Our lives can sometimes feel as if we’re on a roller coaster. We might be blissfully enjoying a period of serenity when sudden changes occur, with twists and turns, rises and plunges. Whether pleasurable or painful, upheavals are part of our journeys.

        Life can be joyful or sorrowful, benevolent or brutal, as we weave our complex stories of love and loss, joy and sorrow, serenity and conflict. We all live unique personal dramas, with fascinating plot lines in which we are the lead actors.  

       We’ve been happy, yet known despair; we’ve been generous, yet sometimes selfish; we’ve been courageous yet tasted fear; and we’ve had successes and failures. Each of us experiences, exults and endures in the “Yin and Yang of Life”:

                Ephemeral, Ineffable, Ambiguous, Noetic,

                Romantic, Lyrical, Loving, Poetic…

                Random, Desultory, Illusory, Feigned,

                Continuous, Inexorable, Bashert, Ordained…

                Stressful, Tedious, Relentless Grief,

                Fleeting, Ethereal, Temporary Relief...

                Superficial, Elusive, Capricious Nonsense,

                Meaningful, Profound, Soulful, Intense…                          

                Complex, Confounding, Baffling, Disconcerting,

                Comprehensible, Logical, Riveting, Alerting…

                Lonely, Isolated, Solitary, Alone,

                Social, Supportive, Warm Hearth and Home…

                Punitive, Disappointing, Diminishing, Thwarting,

                Fruitful, Enhancing, Enriching, Rewarding…

                Perplexing, Puzzling, Confusing, Enigmatic,

                Stirring, Provocative, Exciting, Ecstatic…

                 Difficult, Arduous, Challenging, Laborious,

                 Serene, Deliberate, Tranquil, Victorious…

                 Sorrowful, Gloomy, Pain Takes Its Measure

                Happy, Rewarding, A Plethora of Pleasure,

                Oppressive, Burdensome, Severe, Protracted,

                Optimism, Hopefulness, Anticipation Enacted,

                Competitive, Feral, Darwinian, Acrimonious,

                Communal, Gemutlich, Genial, Harmonious…

                Selfish, Aggressive, Uncivil, Malevolent,

                Empathic, Tolerant, Generous, Benevolent…

                Dangerous, Demeaning, Treacherous, Serpentine,

                UPLIFTING…HEALING…INSPIRING…DIVINE…

         What is of more significance than our varied experiences, however, is how we deal with these changes. We are measured in part by how we deal with achievements with hubris or humility, how we come back from setbacks, and especially how we treat others.

        When we traverse periods of sadness and loss with courage and patience, with planning and hope, we show how grounded we are within ourselves and our families and communities. When good fortune smiles upon us, it is our gratitude and generosity of spirit which determine our worthiness.

       Thriving entails feeling comfortable with our “Four B’s,” our senses of Being (personal), Belonging (social), Believing (spiritual), and Benevolence (altruistic). These augment each other and enhance the quality of our lives. Together with our resilience, they enable us to create a Positive Emotional Footprint, the summation of our effects on and legacies to others.

       In addition to appreciating our unique journeys, thriving involves having empathy for the triumphs and tribulations of others. By sharing our humanity, we ennoble our own lives, as well as theirs.   

        Our personal odysseys also benefit from having a sense of awe, an awareness of our infinitesimal yet vital place in the cosmos.

         Life can be a meaningful journey, a quest for personal growth, stimulation, love, security, serenity and wisdom.

        Rather than “making the best of it,” let us instead “make it the best it can be.” 

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