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Chasing Rainbows

Author: D Anthony, D-Rose Impressions, 03/02

* Excerpt from the motivational and inspirational book,
The Nurse in the Delivery Room Slapped Me... Once *


A few years back, after a long work week and a rain drenching storm, I found myself stuck in heavy traffic… going no where fast. Although there was a chance I would be late for an appointment, I realized that getting irritated wouldn't serve a purpose - or get me there sooner. It was in that frame of mind that I saw it. It was a beautiful rainbow, majestically stretching across the horizon. It was a magnificent gift from above which left me feeling extremely privileged and blessed… fortunate to be alive.

But I couldn't help wondering just how many of that afternoon's commuters even paused to witness the glorious display. My guess was the bulk of the motorists, especially those stuck with me in the traffic jam, missed it entirely. My guess was most were far too preoccupied with things like the traffic… the time… the rain… the job… dinner… the bills… the day to day - to be impacted by a simple gift from the Almighty. Because I was receptive however, that rainbow set the tone for the rest of my day. Today I don't remember what appointment I was trying to meet, but I do warmly remember the rainbow.

What about you… would you have noticed the rainbow?

There is beauty and magnificence around us everyday - but we often miss it. Every sunrise… every rustling tree… every soaring bird… every raindrop falling from the sky… every cool breeze… every cloud formation in the horizon… the scent of newly blooming flowers… each and every rainbow. To be happy, truly happy - we must surround ourselves with positive people and thoughts, and ensure we are not so preoccupied with living that life passes us by. Following are three steps that should help you to get on the right path.

Step 1: Adjust Your Filters

People typically complain about how much negativity there is in the world. But maybe it's not so much more negativity as it is our perspective. Which information we choose to (and not to) digest is paramount. Whether we realize it or not, countless times each day we consciously, and subconsciously, choose the input we are open to receive. It's only natural that because of the massive volume of data available we routinely establish subconscious filters to manage the flow.

Not sold on it? Following are a couple of quick examples to highlight both the existence and effect of these filters.

The Existence - Try to close your eyes and just listen. Attempt to locate a sound that you didn't notice before. Try the same with your sense of smell. See if you can locate a fragrance that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. While the presence of these sounds and scents are unmistakable once identified, prior to the exercise chances are, as far as your consciousness was concerned, some didn't exist.

The Effect - (To get the impact of this example complete Task 1 before reading Task 2.) Task 1: Take one minute, look around the room and make a mental note of twenty items with blue in them. (Stop reading and complete Task 1.) Task 2: Now without taking your eyes off this article, name twenty items in the room that have the color green in them.

The key isn't how many items you could identify - simply the recognition of the existence of these filters and understanding the importance of managing them. By setting filters to emphasize certain environmental elements we naturally de-emphasize others. As in the case of the rainbow, our filters must be adjusted to recognize, admire and celebrate those simple things - which are truly the essence of life.

Step 2: Start A Positive Thoughts Collection

Surround yourself with positive thoughts and words. Collect a few favorite passages and quotes that define the type of person you ideally aspire to be. Post them in the areas you frequent at home and work. Read them on a regular basis. Get in the habit of reading them when you wake up in the morning and quoting them as advice to friends. Amazingly enough the more you think about them, the more they will become a part of you.

Actively seek to enhance your collection of positive thoughts as often as you can. Be on the lookout for positive, inspiring messages from where ever they may come. With your filters adjusted, you'll find positive input can come from just about anywhere… a movie… a book… a song… a loved one… a stranger on the street… even a memory.

Watching 'The Last Castle' recently for example, (a terrific movie by the way), there is a defining scene when a military prison guard raises his arm to strike an inmate. The protagonist, a convicted three star general and relatively recent addition to the prisoner population, grabs his arm, looks him in the eyes and utters a simple, yet powerful phrase - "You're better than this." Those words would prove to be both empowering and self-fulfilling throughout the remainder of the movie.

And as the sentiment proved to be empowering and self-fulfilling for the characters in the story, I began to consider the potential impact those words could have on my own actions. As a result, when I find myself in a mode that is less than constructive, regardless of the preceding circumstances - my resolve is to remind myself… I'm better than that. This triggers an immediate mind state change - and the implied necessity for me to live up to the sentiment. Thus with minimal effort, even a simple movie phrase can become immensely uplifting in our lives.

Step 3: Consider Your Sources

Last but not least, surround yourself with positive people. Les Brown, a motivational speaker, effectively expresses it this way - "get the toxic people out of your life." Being around negative energy is both mentally and emotionally draining.

While inspiring people with provoking, constructive thoughts are often times difficult to locate, the rewards are well worth the effort. A timely nugget of insight from an interested, motivated confidant with a positive state of mind can provide perspective, clarity, direction and, most importantly, true inspiration.

With the elimination of most of the negative thoughts, occasional doses of positivity (I know… American Heritage and Microsoft both say it's not a word… but maybe it should be) from members of your newly formed network of positive influences will offer tremendous value. This coupled with the more inspired internal communication that will result within will translate into a much happier, healthier, more inspired and successful you.

What It All Means

In the end, it's important to note that typically life is merely a collection of self-fulfilling prophecies. When you wake up in the morning and think you are going to have either a good day or bad day - chances are you will be correct. My theory is that the way we feel is about 15 - 20% circumstance and 80 - 85% perspective. Thus, change your perspective and you can't help but change your life. Or as an incredibly inspiring motivational speech I purchased by W. Mitchell (highly recommended… his story will touch you) proclaims - 'It's Not What Happens To You, It's What You Do About It."

In a recent conversation with a somewhat frustrated friend, I attempted to offer a little perspective. As much of the problem was work related, I suggested that only she was responsible for her perspective - that her coworkers couldn't impact her state of mind without her concurrence. She asked me how it was that I always seemed happy. As an example I offered that although we were beginning a long, typically less than productive mandatory meeting, which my recent late work hours suggested I didn't have time for - I'd maintain a positive perspective via occasional outward glances to take in the rustling trees and beautiful sky. I indicated that at those times, although I would be at the meeting… I wouldn't be. Instead I would be enjoying scenery that, without the meeting, I would never have seen. Her response - "that's too simple… as a concept it makes sense but it wouldn't work in real life." My response to her was if she wanted to keep getting what she was getting, she should keep doing what she was doing.

When it comes down to it being happier is simply a matter of putting yourself in the right state of mind and surrounding yourself with positive people and positive thoughts. Think about it… who are the happiest population of people we know? Little kids… And what are little kids surrounded by? Toys, laughter and friends interested in the same surround them. Little kids are not just happy because they are little kids. Like any adult their mood is reflective of whether they have a nurturing, positive environment. Permanently remove the toys, laughter and like-minded friends and odds are that little kid won't remain happy much longer.

In the final analysis, life doesn't change - we have to change it. It takes effort… but the dividends are well worth the investment. I'm reminded of a story of a young man passing a porch with an older man in a rocking chair and a moaning dog. The young man asks what is wrong with the dog. The older man responds that the dog is only moaning because he is lying on a nail. The young man further inquires why the dog doesn't just get up off the nail. To which the older man offers - "well, I guess it's not hurting him that much… is it?" What about you… Are you lying on any nails these days? If so, how much does yours hurt?

Make the investment in yourself… change your filters… collect all the positive input you can… and eliminate the negative influences in your life. It will do wonders for your perspective and your passion about life.

Catch you at the next rainbow...





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