Photo by Geetanjal Khanna on Unsplash

Hello my dear happiness nerds, welcome (back)!

It’s a grey autumn’s day here in Zurich. The blanket of clouds is so thick that it’s dark even at noon. And it’s raining non-stop. Everybody I know would call this weather ugly and depressing. I get it. The beautiful warmth of sunlight on our skins is intuitively more pleasant. Also, one doesn’t have to wield a cumbersome umbrella just not to get soaked on the way to work. And it’s cold and windy and dark and so on. I get it. But also, not.

See, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and while I acknowledge that we’re probably hardwired to prefer sunny weather, I think we can calibrate our software to enjoy the allegedly depressing grey just as much. Part of the solution might be positive reframing, that is seeing the dark clouds and heavy rain in a more flattering light: Water is essential for life, it grows our beautiful trees, and people in other parts of the world pray for and even fight wars over water. We get it for free, pouring down from the sky. It forms puddles for children to jump into, it washes away the dirt on our streets, and it gives us a great opportunity to cozy up inside and listen to the sound of raindrops against our windows (they sound even better on a tent!).

Yet, positive reframing isn’t the whole story to enjoying undesired weather, which may look different from our heavy clouds depending on where you live. It’s neither the whole story for everything else that momentarily isn’t the way you want it to be, so listen up! In my experience, if you develop an attitude of presence, calm, appreciation, and gratitude, nothing’s rarely ugly, inconvenient, annoying, or wrong—and even if it is, it isn’t so for long.1 The occasional positive reframing won’t accomplish much if you’re anxious, stressed out, and grumpy the rest of the day. And if you have to reframe most of the situations you’re in, you should probably change your life more fundamentally anyway. For a generally positive outlook on life, you need a general attitude and conduct that is conducive to such an outlook.

Building an attitude of presence, calm, appreciation, and gratitude takes time and effort, of course. But it is time and effort well invested, because the return of your investment won’t take long to materialize. Most of the benefits are instant, in addition to the more cumulative, long-term ones. The moment you behave in a present, calm, appreciating and/or grateful way, you feel better (it’s so simple, it’s almost tautological). This is, because these states are largely (but not always completely) incompatible with negative moods and feelings such as anxiety, stress, and grumpiness. We know this from psychological research and you can probably also verify it in your own experience: If you’re like me, you’re usually either grateful or stressed in any given moment, rarely both at the same time. And you’re definitely never calm and stressed at the same time, because these two states are incompatible by definition.

But how do you build such a “happy attitude” as we might call it? Do you, for example, just act calmly when you’re actually stressed out? That sounds awfully inauthentic and probably ineffective, too, right? Psychological research agrees. Suppressing negative feelings is rarely your best option and can have hidden costs. But sometimes in life it’s necessary, so don’t completely discard it. Also, I would argue, occasionally it can help to remember that you can act in a different (e.g., less stressed) way and the negative feelings will subside naturally and authentically. Doing things in a frantic way probably won’t make you accomplish more in less time, but it will definitely drain you. Therefore, do them calmly, deliberately, and efficiently instead, if you can. I love this quote from Laozi, the great Daoist: “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

Additionally, positive reframing can help prevent unnecessary states of anxiety, stress, and grumpiness before they happen, which is generally better than fighting them once they’ve fully formed. If you suffer from such negative emotions chronically, though, I’d suggest you get professional help. It’s way less stigmatized than in the past thanks to increased mental health awareness, and it’s just unnecessarily hard to get out of such chronic misery by yourself. Like with repairing a car or getting a new haircut: If you want to get it done well, call a professional (in this case a certified psychotherapist). If you can’t bring yourself to do it or can’t afford it, call friends or family. They’re usually happy to help, so you actually do them a favor.

In any case, mindfulness of one’s emotions and the ability to step out of them can be really helpful. A daily five-minute mindfulness routine in the morning can already do wonders, but probably do a course or retreat first, so you can learn the techniques properly and experience the benefits more clearly. This way, you’re more likely to really make mindfulness part of your healthy habits.

