We all have cherished memories of wonderful times in the past, and we also can remember times that weren’t so great. It’s okay to think of these every once in a while, but to dwell in the past…not such a good strategy.
As the poem below points out, living in the present moment and looking ahead to the bright promise of the future is a great way to begin again.
The New Days
The old days, the old days, how oft the poets sing,
The days of hope at dewy morn, the days of early spring,
The days when every mead was fair, and every heart was true,
And every maiden wore a smile, and every sky was blue
The days when dreams were golden and every night brought rest,
The old, old days of youth and love, the days they say were best
But I—I sing the new days, the days that lie before,
The days of hope and fancy, the days that I adore.
The new days, the new days, the selfsame days they are;
The selfsame sunshine heralds them, the selfsame evening star
Shines out to light them on their way unto the Bygone Land,
And with the selfsame arch of blue the world to-day is spanned.
The new days, the new days, when friends are just as true,
And maidens smile upon us all, the way they used to do,
Dreams we know are golden dreams, hope springs in every breast;
It cheers us in the dewy morn and soothes us when we rest.
The new days, the new days, of them I want to sing,
The new days with the fancies and the golden dreams they bring;
The old days had their pleasures, but likewise have the new
The gardens with their roses and the meadows bright with dew;
We love to-day the selfsame way they loved in days of old;
The world is bathed in beauty and it isn’t growing cold;
There’s joy for us a-plenty, there are tasks for us to do,
And life is worth the living, for the friends we know are true.
As a follow-up to yesterday’s post encouraging us to hang in there when the inevitable challenges show up, below are a few techniques that might help us.
Talk to a friend or loved one who can be counted on to be positive, encouraging, and supportive.
If we don’t have anyone in our life like this right now, then we can go to YouTube and listen to the many, many motivational and inspirational messages posted there.
Have a small victory–a large one is good, too!
We can do an easy task, for instance, cleaning out and straightening the junk drawer in the kitchen. Having a small victory can go a long way toward helping us gain perspective on our circumstances.
Perhaps there’s a colleague or a neighbor that is struggling. Reach out a helping hand. This can help us get out of our own way and can help us see that we aren’t the only one with problems and difficulties.
If nothing else, we can share our smile with passersby and hold the door open for the people coming behind us.
Be gentle and kind.
While we might be tempted to find fault with ourselves, this is counter-productive. This only adds to the bad feelings we may be experiencing.
Instead realize that we did our best with the information and skills we had at the time. It’s fine to note the places where we might improve or use a different tactic next time, but to dwell on it doesn’t help.
Kindness and gentleness–which is NOT the same as letting ourselves off the hook–are what are needed now. These can go a long way toward soothing and calming us so that we can think and then take action. Clear thinking and taking action are the two most important things we can do.
The next moment is fresh and new and ready for us to begin again.
The next moment is full of potential. We can choose right here and right now to make a fresh start. No matter what has or has not happened in the past, we can begin anew now.
I came across this message from Les Brown, a well-known motivational speaker. The email was about a new book he’s written and what struck me was the following:
“… The reality is that – LIFE HAPPENS.
You name it and things happen! Listen, no matter what happens – you WILL have obstacles. You WILL have hard days and many times life WILL knock you down…
But, remember one thing… the floor is no place for a winner.
Get up. Right now. Do it.
If you have to…get up and just crawl.
Cry, scream or shout.
But, get up!
Lying down & GIVING UP will NEVER change a single thing. Talking about how close you were will not bring it about. Complaining will not put any money in the bank.
Just stand up, shake it off, throw away the negativity and get your head right!
We all get the wind knocked out of us from time to time by Life. Do not let it get the best of you! You are stronger than you think you are. You have the right stuff DO NOT take it personally. It is called Life. Get up, get busy…..”
I can attest to this myself that Life just plain old happens. For instance, the end of the month is in sight and you might be like I me thinking that you made it through relatively unscathed financially…only to have the heating unit in your home blow a main component just as wet, raw, and bitter weather moves in sending temperatures plummeting.
When Life wallops you, Les is right about the fact that you can’t give up or give in or throw in the towel or quit. As he says, it’s okay to scream, shout, cry, and curse if you have to; you may even have to take a step back and catch your breath, but don’t knuckle under.
You may not have the energy, wherewithal, and mental stamina to take care of everything all at once. But you can do something, even if it’s only a little tidbit of something. Ask yourself what can you do right here and right now about this–can you make a phone call or send an email?
What helps me is to think of the small things I can do, the easy pieces I can handle. Doing those things gets the momentum going and then I can usually tackle the bigger and harder things that can’t necessarily be broken down into smaller steps.
And, if my mind wants to race ahead to the worst case scenario, I gently pull it back and remind it that I am taking helpful steps and I won’t know what’s down the road until these steps finish playing out. Once they do, then I’ll see what’s what at that point, and then take more steps.
Also, I accept the fact that going through a rough patch oftentimes has periods where it isn’t pretty. I may not go through them with agility and panache but as long as I make it through, I figure that’s all that matters!
So if Life has happened to you, keep going no matter what!
One of the most important things we can keep in mind as we build our soul-prospering lives is that we can always begin again. We can always press the reset button, start fresh, begin anew. It’s never too late, we’re not too old, and it isn’t true that too much time has passed. We can and we should start again whenever we need to.
We can never be too big or too much in our celebrations and appreciation of the people who are very special to us. They are our rock in tumultuous times, they cheer us on when the going gets tough for us, and they’re compassionate and loving when we’re down and discouraged.
Today, let’s celebrate them as if it’s their birthday. And, for those who have a birthday today, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! May today be your best birthday yet, and be the perfect start to a year that’s your best one yet!