Friday, April 11, 2008

Positive Living

So, I came home on Wednesday night after dropping the kids at my parents for the evening and I was just beat to shit. I was still recovering from the flu and I had been going to physical therapy constantly and it was just wearing me out. Plus, work has been crazy because of the end of the quarter and my kids thinking that next week is June so they don't actually have to behave or do work. I was relaxing on the couch watching some TV when the promo for the Diane Sawyer interview of Dr. Randy Pausch came on.

I don't know if you know about Randy. I first heard about him a few months ago when I was introduced, via email, to his "Last Lecture". I only saw bits and pieces of it but I read a lot about him and I had been reading the transcript of his lecture online.

Randy is dying of pancreatic cancer.

Randy is living while dying and it is absolutely incredible to watch and learn about.

I programmed the TiVo to record the interview just in case I fell asleep. I did not. I stayed up and watched every moment and when it was done, I threw away my giant pile of tissues and headed to bed. Something had changed in me. I needed to share what I had just seen about Randy with my students. I needed them to see what he had to say.

I went into work the next morning and prepared my classroom and cued this up for the day:

I decided my students needed to think about their dreams. I decided they needed a break from learning Church History and I needed a break from teaching it.

There was something about this man and his message. The night before I had been moved to a constant stream of tears listening to him talk about living while dying and his family and friends. I listened to him talk about positive living and accepting the cards we're dealt but dealing with them in a way that is positive and life affirming. I listened to him talk about abandoning anger and hurt in your life because it does no good. It's about being positive. It's about living. It's about giving people a chance. I decided my students needed to hear his message even if they didn't understand. I made my decision and I had the best night's sleep that I had had in a really long time. And I've been sleeping pretty well since.

The past two days my classes have been watching Randy's lecture. I have watched it more than a dozen times, now, and I learn something different or pick up something new each time. The reactions from my kids have been different. Some of the kids are glued to the lecture. They are fascinated by what he has to say. They are riveted by this man who looks so incredibly healthy yet has only months, possibly weeks to live. And I am, too.

I have a lot more that I'd like to write about Randy's lecture and the things that I've come to realize and think about because of it but I'd like to you learn a little bit more about him (if you want, of course!!). Even if you just watch an excerpt from YouTube (There are quite a bunch of different clips) I think you will begin to see what I am talking about.

I can tell you one thing, the power of positive thinking is incredible. Seriously. Positive thinking brings positive results. And vice versa. I headed to Hot Doc, aka my orthopedic surgeon, yesterday prepared to hear that I was getting another 6 to 12 weeks of physical therapy. But it was a beautiful day out, I opened my car windows and sunroof, I blasted the music and I told myself that whatever Hot Doc told me I was going to accept and deal with. I could not change what was wrong with my shoulder, I could only accept and deal with it. I was in a good mood, feeling really upbeat. Hot Doc informed me that my shoulder is better than before the surgery but will never be 100% (I knew that from the beginning). Hot Doc told me that I will always have a "trick shoulder". Hot Doc told me I will always have pain. I have been fixed as much as possible for right now. Then Hot Doc told me what I've been waiting to hear, I am done with treatment. No more Hot Doc appointments unless I get worse. No more physical therapy. I am done. Am I completely healed? Nope, never will be. I knew that would be the outcome. Am I out of pain? Nope, never will be. Am I just as I was before? Nope, never will be. Am I ok with all of that? Actually, yeah. I've accepted it. I'm done with treatment. I can move on to the next part of all of this. I have been waiting for being able to move into the next part of this accident "saga". I got exactly what I wanted yesterday and while it doesn't seem like positive things, it is.

I knew since treatment began that I was never going to be 100% again and yesterday I accepted it completely and I am now getting to move on. Positives all around.

I encourage you to try it. It's hard to be positive all the time and I don't know that it's completely possible. Randy says at the end of his lecture that his words aren't about dreams and going after them but about how to live our lives in such a way that our dreams come to us. If we live good lives the dreams will come to us and the good and the positive will come to us. In the moments that I've spent reading about him and listening to him I am seeing my perspective change. I am seeing myself change.


OHmommy said...

Positive thinking brings positive results.

That was the point that hit home with me. I try to live by those words and teach my kids the same.

Have a great weekend.

Alison said...

thank you for this video..I am going to have to watch the whole thing. My dear friend died of cancer 2 weeks ago and she had the same attitude and outlook.....amazing people.

Marie said...

I have heard about him, but haven't watched the video b/c I am TERRIFIED of death.

I am a positive thinker, but I think some people misunderstand what it's about.

I had to live in close poximity for awhile with people who were completely negative about EVERYTHING. You could say something like "beautiful day," and they'd turn it into a negative. It sapped all the joy right out of me to be around them.

So when we moved from that area, I swore off negativity. I try never to say anything negative, and if someone is negative with me I don't answer. Eliminating the negativity has made a HUGE difference in my life.

Some people seem to think that if they just concentrate on something in a positive manner they can make that thing happen. But it just doesn't work that way. Positivity is a lot more universal than that IMO.

jennifer said...

Good for you to putting his message to use. I truly admire how he is really living his life.

Rebekah said...

I had not heard of him until I watched 20/20 - boy, did I cry. What an amazing person he is and what a beautiful message - to live your life joyfully EACH DAY. I need to remind myself of this daily as I struggle with being a "realist with a side of pessimism." I'm married to an optimist who I sometimes criticize for "not being realistic." Reality is overrated sometimes, don't you think?? I need to get on board with my wonderful husband and get over myself!

I enjoy your blog.

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