Breathe into Optimism

Portland Intnational Rose Garden

Portland Intnational Rose Garden

This is a perfect fall day. Looking out onto the plaza below I stop, exhale, breathe, and am thankful for the sunshine and beauty about. Everything looks so peaceful, both inside and out. I hear the clang of the light-rail train as it leaves the station. I allow my breath to return again. Just the thought of its returning makes it so. As I sit and think about the beauty of my immediate surroundings it is easy, in this moment, to avoid thinking about the hurricanes’ ravage on Houston, Florida, the Caribbean, and  the world’s deplorable political climate. I almost feel guilty for enjoying this moment of peace. Yet, I realize that to not recognize the beauty and kindnesses in our world is to pave the road towards cynicism. The definition of cynical is as follows: to be bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic. WHOA! Stop and read that definition again as I just did. Reading it the third time, I monitor the feelings that come up when I speak the words, sneeringly, distrustful, contemptuous, and pessimistic. What did I observe? I held my breath. I could feel my shoulders tensing. In truth, I certainly do not want to be mired in any of the qualities that occupy cynicism.

After this little exercise, my thoughts turned to my mother who in one week’s time will have been gone 12 years. My immediate thought was, “no matter what, as long as I am alive and breathing, I will still be my mother’s little girl.” I smile thinking of that. My mother lived through so much heart break in her life, World War II and the loss of two brothers, loss of her husband at a young age, to mention just 3 major life events. Of course, she was also alive and attuned to the Cold War with the Soviet Union, Viet Nam, Watergate, Iraq, and so much more. The point is, I never saw her fold to cynicism, discouragement and sadness, yes, but never cynicism.

Reflecting on my own view of the world today, I admit to being drawn towards the dark side of cynicism and pessimism. That said, it is days like today, when the sun in shining and all looks peaceful that I, and all of us, must stop, exhale, and allow the breath to refresh us. We must grasp the ray of opptimism inherent in this beauty; yes, we can do this.

I continue to look out the windows to the plaza below. I see a man struggling with his walker and jacket and people riding bicycles across the square. I hear a bit of traffic out the open balcony door. My wish is that we all can and will grasp a moment of peace; pause  and renew your optimism for the days ahead, on this beautiful fall day. ONWARD!

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