Thursday, July 31, 2014

Seek The Good, See The Good

"The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision." ~ Helen Keller 
I often wonder how long before our culture forgets the heroic generation that saved civilization in World War II, or the remarkable courage and accomplishments of men and woman like Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. People are more likely to remember 1969 for the New York Mets improbable World Series win than the truly remarkable accomplishment of bringing three astronauts back from a successful moon landing. It took vision, courage and not a small amount of arrogance for these exemplars to even imagine their accomplishments that defied the odds and crashed through seemingly insurmountable boundaries.

Oh, I failed to mention Chuck Yeager. Google him!

If not for sophomoric one-liners and a captivating movie of her early life, the struggles, victories and multiple legacies of author, activist, lecturer and American inspiration Helen Keller would have been long forgotten. The first deaf-blind person to earn a degree (Radcliffe 1904), she possessed more vision than most who have been blessed with sight.

And I love the thought of a blind woman chastising us about our lack of personal inner vision!

We have all experienced the feeling of helplessness that blinds us to so much of what is good, hopeful and exciting about our lives and the world. With a sense of vision we can open our eyes to the possibilities.

As a baseball coach I would watch the hurried, worried and harried catch-throw to first base of my third basemen and shortstops often resulting in baseballs scooting under or sailing over the first baseman's glove webbing.

I would tell them, "Catch the ball, then, throw the ball."

I would instruct them to actually say the words in their heads as soon as the ball sizzled toward them in that light speed instant the then aluminum bats would distribute ground balls to infielders - catch the ball. The change was astonishing. They were able to embrace the danger and uncertainty of the ground ball and reduce each part of the play to achievable segments. The players began to will their bodies, brains, eyes, muscles and ligaments to separately accept the oncoming projectile and then, release  it.

Some of them wanted the ball to be hit to them. They began to embrace the challenge and possibilities of the ground ball.

I even witnessed one of my third basemen motioning to the batters before each pitch with his middle and right-hand ring fingers. He wanted the ball hit to him. One opposing coach complained that this kid was taunting his players. I told him my infielder would stop if they would just oblige with a hot grounder to third base.

It's all about wanting to see, looking for the challenges, the possibilities and desiring to accept the unknown. Vision, so different from sight, requires we do the hard work, the soul searching to want to see what's out there for us. We have to want to see what CAN BE.

"The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision." 
"Catch the ball, throw the ball."
  Then …
"Seek the good, see the good."
There can be so much pain and despair in our lives, we get mired in our own muck and become addicted to our own misery, or, following our children into their tragic spirals we become addicted to the  belittling and insulting "fix" of thinking we can actually cure our beloved. We only seek the immediate end-game, that frantic throw across the diamond and forget to focus on the now. We forget what we really want and need to truly take care of ourselves.

With eyes and souls wide open we can seek out, recognize and truly appreciate those qualities we value within ourselves. We can also find opportunities where our best can shine, where we may find our true selves, our journey's next progression.

This takes imagination, a dose of arrogance and the blind optimism faith brings along. Mostly, we have to "want it."

Some might call this mix of ingredients vision.

We can actively look for the good in ourselves first of all, an activity we have been denying ourselves for too long. We'll more readily perceive our talents and possibilities and perhaps even see the same in the world and in others, including the children who brought us to recovery. So first things first:

Believing in ourselves and our potential and power to BE, to be the best human beings we can be will allow us to see our good qualities.
This frees us to live lives of fullness and growth, to be strong, calm and content in the face of adversity.

If we train the brain to receive the goodness the Great Creator has bestowed upon the world we just might become benefactors to our own recovery. We may find ourselves mindlessly writing odd words like "beauty all around" in our gratitudes.

Vision can be a formidable weapon against fear and stagnation. It is a powerful force.

So watch that beautiful baseball into the webbing of your mitt, feel it there, secure, solid. Plant, then … throw.

It's all good!

… keep coming back
"In order to catch the ball, you have to want to catch the ball." ~ John Cassavetes