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The Power of Optimism

February 26, 2020
February 26, 2020 AllisonM

The Power of Optimism

The good news is, I know when I’m borrowing trouble. I feel myself sinking into the spiral of worry as soon as I fall. The bad news is, I can’t always lift myself out of it immediately, as I said last week. I’ve been thinking about it a whole lot since I clicked send on last week’s missive, and have determined that sinking into that spiral of worry is the absolute last thing I need or want in my life. Duh. I knew that, know that, and so does everyone else. But how do I keep it from happening?

 

I’ve been searching for my own personal kind of peace since I can remember. As a child, I self-soothed with books and music, animals and nature, fashion fantasies, and dreams of one day being completely in charge of my own life. When I actually did become in charge of my life, I was increasingly drawn to the study of the self — be it through psychological exploration, self-help from whatever book I discovered, listening to those who knew more than I did (that means almost everyone), and even slowly being drawn into spiritual texts that seemed to explore and accept the dichotomies and paradoxes that I felt and still feel surround and even define our experiences as human beings. 

 

I’m still searching and seeking, and know that I always will.

 

But what I also seek and search for is a way to fully experience the simple joys of life — the beauty in the seemingly mundane or workaday events. The way the early morning light falls through the window and onto the floor when I’m standing in my own kitchen putting the kettle on. The dependability of a favorite t-shirt when it slips over my head and fits the way I want it to. The comfort I find in reading. The mystery and majesty of birds. The way seeds sprout through dirt with the addition of light and water. Flowers. Beans and rice with TT’s hot sauce. A favorite verse or poem that reminds me of the simplicity that lies beneath every complication. Willie’s little velvet ears. The relief of taking my glasses off at night before I slip into sleep or into the day’s last conversation with my husband. The revelation in the way that his hand envelops mine. The sweet knowing in my son’s smile and the way he slyly gives me the side-eye to see if I’m watching him grow and progress. The absolute adoration I feel for him that is stirred, most times, by nothing but pure love, connection, and wishes for his future. The scent of rose, lilac, and hyacinth. The thankfulness that comes with knowing how fortunate I am  to have what I have to lean on in order to bear what leans on me, when so many do not have such. I find my optimism here, in these plentiful things, day after day. When it is gone, I try to remember my touchstones, and that the power of gratitude for them creates a less closed and fearful heart.

 

It’s the elements of life that don’t seem that huge in the moment that keep me grounded, and I know that it is imperative that I notice and appreciate them, every day, all the time. There is nothing so beautiful as the quotidien. And there is nothing quite so comforting, reassuring, and encouraging of what feels like sanity when it all works the miracle of wrapping safety around my shoulders. I am so thankful for these precious things.

 

I suppose that’s why it’s so important to me that it all be as beautiful as possible, that the pursuit of life and plain old living be some sort of gorgeously imperfect and rambling work of art. The perfect cup of coffee in the perfect coffee cup can keep me going for days. I stand at the window and sip and tell myself, It will be alright. It will be alright. It will be alright. And that’s where it is — in the choice to see what is good and what can go right instead of what is troublesome and how it will all fall apart. Here’s what I know: It all will fall apart. I will fall apart from time to time too. And all the pieces of everything, including my heart, might scatter. But they will be found and put back together in whatever way that they can be, and I trust that it will be in the way they are ultimately supposed to be, because at the end of the day, wouldn’t I rather believe that than the converse? That doesn’t mean don’t work hard at it all, every day. That doesn’t mean don’t pay attention to it all, every day. That doesn’t mean don’t be very careful with this very tender thing called life, every day. But it does mean there is grace if we look for it (thank you Elissa A.). It does mean that every now and then it’s okay to exhale and accept a hand on your own shoulder. It does mean that it’s okay to find whatever gets us through the day. And night.

 

Sometimes you have to remind yourself to look through the trouble, and see.

 

Happy Wednesday, y’all. 

Peace and love,

AM

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