I have been a lifelong optimist. Like most optimists, I have my share of grief and failure, but I always think that things will work out alright in the end.
I was born in Australia and am fortunate that the traumas suffered by my ancestors and family on the way to Australia strengthened them and their realistic optimism. My grandparents and parents faced Soviet terror with courage, and the family survived through optimism and persistence. My paternal grandfather was tortured to death. My paternal grandmother was sent to the Gulag. My maternal grandparents and parents were refugees facing death on several occasions.
My paternal grandmother was a great example to me. After surviving the Gulag, Bronislava was determined to outlive communism and participated in the civil disobedience which led to the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
Most importantly, I have the lifelong influence of my mother, Lilia, who showed great courage and resilience when my father passed away after a short illness when I was eight. She says that yoga practice and meditation helped her to manage life with optimism and strength.
Thinking about how I enhance my optimism, I am very grateful for the circumstances in which I live.
My children and I engage in daily gratitude practices. And, of course, it’s always nice to be on the receiving end of other people’s gratitude.
I meditate in several styles from simple breathing exercises to guided meditation to using mantras. I do yoga but could always do with more. I enjoy the beauty of nature and schedule a walk at first-light to enjoy the colours of the dawn. If the colours are exceptional, I take photos and share with family and friends and on social media.
As advised in my writings and speeches, I have turned down the news and use carefully selected search agents to find the good news that’s interesting to me. I am fortunate to have family and friends share materials with me. Of course, I don’t want to be a hermit, so I keep in touch with mainstream news services once a day despite the overwhelming pessimism they propagate.
I enjoy humour and cartoons and most days listen to and search out some jokes and tell some jokes. My preference is for the Australian tradition of self-effacing humour.
And, of course, in having the primary role of running The Centre for Optimism and editing its website, I have the advantage that almost every day, I ask people what makes them optimistic and share those answers with the world. That’s uplifting and joyful.
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