Paul E. Anna: High Points | AspenTimes.com

Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. Anna
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

So things were a bit sparse in the holiday department around our house this year.

The funny thing is, it wasn’t so bad. In fact, taking the pressure off not having to focus on the hocus and the pocus of holiday festivities took some of the stress out of what can be a deceptively disturbing season. It was nice to know that, even though we didn’t get out Christmas cards and bags full of presents to all that we love, when Christmas Day rolled around the sun still rose and we had calls, emails and texts from those who care.

Still the spirit of giving can be powerful, not just for those who receive but perhaps even more so for those who actually do the giving. So with New Year’s upon us, I thought I would make a list of five things I would like to give, not just to my loved ones, but to all of you as well.

Begin with Good Health. If you have it, you likely take it for granted. But if you don’t, you know how burdensome life can become. Be it a ski injury that takes you out of the game for a while or a longer term malady of middle-and-more age, I wish you the best in healing and beating the bad things that are getting you down. If you are one of the fortunate ones, I encourage you to be aware of not only how lucky you are, but to do things that you feel/know are right to keep you on that lucky path.

Next, A Positive Attitude. Studies show that optimists live longer. But even if they don’t, they certainly live happier. In the bleakest of hours, those who can focus on the dawn have a reservoir of strength that allows them to pull through for the next day. And the day after that. Life is all about perception, and if you can realize and relish the good while reasoning away the bad, then life can be sweet.

The third gift is the gift of Passion. Passion in everything you do – from living to loving, from working to playing – is the fuel that powers the soul. Try to only do the things that you feel passionate about and leave those things behind that drain you and your energy. “Follow your passion” may be a cliche, but it is a cliche with purpose.

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Compassion is perhaps the most forceful gift on this list. The ability to look out at those who surround you, ignoring the worst and emphasizing the best in those people, makes them feel better about themselves and, in turn, you about yourself. The ability to feel empathy, to show kindness and care for others is a talent. Find the compassion within yourself for others, and you will be rewarded.

Finally, may you all have Peace of Mind in the New Year. May your anxieties float away, may you sleep deep in the night and may you awaken each morning refreshed – in good health, with a positive attitude, feeling passionate and compassionate about the coming day. Each day is a gift just for you. Enjoy it. If all of this may seem a bit Pollyanna-ish for you, well, that’s just how I roll.

Oh, and I hope we all get some snow. Happy New Year.