Half a cup…

glass-half-full-560

If there is a recipe for contentment, it calls for four ounces…

In this recipe, though, the unspecified ingredient is less important than how the cook views that half a cup. Four ounces in an eight-ounce glass: half full or half empty?

I think most of us see ourselves as leaning naturally toward either optimism or pessimism. Those who tend to be more hopeful know how to look for the good in difficult circumstances. Those who brace themselves for the negative don’t want to be caught off-guard when trouble comes.

It seems very few are exclusively one or the other. The popular idea of new year’s resolutions requires some optimism – though the pessimist might simply anticipate failing sooner.

A well-known quote resolves the opposing tendencies with a third option:  “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails.” I love this quote — and i didn’t notice until a good friend observed it that one can do all three.

As for my own perspective, if i had to pick a label, it would be realist. (I touched on this in an earlier post about positivity and negativity.) I also like the old phrase cautiously optimistic.

Aside from the question of whether (and to what degree) one’s inclination is innate or conditioned, it does seem to be somewhat adjustable. This is a crucial premise of my friend Danny’s motivational blog, well worth checking out: Dream Big Dream Often.

He encourages readers to take steps toward adding an ounce or two to the cup ourselves. Good friends and others can help us with this, just as negative folks in our lives can seem as though they’re depleting us ounce by ounce.

Every ounce (or ‘oz’ as they’re abbreviated in recipes) can make a difference. Rather than being limited by the starting half cup measurement, we have considerable influence over our own attitude, over adding to or subtracting from it. You could say we are our own wizards of oz.

How would you describe your outlook?

Holiday feelings…

christmas-tree

I was talking with a friend today about our feelings toward Christmas.

She observed that most people she knows claim either to love it or to hate it. Some take special joy and comfort in the trappings of the season. Others carry them as a weight, fraught with negative associations, something more to be endured than enjoyed. (A few try to ignore the holiday altogether.)

My friend found it refreshing that i don’t have strong feelings about the season in either of those two common directions. What i do take from it, i take quietly.

When my children were little i delighted in making the season delightful for them – more because of people than things, though. There was no worry about them discovering the ‘truth’ about Santa, because in our family he was always a winked-at fiction — like being ‘in’ on an inside joke.

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Change vs discovery

heartprint

One of the most common pieces of advice you hear about relationships is to avoid trying to change the other person. Be yourself as well as you can, and accept the other for who they are.

When you first begin to get to know a person you are newly attracted to, you are, of course, putting your best self forward. And you know they are doing the same.

The time you spend together — whether you call it ‘dating’ or something else — gradually reveals more of the other’s as well as your own authentic self within the safety of developing affection for each other. You most often cannot know immediately whether a relationship will work out, as sweet and exciting as the love-at-first-sight idea is.

At the beginning, the compatibilities seem obvious, comforting and enticing.

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Long overdue…

Hello readers!

I hope this is the last time that i’ll have to express regrets for a long absence.

In my inaugural Ruminations post of December 2014, i explained my reasons for not making the cancer diagnosis a major topic of the blog. Unfortunately, it does make sense to refer to its ramifications occasionally, particularly after i’ve been prevented from posting regularly.

Returning today from the longest sabbatical since i started the blog is just such an occasion…

autumn-haze

Winter is coming. I never used to mind that.

But now with winter’s approach come dismal emotions that accompany anniversaries of diagnosis and treatment.

This November 1st marks three years since the declaration. I call it the great Time Marker.

I am, as far as i know, cancer-free. The subsequent string of severe complications from the treatment appears to finally be over, but has resulted in permanent discomforts and limitations — which is why i am only now getting back to writing. They make the anniversary a bit more challenging to grieve over and move beyond.

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