See the stars

November 22, 2016

bright-sideOnly in the darkness
can you see the stars.
~Martin Luther King, Jr. or Ralph Waldo Emerson (or maybe no one important but it’s still true)*

Remember that adage look on the bright side?

We’re not used to looking for the gifts in bad situations. It’s counter-intuitive, isn’t it?  When bad things happen, well, they’re BAD. There’s nothing good about bad things.

Or is there?

I know people with serious illness or disabilities who say that their disease or disability has been their greatest teacher. They wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but since it’s the card they drew, they’ve found a view of it that serves them in a positive way.

My own compassion has been deepened by the close-up experience I’ve had with terminally ill family, friends and clients. While I grieve those losses still, they’ve served me in important ways, catapulting me to find a way to be of loving service to them and also to the world.

It’s the toxic relationships and friendships I’ve had that have allowed me to see gifts in other relationships that I might have taken for granted.

We find some of our deepest lessons in contrast, in polar opposites, the yin and yang, the dark and light, the negative and positive.

Look for the bright side: something we should make every effort to remind ourselves of when things get tough.

*It’s getting increasingly difficult to determine the origin of beautiful quotes like these because they are attributed to multiple people. Original source documents are almost impossible to find.


27 comments on “See the stars
  1. Gilly says:

    All very true. Not sure if it is fair to call advanced old age an illness but it seems to draw the same need for care and compassion. I struggle daily to find the gifts in difficult situations with my very elderly parents as my sister and I care for them in their own home. A huge chunk of our own lives is on hold indefinitely, maybe years but despite that and all the tears, there are many hidden gifts that we are finding and treasuring.

  2. I am usually a positive person, but these last couple of weeks have been tough to swallow. I think I’ve been grieving for our country, but love to find a positive outlook too it.

  3. Gessell says:

    Great words to live by. If I remember correctly, this time of year is the hardest for many people. It’s a great time to reflect on the good that there is and the bright side of even difficult things does and can exist.

  4. Diane says:

    Our darkest times are when we grow the most. Painful, but true!

  5. Hi Carol,
    I have been enjoying your political analysis recently. I have been looking for a blog with opinions of politics that match mine. You have a new subscriber!

  6. Working with Hospice clients and caring for my father and my bff during their illnesses and witnessing what was most important to all of them in their last hours has taught me to give up worrying and to be accepting of what cannot be changed and to seek out and delight in joy and if joy is not there to create it.

  7. Most of the time, I’m a positive person unless I crowd my mind with self-doubt.

  8. I always look forward to your encouraging posts 🙂 The past few months have been incredibly testing for me. I had to dive deep and truly assess the big picture to see that all this is aiding my growth! 🙂 Your reminders on the blog certainly help. Thank you.

  9. sue says:

    A positive light in trying times for the people of the US. Thanks Carol,

  10. I think it has taken some extra oomph to look on the bright side the last few weeks but in a way, it’s giving us more impetus to not sit back and be silent. It’s an obstacle to be sure but also gives us more reason to make the world a kinder and more gentle place.

  11. Sheryl Kraft says:

    It’s so important to remember this always – but now more than ever.

  12. Rosemond says:

    I’m still not able to find the bright spot in this election.

  13. Amber Myers says:

    This is true. I always try to look on the bright side of things. It’s too exhausting to stay miserable.

  14. Leanne says:

    Dark times always bring lessons when we look back on them (not so much as we’re going through them!) but without them I think we’d be very shallow people.

  15. Elizabeth O. says:

    This is something that we often forget to do when we’re faced with problem after problem. We forget to look for the silver lining and focus on the bad. This is definitely a good reminder.

  16. dogvills says:

    Yes it is true.. This is very inspiring to all.. Our hard times will make us a better and strong person.

  17. emma white says:

    I am diagnosed with bipolar and so I know the dark times very well and this is one saying I live by

  18. Jenni Petrey says:

    It is hard to remain positive when things get tough. My family have been through several years of things not going well but it is so important to be positive. Thanks for your post, was very inspiring.

  19. Becki Svare says:

    It’s interesting how friendships tend to weed themselves out during the tough times. People don’t want to do “hard” stuff! Great post! Thanks

  20. This is so true. Hard times bring out the best in us. 🙂

  21. Vera Sweeney says:

    Looking for the bright side in any situation is important to do!! I know several friends with chronic illness say that it helps to make it managable.

  22. Great post honey. It truly is so important to keep our heads up and look on the bright side of things.

  23. Nancy L. says:

    So true! My friend from way back in junior high has a very rare, but aggressive breast cancer and the prognosis is poor. While I would struggle with moving forward and probabl not get out of bed, she is going to school and teaching her class every day and she just hosted a fundraiser – not for her, but for a breast cancer foundation. Amazing!

  24. It is funny that people perceive me as being headstrong, confident and happy. Little do they know that I have my own share of personal struggles that I keep deep within me. There were times that I thought, “Behind the dark clouds are other dark clouds.” However, I now try to take in as much positivity as I can and bask in tons of hope that things will turn out for the best.

  25. Kitchie says:

    I terribly need constant reminder of this. Thanks for sharing and indeed,if the stars shine in darkness, I should too 🙂

  26. Sonya Kolodziejska says:

    Always look for the gifts in any situation. If we learn from our failures, we become a better person for it.

  27. Rosey says:

    I told a woman yesterday how lucky I was to get a flat tire right in front of the mechanic’s shop she was working in. She said, ‘was it lucky?’ I told her, def. because we’d just returned from a long trip with night driving and we didn’t get a flat until we were close to home. 🙂

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