Being the artist of your own life

Often, when speaking to friends or acquaintances, I hear that people are unhappy about where they are today. Life seems to have brought them somewhere and the circumstances have then created all sorts of situations that finally led to the person not feeling happy and/or content.
Strangely enough, people always think that they don’t have a choice, as if somebody else was living and composing their lives. In German we have a saying that reads something along the lines of “every man/woman is the architect of his/her own fortune”. I have always deeply believed in this sentence as it bears wisdom and encourages creativity. Unfortunately I have never really been able to advance credible arguments as to why this applies to all of us even if destiny sometimes puts us through terrible ordeals.
Well, I was recently pointed towards an excellent book/method called “Personal Leadership” where mindfulness and creativity form the two founding principles on which different practices are based helping us to become more effective and to stay connected with ourselves even when facing the new and unfamiliar. In this book it says on page 25: “When we accept ourselves as the creators of whatever it is that we are experiencing, we have a choice as to how we will respond to any situation or circumstance presented to us”. On the same page it goes on saying that: “(…) we must accept that our attitudes, our emotions, our thoughts, in fact everything that we experience about another person or a particular situation, arises from within us. What arises is certainly a response to external stimuli, but these aren’t responsible for what arises”.
In short this truly means that we have all the keys to success and happiness in our own hands. We make choices in he face of uncertainty and maybe under pressure but whatever we are living and going through, it is us actually responding to triggers and stimuli. In fact, we cannot “hide” behind the “victim” status. We are always an active part of the play ourselves, if we want it or not.
Let me give you an example: let’s say that somebody is losing his/her job quite unexpectedly. This truly is a sad situation and it certainly has a lot of more or less dramatic consequences. But he or she can choose how to respond to this new and unforeseen situation. Either the person could see him or herself as a victim and stay with these negative emotions; or he/she could interpret the situation as an opportunity, as a challenge and possibility to explore new and creative solutions. Of course there might not be a new job immediately around the corner but the person himself/herself will explore his/her full creative potential to search for alternatives instead of staying in a negative state of mind.
To practice this is obviously not easy in every situation; I still believe that with some training we can change the attitudes we have towards ourselves and our external world in order to realize our full potential and live in line with what we are and what we believe in. I am certainly on that journey myself and am eager to see where it goes…have an excellent weekend, Jenny

Mahatma Gandhi: Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny. (thank you

Happy New Year to all of you! Looking forward to excellent exchanges with you in 2013!

Frohes Neues Jahr! Bonne Année! Prospero ano nuevo! Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!