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  Wednesday April 23rd, 2014    

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The gratitude attitude (10/21/2007)
By Janet Lewis Burns
Annie Dillard said many brilliant things. This is one to hold onto. "I think that the dying pray at the last not ‘please', but ‘thank you', as a guest thanks a host at the door."

Don't merely endure life, live it to the fullest! A good sense of humor is one of the most positive and effective elixirs there is. I remember times spent with friends back in school days when we literally laughed until we cried. It was an awesome rush!

Give yourself a belly laugh every day. On a good day, I like to take familiar quotes and turn them catawampus. "If life throws you a nasty curve, pray for a boomerang." "It's not what your country can do for you; it's what you can do for yourself." "Never do today what you can put off indefinitely." "Put your money where your mouse is!" Sometimes you feel like a nut! Seniors are sharper today, in order to defend themselves when the family starts taking them on tours of places with trick names, like "Bed and Bingo", "The Wheeler Inn", "Senior Dining & Dozing", "Bed, Bath, & the Beyond", "The Rest Stop", "Co-Ed Crafts & Cuisine" and "Serene Senior Moments."

Two recent studies found a significant happiness gap between men and women. Hard to believe, but men actually enjoy time with family and friends more than the gals. It seems women's to-do lists keep growing, and busy doesn't mean happier. So much for sharing household duties with the male counterpart.

Anyone can work at being happy and satisfied, so why waste time and energy being miserable? Try it! You'll like it! So says an article in the October Reader's Digest, by Deborah Norville, taken from "Thank You Power." I quote, "As science is now proving, feeling grateful can actually make us healthier, literally." "We'll sleep better and exercise more. We'll feel more optimistic. We'll be more alert and active." There! I'd much rather go with that than the one about men enjoying life more than women! Isn't it what you make it?

Another way to say it: You can't change the direction of the wind but you can adjust your sails. Norville's article points out, "Those who found something to appreciate every day were less apt to see a connection between life satisfaction and material things."

If you feel that there are no little things and special people that make every day a gift, then there's a void in your life begging to be acknowledged.

Norman Vincent Peale's "Power of Positive Thinking" is a handy guide toward peaceful living. Peale advises that you'll never get everyone to like you, but being easy-going, pleasant, and showing interest in others opens the door. When you pray for a person you tend to modify your personal attitude toward that individual. A positive practice might be to compile an exhaustive list of everything you could possibly admire about each person who annoys you.

It takes both the sun and the rain to make a rainbow. Into each life a little rain must fall. You know all the familiar jargon: Chill out! Don't resent, relent! Get over it, already! It takes more energy to frown than it does to smile. Don't hold a grudge, it only weighs you down. Cry and the world cries with you; snore and you sleep alone"¦or something like that.

Peale has a wealth of suggestions. "Attitudes are more important than facts." "Lose yourself in order to find yourself." "Build up the ego of other persons." I was thinking, how would bumper stickers and signs read in a light-hearted world:

"Have you hugged anyone today?" "Just say NO thank you." "Welcome trespassers!" Deer crossing - does and fawns have right of way." "Wayside rest stop - sorry no gas!" "Dead end." (There's your sign!)

"Pray for world peace - inquire within." Live life through your heart. Put on a happy face! Let a smile be your umbrella! Fill your world with gratitude! Be that beacon in the distance for somebody.

Carpe diem!

Janet Burns is a lifelong resident of Lewiston. She can be reached at patandjanburns@embarqmail.com

 

 

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