Is Your Glass Half Full?

Most people know that when looking at the same glass of water, three people may see it differently.  The optimist will see it half full, the pessimist will see it as half empty and the realist will say “here’s a glass of water – I was thirsty” and they drink it.

It’s Half Full – Sharon Berezne 2017

Based on what you have read in my previous blogs, I am obviously an optimist.  That doesn’t mean that I blindly follow along and say everything is great – when sometimes it isn’t.

But something occurred to me – Balance.  Viewing life in only one way to the extreme is not healthy.  Being a pessimist sometimes isn’t a bad thing.  When you are critical regarding something, it gives you time to think.  On the other hand, being a realist isn’t bad either – you are dealing with the facts.  You are dealing with exactly you believe the facts are at the time. For me being an optimist has been a good thing (of course it has – LOL).  Always looking for the silver lining has served me well in life.  I find I am a happier person as a result.

How often do we focus on the negative and expect to feel positive? Do we focus on the things that we don’t have so much that we can’t appreciate what we do have?  I have spent time in my life thinking about what I want. I have goals and ambitions.  But I also am filled with gratitude for what I already DO have. I am blest.  I have people in my life who I love and people who love me.

Life is too short to focus on what is not happening. Focus on what IS happening.  I love my life and choose to be positive. How about you?  After looking at this picture, I’m thirsty.  I’m going to drink a glass of water.

Butterflies – work hard.

I have always thought butterflies were beautiful and brought me peace whenever I saw them. But I never really thought about the painful process they went through to gain this peace and beauty. Who wants to feel pain? Often the feeling is why me – what did I do to deserve this?
Butterfly – Sharon Berezne
There are painful experiences in life of one kind or another that everyone goes through. Accepting that this is part of life helps us to grow. When you take the time to acknowledge your pain and work through it there is beauty on the other side of it. I know when I follow this process I feel lighter than air. As light as a butterfly.
A Catapillar does not look forward to the pain of breaking through a cocoon. But they feel beautiful when they have broken through it.

Next time you see a butterfly remember- they worked hard to achieve that feeling of being lighter than air.

With my compliments…

A compliment only takes a moment, but can make someone’s day. Sometimes it can be as simple as noticing that someone has a new haircut. Or it can be more in-depth — letting someone know that their welcoming personality made you feel at ease with a new group of people.  It doesn’t cost anything but a few moments of your time.

What a nice smile!

It has made a HUGE difference in my life to GIVE compliments to others.  Not only do I feel good personally, but I can see in that person’s reaction that they feel good.  A GENUINE compliment can remind someone that you “see” them.  Of course you can see others with your eyes — but to REALLY see someone — is to let them know that they mattered to you – even for a moment. It is an amazing gift that you have the power to share.

We are all travelers on a journey each day.  Navigating our way with others who are dealing with things that may be difficult and painful.  Be that bright spot that gave them hope in humanity.

Be a Thinker.

In front of the Cleveland Museum Art  is one of Auguste Rodin’s statues, “The Thinker”.  If you look closely at the photo you will notice that the feet and original base that the statue sat on are missing.  This is due to an act of vandalism that took place on March 24, 1970.  There were no human casualties as a result but the statue itself was damaged.

A limited number of these statues were created by Rodin who lived from 1840-1917.  The Museum (located in Cleveland, Ohio in the United States) put a lot of thought into their decision about whether or not to repair the statue or to leave it in the damaged state.  It was finally decided that by leaving it this way it bears witness to a time of unrest in our country.

The Thinker, Auguste Rodin (Cleveland Museum of Art)

Sometimes there is a tendency to overthink or analyze things. Suddenly everything can look like a storm that is cloudy and bleak. Others can be thoughtless and unkind to you.  But that does not mean that we have to be!

Thinking. Storms ahead?

Before you speak – Think. Your words can hurt or they can help. That is your choice.  Before you act – Think. Your actions show your true intentions. The actions of a few people in 1970 damaged the statue in these pictures and are still impacting people today when they see it in person.

Your words and actions matter.  Be positive. Be kind. Think first.  Be a thinker.

Patience is a virtue… Hurry up!

I know that patience is a virtue. But I can’t wait to have it! For those that struggle with being patient, you get the joke.

It’s hard to be patient when you really want something to happen. I have been through many experiences like that in my life. But I want to share a little bit about my dog, Luke.  He really wants to go for a walk right now. He doesn’t want to wait because I am typing this.  In fact, he knows that if he looks at me long enough like this, whines a little and scratches at the front door — he’ll get his way.  But he really doesn’t want to wait.

