When I get down or annoyed by someone or something, I often ask myself, what can I do to adopt a better attitude?  Here’s what I tell myself: Seek out others who are positive thinkers – you know, the ones with the infectious smile, the can-do confidence with an offer of assistance, the gentle laugh or open-armed hug.  The ones who listen to our woes then encourage us to be stronger and better. 

I’m fortunate to work at JSL with a lively group of staff who not only get things done, but do so with joy, a positive attitude, and a little bit of magic. Not a day passes when I don’t hear good news stories from people who show and share their “attitude is altitude” behavior.  They remind me that the future lies in my own hands, and whether I choose to be an optimist or a pessimist, if we choose to be joyful, enthusiastic, and excited about life, we can be, regardless of our circumstances. Some bright spirit once said, “we can’t think our way into acting positively, but we can act our way into thinking positively.” This stuck with me.  We can look in the mirror in the morning and decide how we will greet the new day, a special gift, with golden opportunities to complete what we were unable to finish the day before. We can be self-starters. We can set the tone for our day of success with thoughtful action steps by asking ourselves, “how can I make a difference? What can I learn? Where can I find joy and then bring it to others?  

If we seek out other positive individuals – the doers, the helpers, the solution finders, the inspiring souls who care about the world and the people who live in our community – we can find inspiration and renewed energy. Kindness is contagious. I like to be with people who know how to make things happen. I like spending time with positive people who can reinforce positive attitudes. We can greet everyone we meet with love and laughter, acceptance, gentleness and kindness. We can draw strength from these people and support them in return.  It feels so good to meet new people who suddenly become new friends.  

And on those days when we’re not feeling it so much, we can take some time to reflect and then find something to be grateful for.  When the world’s challenges take their toll, we can pause, take some deep breaths and remind ourselves to go do something good for someone else. And sometimes what we truly need after a good cry is a very big laugh! 

Every day I learn from JSL residents and see them making the best of things. They remind me to laugh at myself, build friendships, and learn new skills, as they join together in stimulating classes, or in friendly competition playing poker, mahjong or Rumikuub, and then head to exercise class where they work out, laugh and joke while staying fit. I witness residents becoming enlightened and stimulated by engaging speakers and enthralled by talented musicians; being healed and inspired by Rabbinical roundtables and stimulated during discussions of current events. From the joy in a room of participants during Reader’s Theatre, or the excitement on board the bus to adventures in the city driven by congenial bus drivers. Home to dinner in elegant dining rooms and later, delightful laughter during popcorn fights on film nights… People are making the most of living in a JSL community with joy and purpose. All we need is a good attitude and someone to share the experiences with – making wonderful memories for each other along the way. Thank you to all the positive people who are the dedicated JSL staff and thank you to our generous community members who visit, volunteer, call, contribute and spend time thinking of ways to UP the joy factor on JSL campuses.  Now pass the popcorn. The movie is starting.   

Shabbat Shalom.


1 Comment:

  • Mary Schwartz /

    I love reading your comments each week which resinate with me. You are a positive thinker about life and so am I.
    I hope I can meet you in person when I come back to Michigan for the summer. I hope to donate some time at JSL when i am there.
    Perhaps I can meet you at the 8 Over 80 event on May 19.

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