Apart from such quick fixes in the moment, how could a long-term roadmap to a happy attitude look? I’ll try to give you a rough sketch and I’m grateful for any suggestions in the comments on how to improve it. A note on how to use this roadmap before I outline it: You don’t have to master one step before you can move to the next. In fact, you shouldn’t. I’d advise you to do the first step just well enough to move on to the next one and be able to perform it with only a reasonable amount of difficulty. When you’ve completed the last step, go back to earlier steps and deepen and widen your practices there. It’s an upward spiral in terms of development and insight. Its goal is to make you happier, wiser, and more resilient, which inevitably will also make you more productive, kind, and beneficial to humanity, which is and always has been in dire need of improvement. As you will see, I’ll rely heavily on the wisdom of various traditions of thought and practice, and I’ll point them out as I go. My contribution is merely to provide a possible framework for development that I haven’t seen in this form (at least I’m not aware of such a framework—please let me know in the comments if my roadmap reminds you of an existing one).

  1. First, know yourself. Know your strengths and weaknesses, your preferences and values, your patterns and baggage. What do you want from life? How can you be of service? Which talents and interests should you therefore nourish? I can recommend you looking into Ikigai, a Japanese philosophy that can really help with these questions. Also, Daoism, Stoicism, and Vipassana insight meditation offer great approaches to these questions. Another really important question here is this: Which of your patterns of thinking, feeling, or (non-)acting hold you back, lead to unnecessary conflict, and make you and the people around you miserable? We all have those, so be brave and acknowledge them without guilt or shame. Psychology and psychotherapy are the best approaches to this question in my opinion (but as a trained psychologist I may be biased). I’d especially recommend schema therapy as well as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
  2. Second, reduce, declutter, and say no.2 Say no to activities and people that unnecessarily drain you or don’t give you value. Note that this in no way is supposed to mean that you only use people and give nothing in return. Neither does it mean that you drop them once you got what you wanted, not at all. I think all people have inherent value and should be treated with dignity and respect. What I want to say is that you should surround yourself with people with whom you mostly have constructive and fruitful patterns of interactions and (respectfully and compassionately) cut ties with those with whom you mostly have toxic patterns of interactions. Don’t’ forget, it takes two to tango. Read up on this topic, because relationships are one of the biggest and most important elements in our lives, if not the number one. Regarding activities: Don’t follow every initial excitement or let alone hype, but choose a few or even just one activity that really suits you and that you love doing. Do less and therefore do it better and more joyfully. You know what you enjoy and what is of value to you from the first step. Likewise based on the first step, make working on one of your destructive patterns a personal project—you don’t want to say no to working on your issues. I recommend Epicureanism, Daoism, Buddhism, and minimalism/simple living as helpful approaches.
  3. Third, devote time, love, and attention, but expect nothing. Now that you know with whom and what you want to spend your time and you have removed distractions and obstacles, it’s time to get to “work.” But there are better and worse ways to devote yourself, even to the people and the things that you’ve chosen wisely and with all your heart. Don’t do it in a half-arsed way (excuse my British), but really be present, pay attention, and invest some genuine effort. It’s scary, I know, because in the case of “failure” you don’t have the excuse that you didn’t really try, which can call into question your judgment, skill, and worth. But we’ll take care of this problem with the next aspect of this step: Don’t expect or even desire certain outcomes. Real success is not maintaining a certain relationship or meeting a certain target, which always involves luck and factors outside your control (you aren’t omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, are you?). Instead, real success is having done everything you could to make a desired outcome most likely. Not at every price, of course, but in the most ethical way available to you. So, define success as doing what you should be doing and doing it well, because it would be very unwise to make your happiness hinge on factors outside your control (i.e., the outcomes of your actions). The path will be much more enjoyable and with patience you’ll regularly attain desired outcomes anyway (but you don’t depend on them). Last but not least, engage in your relationships and passions with love—for the persons and activities, but also for yourself. If you dare to invest love and make yourself vulnerable, you will enjoy your relationships and activities more, and effort will be effortless much of the time. In the case of activities, you’ll also get started more easily and procrastinate less. But, like every human being, you’ll procrastinate at least a little bit, even the activities you usually enjoy doing. That’s ok, perfection just isn’t in the cards for us humans (and gods most likely don’t exist outside of ideas). Therefore, be loving and kind towards yourself, too—you’re worth it as much as any of us. For this step, I recommend Stoicism, Buddhism, and Daoism as the most useful approaches.

