Monday, July 7, 2014


“The tragedy of life is not death…but what we let die inside of us while we live.” ~Norman Cousins

Have you ever interacted with someone who is negative and bitter? Had a conversation with someone who has nothing to share but life’s catastrophes? How do you feel?

I'm a skilled conversationalist and in those situations where someone joins the conversation and removes all laughter and fun from the conversation, resists all gambits to change the subject or a nudge toward good and fun c'mon there has to be something good in their life, right? I can't wait to get away. 

Sometimes people need to be heard and validated. They need a compassionate ear and there is nothing wrong with taking the time to listen. I do frequently. Where I have to draw the line is if the pattern is a self-repeating loop and it doesn't matter what you say or do, this is the road they're on and it's venomous to anyone around them. It encases your feet in quicksand, swallows the light, sucks up the oxygen and beats against any joy or good. 

And it’s heartbreaking to see and interact with someone who has let the light within die.

Sadder still, is the fact you can’t fix people, no matter how much you love them. And you wish you could. 

A hard lesson learned in life:  the only one who can effect change is each individual. Only they have the power and ability to change what they are or their attitude toward life. If we believe anything else we’re beating our heads against a wall.

Spider webs in the early morning
No matter what happens in our life and granted there are many tragedies in life, the only thing we have control over is our self and our attitude. There is still good things to be found in life regardless of our circumstances and beauty in abundance if only we allow ourselves to open our eyes and see it. Absorb it.

San Francisco 
And it’s not the big things that bring quiet joy and add to our collection pieces of happiness. It’s the little things. A snatch of song that makes us tap our feet or sigh at the exquisite play of notes, watching the sunrise or sunset and soak in the scents and sounds and seeing the richest colors and textures. Watching the seagulls dip and sway over the ocean or the otters bobbing in the waves. Even the ugliest city, by day, is beautiful when it’s lit up at night. City lampposts whose light hide the ugly and give a mythical feel to the streets.

City Lampposts computer wallpaper

Ever watch the uninhibited laughter of children? You can’t help but grin or laugh in response. Our children saying, I love you, or the smell of a child after a bath, snuggling beside you and wanting a story. What a feast for the eyes to see the dance of the butterflies over a field of wildflowers or coming across a beautiful spider web collecting the mist of the early morning. The scatter of drops of dew shining like diamonds as the sun rises. Watching the skies turn charcoal gray and darker clouds racing and churning across the horizon and how green the trees and vegetation is against such a backdrop. I love the smell of rain in the air. The wonder of fireflies rising in the summer night.

Thing like these renew my spirit. I choose to immerse myself in life. To see the wonder of it all. To grab the little things and celebrate. I choose to let go of toxic and destructive emotions and steer clear the people who foster them. 

Life is too short and precious to do otherwise.  J 

“The control center of your life is your attitude.” ~Norman Cousins

Pictures taken either by me (most of them), from my wallpapers collection, or from wiki commons 


Natalie Aguirre said...

So true that we can't control what happens in life always but we can control our attitude. I'm trying to focus on this and in enjoying the little things in life that bring joy as I go through my challenging times.

Mason Canyon said...

Sia, your post is truly inspiring. We do tend to let ourselves get buried under the everyday problems and forgot to enjoy and appreciate the good that is there. Your post reminds me of an old John Mellencamp song about life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone. We need to keep that thrill of living alive inside us.

Karen Walker said...

You've expressed such wisdom here, Sia. I love this post so much.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's what I've always said. You can choose to have a crappy attitude filled with anger, fear, and dishonesty or a good attitude filled with love, joy, and honesty. Which one sounds more fun?

Dani Harper said...

