life, journey, blizzard, snow, anxiety, stress, meditation, reflection, God, Jesus, hope, wonder My house after the first of two blizzards to hit in 2010 (credit: Blog Author)

If you live along the East Coast of the US you have recently experienced snow and ice.  Yesterday I had over a foot of snow with more on the way.  Personally, I love the snow and cold!  But there are many who not only don't like nor appreciate the snow, but do not emotionally do well in the Winter season.  As this is my favorite time of the year I cannot understand how people don't appreciate winter.  I guess some aspects of life will need to stay a mystery.

As I listened to people complain about the season and the weather, I realized that the way we start our day typically carries with us throughout the day.  For instance, if I wake up in a "bad mood" I most likely will act in that way for the rest of the day.  And I will perceive everything and everyone around me in the context of my mood.  One of my favorite quotes, from the Talmud, is "we do not see things as they are; we see things as we are."  My inner attitude will color my perception of the world around me.  Think about it; if you wake up in a miserable mood yet the sun is out and the birds are singing, you are more apt to say the sun is too bright and those darn birds won't shut up!  Yet another person, waking up in a better mood, happily appreciates the warmth of the sun and the melody of the birds.

It is not the exterior world which is our "problem"; it is our inner world which is at issue.  When I was in college working on my undergrad degree one of the people with whom I lived would sternly respond to the statement "good morning" with "Don't tell me what kind of morning to have!"  It is scary to imagine what was going on inside of him.

I came across this Peanuts classic and find it to be apropos:

life, journey, stress, Peanuts, reflection, meditation, anxiety, wonder, why, peace Brand New Day

Who doesn't appreciate Peanuts (ignoring the underlying psychological angst of young children who seemingly had absentee parents) and the messages they have offered us through the years.  This particular strip rings true.  It is not as important how one starts the day as it is how one continues and ends their day.  If we agree that it is our inner self clouding our perception of the external world, than all I need to do is change how I feel and my day will be different.  The world around me will seem to be a better place.

Of course this is easier said than done, but here are a couple quick tips I have learned over the years:

  • Pull over at the nearest rest stop in your life and simply stop.
  • Search your inner self to discover what negative thought(s) is interfering with your enjoyment of the day.
  • Ask another person for feedback.
  • Help another person.
  • Play music.  As mentioned in the comic above, music greatly influences our feelings.  What you  listen to can and does change your emotions.  Try it.
  • Re-start your day with a new attitude.  Even if you don't yet believe the new attitude, try it on and see what happens.  Remember, the way you feel on the inside influences your view of the outside.  So even if you don't believe in your new thoughts they will change your perception of the outer world which in turn will influence your inner world.

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