In a nutshell: In Step 1, getting to know yourself gives you the right direction in your life, because, among others, you identify what’s important to you (which definitely will be partly different from what’s important to others or society as a whole). In Step 2, decluttering gives you the necessary focus in that right direction, because you spend less time on activities that aren’t essential to you, and you get less drained from relationships that are toxic for you and your counterparts. In Step 3, devoting yourself to your path without expecting anything gives you true fulfillment, because you do what you care about and what you’re good at in a way that guarantees real success at every step.

I hope this roadmap will help you move from getting annoyed at the dark clouds to appreciating the beautiful sound of raindrops in a present, calm, and grateful way. As always, all the best, yours truly, Thomas.

If you like what you see, please like and follow! If you think that somebody else might, too, please share—it would be my honor! If you want to receive and e-mail every time I post something new (which is usually twice a month), but you don’t want to open a wordpress account for that you can do that, too (see sidebar or below the post, depending on which device you’re reading on right now).


1 I’m not saying, though, that you should just accept all negative circumstances in your life or that of others. Change what you reasonably can, vote and fight for freedom and justice, but also cope with the unavoidable and unchangeable as well as you can. Because, ideally, it doesn’t take much to be happy: Just marvel at the example of Diogenes in his “barrel” (actually, it was a large ceramic jar called “pithos”).

2 One of my dearest readers, my girlfriend, asked why I dont’ just call this point “select,” because “[…] saying no” is so negative and avoidant (and in general it’s more advisable to set approach goals, that is, specify what you do want to achive). She’s right and I considered this point when I was writing the blog. I deliberately chose this “negative” framing, though, because people usually put too much on their plates. At least that’s what I’ve observed here in the so-called “western world.” Therefore, I want people to focus on decluttering, make it a goal, and define success also by doing less (but doing it better and while feeling happier). Lastly, saying no is a competence that really helps a lot in life. It’s not trivial to be able to say no and it doesn’t come easily to most people. That’s why it’s actually part of social competence trainings, which are more powerful than one would believe. I want to end this footnote like this: Know who you are, know what you stand for and what you want, know your worth and dignity, and thereby say no to the things that are incompatible with and unnecessary for you. Thereby, have more vigor behind the yesses that you give. For yourself, for the ones dearest to you, and for the whole planet.

140 thoughts on “From Dark Clouds to the Beautiful Sound of Raindrops

  1. Hi Thomas,
    I read your post with interest. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety when I was 40. I am now 63. About 5 years ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder with deep depressive episodes and occasionally mild mania episodes. I seem to be getting worse as I age. I have had numerous admissions to a mental health facility and many medications. Unfortunately, none of the medications have had long term success. My psychiatrist is saying I have a drug resistant mood disorder. I have also had ECT which helped for a short while. Now I am on Ritalin. On this drug I am able to do a lot more than I have been capable of in previous episodes. I am also on Quetiapine, Lithium, and Olanzipine. With Ritalin which I take anywhere between 40mg and 60mg a day dependent on my mood swings. I am going okay but I’m not back to how I was 2 months ago. I am speaking to my psychiatrist soon and I have seen my psychologist too. I am not back to my “normal” self. When I am in a mood dip I usually have to take time out and read a book or lay down and listen to relaxation music till my mood picks up. Any other recommendations for getting through the mood dip would be appreciated.
    Robyn

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Robyn! Thank you for reading and for sharing your story. I’m very sorry to hear that you have been thorough so much. I’m not a clinical psychologist or psychotherapist, so please take my recommendation with a grain of salt (but you seem to be in good hands anyway, so you could evaluate my recommendation with them, too). You know yourself well and know how to deal with mood dips – that’s great! One thing that you could consider: I would maybe let go of the goal to restore your life to how it used to be (to your “normal“ self). Life is always changing, nobody can go back, only forward. Being in a mood dip is very unpleasant, but it also makes you more empathetic to the pain of others. Your old “normal“ self didn’t have this to the extent that you have it now. It may sound strange, but stop “fighting“ your condition. Work on it like I outline in Step 3, your success will be knowing that you did everything you could. But your happiness doesn’t depend on getting somewhere. Happiness is learning to love being where you are, even if it often entails being depressed. I hope this helps, I really wish you all the best. Thomas

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Chemical and situation changes are mostly relevant to the way we feel. Bad situations are something to try overcoming. Chemical imbalances which cause negative moods are a challenge to change.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi, thanks for your great point! I agree and would add one thing: Our coping style with such changes makes a huge difference, too. It affects the chemical and situation changes in turn – it’s really powerful in my opinion.

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  2. I liked your post, every point made sense to me. I also believe you need to be true to yourself. I also think it is important to say no to activities you don’t enjoy; however sometimes you need to attend those activities for other reasons, but free to say no sometimes.
    I am just a visitor for the first time, I hope it is ok I offer a point for improvement. Many readers of blogs will not read every point in a paragraph it it looks lengthy. In my blog I use space, like pauses when speaking to someone.
    Thanks for visiting my blog. Looking forward to your suggestions and comments if you are able to look around my posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, thanks for your great comment! Definitely, there are activities that one doesn’t enjoy, but that add value. Household chores may be such activities for many people. One shouldn’t say no to them. But by decluttering and then devoting oneself even to such activities they should become more enjoyable.
      Thanks for your advice, I’ll see if I can implement it! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. As always, thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts! I’m not surprised that you like both equally much – I assume you’ve been doing much work along the 3 steps (as far as I can tell especially the first one, the others are harder to judge from a distance) 😃 Big hug from rainy Zurich 🤗

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  3. Great post!
    So many lines to ponder on but this got me
    In Step 1, getting to know yourself gives you the right direction in your life, because, among others, you identify what’s important to you (which definitely will be partly different from what’s important to others or society as a whole).
    i was on a journey to self discovery and i will say i am still discovering myself and you said it gives you the right direction in life and make you set priorities right. well, i am glad i have achieved a lot of that and i am proud of who i am today. i am a work in progress. Thank you for going through my write up as well. i’ll definitely share to my friends and on my social media page as well.
    Thanks Thom!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey hey! Thanks so much for reading and for your great comment! I’m happy to hear that you’re already well into step 1! I think it’s the most important step. All of us are works in progress, nobody has figured it all out, not even the gurus and buddhas. You can be proud of that, indeed 😊 Wish you all the best and read you again soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I like your wisdom. In fact I like all wisdom, provided it’s a bit sceptical about itself. My tradition is Christianity which is also good as long as it is held sceptically. Even scepticism should be held sceptically. I doubt, therefore I am, maybe. Thanks for your blogs and your interest in mine

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Emmock! I’m happy to hear that you’re a fan of scepticism – I’m, too! 🙂 Even the bit with being sceptical about scepticism itself. There’s definitely too much of a good thing with almost anything. One of my other favorite values: Moderation. Which also goes well with scepticism (and everything else, including moderation itself). Best wishes and read you soon, Thomas

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  5. Hi Thomas: yes, I think you have it mostly right. Happiness, as a way of life, takes work and practice. One area where reframing is particularly helpful is in reframing one’s idea/ definition of who and what constitutes their selves. Knowing that what we all think about ourselves, and even how we define ourselves, is conditioned on many factors, however with the freedom to reframe, the unhappy, repetitive garbage thoughts and feelings, can be separated from our definition and consigned to the trash. All sorts of negative thoughts can go this route, for example: “I can’t stand this a second longer!” (an obvious mistruth as the seconds’ tick by) can be reframed to “It is not I whom as saying this, it is a garbage thought, out it goes.” We have the power to do this. It takes work and meditation, mindfulness or not, is very helpful. Thanks for your post on the subject. Dr. Bob aka: theholodoc

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Dr. Bob, thanks for your great input! Yes, thoughts have great power and there are plenty around that don’t make us happy and that hold us back (the “garbage thoughts” as you call them). I’m happy to meet another proponent of meditation, as it really can help expose these kinds of thoughts as what they are: Unhelpful stories that aren’t who we are. Thanks for reading and hope to read you again soon! Best wishes, Dr. Tom 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Thomas. First post of yours I have read and I agree with so much you have spoken about. When people complain about the weather (it’s “too hot, too cold, too wet ….” I am reminded of my own responses. I too don’t moan about the weather – it is what it is and the earth needs different seasons to function.
    However – wind – I cannot stand wind – it’s mucks up my head and makes me unsettled which a number of people I’ve spoken to also experience similar feelings. So do my cats.
    Finally – electrical and thunder storms are my battery chargers!
    Thank you for this post – your writing is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Isabella, welcome to my blog! Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts and experiences! Your reaction to wind sounds really unpleasant, I’m sorry to hear that. What can you do about it? Could reframing work or would you need a deeper technique? I think mindfulness would work to reduce the subjective unpleasantness.
      Thank you also for complimenting on my writing, it fills me with joy to hear that 🙂 Read you again, soon!

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  7. This is EVERYTHING!!! Thomas, thank you for creating this blog and using it to share such because God knows so many people need to hear/read these words. I’m just ready for every living soul on this beautiful heaven God created for us to be happy and it’s sad to meet so many of us who are worn to the soul from simply living. I hope this post sets a few actually no! A whole lot of caged birds. I adore this, truly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Ratanang, thank you so much! Yours are among the most beautiful words I’ve heard on my blog! I really appreciate them very much!! ❤
      Please go ahead and spread the word, so more people can learn from the many thought traditions that I've drawn from. None of them have all the answers, but together they give so many good answers! I wish you all the best and hope to read you again soon. Much love, Thomas

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hello to you all!well my name is Isaac an I am new to this writhing and sharing my thoughts and feelings.. I love the fact that you told us about the dark clouds and rain.. it’s amazing how one person could change the flow of energy and others lifestyle just by writing.I love the fact that you shared with us the way of thinking.i would like to say to everyone and pass it on as I was reading this story,lesson please do not be a shame to ask for help because are mind could play tricks in are thoughts .and are way of thinking but in fact it’s awesome to hear and the comments from you awesome readers and writers that you all can share your stories. Their is many that need you all experience for we’re are brothers and sisters could learn. To pass the lesson on now they say a mind is a terrible thing to waste so and the meanwhile try staying encouraged tell yourself that you are amazing what I do know is you cannot let worldly things bring you down we cannot take with us try to keep a positive way of thinking by doing this this trick for yourself go 30 days without thinking negative thoughts and only positive thoughts no matter how bad the world could make you feel worry only about your thoughts and if you think of a negative thought with an the 30 days start over.and it’s important to wake up with a positive attitude because peace of mind and the mornings could help you with a awesome day you have 15 percent of peace when you wake up every time you rest don’t spend 10% of your 15% of peace letting worldly activities are negative energy bring you down life is sweet just to live learn and be apart of so stay encouraged to encourage your sisters and brothers children….peace an love be with you all

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Isaac! Thanks for your comment and spreading those awesome vibes! They’re highly appreciated =) Personally, I think negative thoughts are ok and they can teach us many important things. But often, they’re just in the way and don’t help. That’s when I would just let them pass and move on. Thanks for sharing, I’ll keep doing the same 🙂

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  9. A very nice post and I loved reading it. Growing up I developed this thought pattern that kind of bolstered the idea that being stressed is good and making yourself believe that you are busy and have too much to do is better and gets you to be more productive. Lately I have realized (with the help of others thoughts) that when you are calmer you actually think better and are more productive and if I make self remember this in those tense moments, you are right. The impact is instantaneous. But sometimes the tough part is to be aware that you are tensed.. Your post will help so many people to do the right thing and help themselves. Thanks! Is there a way you can maybe condense this to a shorter post and highlight a list of things that are very important?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear kuppa, thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment, I appreciate it! It’s nice to hear that this insight also came to you and that it also works for you. Mindfulness meditation really helped me with noticing that I’m tense or hasty. Thanks for the kind work and the feedback that I could condense, I’ll consider it. Maybe when I have some more material, I’ll make a summary post of several longer essays with just the highlights 🙂 What I noticed for myself, though, is that I remember things better, when they’re elaborated more. I need stories and examples. But the summary post could link to those. Thanks again and best wishes, Thomas

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  10. I am happy you liked my post, for it brought me into connection with your information, without that I’d probably never have came across your blog, I like the Term Happiness Nerd, I might have to borrow it sometimes in Social Settings, I will now delve into your beautuful and inspiring blog, for aspiration towards happiness is what I truly need at this point in my Life, and will read your information with passion, for from reading the few paragraphs of this post, I already feel more positive, I mean it is stuff I already know, but to see it expressed by another being brings positive feelings and hope for the future.

    Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey there, thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment! Yes, your writing is really powerful and it touched me. Keep it up and know that you’re being heard. Feel free to borrow the term, everybody can be a happiness nerd and you definitely seem to be one! You’re very welcome 🙂 And actually thank YOU, you’re motivating me to keep writing and spreading profound (not superficial) positivity. Best wishes, Thomas

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    1. Thank you, Richard! Positive reframing is one of several terms used in the scientific psychological literature and the one I like best, too. People like Tony Robbins are great at reaching many people. I wish psychologists would learn from him in this regard. They have some valuable insight to spread, but more science to back it up. Thanks for your comment and hope to read you again, soon! Best, Thomas

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        1. Thank you for the high praise, it really fills me with joy =) I have another post in the pipeline, looking back at the 2010s from a happiness perspective. Stay tuned 🙂 Until then, all the best!

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m sorry to hear about your son’s difficulties. Unfortunately, that’s not my area of expertise. Maybe a psychiatrist or psychotherapist in your region can help. As it seems to be something medication-related, a psychiatrist would know best, I assume. Good luck and all the best! Thomas

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  11. Hi Thomas, Really found this post an interesting read. I have only recently with a lot of help from my psychologist been able to say no to being with people I don’t want to be with and doing things that are not the way I want to be. I have realised I actually love being on my own. I dont want to have contact with family any more, it is always detrimental to my mental health. I have my dogs who are my world, and I have people about who I spend time on my terms meaning that I enjoy being with them, and am happy to spend time with them, but i may not see them for a few weeks. I am becoming much more comfortable in my skin. Tossing aside all the have toos and must behaves societal programming and family indoctrination. I am really glad I had my breakdown, and through time with my psychologist learnt I have complex ptsd, and knowing this, enables me to accept the bad days, explain to people honestly why I dont turn up even though i said I would and not ruminate of fixate on things, Vey much a work in progress but moving forward is the only way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tazzie! Thanks for reading and a special thanks for sharing your story! I’m glad to hear that so much good came out of your breakdown. It sounds like you found a great therapist and you worked hard on yourself. You’re exactly right: There is only one way and it’s forward. Good job, keep it up 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Fantastic post, I won’t go into detail but this post really resonates with me. I just came out of a major clinical depression, not to say I still don’t have depression, but I now have a newfound hope. I so appreciate anyone that gets the message out there that depression and anxiety are not something to hide and be ashamed of, those are serious conditions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I’m happy to hear that you’re recovering from a very difficult time and I wish you much strength and support in the time to come. It sounds like you’re on a really good path 🙂 Yes, people don’t realize that depression or anxiety are very much like a broken arm, just not as tangible, because psychological. All the best, Thomas

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        1. I used to, too, but I don’t anymore. The main point for me, however, is that we both appreciate and nurture our beautiful planet and its inhabitants. And this seems to be the case 😊

          Liked by 1 person

                1. He could have created us less bad if he would have wanted to, but apparently this is part of his plan. I stopped trying to understand his plan, just as I try not to understand any of the other gods’ plans.

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                    1. Since the world fell—He does have a plan. using the bad….for the good (ROMANS 8:28, ET AL) He uses the bad in life to help His children mature spiritually, emotionally, physically.

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                    2. I see. What I don’t get, though, is the suffering of children, who die before their time. In which sense does a five year old with cancer mature just to die at the age of six?

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                    3. I don’t know the answer to that, except to say that children, even with short lives, need to be loved as God loves them—and all who interact with them. each of us have choices to make—whether to father a child or refuse to love one. But even children with shorter lifespan can bless and be blessed by loving parents

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                    4. I agree, all children deserve love! What I don’t get is how giving a child cancer and a short miserable life (even if it contains nice moments) is compatible with godly love. If a god is said to be all-knowing/-powerful/-good than they could and should have prevented the cancer.

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                    5. The basic Christian argument is this—-God gave the first humans (Adam and Eve) but one tree–the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil—to stay away from. Both sinned by not following God’s command. They were kicked out of Eden before they could eat another tree and live forever in their sin. Genesis 3: 1-24 tells the story. Hence, it is a fallen world where God won’t generally interfere unless He is called upon. things like cancer are the result of human disobedience…but He will use experiences like this to mature us—especially those willing to look to God for direction and love.

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                    6. Thanks for your helpful summary! If god is all-powerful and all-knowing, though, he knew that Adam and Eve would disobey him and he could have created them to obey him, but he didn’t. To then punish his own creation for being just as bad as he created it, I find pretty sadistic and immature. It’s like if Steve Jobs would have blamed the iPhone for not being better than it was. Also, punishing a child with cancer, who had nothing to do with Adam and Eve’s mistake is very immoral in my opinion.

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                    7. My point—and the Bible’s is that each of us choose for ourselves. Obviously, kids with cancer or anyone with a disease or is an innocent victim is not responsible for their condition. As to Adam and Eve, they had only one commandment to obey and be tested on. They weren’t created bad…but did have the choice whether or not to follow God’s direction. But God also told them of the consequences of a wrong decision…..and death has reigned ever since…until Jesus cane, paid the price to take away the power of death and those who choose to believe it are saved from spiritual death into new life.

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                    8. I still don’t see why a good god would let innocent children suffer because of something they had nothing to do with. For example: We only punish a murderer, not his entire family and all his descendants. Are we more moral/reasonable than god?

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                    9. All I know is that God uses real life to prepare us and grow us up. At some point, we have to accept what is and deal with it. Putting oneself above God in moral superiority is dangerous ground for any imperfect human—none of us are perfect—except in our dreams! Being your own god puts all the onus on you, claiming to be God within our human limits. Megalomaniacs come from such stock—like Hitler or Mao. Foolishness.

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                    10. I feel like you haven’t addressed my arguments yet. Another point to consider: If there are gods that are man-made then it would not be megalomaniacal to question their moral supperiority. This is, because the morality of such man-made gods would be merely human, too. Hence, I think you would have to demonstrate that your god, among the thousands of other gods of which their followers claim that they aren’t man-made, is not man-made. How would you know?

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                    11. I agree with your point about megalomania—it IS RIGHT to question man-made gods and folks who claim to be gods. I’ll have to get back to you…proving my God isn;t man-made may take some doing…and to why He didn’t POOF! make this a perfect world from the beginning…and keep it that way. Have I hit the basics of what you wish answers to? And—HAPPY NEW YEAR! 😀

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                    12. Dear Jonathan, yes, you hit the nail right on the head this time. Thank you for your patience! Take your time and let me know what a possible answer might look like. We also might arrive at one together. I never meant to oppose you, I’m open for the possibility of the Christian god to be actually real (i.e., not man-made). I’m just not convinced at this moment. Same to you: A happy New Year and all the best in terms of health, happiness, joy, and wonder! 🙂

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                    13. Thank you, sir! No, I didn’t see this as necessarily opposition…but as discussion. Reminding me a lot of those I had for years with a Sunni Muslim skeptic I worked beside for at least seven years….once we settled our initial opposition to each others position in political anf religious matters…..! 🙂

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        1. Aha, I don’t really know 😅 I’m just putting out the best material that I have, promote my blog on facebook, and engage with other bloggers who write about related content. If you know any other methods, please let me know! 😃

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    1. Absolutely, please do and send me a link, I’d love that! Sorry for the late reply, your comment was marked as spam and I haven’t checked that folder in a while. I wish you all the best!! 🙂

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  13. Perceptive and discerning read Thomas. Many thanks for sharing it in the blog.

    However, my issues seldom gets addressed. I am of the unforgiving type and something inside me tells that once I take on those who have victimised me, I will be at peace.
    On the contrary, those am yearning to hurt as part of my retaliation seem to be getting better and prosperous leaving me feel like a loser.

    Ufff….wish I get my payback.

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    1. Hi, thanks for reading and for your great comment! I have mixed feelings about revenge. On the one hand, I know this feeling of wanting to get “justice.“ On the other hand, I think revenge hurts everyone and helps noone, it’s a lose-lose. It hurts especially you, because you occupy yourself with your victimization. When they wronged you, your pain was their fault. But now that you’re thinking about revenge and how they have wronged you, you’re partially re-inflicting the pain, but this time you’re the perpetrator, not them. You’re doing it to yourself and they don’t have to do anything. It’s unfair towards you, of course. But I think you’ll be happier, if you find a way to forgive them. You’ll get rid of the urge for revenge, you stop hurting yourself in your head, you won’t hurt them, and you’ll grow above them, becoming the winner, not the loser. A win-win. I wish you the strength to go this path!

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  14. Winter weather can for some seem depressing. I enjoy the winter a time to rest, learn and withdraw. The rain is soothing and cleansing for the soul and aura. Sitting in the warmth of the home is inspiring and relaxing. Though I am sat in the very cold dry winter with no warmth or windows to shield me from the winter time. We must recognise and accept not everyone is lucky to have good shelter in any kind of harsh weather they have to endure the world as it comes and changes.

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    1. I’m happy that you can appreciate the winter weather, I often (but not always) like it, too. I think you’re raising an important point: Many of us should recognize that they can be so grateful for even “just“ having shelter! 😊

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      1. You are very welcome, Thomas: the important part – I enjoyed (and will be very surprised if such trend stops ‘at first bite.’ May this year’s end find you healthier, happier and more prosperous than its beginning.

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        1. Dear Rich, I’m really glad to hear that 🙂 Thank you also for your kind wishes! I also wish you and everyone around you plenty of health, happiness, peace, joy, and wonder (the list could go on) 🙂

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  15. I heartily recommend “A Course in Miracles.” It says that the world is an illusion. That God did not create evil but that we are eternally in the mind of God. We are bound by chains of resentment and that we must forgive to loosen those chains. Also, we are not these bodies we appear to inhabit but spirit eternally in the mind of God. Ideas leave not their source. We are ideas of God and we can never leave Him. The mind is powerful and must never be denigrated to impotent. Our minds made what we see about us but it is not Reality. As we withdraw our focus on appearances, God’s miracles can manifest and each of our worlds can be filled with miracles. Of course, I can’t begin to describe the Course in so short a paragraph but I urge you to look into it. Blessings. Vic

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    1. Dear Vic, that’s a really interesting possibility, thanks! I’ll read up on it, but I’m curious already now: In which direction does worldview change one’s thougths, feelings, and actions?

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    1. Thank you so much!! Life really is about learning that, isn’t it?! And about appreciating the incredible gift that we’re alive to experience anything like rain at all 😊

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  16. You make some good points there about mindfulness practice and they need for counseling or a psychiatrist or both. Sometimes both are deeply needed. We as humans can be both incredibly mindful and still full of pain and needing to be heard, needing to be and feel supported.

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    1. I absolutely agree! Mindfulness in itself is one of the most powerful tools we can learn in life, but it’s not all there is. Sometimes, it takes (professional) help to get us out of the swamp. I wish you all the best, Thomas 😊

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  17. Wow Thomas! You have so much to say! I even made notes on a couple of your posts. Great help in simplifying my life to a greater gratitude and appreciation, and to be able to share with friends.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and helpful feedback. You’re right, I guess I’m still nostalgic to the essay form of Montaigne. But I guess I have to adapt to modern readers’ needs 🙂

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    1. Yeah, I believe that! The heat in India can be absolutely brutal. Probably a lot harder to take pleasure in than in rain. Sending some clouds your way 😃

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  18. On my one and only trip to Germany, from the USA, I visited the famed “Black Forest” on just such a day as you describe at the beginning of this essay. Dark, cold, wet, and in any other frame, miserable. As it was, I found it perfectly consistent with my expectations of what a “Black Forest” should be. I loved it, and will never forget how the cold wet bark, of those very black trees felt. That was in 2001. It reminded me of the first walk I took in the redwood forest into which I had just moved (in 1970). I was pretty shattered following my experiences in Viet Nam, and as I walked in the rainy cold forest (one hundred ten inches of annual rainfall) I wondered how I could survive (I had been a southern California boy and called myself a ‘thermophile’). Under a small brake in the needled canopy above me, I saw light filtering through the cloud cover leaving rainbows in its’ wake. It was gorgeous, and I decided then and there that if I looked I could find the beauty among the misery.
    Reframing indeed. Thank you, Dr. Bob

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story, Dr. Bob! I cannot begin to imagine the reframing it takes to get a positive perspective on life after experiencing the horrors of war. Best wishes, Thomas

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