It's a difficult truth to face that some people choose to define themselves by the pain they feel or the wrongs they've suffered. They're not going through hard times so much as making all times hard. They remind me of Marley's ghost from A Christmas Carol, forever dragging heavy chains of their own making behind them. Like you, Sia, I have a sympathetic ear -- until I detect that the person has no desire to leave their comfortable "loop". Then I've learned the hard way that I have to RUN! The last such person I encountered (a few months ago) left me depressed and upset for days, as if they'd drained away all my joy and energy! As for myself, I've had plenty of hard times, but I choose to have a positive outlook. One dear old man I was privileged to know always said "Life is good. The world is still beautiful." Though that was many years ago, I've repeated it to myself countless times since. LOVED the photos and the many small joys you listed. (PS - I love lampposts too!)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Natalie, I think in times of emotional challenge the awareness of the little things really count. It reminds you that life is still good despite our loss. And the reality is that there days when seeing those moments is impossible. And that's ok too. Finding them the next day is even sweeter. Hang in there!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Mason--That's a good song and like you, I prefer to find ways to keep the thrill of life alive. :-)

Karen--Thank you. Wisdom is usually hard earned, isn't it?

Diane--Absolutely. I do believe it's a choice. Like your philosophy. :-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Best to save our own attitude and avoid those people.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Dani--"It's a difficult truth to face that some people choose to define themselves by the pain they feel or the wrongs they've suffered. They're not going through hard times so much as making all times hard."

That's so true and yes, I, too, don't walk but run from clinging vine people that suck you dry and are toxic. If you're observant, you see them coming a mile off. Sometimes you can't avoid interaction but you can control your reaction to them by tightening your own protective armor and disengage emotionally.

There are so many little things that make me feel life is good.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Alex, I'm with you! And I do avoid them as much as possible. :-)

Jo said...

Nothing worse than people like that. We are in a perfect position to enjoy sunsets and sunrises where we live. Dewy cobwebs are beautiful to see early in the morning.

Julie Flanders said...

What a beautiful post. This is something I'm trying hard to do more of as I get older. Life really is too short for toxic and draining people.

cleemckenzie said...

I find I can't be sad if I stand up tall, smile and think "yes." And if I'm with someone who's always down, I soon am not there. It's one thing to help out someone going through a rough patch by listening, but it's a totally different thing when the constant condition is "woe is me."

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I do know some people like that. One is in my local writing group and I feel bad that no one likes to sit beside her but she sings the same resentful song all the time.

Jemi Fraser said...

LOVE this! looking for the small joys can almost ensure happiness. I work with many troubled kids and these are the messages I'm always working on. Life is full of good and that's the stuff we have to focus on!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Jo--you have a birds eye view of it all, too, where you live. :-)

Julie--I hear you. Same hear. No patience with toxic people or a lot of unnecessary drama wither.

Lee--exactly. Woe is me is not only boring but draining on others. It's sad when that's all a person has in their repertoire to talk about and then they wonder why no one comes to see them or call them.

I agree, there is a lot to be said for standing tall with head up and shoulders back. It speaks to our confidence even if we're secretly still building it. People respond in a positive manner and that helps with the building process.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Susan--oh yes, I've come across those as well in the writing world. They have a better book than so-and-so and they should have had a contract. They take every rejection as an attack on them. Even when friends get a contract or make some success they're so quick to find fault or let their jealousy out rather than genuinely being happy for someone. It's all about them. It's sad.

Jemi--very true. I used to assign tasks that outlined the good things around them. They had to come up with x amount. Not just a casual list but what those things meant to them and why X made them feel good. It teaches clients to open their eyes to see what's there. Not just the negatives they're dealing with. It's empowering.

Margo Berendsen said...

Oh I love the wisdom in this post. I keep a 'gift list' and today I added seeing a baby bird in a nest, beside two other tiny unhatched eggs. Keeping this list has changed my attitude tremendously!

Cate Masters said...

I'm with you, Sia. I constantly try to grab as much joy as possible, even in tiny portions. :) Great post.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Margo--what a great idea, keeping a list. When we go back and look at the list, as a reminder, it will call up some of the same emotions on the first viewing. :-) And the wisdom is hard earned.

Cate--every little bit of joy and moments of happiness bolsters us up. We all need that. And thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the post.