Yesterday, as I was enjoying returning to my early morning routine after having had shoulder surgery last Monday, I casually sipped my tea and wrote this in my journal (left handed since my dominant right arm hangs in a sling):
The quality of our attitude is like the sun, orchestrating all things, giving life or taking it away depending on its position. A positive attitude, unobstructed, radiates strong upon every being in its wake – impeded by cloudy veils it does not extinguish.
Having spent the last week mainly in bed, attached to a cold therapy machine I’ve endearingly named Alexi, I’ve had some time on my hands and have been thinking about the importance of attitude, as it pertains to the quality of our lives. It’s not fresh news to me that attitude is the critical component in living life well but I do still get much appreciated reminders of just how important it is, as has been the case since my surgery.
This above image I found online maps it out quite well I think. Another quality I might add would be: doesn’t compare oneself to others. I’ve noticed the tendency many people have to compare their situations to that of others. And while I’m sure it happens I’ve only personally experienced the comparison in a negative fashion, as in: my difficulties are WAY worse than yours. Comparing ourselves to others, in any regard, does not foster a good attitude.
A good attitude is the best medicine to help with ailments of all kinds, from physical pain to mental and emotional anguish. It is not uplifting for anyone involved to hear over and over one’s woes and limitations and complaints. Cultivating a good attitude doesn’t mean, of course, that we should put on airs and bury real pain we’re going through in order to put on a fake happy face or pretend that no difficulties exist. Practicing to have a good attitude instead refers to how we go about facing the challenges that do arise. Do we get stuck and complain to anyone who’ll listen, draining their energy and time as well as our own? Do we continue referring to how many burdens we carry, so as to outdo our friends in the woe-is-me department? In response to, “How are things?” do we let out a large sigh and then proceed to prattle on about how bad things are without focusing on anything that’s going well? Are we convinced that things really are as bad as we think/say they are?
There are four words we would be well served to remember and repeat daily to ourselves: We all have challenges. And five more words that I personally like to keep in my mind and heart are: It can always be worse. There is little to no value in the practice of a sour, embittered attitude – in repeating over and over our painful lot in life in regards to a chronic ailment or illness or ongoing emotional difficulty. Regardless of what is happening we all have challenges and it can always be worse. And in conjunction with the latter part: There is always something to be grateful for.
A good attitude is not dependent on an absence of challenges but on how many things we can truly be grateful for in the midst of those challenges. Today I am grateful for the ability to have been able to go through surgery and get repaired so that my function and strength can, in time, return. I’m grateful to have insurance in order to have the surgery and not have to suffer ongoing shoulder pain and limitation. I’m grateful for caring friends and family who’ve been checking on me, stopping by, lent me movies to watch while laid up, and sent get well cards and emails (my favorite card from my friend Gina is pictured below, it’s a large cardboard postcard that she made and mailed of an elephant that says on it: No mud, No lotus). I’m grateful for being in less pain then I was expecting and able to type pretty well one handed. I’m grateful that pain is like all things and is subject to change. I’m grateful for having had the surgery in the summertime as opposed to the winter, when my cold therapy machine is a welcomed cooling device. I’m grateful for the immense luxury that I have to not be working, and not needing to hurry along my healing process in order to get back to work. I’m grateful for my patient husband who’s had to learn to do my hair and wakes up in the middle of the night to refill my ice machine. I’m grateful for my mom who’s done my laundry and taken me food shopping and spent the days after my surgery with me washing dishes and taking care of our chickens. I’m grateful for being able to return to my writing much sooner then I thought. I’m grateful for being here now. I could go on – but in the interest of your time and an already lengthy post I’ll end there :)