Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Meaning of Life (or something smaller)

Wow I really blew it on that last entry.

My intention was to get into the whole "go to" concept. My intention was to express exactly how I feel about "Reservoir Dogs."

I failed on both accounts.

I was feeling kind of flat last night when I got home. The juices were not flowing.

I am staggering through this week trying to get to magic vacation time.

Ten days off beginning on Saturday, February 20. A day that will live in infamy.

Every day this week feels like two days. Even the fact that I have today off is not soothing my soul.

All I gotta do is stagger through 8 hours tomorrow and I am free as a bird. Still, anxiety floods my engine.

More proof that my perspective needs changing.

Of course I will be using those 10 days to entirely change my life; rearrange it, blow it up and re-direct it.

No pressure there.

Anyway, this morning I finished "Man's Search For Meaning" by Viktor Frankl.

It's that kind of book where, when you wrap it up you know you just had greatness in your hands but you are not sure you can apply the lessons to your own life.

You are not sure you are strong enough.

The man survived four Nazi concentration camps and his message, the school of psychology he founded - logotherapy -  is all about finding a meaning to life and cultivating a positive frame of mind.

As summarized by William Winslade (philosopher, lawyer and psychoanalyst) in the Afterword to the book:

"Frankl's wisdom here is worth emphasizing: it is a question of the attitude one takes towards life's challenges and opportunities, both large and small. A positive attitude enables a person to endure suffering and disappointment as well as enhance enjoyment and satisfaction. A negative attitude intensifies pain and deepens disappointments; it undermines and diminishes pleasure, happiness and satisfaction; it may even lead to depression and physical illness."

Kaboom. Those words hit home with me.

Frankl says you may not always be able to control what happens to you, but you can control the way you react to what happens to you.

That is the only thing that cannot be taken from you.

He points out that you make choices every single day that affect your outlook on life. Decisions that impact whether you feel connected to your own life or disillusioned by it.

If you feel connected, if you believe there is a purpose and a meaning to your life, you are happier and healthier and every day, every moment, means something to you.

If you are disillusioned, you are unhappy and directionless, and that emptiness leads to depression, anxiety, ill health, alcohol, drugs and whatever else seems like a good way to deal with a meaningless life.

I am delving into this whole mind thing, been reading up on Buddhism, and Frankl's philosophy plays right into my hands.

I like it.

It kind of boils down to that old line about "if you want to change yourself, change your mind." Sounds so simplistic but it is harder than it sounds.

No reason not to try, though.

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