Mary Message July 2018

A Joyful Perspective

We live in hectic, anxious times or so it seems. In the daily news, we sense that the world is more sad, angry and contentious than ever. How, in the midst of it all, do we find joy in our lives?

Perspective is one simple answer. Ultimately, our happiness comes from within, and it is our perspective on life that helps determine our happiness, according to Douglas Abrams, author of The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World.In his wonderfully, inspirational book, he interviewed His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu – two great spiritual elders who have experienced more than fifty years of exile and oppression in their lives, but remain full of humor, compassion and joy. They gathered over a five-day period to celebrate His Holiness’s eightieth birthday and share their insights around the question – how do we find joy in the face of life’s daily challenges and suffering?

Abrams identified perspective as one of the eight pillars of happiness.

The Dalai Lama and the Archbishop believe that we can change the way we see the world and this will change the way we feel and act. They contend that every situation, however negative, can be reframed in a more positive light and that this will bring us more joy.

They explain that this perspective is far deeper than just being an optimist. It requires hope and faith that life will improve. It requires not only compassion and generosity, but the ability to reframe life’s situations in a more positive light.
They remind us we have tremendous power to change our perspective. We need only to step back and step out of ourselves to see a broader, more compassionate view that also deepens our connection to each other.

“For every event in life,” the Dalai Lama said, “there are many different angles. When you look at the same event from a wider perspective, your sense of worry and anxiety reduces, and you have greater joy.”

Joy, perhaps, is one of the goals we all strive for the most.  We seek joy not only for ourselves, but for those we serve. It is closely connected to the hope that drives our members’ missions and the compassionate spirit that unites us as an association. At our 2019 UMA Annual Meeting, we will have a unique opportunity to hear Douglas Abrams share more about the path to joy and the eight pillars of happiness.  Please join us on May 7-8 in Ft. Myers, FL at Shell Point Retirement Community, an EAGLE-accredited community.