Monday, January 21, 2013

Life Sucks!

... or does it? 

Well, I had to try and grab your attention!

Over the past two days, Deb and I have seen a woman, all by herself, screaming at the top of her lungs, her anger somehow directed at the ocean; a homeless man looking for a comfortable piece of concrete so he could take a nap in the middle of the day; a man evicted from a municipal bus for not paying the bus-fare when he had boarded the bus; three females, one 50-something, the next perhaps 20-something, and a young girl maybe aged in single digits begging for money with a hand-written sign saying "please help, we have nothing."  City life... in San Francisco.

Now, most of us have an ability to find a reason to complain about something, right?  I'm too fat, too thin, poor, unhappy with my job, don't have enough money, my dog hates me, the roof leaks, whatever.

It's often very tough to reverse-engineer such thoughts, or to explore some counter-intuitive thinking in order to arrive on the right side of an unhappy/happy equation.  Descartes famously declared "Cogito ergo sum," (translated from the original Latin: "I think, therefore I am"). 

Let's start by flipping his philosophy around and say "I am, therefore I think."

For starters, we can successfully land at the "I am" part of this equation quite easily.  It's true that you are, right...?  Because if this were not true, you wouldn't be reading this blog right now.  Since we should all be able to agree that "I am," let's move onto the second part... "therefore I think."

Have you ever wondered how we are able to create something out of nothing with such incredible ease?  Thinking allows us to do this.  Not deep thinking, just ideas.  Of course, you could have a million ideas and they're all instant because thought is instant, but that doesn't mean that you will necessarily execute on the thoughts (and sometimes you shouldn't anyway).

Let's go back to the second paragraph above... too fat, too thin, etc.  You may have noticed a common thread in the examples I have offered: they're all absolutely within your control.  You determine the outcome and result of most things that impact your life!  There are things that are absolutely outside of your control, but that would be much greater challenges, like life and death.

People constantly search for answers to a better life - or even a life after death - by studying and clinging to philosophies or religion, reading self-help books, paying others to help motivate them, chasing material possessions, buying stuff they don't need, and much more.

Have you even noticed how the best things in life are usually mostly the things that are also "free?"  Sharing a cup of coffee with a loved-one; a walk outside with someone you love, e.g. surrounded by nature & fresh air, or alongside a beach; a hug from someone you love, etc.... these are really the things that cause life not to suck!

There's an adage I learned when I served a few years in the army as a medical orderly, and that was simply that "touch means so much."  I have tried to carry this forward in other areas of my life, enjoying many little moments that can be treasured.

So, the next time you think life sucks, think of this philosophy: The sentence you have just read is in your past and the words that follow are in your future.  That's also how fleeting the suck factor is.  

Simplify your life and remove the elements that cause you stress and/or distress.  If you activate your senses to ensure that your body and mind is exercised and healthy, other life factors - like your job, finances, personal relationships, etc. - will be more rewarding also.

When you feel down, you may realize that you had been happy a short while ago, and you'll look back at your down moment as something that happened in the past, the moment you are feeling happy again!

That's how fleeting our life experiences and thoughts really are.  Now, all you have to do when life sucks, is remember that in a little while - the time required to experience happiness again simply depends on the cause of the unhappiness - your life will be brilliant once more!