One of my favorite holiday films is the timeless classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.
In the opening scene people all over the bucolic town of Bedford Falls are praying. Their pleas to God are for the benefit of the well loved man, George Bailey. As the chorus of voices drifts upward they are replaced with the booming voices coming from the constellations of stars…
Even as a child this heavenly conference between God, his Angel-Assistant and the Angel-Hopeful, Clarence, was one of my favorites scenes.
Clarence: You sent for me sir?
God: Yes Clarence, a man down on earth needs our help.
Clarence: Splendid! Is he sick?
God: No. Worse — He is discouraged —
He is discouraged. Think about that. How often in life do we trip over something that discourages us.
Last night as I was looking back over my shoulder at the day I began to feel a bit discouraged. And as I reached to turn out the light I had a sinking feeling that somehow I was at risk of slipping into what I have long referred to as — “my old wooly ways.”
And in the stillness, waiting for sleep to pull me in, the internal chatter began to ramp up.
See that? You never stick to an exercise routine…”
Oh no, you don’t.
I flipped on the light and wrote down the following message…
While I was at the gym this morning I thought of a blog post that I wrote at the beginning of 2011, A Decade of Achieved Harmony. It occurred to me that feelings of discouragement can lead to the harboring of negative messages inside my head. And those are anything but harmonic.
When I got home I attended to a few things that had to get marked off the list. Then, in the quiet of the kitchen, I sat down and re-read that old post. So much of it still resonated with me. That was a good feeling. From there I decided to make a quick reference — something I could pin above my office desk — a reminder of my commitment to achieving harmony this decade.
So with modifications here it is…
Approach each day with a grateful heart:
- I am grateful for; A loving marriage, healthy engaged children, and a sweet dog. Extended family. Safety. A body that moves and is disease free. Friends near and far. A home that provides a sanctuary of sorts. Freedom to express myself. Work that has meaning, purpose and brings me joy.
- Make time to sleep under a starlit sky. Be still enough to hear the call of birds. Be awake when the sun breaks across the horizon. Walk the beaches. Go barefoot. Find more dirt under the soles.
- Nourish body and soul by design—
- The body—Smile. Move. Exercise. Laugh. Dance. Sing. Stretch. Meditate. Play. Do things that build physical strength. Eat clean.
- The soul—Choose your thoughts. Seek out individuals vested in making a difference. Be involved. Do things that help. Read. Learn. Listen. Attract people who are committed to living an examined life.
- Have an attitude that–if you were contagious–you’d be worth catching.
- Read. Volunteer. Be generous. Cultivate and grow the spirit of abundance—lift up others and celebrate what they offer. Take risks. Use your voice. Be brave with your life.
- Now is what you have. Allow the moments to unfold. Your time here is a gift. Cherish the all of it. Notice.
I have plenty of days where my mind is at peace, but when old ways of being try to creep in and usurp me, I need to grab onto tools that I know will help me remember how wonderful life really is — visual queues help.
What about you, what do you do when you feel discouraged?