The Short List

pen on notebook on table
by Vance Larson

A client asked me how do I stay so positive? I have worked with them for a number of years, so they know the struggles that I have encountered over the past decade. And while I wouldn’t wish all that I have gone through on anybody. I do wish the gift of introspection for everyone.

Growing up I was heavily involved in the martial arts. And while I thought it was cool to learn how to fight and defend myself, little did I know that years later it was the meditation and the realisation of “breath” that literally saved my life.

I spent my entire life working in the mental health field. Spending 20 years as a crisis counsellor, I would often teach meditation to my clients who went through a traumatic event. More importantly, the use of breath work during an actual crisis is a valuable tool. But, what I didn’t realise is just how powerful these tools can be when done on a daily basis over the course of time. Not only has it been life changing, but it has been life saving.

about Happiness

So when my client asked about my optimism, I instinctively took a deep breath and said “It is my thinking”. She was puzzled with her look. I said “It’s a short list”. While there are many thing we can do to increase our happiness, I prefer to go within. I spoke about the power silence and emptying one’s thoughts. I embrace where I am and do not lose sight of the fact that I am here at this present moment. By doing so, I can focus my complete attention on what I feel and what needs to be done. The amazing side benefit to this is the connection you have with the people or persons who are sharing that space and time with you.

But now my client wasn’t letting me off the hook. She wanted a concrete answer. She wanted to know what exactly was on this supposed “Short List”. So as I paused for a brief moment, {again took a deep breath} I said “I will tell you my secret”. But bare in mind that my list will differ from yours and everyone else’s. That said, here is my recipe for happiness. Here is my short list.

Things that I don’t think about :

Things that I don’t have.

Getting revenge.

Reliving the past.

Feeling sorry for myself.

Things that make me angry.

Wishing karma would catch someone.

Anything that’s none of my business.

Things I think about :

The present moment.

She said “That’s it”? Yes, for me it is that simple. Yes, there are times I struggle. Yes, there are times when I would like to give up. Yes, there are times when I think of the Poseidon Adventure wave that is getting ready to flip my life upside down. The difference? My next thought is I’m not flipped upside just yet. I return to breath. I do what I can in this present moment. And I deal with tomorrow, tomorrow.

I explained to her that one day it will be my last. And I want to be present for it. I don’t worry about what is missing. I don’t concern myself with things like gossip. I focus on this moment. Everything outside of it is powerless unless I put energy into it.

So yes I am optimistic. Bad things happen all the time. The difference for me is that I believe in the power of choice. And at this present moment, my choice is to keep my list short.

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2 thoughts on “The Short List”

  1. Deborah Fairfull
    Deborah Fairfull

    I practiced martial art in my early adulthood too and I LOVED it. What a wonderful practical article in how to stay positive and embrace life.

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