I've been thinking a lot about attitude these days. The reflection started when I thought about people I admire, living and dead, who have many, many more years of experience on this plane of existence than me and what they had in common. The one thing they had in common...a tenacious awareness of the attitude they both cultivated and invested in during their daily lives.
I like to think of it like this. Pretend you are wearing sunglasses. Depending on the color of the glass, it will shape the rest of your vision. If I wear rose tinted sunglasses, everything will take on this rose colored tint. If I wear blue tinted sunglasses, everything I see and experience will take on this blue tint. So the question is, what color sunglasses am I wearing? And are those the color I want to wear?
My teacher Sri Dharma Mittra, with 76 years of experience on this planet Earth, is famous for his child-like, playful, loving attitude that he brings to each classroom and encounter. It is both infectious when you are around him and inspiring. My great grandmother who lived to be nearly 100 had a fierce attitude of presence and independence. This kept her sharper than a tack even well after loosing her eye sight. And the 70+ year old hippie I met while traveling out West grinned from ear to ear every moment you saw him. When I asked him one morning, what is your secret he said "I wake up every morning searching for joy. I make it a game. I spend my time searching for joy under every carpet and around every corner until I find it that day."
In my own life, I've concluded that when I consciously foster a positive attitude, it colors my thoughts, my behavior, my ways of being in a way that brings more joy into my life and the lives of others. When I allow my attitude to get defeatist, resentful, frustrated, I find myself generating negative thoughts, behaving in ways that neither serves me nor anyone else, and my being lacks energy and feels heavy as if life is weighing me down.
I had the beautiful opportunity to co-lead a group retreat of more than twenty people this past weekend in the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley. I witnessed strangers become friends, pockets of people form a community, and I was reminded of how infectious the attitude we have is with others. Because members of the group brought so much open love, everyone was infected with this beautiful energy. And nestled away in a cabin as I witnessed this beautiful human exchange, I was reminded how deeply connected we all are to each other.
My invitation for us on this Joy Tip Wednesday is to pay attention to what attitude we are cultivating. To see how our current attitude is impacting our thoughts, behavior, and ways of being in the world over the next 24 hours.
- Spend the next day checking with yourself occasionally to see what attitude you've chosen as your anchor for existence. What sunglasses you've chosen to put on. Are they rose colored joy glasses? Smoky colored defeatist glasses?
- Notice what thoughts are being generated with each attitude you choose to "wear." In my own life, I've learned that it is important for me to be extremely conscious about what attitude I both start and end the day with. I do this through simple rituals like a morning gratitude and meditation practice and evening reflection.
- Choose an inspiring person to remind you of your anchor! I have a picture of Sri Dharma Mittra on my alter and every morning and evening I see his face as a reminder of the attitude, the thoughts, the being he represents that I want to cultivate in my life.
- Check yourself if you find your attitude waning into something you don't want to cultivate. Sometimes I find myself later in the day wearing an attitude that isn't generating positive energy. This is a sign for me to get curious to address the situation. I need to be clear about why I've taken on a negative attitude and I do my best to shift things before the night closes.
When I maintain an awareness of my attitude, I wake up refreshed and I sleep peacefully knowing I did my best to cultivate a joyful sense of being in my life.
The mind is a tricky creature and my mind is particularly clever. Over the years, I've learned my own tricks to get past my fears, negative thought patterns, and energy draining behaviors. You can learn your own tricks too! One way I'm supporting people to find their own tricks and to cultivate more joy in their lives is through an eight-week coaching program. Registration opened today and space is limited. See if this powerful journey is a path you want to join me on. Roses colored glasses await you!
And in the meantime, choose your attitude. Even though I've been given this advice many times throughout my life from childhood to adulthood, sometimes I forget. Life gets busy, my mind gets caught up in the doing, and I forget to reflect on whether where I've cast my anchor is the shore I want my attitude to reside in. So choose your shore wisely, choose your custom glasses, and make the next 24 hours a dedication to the attitude you wish to bring to your life!