Over the past year or so I’ve been hearing quite a bit about a sport called pickleball. Some of you may be familiar with it but until recently it was new to me.
I was intrigued to hear this promoted as a game for all ages and fitness levels and wanted to learn more.
Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. It can be played as singles or doubles. I was never good at tennis but enjoyed badminton and table tennis so this may be a possibility for me. When I learned the court is half the size of a tennis court, I was even more interested.
My husband and I went to watch someone we knew play in a tournament. A game or two stretched into several hours as we enjoyed observing and learning from this game.
Some of what I saw on the court would serve me well in life. While each team wanted to win, they didn’t take themselves too seriously. We would hear joking and encouragement and not criticism when someone made a mistake. A positive attitude and support for their partner made the difference between stress and enjoyment. I know this in my head, but the visual reminder was appreciated.
The players were scrupulously honest. They would call errors on themselves, even though it meant a point for the other team or loss of the game. It didn’t matter if anyone else had seen the fault or not. Integrity such as this is something I strive to be known for.
During the tournament, we saw teams that had been eliminated now cheering for the team that had defeated them. The sportsmanship and values portrayed convinced me that no matter my athletic ability, being in this kind of a pickle is a very positive thing.
The aquafit instructor was adding a few new exercises for our class. At one point she told us, “Kick one leg up at a time. Pretend you are doing the can-can.”
I found it amusing to think of myself as a can-can girl. I’m a little – OK a lot – too old for that!
Then I remembered a magnet I have on my filing cabinet. It says Successful women come in cans not in can’ts.
Living this way is a choice. I can be committed, gentle, loyal, thoughtful, loving and kind. These are only a few of the positive traits I want to focus on.
The can’ts should be limited to the negative characteristics I sometimes struggle with. I imagine how much better life would be if the bad habits were eliminated. To lead a happy, productive life I can’t be harsh, critical, complaining, and uncaring. This can be a lot easier to follow through on with others than with me.
I can wish and want but until I am committed to change nothing is going to happen. My goal is to get the most out of life, and not merely exist. If I want to make a difference in the lives of others I first have to start with my own.
When my attitude changes so will my life. Who else wants to join me as a can-can gal or guy? Together we can change the world.
Early on a Saturday morning, I was on the highway heading to an appointment an hour from home. Although I’d allowed extra time, it looked like the slowdowns for road repair would eat up every minute of it.
I hate to be late and it looked to me as if that was going to be the case. The tension was starting to build.
Near the end of a lengthy slowdown, was a flag person holding a sign reminding us to proceed slowly. What made her memorable was the big smile and friendly wave she gave to the passing vehicles.
I couldn’t help but smile and wave back. Her simple gesture of kindness relaxed me. When I arrived at my destination (right on time) my stress had dissolved and I was in a positive state of mind.
This woman understood the pressure drivers feel when forced to add extra time to their commute and did something to break the negativity. The effect of this would have reached more than the motorists she encountered. When I’m in a better state of mind I treat those I come in contact with in a more positive manner. They, in turn, pass along positive rather than negative emotions to those they interact with. The ripple effect of one act of kindness can be staggering.
A friendly smile, a sincere compliment, holding a door open for the person behind me; these cost only a minute of my time but have the potential of changing someone’s outlook that day. The more I practice random acts of kindness, the more opportunity I have to change the world. What an exciting concept!
“Kindness carries no price tag neither does it require making a purchase. A random act of kindness can change someone’s life…choose to be kind always.” ― Kemi Sogunle
After a long day of travel, we arrived at our destination too tired to do more than unpack and fall asleep.
Early the next morning I woke up to the sound of surf. I opened the door to the deck and breathed deeply of the sea air. It was wonderful to see the water sparkling under a clear blue sky and hear only sounds of nature. Then, I started examining my surroundings.
The previous night I’d been bothered by our bathroom sink that hadn’t been properly cleaned. I started looking around and found several more little items to be upset about.
My mood had shifted and I was not happy. Housekeeping was not at the top of my priority list at home, but I started looking for things to find fault with here.
We sat down to breakfast with a panoramic view of the sea before us. Before long we saw two pelicans soar and then dive into the water to catch fish. The scene was calming.
I thought of how incredible it was to be able to sit at our table and witness this. Here I was, in a place I loved, with the beauty and tranquillity of nature surrounding me. Why then, was I wasting my time looking for inconsequential things to be upset about?
I was ashamed of my attitude and vowed to focus on the positive. I knew I was likely to see whatever it was I was looking for, so should concentrate on everything I had to be grateful for. All I needed was that different perspective and my attitude shifted.