Luke 2017
Luke 2017

I know that when it comes to human beings, we do the same things.  When we are waiting for things to happen we have all kinds of reactions.  We might give someone “the look” — like “let’s go!”  Or we have our own version of whining. It might be less of whine and more of a heavy sigh.  (You know who you are! Because you probably just sighed.)  But we don’t scratch at the door. Instead we might cry, shout, give the silent treatment or just complain outright that we want things done now and the way we want.

Does being impatient, make things better or happen faster? Sometimes it can move things along.  But it comes at a cost.  We waste the time we spent complaining and miss out on the present moment.  When the moment comes and we got what we want it often is not enjoyed as much.  Mostly because we are thinking “Finally!”  “It took long enough!”

Luke in the backyard. Waiting patiently.

When my dog was in the backyard one day, he was smelling the grass and flowers.  He was just running around having fun.  No whining, no scratching and he wasn’t giving me “the look”.  In fact, I think he looks pretty relaxed in this picture.  The more we can be patient in our lives, the more enjoyment there is in each moment.

Take a tip from Luke – relax and go for a walk!

Have Fun! Enjoy your life.

Life is meant to be enjoyed!  It is often taken for granted that there will be plenty of time to say and do the things in life that we want to do. This day we are living has never been before and will never be again.  So I need to embrace that there are 24 hours in this day and I have choices on how to live it.  It is a gift.

I love the words fun and adventure.  Adventure for me doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to climb Mount Everest or hike the Grand Canyon.  For me, adventure means enjoying my life – sometimes just going with the flow. Laughing, smiling, being silly, not always taking everything so seriously!!  I enjoy my life!

Sometimes, it’s hard to be an adult, mature and focused on the important business at hand.  But really, it is OKAY to have FUN!  Even when you are an adult.  I do little things for myself and others that make me smile.  For example, the shoes in the picture below are my new favorite shoes – I bought them in January 2017 and they symbolize fun to me.  Why wait?

Buy those shoes you always wanted! – Sharon Berezne  2017

Think about the most fun you have ever had in your life.  It doesn’t have to be a monumental event or experience.  I try to have fun every day.  I am a VERY HAPPY person.  When I think about WHY I want to be happy –  I think of this little girl in the picture.  She is me.  She is still inside me and deserves to grow up and be a happy person who has fun!

When you are tempted to be too serious and focus on the pain and sadness in life, remember that happy and fun time.  I think it’s okay to acknowledge pain and process it. Then, I get on with my life.  This little girl deserves it and so do you.

 

Listening is an act of kindness.

It’s so easy in this busy world to think that small acts of kindness or concern are a thing of the past. Often the kindest thing I can do for someone else is just listen.  Have you ever had a conversation and you could tell the other person just wasn’t listening?  They were getting ready to respond to your comment – but not really listening to you.

I work really hard to be in the present moment when someone is talking to me.  And REALLY listen.  It can be hard if the other person is not really listening to you.  But you can’t control other people – only yourself.  Who knows, they might follow your example!

A friend that I used to work with is a great listener.  I think I am a pretty good listener too.  Here is why it is important to really listen to each other.  One day at work, I was very busy and I shared my frustration with my friend. I told her that I wasn’t really frustrated about being busy so much as it was so nice outside.  I didn’t have time to get outside for lunch. She listened and I appreciated her doing that for me.

Act of Kindness – April 2013 – Sharon Berezne

When she came back from lunch, she brought me the dandelions that you see in this picture.  She told me that since I couldn’t get outside for lunch, she would bring the outside to me! Now to some it might seem like she brought me weeds.  BUT, she listens and remembers.  I had told her in the past that I love dandelions.  That I know they are considered weeds and that lots of people don’t like them.  I LOVE them!  I have fond memories of dandelions as a child.

Her act of kindness meant so much to me that day – and still does.  It took her only a few moments to bring empathy and kindness to me – her friend.  When she did that I gave her a huge hug and thanked her for being such a good friend.

Did you notice something?  It didn’t cost us anything but our time and our attention to be kind.  Next time someone needs your kindness – pay attention and listen.

Peace. It comes from within.

Peace.  The kind of peace that I feel deep in my soul, when I think “Ahh, all is well”, seems to be fleeting.  I have come to realize that I can have that feeling anytime I want.  I actually can do something about it.  This definitely happens more when I stay in the present moment.

