I Appreciate My Freedom of Choice

Flags at Washington MonumentToday is Independence Day in my country and I’m reminded that “freedom” means so many things to many people.  I do appreciate that I live in a country where the ideals of freedom are engrained in our constitution. The Bill of Rights contains 10 amendments, some of which protect our freedom of religion, speech, and the press.

But this post isn’t about our constitutional freedoms, but rather an appreciation of how I always have freedom in my choices of how I react to any given situation. Observing social media outlets, I see some strong opinions expressed and sometimes hateful remarks towards others who disagree with these opinions. I’m reminded that we all have freedom to express what we believe, but we don’t have to agree with everyone. We get to choose. That’s freedom right there.

I appreciate that when I read or see hateful messages on social media, I can choose to ignore them. Things I don’t want or that cause me to feel negative feelings are called “unwanted contrast” in law of attraction circles. I appreciate the feelings that sometimes result from reading hate-filled comments as opportunities for me to focus in on what I truly want. I appreciate that I have learned the value of unwanted contrast in creating a more happy life.

Anytime we’re faced with something or a situation that causes us to have strong emotions of dislike, anger or other negative feelings, it’s an opportunity for us to exercise our freedom of choice: you can either simmer in those emotions and let them get stronger or practice focusing in on the opposite end of refining what you want. I’ve found that when I find myself getting heated up with passion about unwanted contrast, it’s a good time to jot down the opposite of what I don’t want, which is what I’d rather see and feel.

Once I’ve clarified what I want, I can exercise my freedom of choice in taking softer steps in getting there.  It might mean that I stop looking at social media for awhile, or that I don’t talk or associate with a certain people for awhile (until I can clean up my energy about them), or that I turn off the TV, or that I just distract myself with something else. I might meditate, go take a nap, do something that’s fun, pet my cat, talk to friends and family, or any number of things. I use Abraham-Hicks’ tip of reaching for that feeling of relief to move myself up the emotional scale into a better feeling place. I appreciate these tools for the happiness that I enjoy from using them!

I always have the freedom of choice in my relief from unwanted situations, and you do, too. Some people may interpret my reactions to people, things and situations sometimes as uncaring when I don’t engage in augmenting the negativity of the situation. But I do care – I care how I feel, I care about others and intend for their happiness, too, and I know how my happiness is dependent on me, just as yours is dependent upon you. I care enough to not let outside events destroy my well-being.

We always have a freedom of choice in how we react to anything, even in the most horrific situations. Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl expressed this beautifully in these statements:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

I appreciate my freedom of choice. I appreciate it so much as it’s contributed greatly to my personal growth and made me a much happier person.   I appreciate that you don’t have to agree with me, and that’s just fine. We travel our own journeys in life and I appreciate all the people who have contributed to mine in all ways: the good, the bad and the ugly. For all these situations have served me well in learning how to appreciate any person or situation. I’m happy and looking forward to more freedom of choices in my life for the growth that they foster in me.


Appreciating The Contrast – Day 14

Focus is possible through contrast

Today’s appreciation has to do with the law of attraction. The law of attraction works, whether or not we focus on what we want or we focus on what we don’t want: we get what we focus on. And we get what we focus on, whether we’re consciously creating it or just living life, reacting to events, people and circumstances. When I talk about focus, I’m not referring just to your thoughts, but also your feelings as we’re really talking about energy. So when you focus on being well, for example, but worry inside because you’re sneezing and fear you’re catching a cold or getting the flu, you’re really focusing on what you don’t want. Guess what happens? You likely will get that cold and end up in bed with the flu!

Contrast doesn’t have to be “bad,” but often we focus on what is unwanted because it doesn’t feel good. Unwanted contrast truly serves as a tool to clarify and focus on what one really wants. When you’re sick in bed with the flu, you really, really want to get better. Those desires are great, but if you keep reminding yourself of how sick you feel and tell others about how awful you’re feeling, you’re not aligning yourself to becoming better.

So as crazy as it sounds, you get what you want when you learn to focus and appreciate the contrast (the good and the bad). You learn to let go of “what is” and appreciate it because you know that something so much better is on its way.

