Monday, December 14, 2009


A note from for Monday December 14, 2009

Good day all, and welcome to yet another beautiful "Valley" week. Yes, here we are going into the third week of December and we have NO snow down here in the valley. Tons up in the hills and ski resorts, but none in town. It's just a hoot, and if I want to "see" the snow, I can take a short twenty minute drive, visit it, say hello, and leave. Now that's a blast.

Oh I know, it's all in my "attitude" about it. Yes, I have a "no snow" attitude. :-))

Our friend Father Miles also knows that it truly is all about our...

by Father Miles O'Brien Riley

I love it when folks ask me to pray for the weather: "Hey, Padre, say one for a sunny golf game this weekend" or "Father, please pray for good weather for my wedding next Saturday." Of course, I always have to respond: "Oh, I'm so sorry--I'm only in sales!" ("You'll have to speak with Management!")

It's a good reminder that we cannot control the weather--or very much else in our lives--the only thing we can control or change is our outlook, the glasses through which we look at life, our filter, our attitude. You can't change other people--even or especially those closest to you--the only person you can change is you.

And we do not have absolute control over a great deal in ourselves: our moods and feelings and emotions come and go spontaneously, outside of our control. We can control how we express our feelings--but hardly the emotion itself: be it anger, fear, jealousy, resentment, hatred, joy, optimism, or love. The one thing we have power over and can control is our attitude.

Dr. Victor Frankl, survivor of three grim years at Auschwitz and other Nazi prisons, wrote this about Hitler's barbaric camps: "We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

When we were in Junior High School, over 50 years ago, we were taught that the three things that contributed to a long and happy life were genetics (if your parents lived a long life, then you will, too) diet and exercise. (The medical profession likes things you can measure.) However, in the past 25 years, most studies on longevity and fulfillment focus on more spiritual things like optimism (attitude of choice) and passion (interests) and purpose (a reason to get out of bed in the morning) and our ability to handle loss. Genes, exercise and diet may still be in the top ten--but the top four are spiritual and number one, in study after study, is attitude.

Charles Swindoll was even more emphatic: "The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home."

"The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes."

We all know people who are grouchy or sullen and often say something like: "I'm always in a bad mood until my second cup of coffee." That is so sad - because they always will be! That is their choice. I ride my bike 20 minutes over to the gym every morning for a little cardio exercise and weight workout and the other morning a woman coming out of the gym glanced at my big smile and demanded: "Are you always in a good mood?" "No," I answered honestly, "But I am always happy--because I choose to be--I choose the attitude of gratitude."

Father Miles is a priest, a speaker, an author, and a producer.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: