By Jenifer Tull-Gauger
We create our lives. Each day is tuned to our attitudes and wills. Each moment is a product of our thoughts, words and actions. We are all artists, creators of our own day, living it how we choose. We may not get to choose many of the details of our day. Sometimes we may not get any choice at all in how our day goes. But we always choose our own attitudes toward our day and the world.
I woke up one day thinking, “This day is a gift, I will rejoice in it and be glad.” Birds were singing. The weather was great. Even though it was a busy day, I reveled in the full, big pink rose blooming in front of our manicured green lawn. I sang along with the radio.
While zooming along in the car I noticed a tree covered in white blossoms reflecting the sun. It was directly centered against the fresh, bright-green backdrop of a slightly larger Bottle Tree with extra-long branches hanging like a Weeping Willow. What a privilege to be alive in that moment, to bear witness to the singular beauty of the masterpiece “Tree against Tree in Sunlight.” It was the perfect aha moment of a haiku.
I wondered what would happen if I tried to relive that moment. What if I tried to share that beauty with you? If we were to go back and look again another day, would the striking beauty have faded? Would the light be different, only revealing big plants lining the street?
It would depend on the moment we each had created. If we were living our day in gratitude and joy, we may well be able to view the beauty in the masterpiece. If we were focused on other things, whether petty or necessary, we would probably just see trees.
When I woke up the following day, no birds. I forgot my attitude of gratitude and joy. I wondered if things were okay. I wondered if I was wasting my time in all my busyness. Maybe I had uselessly spun my wheels in all the focused activity of the past day.
Maybe, maybe not. I realized that worry and concern, in essence a poor attitude, would not help create the masterpiece day which this artist desires. This day, like each day that we wake up with, was a gift to us, to do with as we see fit. We each create our day, moment by moment, thought by thought. With our attitude, we create our life.
We cannot control the world. We do not reign over our acquaintances’, friends’ or family members’ thoughts, words or actions. But we each have control over our own attitudes, thoughts, words and actions. Despite a lack of singing birds, despite adverse attitudes around us, we can rise to the challenge of creating our own positive experiences.
In this moment, we each can choose joy and love. Others have done just that in situations that were much worse than our worst experiences. (Two stories come to mind: one of a man in a concentration camp, the other of an elderly widower moving into a nursing home.) We too can focus on our own positive attitudes even when our surrounding circumstances make it difficult. When we practice that, we are practicing at being skilled artists.