Last night my husband and I flew to San Diego from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. Hoping (of course) for nothing out of the ordinary, our six-hour journey (which arrived safely and slightly ahead of schedule) was punctuated by an act of kindness that warmed our hearts and we could only repay with a ‘thank you’ and a smile.
Our seats were moved prior to the flight so that we could sit together. We had a choice of row 19 or 30 – we chose 30. Never knowing how any row-mate will be, we took our seats at the back of the plane. The stranger in the window seat made small talk with my husband and we soon realized that we had an American, and Aussie and a Sudanese-Egyptian in one row. Travel always makes me smile. Quickly chatting travel and geography, amidst a few moments of small talk, most of the flight was made in comfortable silence with sleep, movie watching, game playing and more sleep.
When the snack trolley came by, the gentleman surprised us both. Ordering three fruit and cheese plates and three glasses of juice, he didn’t bat an eye about his order. As he handed his credit card over to the flight attendant, he just smiled. We were stunned, overwhelmed and thrilled by this generous, yet, simple gesture. While smiling, we said thank you many times. Mat leaned over to me and said, ‘how do we repay him’ and all I could think to say was ‘pay it forward’….I can’t wait to do just that!
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about choosing positive. I used to have a sign in my classroom about attitudes, choice and positivity. For years it was a regular conversation with students about choosing words and actions and trying to wake up ready to face the day with a smile. Try telling that to bleary eyed teenagers who have to start the day with a blaring alarm clock at a five or six o’clock hour. This is not the easiest task, to say the least.
More and more in life I’m learning that choosing positive is just that-a choice. In the last few weeks it seems those choices have smacked me in the face. A yoga instructor recently commented on having a whole mess of things go wrong on a holiday but choosing to be positive about the experience. My mother often tells me about a friend of hers who wakes up every morning and says, ‘I choose to be happy today’. And a recent visit to the school (in which I worked for well over a decade) reminded me of how such small and simple acts can change the course of a day, a semester and perhaps, a lifetime.
Each day we have the opportunity to ‘choose positive’. Whether it’s in our own lives, how we react to comments by others or events in our own surroundings, choosing positive is an act, a goal, an option. I have been privileged on more than one occasion to witness acts of kindness (both small and large), shifts in attitude, life changes, decisions and everyday actions in which one person makes that choice to smile, lift someone up, change the circumstances, dismiss negativity and shine more light rather than darkness. The same way that smile to a stranger can change the course of his or her day, these choices have an even greater reach.
One of my anti-gravity friends has dealt with tragedy and illness that directly effects her life everyday. Recently, she regaled me with details of the significance of the Super-moon, crystals that make her smile, discarding negativity and a ‘blessing circle’ where (although she didn’t quite understand all of what transpired) she left feeling lighter, more content and filled with love. Each day in that hammock as we flip ourselves upside down and literally defy gravity, she chooses positive. In the face of adversity and struggle, we giggle our way through class; leaving lifted, ready to face the day with a positive outlook. I’m sure she has no idea just how inspiring she is.
Sometimes, making that choice to be positive and happy is even more difficult than originally thought. If those in front of you are spouting negativity, if societal norms are in the way, if your happy is someone else’s fear or misery-the positive choice or decisions can be all the more difficult. It gets easier. Each time I choose positive I feel more ease rather than effort. Each time it feels more right than anything else. Each time it feels as if there are more good things in store. I’m choosing positive because it makes my heart smile.
Whether obvious actions or inward thoughts, split-second decisions or well-thought out deeds, affecting others or working on personal progress, choosing positive shows growth, determination, an upbeat attitude and the knowledge that your demeanor, words, perspective, thoughts and actions can make a difference in yours or someone else’s life. It may take awhile to get there, but, choosing positive will upturn the corners of your mouth, make your day better and spiral into wanting more.
Change the circumstances…CHOOSE POSITIVE!