Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, June 7, 2015
Love? Connection with the Soul.
I appreciate Bernie Siegel’s chapter in the book Handbook for the Soul, in several different ways.
First, as clergy trained in chaplaincy, I understand what he’s talking about. From speaking to patients, their loved ones, and hospital staff, I have an appreciation that is much more of a reality check. Yes, so many have a renewed understanding that they have “today.” Just one more day. Today is the most important time, the best time. Not next week, and certainly not next year. Getting lost in anything other than “today” is not conducive to true joy.
Second, I relate because of my familiarity with the 12 Steps and the Recovery program. “One Day at a Time” is all important. As someone trained with a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling, as well as many acquaintances involved with Recovery, I understand the concept that NOW is the most important time. The only time worth living.
Third, I agree with Dr. Siegel’s recommendation: change your attitude toward your life. (italics his) I am strongly reminded of a quote I saw several years ago that deeply moved me. It said, “Some people see the glass half empty. Others see it as half full. Be glad you have a glass.”
Dr. Siegel suggests: “. . . if you can’t change your external circumstances at this point, you can change your attitude toward your life. You can say, ‘All right, I choose to be happy. I choose to view what I do every day as a way of contributing love.’ When you go about your life with this attitude, you’ll find that your circumstances do begin to change.” 
And, each day is filled with choices. Little choices, larger decisions. Forks in the daily road. The Recovery program tells me to choose the next right thing. I would go that one better: I strive to do the next loving thing. This I see as closely linked to changing my attitude toward my life, exactly what Dr. Siegel tells us to do in this chapter. Otherwise, if the little, incremental choices I make day by day lead me down a path towards a person I do not want to be, what good is it? Do I really want to end up feeling awful, even if I see awful things at work? Even if someone confides awful things to me in confidence?
Yes, attitude is everything. God, I choose love. I choose the next loving thing.
Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.
 Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995), 41.