It’s my pleasure to welcome Barbara Hammond to SunnyRoomStudio as part of my 2-year anniversary celebration. Despite life obstacles, Barbara chose to persevere. To remain hopeful and to believe in happiness.
The moment you accept what troubles you’ve been given,
the door will open. ~ Rumi
I think Rumi’s quote is one of the best I’ve ever read. So true … that first we must accept what has come into our lives for whatever reason … before we see options and alternatives that move us beyond our suffering. We all have wounds in life that require attention if we are to get better. Of course Marianne Williamson in A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles defines a miracle as a shift in perspective.
Just think of the many miracles happening each moment. All around us. Quietly. Without notice. Yet, there just the same.
- Welcome, Barbara, to this sunny space for kindred spirits. Your story illustrates this miraculous shift in perspective so beautifully. Thank you for sharing it here.
Beyond Definitive Answers
Having grown up in a very dysfunctional family with a mother who was abusive, psychologically and physically, and attracted men who were the same, I often asked myself how I remained ever hopeful. Was I just a cockeyed optimist?
It was a meager childhood in every sense of the word. In spite of that I never gave up the belief that there was a better life “out there.” I believed I could rise above my circumstances and have a happy life.
- My beliefs weren’t based on religion.
In fact, my grandfather was a Southern Baptist minister and frightened me away from religion by the time I was five. In my heart I knew there was a God and he/she couldn’t agree with the accusing and hateful tone I felt in that church. The assumption we were all sinners and needed to go through this pious bureaucracy to get to God made no sense to me at all.
I found this quote by the Dali Lama really summed up what got me through the childhood years of anger, divorce, constant relocation and despair.
“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not, we all are seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…”
Seeking happiness kept me going. I knew happiness wasn’t a tangible thing. I wasn’t living in a Pollyanna bubble. My day to day was very real. There were bright spots along the way and enough love to keep my hope alive.
- Are some of us born optimists? Perhaps.
A Time magazine article last May gave scientific data that proved the majority of us tend to be more optimistic than pessimistic.
“Hope keeps our minds at ease, lowers stress and improves physical health.” You might find the article as fascinating as I did — The Optimism Bias.
When you survive a horrible childhood, a massive car crash, cancer… anything that is life threatening, it reinforces your belief in something bigger than yourself. It creates a lot of questions too. “Why was I spared?”
- “How do I honor this gift that is my life?”
“How can I repay…?”
I survived my childhood and a couple of massive car crashes. My husband has survived lymphoma. We’ve been tested again and again. It hasn’t given either of us any iron clad certainty about life or purpose or belief.
Perhaps understanding there are no definitive answers is what keeps us hopeful. If we let go of negative emotions and focus on what is positive in our lives it creates a wonderful dynamic to live by. You no longer fall into despair because you are actively looking for the affirmative.
Or, maybe I really am just a cockeyed optimist. ~
Barbara Hammond is an artist, writer/blogger, author and illustrator of The Duffy Chronicles, her first children’s book. Blogging made her realize we all have a story. You can find Barbara on Facebook or Twitter.
The garden of love is green without limit and yields
many fruit other than sorrow and joy. ~ Rumi
Blog by DazyDayWriter @ work in SunnyRoomStudio: all rights reserved.