Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The importance of a mantra

A few years ago I found myself gazing at my reflection in a darkened mirror. It was about 0'dark thirty a.m. and my youngest daughter had been awake for half the night. As she had been the night before and the night before that....
I looked haggered, angry, tired. I didn't look like myself and I certainly didn't look the way I wanted to. Though I did feel tired and frustrated, I didn't want to project those feelings on those around me. Something had to change. Given that I couldn't change the situation with my daughter, (autism isn't curable--yet), I had to take control of what I could change. And that was my attitude. At that time I happened to be taking a class on family and behavioral therapies and was preparing a paper on the work of Victor Frankl. This quote changed my life:
"Everything can be taken from a man, but  one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude to any given set of circumstances, to choose one's way."
I could choose who I wanted to be even in the toughest of times. I chose a mantra: Be a blessing.
I had those words engraved on a bracelet. Whenever I glanced at the silver on my wrist, those words reminded me to put on a smile and serve someone else--to be a blessing.
Last January while teaching my kids a church lesson I came across this quote: "...peace may abide in our hearts and in our homes,...we may radiate sunshine and cheer wherever we may go...."
A new mantra was born.
A mantra as simple as this can help brighten your mood, keep you focused, energize your work, and pull you through tough times. And this mantra, like "be a blessing," sets an intention, an expectation for myself of who I want to be and I what I want to project to others. I remind myself to radiate--radiate warmth, joy, strength...to radiate sunshine.

Do you have a mantra? Feel free to share.

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Come on, radiate some sunshine over here.