It's so easy to look at my life and be filled with a petty grievance, annoyance or irritation -- my neighbor's kids are shouting in the pool, a client cancels last minute, I have a cavity.
But then I have to remember how good things really are.
Today was a glorious sunny day, and as I parked my car near my office, I spotted a man delicately and gently coaxing his wife -- who was clearly paralyzed -- into a wheelchair. I watched them do this exquisite dance. He held her shoulders while stepping back and her foot dragged forward. They did this two-step fluidly, again and again, until she was safely in the chair.
I nearly started crying as I witnessed his absolute devotion.
And I'm annoyed because someone beeped at me earlier?
An hour later, I was researching online and found an article that caught my eye about embracing change. I was impressed by how well it was written, noted the author's name and Googled her. Only to discover that she died in 2012 at the age of 56 from metastasized breast cancer.
And I feel sorry for myself because my hip hurts?
For many of us, it's as simple as shifting our perspective and remembering what we have right now.
A client I worked with this past fall had a chronic illness. For several years she was in so much pain that it required nearly Herculean effort for her to get out of bed and walk her dogs. She went into great detail about how she often slept in her clothes because it was too difficult and painful to change in the mornings.
My heart went out to her. I simply could not imagine being in that level of pain all the time. She went on to tell me that now, every morning, she wakes up grateful that she can move, that her body listens to her and doesn't ache.
Is the glass half full or half empty?
These stories of the heroes among us, speak to me. They remind me why I'm here.
They help me to shift my perspective back to how I want to see the world. And then I remember too, how I want to live my life -- with humility, gratitude, kindness and love -- everyday.
I know I'm human so sometimes I forget.
That's why I say a prayer of thanks for that man I saw in the parking lot earlier, for the brave woman honestly sharing about her own physical challenges and for men and women who speak openly about illness and death.
Each of them reminds me of my own mortality, and inspires me to make the most of this auspicious day that I will never have again. This gift of the present.
Then I remember to shift my perspective back to appreciation and gratitude for all that I do have right now.
My life is experienced through the lens that I choose. When I look at the world around me through the eyes of compassion, patience and fearlessness, life is exciting and fresh, full of beauty, love and opportunity. What lens are you using?
Shakti Sutriasa is the founder of DecideDifferently.com, a personal development company that combines modern psychology and spirituality in coaching, counseling and workshops to support people seeking positive change and self-transformation. Shakti is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and has an MA in Education. Learn more at DecideDifferently.com