I was out walking one day last fall in an effort to improve my physical fitness. I had a small streak going just to get out and walk the dog. This was before I found SparkPeople. Anyway, I happened to see a book by the side of the path. My first thought was someone either threw it away or maybe it flew out the back of a pickup or something. But as I got closer I read the title.
It was 'The Greatest Miracle in the World' by Og Mandino.
I believe that nothing happens by chance. I believe that everything happens because of the choices made by each and every one of us who have lived or now live in this world. We rarely, if ever, witness the full string of choices that has brought about our current situation or influenced our perspective, but those choices are there and they are affecting us.
Life is not an accident. If we view ourselves as an accident of nature, we turn ourselves into victims of circumstances beyond our control. When we turn ourselves into victims, we can justify every excuse for continuing to make choices that have negative repercussions upon ourselves and others.
We are not victims. I am not a victim. Do other people's choices, be they good or bad, affect me? You betcha! But I always have the choice to take control of my own thoughts, actions, words, and emotions in order to rise above what may seem to be garbage in my way.
I could have viewed that book on the path as garbage. I could have ignored it and walked right on by and missed out on something really big. But I was needing a miracle about then. And I got it. I didn't reject it because of appearances or my initial reaction of 'yuck! Can't people pick up their garbage!' Or, 'what if there are germs on that thing?!'
The gist of that book was that each and every one of us is a genuine, one of a kind miracle if only we will recognize it. In choosing to believe that we become empowered to change our lives and move forward into a place of continued success and usefulness to our fellow man. That book was about getting past one's personal issues and moving into living a life of purposefully engaging with the world around you in a positive, useful way. It was a miracle book for me in that it helped me to make the perspective jump from a life that I often saw as garbage to seeing that I am in fact a one of a kind miracle, whose life affects everyone with whom I come in contact. I want that contact to be as positive as possible as often as possible regardless of other people's choices. That's MY choice.
I often read on the message boards people saying "I can't," or "it's really hard." I see a lot of excuses for remaining a victim of one's body and its desires. Knowledge is power. When we choose to change our perspective, when we begin to see that it is our own choices that have brought us to the place and condition in which we currently find ourselves, we then take back the power to change ourselves, pursuing our lives--expressing our lives--in the way we choose today.
What we have previously seen as other people's garbage (and problem), now becomes something beautiful and useful to us--something that we have control over. Living a purposeful live requires courage, honesty with self, integrity, and passion. It also sometimes requires help. There's no shame in seeking help when you need it. That is one of the beautiful things about this site--kind and wise help is always available.
The truth is that each one of us has something unique and beautiful to contribute to the community that is SparkPeople. Even if all you seem to do is ask for help, by your willingness to ask and receive an answer, someone else, who has not yet had the courage to ask, can also receive help along with you so that no effort is ever wasted. How cool is that!!
No man - or woman - is an island. Thank you to each and every one of you who has and continues to participate on this site. You are each a miracle in and of yourselves and your life is affecting many others in a very positive way.