Two ideas have coalesced in my mind to create this year’s New Years resolution of sorts; or maybe I should call it my New Years Mantra.
The first was a YouTube video:
There is this great viral video of comedian Lewis C.K. that I wish I could show you. The video clip on YouTube was pulled because of a copyright claim by NBC Universal. (Here is the video, hope it still acts like link: Everything is a Miracle)
In the video clip, Lewis was talking with Conan O’Brien and he was describing how there are so many amazing things in our lives such as cell phones, computers and even flying in a plane, but we are so spoiled and don’t appreciate just how amazing these things are. He told the story of sitting in a plane that has just installed Wi-Fi and he was on the plane surfing the web when the Wi-Fi stopped working. The guy next to him was exasperated, “This is bullxxxx”. Lewis was amused that the guy next to him was already expecting to surf the web while flying through the clouds, even though – as Lewis puts it – “this technology had only been in existence for a total of 10 seconds”.
The second was my friend’s comment on depression:
I have a friend, Bill, who is also a life-optimizing coach. He spends his days helping people in business become more successful and is starting to work with artists to help them find success and continue their artistic pursuits. He and I were having coffee when he told me what he thought caused depression.
Depression, Bill says, is the difference between expectations and reality. People become depressed when they start measuring in their mind where they think should be and compare that to where they are. Think about it: you think that you should have more money, but you don’t; or, you think you should be thinner, but you are not; or you should be smarter, braver, cuter, funnier… Depression occurs when you start measuring and because most people are so far away from where they think they should be, there is an epidemic of depression.
To Bill, curing depression is all about controlling expectations. Not that you shouldn’t shoot for the stars, but you should be more grateful for where you are and what you have.
These two ideas met in my mind and have created a way to look at the world: Look at everything in your life and think that it is a miracle. Instead of controlling expectations as my friend Bill suggests, think about raising your amazement at everything you have and everything you see.
These words that you are reading started in my head and then have traveled through the air and wires and have ended up in your head. The computer you are reading this on is an amazing thing. The place where you are sitting is a maze of incredible events and happenstance: The birds near you, the trees, the buildings, the cup, the floor, the clouds, the big blue ball we call home… all of it is amazing!
Every time you step into a car and drive a million things have to go right for you to reach your destination: the car has to run, you have to drive, the lights have to change colors, the other drivers have to avoid you. And most of the time, everything works in perfect synchronization.
These observations have created my New Year’s mantra: Everything is a Miracle, Everything a Blessing.
I am not denying the state of the world. There are truly horrible things happening every day. I am, however, suggesting that, when we can, we tune our minds to higher things and appreciation.
My favorite quote comes from Anne Dillard and it goes like this: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Why not spend your days and your life in constant amazement at everything around you. You will be happier, more fulfilled, and filled with more joy.
I wish you the best in health and happiness for the new year.