Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Sanity Tip—Optimism

While growing up my grandma repeatedly quoted to me the ancient Greek saying, There is nothing bad without some good mixed in with it. (The way you say it in Greek is, Outhen kakon amiges kalou.) The English equivalent is, Every cloud has a silver lining. So since early on in my life I was taught to identify positives in the midst of negatives. This practice has contributed greatly to my sanity to this day.
What always amazes me is the power of perspective, the fact that how I evaluate something—as good or bad—can affect my life for better or for worse. It is also very sobering that it is up to me whether I fixate my mind on the glass being half full or half empty. No one else can do it for me.
So I’ve learned to remind myself to look at mistakes as learning opportunities and closed doors as blessings in disguise. I may have to grit my teeth to get there, and even fake it till I make it sometimes, but when I get there I invariably find it to be a much better place than where I was before. If someone asks me, Do you think this event is good or bad? I reply, Yes. I know that if I see something as bad and expect bad outcomes, I’ll get demoralized and give up. And of course it will turn out to be a bad deal for me. If I maintain, however, that good can come out of the situation, I hang onto hope, persevere, do the right thing, and eventually identify blessings and opportunities for progress.
So, the bottom line is that how we respond to something may prove to be much more important, critical in fact, than what happens to us. And how we choose to respond is the responsibility of each one of us.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Sanity Tip--Spend Time Outdoors!

As we journey through life we (hopefully) learn what helps keep us afloat and moving forward. Some of what we learn is worth sharing with others. And since for me personal experience tends to be the proof of the pudding, I want to share with you “tried and true” tools that keep me sane.:) I plan to do that by posting a Sanity Tip pretty much every week.
The Sanity Tips fall in the following categories: Attitude, Conscience, Overcoming, Refueling, Relationships and Responsibility.
After posting my thoughts I’d love to hear your comments. Let me know what you think. Tell me if you put the tool into practice and how it worked for you. Perhaps you’ve already been using the tool for years. If so, comment on that also.

Sanity Tip—Spend Time Outdoors
Oh, the outdoors! Sunshine, moonlight, birds chirping and squirrels squawking, flowers exploding with indescribable color, the wind whistling through trees, rain, snow, mountains, lakes, roaring rivers, the saltiness of the sea. I’ve always felt refreshed by being outdoors—whether it’s stepping outside for 15 minutes or going away for five days. There is something about the sounds, sights, smells and tastes of nature that refreshes my soul. Whether a faraway place or a city park—even a walk around the block—put me in touch with something bigger than me, something majestic and amazingly complex. Even insects can be fascinating. I often spend time watching ants go about their business. And I find myself breathing more deeply and relaxing, sometimes even smiling, and getting refreshed before I go back to the grind.
Now I know that for some of you the world has become an unsafe place and being outside no longer sounds appealing. That’s the outcome of what I call Corrections Fatigue. You’re very aware that you can never tell who you may run into that has connections with offenders or who is a released offender. To you I say, please, try very hard to come up with places, times and ways you can enjoy the outdoors again. One of the people I know worked swing shift. After coming home at night he’d saddle up his horse and go for a ride, usually around midnight, in the foothills around his house. He told me that doing so helped him maintain his sanity. Especially after being cooped up in a corrections facility for 8 hours or more, you NEED to spend time outside regularly soaking in the beauty of creation.


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