I used to live in an apartment near a park in Willoughby, Ohio.  One day I decided to check out the park.  I heard someone say that you could see the Lake (Lake Erie) if you kept walking past the baseball fields.  That sounded peaceful and inviting to me.  So I made my way past the kids running the bases on the field, others practicing soccer moves and some people just hanging out.  Before I got to the shoreline, I stopped in my tracks and was totally focused on a tree. Here is my tree:

Peaceful – Sharon Berezne

When I saw the tree, there were no leaves on it and I thought it was the most peaceful and beautiful thing that I had ever seen.  When I sat down under the tree on the bench, I thought, this is officially my new favorite place in the world. That day was in August 2000.

I periodically went back to sit under that tree, even when I moved out of the apartment in Willoughby.  I was there when it was full of leaves and birds and even a few squirrels.  I went there when the colors of the leaves changed in the fall.  My family went there for a picnic one time on Father’s Day.  It was so relaxing.  And peaceful.  When I met my husband, I took him to see the tree and we sat in a swing by the water.  Lovely. And peaceful.

I went in 2010 and took the picture below in March.  You can see that there is ice on the lake and it was very cold.  That day, I started calling it, the Tree of Life.

Tree of Life – 2010 by Sharon Berezne

A few years ago, I was going through a very tough time in my life and I went to visit the tree.  And it was – gone.  Just gone.  I cried.  I thought, “That’s MY tree!”  How can it be gone? Where will I find another place like that? That brings me peace?

I sat in the swing by the lake and prayed.  I asked God for help with my difficulties.  And then it was put in my heart that I can have peace – true PEACE if I live my life in the moment.  Not regretting decisions of the past. Not worrying about the future and how it will all turn out.  JUST BE.

Yes the tree is gone.  There are also people that I have lost and I miss them dearly.  But like the peace I felt from the tree, those people are in my heart.  When I want to feel that way, I close my eyes.  I feel that peace.  The peace wasn’t in the tree.  It’s in me.  And by the way, it’s in you too… you just have to slow down and look for it.

Gratitude. Regardless of the situation.

If you are from Cleveland, Ohio or you were paying attention to the NBA playoffs in 2016 – then you know the Cleveland Cavaliers (aka Cavs) are the 2016 World Champions!  As a proud Clevelander and a fan of the Cavs, I thought it was the right thing to do to go to the Victory Parade being held in town.

My parents and my brother came to the parade too.  We were going downtown  extra early to get a prime viewing location.  As we were walking out of the parking lot, I lost my footing.  And… you know the phrase “she fell flat on her face”?  Well, that’s what happened.  And I could hear my head hit the cement and my glasses flew forward.  And I felt dizzy. Really?!?! Yes, really!

My brother rushed over to me, made sure that I was laying still and started asking me questions to make sure I was okay.   My parents were working on getting the paramedics to come take a look at me.  Everything was in slow motion in my mind, but my brother kept me talking and in addition to asking my name and what day of the week it was, he asked me “Who is your favorite Cavs player?” I smiled and said “Delly” (that’s Matthew Dellavedova).  He said to me later that when I answered that way, he knew I was going to be okay.

The EMS came and took me to the hospital – just to make sure that I was okay.  Here is a picture of me when they told me that I could still go to the parade:

Released from Hospital to go to the CAVS 2016 Victory Parade!

We walked over to the parade and when I was tired, I sat down and rested.

You might think that this was an awful experience.  Well, I wouldn’t want to repeat the falling on my face thing again… But, I remember that day as one when I  was filled with GRATITUDE.

Gratitude makes a difference!

Gratitude for:

The love of my family, the paramedics (who happened to be only one building away from our parking lot!), the hospital staff that helped me, the Clevelanders who were so gracious and offering to give me their seats on benches!

I am beyond blest that my injuries were manageable, that I could still see the parade, that when I learned to be a fan or a supporter of something – I am fiercely loyal! And that the Cavaliers had won the Championship!

No matter what is happening, there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for.

 

Hope. Give it a try!

When all is lost and it seems like it isn’t going to work out. When you feel like things are not how you would like them to be.  When it seems like “nice guys always finish last”.  What can you do? HOPE.

That’s what people hold on to when it seems like there is no answer.

Why be hopeful?   Because -there is POWER in Hope.  It is that small voice inside us that says “keep trying”, “you matter”, “you make a difference”, “it’s not over”, “don’t give up!”.  It can energize you to make things happen!

It might sound corny or trite to some people.  But when I think about what got me through the saddest and most difficult times in my life… it was HOPE.  Next time you feel like you are in the pit of despair and that there is no one that understands – have HOPE.  You are not alone.  There is someone who understands what you’ve been through.

And if you are in a really good place – be HOPE to someone else.  Give them your ear.  Listening to someone can give so much hope. Give it a try!