Years ago, I remember a favourite public speaker, who influenced my life greatly. He used to say: “An Attitude of Gratitude brings Altitude!” Yes, altitude gives a perspective from above, in a physical sense, but also a special perspective that is transcendent.
The word “Transcendent” means aloof, giving us distance in our perspective. This distance sometimes allows our emotions to settle down, which otherwise clutter our perception, so our mind gets a more ‘objective’ perspective. Sometimes, we look at a situation, despairing about its appearance, when we can learn that creative outcomes often emerge out of chaos. In other words, we don’t mop the floor, if it is already clean.
Some years ago, I took up beekeeping, reading a lot about it, while recovering from an injured to my hand. I was thankful to find out that honey is a great antiseptic. So, I dipped my wounded fingers in honey each day. Also, I became grateful that I had discovered such a thing. Before doing the dip, my wounds were painful and swollen but, with the dip, I understood that honey is inherently antiseptic, stopping any swelling. I also reflected that the honey seems designed to prevent fermentation, typical of the sugar content in cider and other sugary substances.
Another way to consider this would be, in contrast to resentment of news that ‘it’s going to be a hot day’, we can be grateful that a thunderstorm is unlikely to wreck our plans to go to the beach!
This suggests that we need watch the ideas that we are telling ourselves.
Recently, as I said in a previous post, I have moved to Kangaroo Island, leaving many friends behind on the mainland. Although, I had a heap of new friends, I lamented the ‘loss’ of the old friends and began to have emotions to match this lament. Yet, I was choosing to lament the loss instead of appreciating the new friends. Actually, I had not lost the old friends and could email or phone them if wished. This is where attitude comes into the picture we paint in our minds.
Earlier, I mentioned an attitude, which we can adopt and even insist on. We have to choose the habit of thought which, in this case, brings gratitude! How do we do this? Years ago my mother warned against becoming ‘a crape hanger’, meaning don’t allow yourself a sentiment of remorse and loss, typical at funerals. I remember words of a singer:
You have to accent the positive, eliminate the negative, illuminate the affirmative and don’t mess with Mr. In Between.
It can be difficult if we are not intentional in this. These days, we are bombarded by the media. News writers have adopted the style of ‘If it bleeds, it leads!’ But, we feed this as well. We have all witnessed people fascinated by tragedies on and off the road. Even long ago when I was a teen working a tourist hotel, I heard of the ‘rat race’. It has been around for a long time and we must not blame ourselves for choosing the ‘dog eat dog’ view, of competition of the Western World. Yet, we have to watch the language of ‘self-talk’.
The temptation to be a crape hanger is fed by a tragic perspective on events. Yet, we can and must change our attitude from remorse to an Attitude to Gratitude to bring Altitude.
How can we do this? We must see that we are constantly in a creative process. We must be determined to turn tragedy into triumph and this is done by understanding the creative process.
The first phase of the creative process begins with acceptance of what is even chaotic. Secondly, we must hold to the optimism so that chaos can be unravelled. We then allow an incite or flash of light to reveal ideas born in optimism. This allows us to come up with at least one solution to overcome the chaos. Finally, we test our new ideas in the fire of the initial chaos. Thus our gratitude bringing altitude or perspective is rewarded by a workable insight or an actual solution.
I believe that it is this four stage process that produces most of our creative outcomes. They can even happen in the face of despair caused by misunderstanding.
Please work to overcome the tendency to jump to conclusions. Without a lofty perspective on a problem, you are handicapped in many life situations. I have been inspired by these perspectives and I have a great gratitude for the positive effects that come in my life!