategies into their daily lives. Our minds tend to naturally dwell on the things that cause us distress while diminishing those things that cause us happiness and joy. Considering one's objectives, a job can simply be a means to an end. If this is the case, then work smartly, quietly, and strategically. For those who find themselves caught in the crosshairs of office politics or at the intersectionality of performance and expectations, take a deep breath, and look within. Why are you there? What is your trajectory - have you reached your ceiling? Do your values align with the company? Are you adequately trained/prepared for your current role? What are your goals and have you met them? Is it time to leave? It is all in your hands. While you figure all of this out, however, know that someone out there is wishing they had the means to buy a loaf of bread. I am determined not to lose sight of this little fact while I go through the daily grind. It makes me appreciative of what I still have. Sometimes, one becomes the architect of one's own unhappiness and dissatisfaction in the workplace simply by losing focus - choosing to dwell on things that are of no concern or importance to their role. So stay focused.

While perspective does not change one's reality, it does help to reorient our minds to the things we can control. Those things are gratitude, thankfulness, happiness, love, kindness, intentions, peace of mind, contentment, and the like. While having a thankful spirit can never bring back a deceased love one, it will cause you to really appreciate the loved ones you still have in your life. Though gratitude might not reverse one's underlying health condition, it will prompt you to be empathetic to the plight of others who are in worse situations. What wouldn't the paraplegic give to be able to take a pill or pills to walk into the arms of the one they love? When you find yourself murmuring and complaining about the job, know that someone else is praying for a meal out there or for a warm place to lay their head.

Life, by no means, is easy. It is filled with challenges and accomplishments, setbacks and breakthroughs, heartbreaks and happiness, death and new beginnings. While you live, do not sit back and allow life to happen to you. Choose to be on the offensive side. Be intentional about the one of the most important things that is still in your control - your outlook. A change in perspective might make all the difference in finding and experiencing purpose, meaning, and fulfillment in what once appeared to be an aimless, unfulfilled, and stressful existence.

So test your perspective. What do you see in the featured image - a hideous bouquet or the emergence of new life?

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