December 27, 2014

Believing in the Unbelievable

The definition of a miracle is "a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment with welcome results that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws." O.K., I combined a few of the definitions to get that, but it is as good as I could come up with without including religion.

There are so many unexplainable and unbelievable things that happen every day in the world. Most of them are so small, we don't even think about them. You may find a $5 bill tucked into the pocket of a coat you haven't worn in awhile just when you need it. You may get an unexpected inheritance that saves you from bankruptcy. You may be cured of an incurable disease with a simple treatment that the doctors said wouldn't work.

In short, miracles are inexplicable events that happen at opportune times. We don't know what causes them to happen -- they just do. While religious people attribute them to any number of dieties, those of us who do not worship dieties see them as simply a positive energy in the universe made manifest.

I've seen or heard of events that could be considered miracles. Once during a terrible hurricane, two large and very old trees on either side of my grandmother's house both fell AWAY from the house. During Hurricane Charley, the top of my oak tree fell out and missed my house by six inches.  During a spate of tornadoes that hit the towns where I lived in SC, two huge trees were uprooted and fell away from a trailer where my friends lived. One of them alone would have crushed it and the one in front would likely have killed them both. It was like the trailer was in a protective bubble while chaos reigned all around it. We've all seen pictures of towns were there is devastation all around after a major storm, and a few houses here and there are left untouched.

My younger son is a kind of miracle all in himself. He was born 10 weeks early, and they gave him a 50/50 chance to live through the night. Many prayer chains were started, and by morning, he had a complete turnaround and continued to be the "miracle baby" in the nursery. I was told that none of the nurses or doctors had expected him to live, but live he did, and he is now a very healthy young man studying robotics engineering at the University of Washington on a full scholarship.

Are these miracles? I can't explain them any other way. There is no natural or scientific reason for them to have occured.

When things go wrong in our lives, we are told to "believe in miracles." I'm not sure that believing in miracles causes them to happen. There are just as many houses that are crushed or blown away and just as many premature babies that die as there are ones that are miraculously saved. We see horrible things happen to good people all the time -- people who truly believe in a power greater than themselves.

So do miracles exist? Of course they do. Does simply believing in miracles make them happen? Experience and history proves that it does not.

But studies do show one thing -- that believing and behaving in a positive manner brings positive things into your life. Call it the "Law of Attraction" or "The Power of Positive Thinking;" the name is unimportant. BELIEF is important. Human beings need something outside of themselves to believe in. We need to believe in the unbelievable, in the miraculous. Without belief, we are just empty shells.

Whether you choose to believe in a diety or just in your own abilities -- BELIEVE. If you look all around you and see horrendous things happening in society, but still want to believe in the goodness of mankind -- BELIEVE. It is ESSENTIAL that you find something to believe in that give you HOPE, because without HOPE, we are lost as a civilization.

What do you believe in? What belief keeps you going even when you are about to give up?

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December 18, 2014

Walking Away from Unhappiness

I have an online friend I'll call Jane. Jane and I bonded over our respective freelancing problems, and usually email on a daily basis. Sometimes it takes a long time to really get to know someone online, but I've discovered that Jane is actually very judgmental of anyone who isn't able to do what she does and accomplish what she accomplishes. She gets extremely frustrated because I don't want to go down the same freelancing path that she is on, and has lately said some pretty mean things to me. I've tried to be forgiving, but her last snappy message to me was just the last straw. I have to walk away.

Now I'm not perfect, and have never claimed to be. I do things much differently than most people I know, but we each have our own ways of accomplishing our goals. I can't just put a smile on my face and pretend to be happy when I'm not, and I am very vocal in my displeasure sometimes. I am definitely not "Susie Sunshine" who ignores the bad and never lets herself see anything but good. I would love to say I'm working on that, but it's so deeply ingrained in my personality that I don't really think I could change it except superficially.

The point of all this is that Jane wants me to be that way, evidently. I'm trying to be more positive and to see the possibilities instead of the drawbacks, but I'm not going to ignore the drawbacks. I don't think you have to do that to be successful or to be happy. You can be a happy realist. I know quite a few of them. I feel you have to weigh the pros and cons of everything, not see the pros and say you'll deal with the cons when they rear their ugly little heads. You have to be prepared.

So I wrote Jane and asked her a question. She chose not to answer. I say "chose," because of the tone of her last message, which was clearly antagonistic. I've decided to let her go. Looking back, we don't have much in common except for work, and she is stealing my joy. I won't say she is a fool, because that is too harsh, but she isn't someone who adds to my life; rather, she keep me stuck in a negative mindset by reinforcing my negative self-image.

Letting go is freeing sometimes. I have found it necessary to let go of a few online friends when they started to show their true stripes. The ones I have left are those who accept me as I am, warts and all, and see the good side of me. I do the same for them. Jane isn't one of those people. I will miss her for awhile, but in order to maintain my peace of mind and move forward with a plan to lead a more positive and productive life, I realize that some things -- and some people -- just have to go.

What or who have you let go of in order to have a more positive and bountiful life? Was it a positive or negative experience for you?

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