Tuesday, January 15, 2008

It Could Have Been Otherwise.

Recently while listening to the podcast, Practicing Happiness, from www.audiodharma.com by Kamala Masters, I came in contact with the poem by Jane Kenyon called Otherwise. This poem, about gratefulness, was very thought-provoking for me. Here it is:

Otherwise by Jane Kenyon
I got out of bed on two strong legs.
It might have been otherwise.

I ate cereal, sweet milk, ripe, flawless peach.
It might have been otherwise.

I took the dog uphill to the birch wood.
All morning I did the work I love.
At noon I lay down with my mate.
It might have been otherwise.

We ate dinner together at a table with silver candlesticks.
It might have been otherwise.

I slept in a bed in a room with paintings on the walls,
And planned another day just like this day.
But one day, I know, it will be otherwise.

Find this and other poems at www.poemhunter.com.

We often we complain about situations or wish that they were better but we forget the fact that things could be otherwise. That is, things could always be worse. And in fact one of these days, things will be.

This poem has encouraged me to continue in my practice of thinking “glass half full”. I ask how this could be "otherwise worse" along with “otherwise better” as a way of balancing the “awfulizing” and “horriblizing” that I am prone to. When I consider how things could be "otherwise better", I recommit, plan and acting in ways that would make the situation better. I find that both of these thoughts and my response to them inspires gratefulness that things are not as bad as they might be, and at the same time, gratefulness that I have the ability and the resources to make things better.

So because things could be “otherwise worse” and because one day they will be let us commit ourselves to cherishing the fact that today it is not otherwise while working to make things “otherwise better”.

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