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You'll Believe It When You See It

While we count our blessings here in the great Northwest, the Gulf Coast states endure and make every effort to recover from one hurricane after another. Whether we are facing such unimaginable devastation or juggling the everyday challenges of life, it is easy for our thoughts to wander to the conclusion that the world is falling apart. After all, just listen to the news!

Yes, bad things can happen to good people, and stress can come in huge waves. Still, statistics offer evidence that more good happens than bad and life is steadily improving. It’s hard to comprehend this can be true when advanced technology offers banner reports in an instant and horror bombards us via the television or newspaper with our breakfast, over dinner, as well as at all points in between. It’s not that there are more disasters, murders, and assaults. Actually it’s just the opposite. It’s just that they are being reported at least 300 percent more and news travels more quickly than ever before.

The real truth is that medical care has dramatically improved and the life span has expanded by years. Some diseases have been wiped out and near cures are visible on the horizon. Crime committed by teenagers is at its lowest levels in more than twenty years. The rate of teens killing themselves while driving a car is half what it was two decades ago. Statistics reveal that the overall teen death rate from accidents, homicide, or suicide has dropped 28 percent between 1990 and 2000.

There hasn’t been a lower birth rate among teenage girls than there is today. The overall dropout rate among American high school students has diminished by four percent in the last two decades, with an eight percent improvement among African Americans. Three-fourths of high school students say they get along very well or extremely well with their parents, and only three percent say they don’t get along well.

It is important to understand that while unfortunate things do happen, it is where we place our focus that is crucial in shaping the quality of our experience. And, what we focus on tends to expand in our mind.

Try this simple experiment. Don’t think of a purple cow.

Be honest, it’s likely you are thinking of a purple cow right now!

The same thing happens when our attention is over and over again directed by the media to focus on all that is askew in life. Embellishing catastrophes keeps us in chronic fear, and eventually threatens our health, happiness, and well being

What do you read when you see these ten letters: IAMNOWHERE?

Did you read I AM NOWHERE or I AM NOW HERE?

These are the same ten letters, and depending on how we choose to decipher them, they carry two very different messages. What is most important is that we understand that we are the one who chooses! No one twists our arm to read them one way over another. Where we place our focus, and in this case where we decide to place the spaces between these ten letters, determines the quality of our experience.

Our freedom depends on our ability to choose, and our perspective of not seeing ourselves as victims. Through choice we gain the power to trust that, even in the worst of times, we can distill something of value. It is the key to knowing that we can be happy regardless of our circumstances.

‘If you watch how nature deals with adversity, continually renewing itself, you can’t help but learn.’

— Bernie Siegel

For greater happiness, look for simple pleasures and the less obvious miracles. Take small and simple steps and learn to renew yourself by starting your day with a positive quote or reading the comics before the front page of the paper. Turn off the news and talk over dinner about all the things that went right, rather than wrong. Fall asleep counting your blessings and appreciating your family, your health, and all the kind people and ordinary heroes who strive each day to be their highest and best.

Remember, love is stronger that fear, and you’ll see it when you believe it.

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