I love how easy it is to find inspiring stories online, but sometimes I want a book. I was one of those kids who was happier in a library than a playground, and I still have a deep attachment to books — the infinite possibilities in unread pages, and the sensation of coming home when the pages are much-read and beloved.
Today I am reading a few pages of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Creating True Peace. I am not Buddhist, but I’ve found that there are writers from many of the world’s traditions that resonate with me, and Thich Nhat Hanh is one of these.
[M]any people find it difficult to communicate effectively because they have so much frustration and anger built up inside. Even when we come to another person with sincere goodwill and the intention to listen, if we are unable to use calm, loving speech, there is no hope that the other person will hear us and understand what we are trying to say. We may intend to use calm and loving speech, but often as we start speaking, our pain, despair, and fear emerge. In spite of our best intentions, we start to blame, complain, and judge harshly. …
How then do we reach the point where we are able to listen deeply to one another and to use loving speech? To do this, we first have to practice taking care of our own pain and anger.
– Thich Nhat Hanh, Creating True Peace
Last night I noticed my state of general frustration, which came out especially whenever I was dealing with anyone under the age of twenty. So today I am working on cultivating a better mental state, and especially better communication with my children.
I had every intention of reading a bit of Richard Bach’s Illusions for today’s inspiration. It’s a charming little book with lovely quotes sprinkled through it, like:
Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.
But I’d set it aside, intending to do a few things first, when I ran across this article about a “food for thought” jar linked from Daily Good. There are a couple more articles on the similar “joy jar” concept also on Daily Good. I love this idea, and now I’m contemplating how to incorporate it into my own life.
Today I’m looking to boost my mood with inspiring stories or ideas. One of my favorite places to go for this is The Daily Good, which is conveniently dedicated to this very concept.
I’ve also found that I can sometimes get stories from other people. If I feel open enough with someone, it’s possible to introduce into the conversation a request like “I need some good news to counter-balance all the bad news I’ve heard lately. What’s a happy story you’ve heard recently?” This has the added advantage of involving connection as well.
Today my favorite inspiration was this video from Denmark.
It’s easy to read or hear about negative things – the news is full of them. And thanks to our negativity bias, those are the things that tend to grab our attention. Sometimes I need to remind myself to look for inspiring and uplifting stories as well. Today let’s set time aside to do just that.
One good source for inspiring stories is Daily Good. The “everyday heroes” section in particular always has something to restore my faith in humanity. Or I might revisit an old favorite book; despite not being Buddhist, I enjoy the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh. There are also plenty of inspiring TED talks out there. Whatever your preference, book or video, old or new, find something today that inspires you. Then savor it.