This past year has been quite challenging for many people on many levels. The challenges range from slippery politics to declining health to gun violence to drastic climate change to spiritual malnourishment. Some would say we are entering the “end times” and many scientists agree we are in the 6th Great Extinction. So what does this mean? Do we roll over and give up? Or is this a time of incredible opportunity when our evolution as a species is ready to take a giant leap? Can we live a satisfying good life filled with meaning and purpose in the midst of massive change?

From many different sources we are being told that our attitude is crucial to our well being and ability to live the ‘good life’. Michael J. Fox did a special on ABC in 2009 called The Incurable Optimist. He traveled all over the world interviewing incurable optimists. He found that they all have a behavior in common. In any situation, they don’t focus on the negative. Rather, they focus on the opportunities. Likewise, my friend and mentor, Rocio Alarcon, suggests that in order to “manage the forces” we must focus on the solution not the problem. Dr. Joe Dispenza in his groundbreaking book “You Are the Placebo” shares a Mayo Clinic study that followed 800 people for 30 years which showed “that optimists live longer than pessimists.” And in another study, “Attitude had more of an influence on longevity than blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking, body weight, or level of exercise.” Is it possible that our attitude is a key ingredient into whether we thrive during these changing times?

Marianne Williamson suggests that “Love is who we are and it is the only purpose of our lives.” In this context love is more than an emotion but actually a state of being and resides at the core of our being-ness. Glenda Green in her book “Love Without End” shares “Love is not a quantity, but a quality of being-ness which brings rightness of action” and “it is your sacred right to be the love that you are, and that is unconditional.” When love is the lens through which we make decisions and take action our attitude is positive and we are filled with hope. We walk into what could almost seem like hell and welcome the opportunity to push our edges so that we may grow and evolve.

My teacher Martin Prechtel tells us we are “planting seeds for a time beyond our own”. So I will not lay down and give-up or be quiet or deny my truth or let the-powers-that-be run over me or let my spirit fire dwindle. I will face the challenge and continue to plant seeds of love, hope, goodness, justice, sacredness, compassion and beauty taking action in every aspect of my life to foster the paradigm shift that we know is possible.

An Excerpt from “The Purpose and Meaning of Life” by Roger Fritz

“Now I’ll move on to the question, “What is the meaning of life?” This is a different question from, “What is the purpose of life?”

One difference is that meaning is more a matter of feeling than of thinking, and purpose is more about thinking than feeling. One feels that one’s life has meaning, or feels that it doesn’t. People who feel their life has no meaning often feel bored. Meaning is a whole different realm than purpose.

Oddly enough, the matter of meaning can be clarified by thinking about the difference between fun and satisfaction. There are many sources of fun in life. People have fun partying, watching TV, playing video games, doing hobbies, reading books, and on and on. But satisfaction is different. Oddly enough, there aren’t many sources of satisfaction. Most people can number them on one hand. The list might go something like this: creativity, having relationships, raising kids, accomplishment, work that you love, communing with nature, helping others. All of these are also fun, but they leave behind a glow that lingers in a way that fun doesn’t.

An important part of having a good life is finding something that’s more than fun, something that satisfies. No one can tell you what’s satisfying for you. Everyone has to find it for themselves.

So the answer to the question, “What is the meaning of life?” is quite simple, actually. The meaning of life is finding what satisfies. This doesn’t mean the finding is simple. Some things can be simple but not easy, and this is often one of them.

Anyone can be thrown into hell and suffer. That doesn’t take talent or skill. The challenge we’re faced with here is being thrown into hell and thriving. Now there’s a challenge worth taking on. Those who can develop the necessary skills can claim the good life, even here on this odd planet in this odd time. Strangely enough, the good life seems to be within reach for everyone. No one can tell you what the good life is for you, but there are general guidelines. What makes most people happy in life is good relationships with others, satisfying work, positive thinking, playfulness and hope. Depression is usually about lack of hope. Creating a clear vision of what the good life looks like to you, and feels like to you, and making a plan to get to it, will create hope. And hope is vital. There’s no substitute for hope.”