So today, I’m appreciating the contrast. Contrast such as:

how sickness reminds us to take better care of our bodies, or can serve as a reminder to self to S-L-O-W down and relax

the confession from a child that s/he broke a favorite family heirloom as an appreciation of telling the truth (and our great relationship with the child who felt comfortable confessing)

rain on a picnic outing for the value it brings to making things grow (and appreciation for the shelter at the park where we can still have our picnic)

the loss of a job to help us focus on pursuing a better job or our own business

a family crisis for the appreciation it brings in bringing people together and strengthening ties

an earthquake for the appreciation of new buildings designed to withstand earthquakes, the emergency-preparedness of the community, the people who come together in times of tragedy, the emergency workers and the opportunities to re-build in new ways.

Tragedies serve to remind us to appreciate what’s important: people, our pets, the joy of life and being present.

In times of appreciating great unwanted contrast, others may feel that we are not truly caring. But appreciating unwanted contrast is truly caring: it’s caring about how we feel enough to not re-tell the unwanted contrast story that digs a hole of pity and sorrow so deep that we become depressed! It’s caring in a way that helps us find peace with where we are right now.  In doing so, we are offering ourselves and others a focused energy of appreciation, peace and love in being OK with “what is,” as we anticipate better times ahead.

Appreciating Amidst The Devastation in Japan

While it seems the entire world is focused on the recent earthquakes and tsunami in Japan and its destruction, this is the perfect time to ask ourselves what might there be to appreciate about this situation. My dear friend, Jeannette Maw, over at Good Vibe Blog, asked her readers to list the positive from this situation so we can all help Japan.  I made a somewhat long post there on her blog, but then I thought, “Why not come here on this blog all about appreciation and make it here, too?” After all, the more we can shift our focus to find appreciation and love, the better off Japan and the entire world will be. Feel free to add your own.

So here is what I said:

I am so glad for this post, Jeannette, and the opportunity to look at it from a place of appreciation through all of this contrast.

I have much love for Japan and its people. My experience there as a Fulbrighter almost 2 years ago was one of the memorable experiences of my life, for which I truly appreciate. The kindness of the people, their culture and the beauty of the nation cannot be overstated and the experience all left a lasting imprint of love into my heart.

I began sending them an energy of love right away. I’ve wrapped them in a blanket of love, safety and healing for those that are hurting.

I have found much to appreciate in this situation of such deep contrast. Through my day job, I have many connections to other countries, universities and people around the world, including Japan. I also have a colleague from Japan who works with me, so I was very happy to learn that her family is ok. She feels relieved, which makes her happy and I love seeing and feeling happy for her happiness, too.

I appreciated and felt a relief in hearing from one of our Japanese partners that they are all safe and staying in their offices in Tokyo. He even made a joke in his email, which was so refreshing and I thought how much I appreciate him for his humor, and for his ability to express it in this time.

And here’s to all those people who have jobs in Tokyo, which gives them a place to stay right now!

I am so happy to here that our exchange student over there is ok and has written us back, too. I am happy that most of our students here from Japan have reported that their family and friends are ok, too and I’m intending that they will all communicate with everyone soon.

I’m reminded that those who have “died” have just transitioned. That is comforting.

I love how I can go on Facebook and hear from all of our Japanese alumni living there and know that they are safe and still here. Facebook and the Google technology that allows people to search for missing loved ones is a relief for not only me, but for many searching for their family and friends. Isn’t technology wonderful, and especially in times like these?

Speaking of technology, the biggest appreciation I’ve been feeling lately is for the Japanese engineering and technology in their construction of buildings in Tokyo. Without that high tech ability, many buildings would have fallen and many more people would not now have a place to “live,” and the devastation would have been much worse.

I am appreciative that the Japanese are so organized in their training and orientation to their citizens that people do know what to do in times of earthquakes and disasters like these. I appreciate their advanced warning system they have on their TVs. They are an example to the rest of the world of how we can build our buildings for the general well-being of everyone.

I know that the Japanese custom of neighborhood groups that look out for each other, plus the general culture of group culture will be a very uniting, comforting and re-building force in the months ahead.

I see the images and remember my fond times there: a time I truly appreciate and will always love.

((((((((((((((((((((((((BIG HUG OF LOVE TO JAPAN)))))))))))))))))))))