This past week I had the privilege of attending a memorial service for a dear friend's father. It was a joyful celebration with memories shared and laughter and tears. It was humbling to hear of the values this man shared with his family and co-workers and students. It was fascinating to hear of his travels and his adventures. One of the greatest things was hearing what he gave back to his family, friends and community in spite of any losses and challenges.
We all have challenges and even losses in our lives. Sometimes it feels as if we are traveling up hill every day. So how do we find the positives in our lives and begin to level out the field so we are not traveling up the hill but on even ground?
Perhaps the first thing to do is to make a list. Yup! That's what I said! Make a list. Studies show that if you actually write down a list of your blessings and the positive things in your life then you are more likely to remember them and keep them foremost in your thoughts. When things are toughest you can then just look at your list and begin to even out the field.
Share your thoughts and even your troubles with a trusted friend. You do not have to spill all of your private thoughts but it is easier to deal with our problems when they are shared. If you have a specific problem, it is often solved with a new point of view. Often, however, just sharing your problem allows you to feel less burdens and even allows your friend to remind you of happier times and all of your blessings.
Schedule play time. One of the things this wonderful man taught me is to go out and to have fun. He had many adventures and was always bringing back treasures! He enjoyed meeting people of all cultures and learning about new places. It was a good reminder of his joys that were awaiting him at home - his wonderful daughters and his many friends. Having fun rejuvenates one's body and also one's soul.
Amidst the turmoil of our lives. During the times when we MUST do something and when we SHOULD attend something, we NEED to remind ourselves of the joy of living. We must give of ourselves. We must experience fun and live according to our values and our beliefs. Only then will we be able to leave a joyful legacy to our loved ones and allow them to experience a final goodbye as a celebration. What will your legacy to your family and friends be?