Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Pollyanna - the magic of perspective.

Today's paper is about Pollyanna - that little orphan girl who at 11 was taken in to live with her difficult Aunt Polly. The latter took care of her out of obligation. She had to live out her days in a stuffy attic, which was the worst room in the house. It was a bare and dirty room. But Pollyanna was glad about it because that attic was the highest point in the house and it had a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside.
Pollyanna saw every silver lining in every stormy clouds. Instead of wallowing in an already bad situation, she chose to celebrate the littlest things in life. And the only tool she had was a vivid imagination and a hopeful perspective.
One day during Christmas her penniless clergyman father could not afford to buy her any gift. So she prayed that there would be a leftover doll in the missionary barrel so she could play with it. However, what she found was a pair of clutches instead. Yet she managed to keep her spirits up because she was glad she didn't need them. She counted her blessings - with what little she had.
Lesson? Three, and it is led by three quotes.

1) "When we are no longer able to change the situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."
Now, this is no chicken feet. Barring those who are prone to depression due to a haywire brain rewiring, I sincerely believe that circumstances in our life come and go - the good or bad - but what stays is how we deal with them. The challenge is not to control everything - like clockwork - but to control one thing and that is, our perspective of it, our outlook.
Even in the worst of circumstances, there is the best of perspective. Those who are able to survive the Gulags and Auschwitz are able to do so because they did two things right. First, they distracted themselves from the doom and gloom by imagination - thinking about good times and keeping busy with work. And second, they looked beyond the dread and dreary and clung on to hope regardless. This is not delusional. It is call living - even thriving. For it is said that we are to light tomorrow with today.

2) "Water which is too pure has no fish."
And a corollary of that is that a life which is too smooth has no growth. It is said that there is more danger in a trial that you don't face than a trial that you do. Oftentimes, what doesn't kill you will not only make you stronger, it also makes you wiser. It is that price of a trial that is priceless.
Honestly, I do not know which is the greater delusion (if any): To tell ourselves that life is controllable to the last dial (as long as we play neurotically by the rules) or that come what may, we will take it in our stride and outlast all trials with hope and faith. For it is once said that "I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night." And that's the silver lining in the brightest of light.


3) "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on." (Robert Frost).
My dear friends, like it or not, life goes on. The only question is this: "Are you coming along or staying behind?" The minutes and hours - even days - are not going to stop for you. No doubt there is a season for everything. For tears, for joy, for sorrow, and for healing. But it is only for a season. After that, life goes on.
It is said that misery is optional and sadness is not. Our world is not going to be less joyful just because of a tinge of sadness (look at the movie "Inside out"). But our world will stagnant and rot with misery.
Pollyanna knew her circumstances. She is not going to pretend that all's well and swell. But she also knew that when life throws stones at you, you can choose not to dwell on the bruises. But instead, pick them up and use them as stepping stones - carrying the bruises with you as they heal eventually.
Life indeed goes on. On your part, you can either ride on it or watch it all go by
Let me end with this quote: "Life continues to be a mystery too great to understand. I only know that I cling to it. I fear its cessation - death. I dread its diminution - pain. I seek its enlargement - joy." Cheerz.

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