This is a lesson for me to remember when I’m having a bad day. The circumstances may not change but a different perspective can improve my outlook and my life.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Wayne Dyer
My first thought as I entered the recreation centre parking lot was, “I wonder what’s going on? It’s not usually this busy.” Normally there are an abundance of parking spots available at this time of the morning. That definitely was not the case this time.
I was slowly making my way through the lot when I spotted someone preparing to back out of a spot close to the entrance of the facility. I couldn’t believe my luck! As the car reversed in my direction another vehicle came from the opposite side and pulled into the barely vacated space.
My first reaction was surprise, followed closely by frustration as I resumed my search for an elusive empty parking space.
I realized that I had a choice to make that would directly affect the rest of my day. I could choose to be angry and resentful or I could look for the positives in this situation.
I chose the latter. I was thankful I had allowed plenty of time to get to my class so wasn’t feeling rushed. My health is good so walking a little farther wasn’t going to be a problem. The weather was pleasant which meant I wouldn’t get cold or wet as I walked.
I remembered the scripture verse I’d read that morning saying that God wants us to be kind, gentle and patient. As I headed into my class I thanked God for the reminder he had just presented me with. The positive reaction he prompted in me ensured that I would have a good day.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12 NLT
Walks are wonderful for exercise and relaxation but sometimes I gain much more than that from them.
My husband and I set out for a walk on a hot summer afternoon. First we strolled along a peaceful path by a lake. Then we crossed through a field of clover where the only sound was the buzzing of the bees as they gathered the sweet nectar.
The scorching sun beat down on us relentlessly and we looked forward to the shade of the treed path ahead.
We soon reached the trees and were refreshed by the light breeze. Suddenly there was a swarm of tiny insects around us. I kept my gaze on the ground, afraid if I looked up, these insects would be inhaled. Although we passed through them quickly, there were several more swarms to be encountered as we continued.
One of the things I learned from this experience was that things are not always as idyllic as they appear from a distance. Many situations look perfect until I experience them first hand. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence!
Another lesson for me was to focus on the positive. There were some minor inconveniences on my walk but they didn’t dampen my appreciation for spending time in nature on a glorious summer day.
I need to remember that the Lord faithfully provides for me every day. His mercies are never ending and my gratitude to him should reflect that.
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)
Recently I was engaged in an activity I enjoyed. Everything was going along smoothly until someone voiced a few complaints. These were things that I hadn’t noticed previously and that had never interfered with my enjoyment of the activity. Before long I felt my positive attitude slowly being eroded with these negative thoughts.
Things that had never been an issue for me now seemed to be all that I noticed. Instead of focusing on my positive experience I started seeing what could be a negative for others. My peace and enjoyment of the activity slipped into the background.
Looking back on this, I realized anew the effect words have to influence others. It only took a few to change my outlook. If a few words could change my positive thoughts to negative, the reverse must also be true.
That means I need to be very conscious of my words. If I speak in the heat of anger I will regret it later. Instead I need to speak words that will encourage and build others up. On my own, this can prove a difficult task at times. When I stop and pray about my attitude, the words that I speak will be ones that will encourage and build others up. This will ensure that the only way I change someone’s day is to make it more positive.
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. (Ephesians 4:29 NLT)
The exercise class had just begun but already the instructor was pushing us hard. She shouted out, “Come on, we need to get your hearts warmed up.”
Although I knew what she meant, I couldn’t help but smile to myself. Not long before the class started, my husband and I had parted ways for the day with a hug and a kiss. Then he looked into my eyes, said, “I love you” and flashed me a smile. Yes, my heart had definitely been warmed.
Earlier that morning I had sent a message to someone facing challenges. I’d let her know I was thinking of her and praying she’d have a good day. The appreciative response I received warmed my heart as my message had done for hers.
My husband sending me off with a smile on my face was a good reminder that a few positive words have the ability to let people know that they matter. It only takes a minute and the results can cause a ripple effect that is immeasurable.
Kind words have the comforting effect of a toasty warm blanket on a cold winter night. They can also affirm, encourage and convey love. Giving and receiving them is the best way I’ve found to keep my heart warm.
Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. Proverbs 12:25 NIV
Words, whether written or spoken have great power. When used positively they can encourage, support, inspire and light a fire in someone’s heart. The negative use of words can deeply wound, cause loss of confidence and extinguish the passion in those same hearts.
I know that I have been on the receiving end of both types of words. Some of them have caused me to question my worth. Others have shown me that I have more value than I believed.
As much as I hate to admit it, I’m sure I have used words as weapons that have caused others pain. These days I consciously strive to make my words positive and uplifting.
It is no accident that God is referred to in the Bible as the Word. His words in this book of instruction, point me in the way I need to go. The more I listen to Him, the more I am able to reflect his love to those around me. His whispers into my heart light the passions and purpose that have been placed deep within me. It is only by listening to and following his words that I can live the life I was created for.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 NIV