21 Days of Happy Habits ~ Day 1 – Appreciate Life

“To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with”. Mark Twain

It’s good to be alive.

I’ve written that a lot in recent years. Every single morning I wake up after a good night sleep I look in the mirror and realize how lucky I am to be here, still. I’ve grown into not just appreciating but loving life and those who have chosen to be with me. My people give me reason to want to live and appreciate life and those that are in it.

appreciation+more

appreciation+more (Photo credit: Ex-InTransit)

I like to think I can look through any facade and see the good in people. Good can come from evil and when it does, it’s a great accomplishment. Each day I try to make a positive impact on someone’s life, including my own.

The time I take to volunteer and help others is repaid with the knowledge it helps me appreciate life and what I do have.

I know what I have in my life… my large blended family, my small group of friends. I also remember what I never had in my life before last year. That doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t take anything or anyone for granted and make sure I am a part of the lives of those who are close and important to me.

I take my experiences, good and bad and use them to cultivate personal growth and a part of that is learning to appreciate life and all that comes with it. Learning to appreciate life has little to do with tangible items we all have and love and think we can’t live without. It’s just stuff and if you somehow lose that stuff, it’s makes it easier to remember what you do have… The intangible and appreciation of life.

Marc’s Words of Wisdom 07Jan 2014 – Optimism

Ridin boots via vladtepish

Ridin boots via vladtepish

I never considered myself an optimist. I thought I was a realist through and through, always making sure I understood that, for every good thing that happens, something bad must happen. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

I was often mistaken for a pessimist not because of my looking for something good to come from bad but from my looking for something bad to come from good. Literally turning my head and waiting for it. Every person I saw was a threat. I had this angry aura about me. Most often kept inside of me festering.

My realism has came in quite handy as a technical writer with vision for scoping and compiling requirements for both logical and physical projects… Specifically in forming use-case-scenarios and quality assurance testing.

I’ve never believed my future would be better than my past, because that was what I learned and was told. As a matter of fact, I never really believed I would have a future or that I wanted one at all. There are some dark ages that see light now, where passively suicidal behavior and risk taking that were a big part of my lifestyle are gone, but for risk. The worst risk is the one not taken.

Time changes attitudes… it heals wounds a little too… at least it has for me. I’m no longer angry person in general… but I can still get angry, however, I prefer kindness and understanding. Anger sucks energy from your soul.

Time that I never thought I would have has turned me into an optimist. I believe in optimism. My present and my future are and will be better than my past. I am completely responsible for this change in thinking with the help of PTSD therapy. There is a small hand full of people… a small circle of family who also have had a role in my healing and change. I could not or would not have accomplished this shift in thought on my own.

My family is my reason for living. My reason for wanting to live and wake up again tomorrow. To change a little more for the better. To enjoy the happiness and love that I feel surrounding me. I have what I feel are compelling reasons to live that escaped me until recently… hugs. Hug therapy. Unintended consequences of wanting to live. I shared a hug last night, promptly fell asleep and awakened the happy man I realized I am and have been.

My name is Marc and I am an optimist. I believe my present is brighter than my past. I believe my future will be brighter because of the people in my present and future.

My life has meaning… It’s good to be alive.

Quote of the Day 26 December 2013 – Work

Reclining Buddha

Reclining Buddha (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“What need is there to say more?
The childish work for their own benefit,
The Buddhas work for the benefit of others.
Just look at the difference between them.

If I do not exchange my happiness, for the suffering of others, I shall not attain the state of Buddhahood.
And even in Samsara I shall have no real joy.

The source of all misery in the world lies in thinking of oneself;
The source of all happiness lies in thinking of others.”
Shantideva

Quote of the Day 20 October 2013 – Self-Discovery

Hermann Hesse

Cover of Hermann Hesse

Trees are about self-discovery.

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Tree Reflection

Tree Reflection (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God [buddha] is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God [buddha] speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

English: Hermann Hesse House

English: Hermann Hesse House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”
Hermann HesseBäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte