We can all learn an important lesson from the life and person of Alice Herz-Sommer . She passed away this past Sunday (February 23, 2014) at the age of 110. In 1943, she was sent from her home in Prague to the Theresienstadt (Terezin) concentration camp. Because she was a talented concert pianist, she was frequently starred in concerts and used for Nazi propaganda. Not only was she able to survive, but she also kept her son with her and worked to stay positive with him. In an interview by Bernard Hiller (December, 2011) , she said, "Wherever you look is beauty." She added, "I know about the bad things, but I look [to the good things>."
It's amazing that she was able to maintain such a positive attitude, but it's also important to understand that there were many factors involved in her ability to do so (e.g. a naturally positive temperament; a very healthy, secure, loving childhood) So, rather than giving into the temptation (if you have it) to criticize yourself for not being able to be as positive as her, consider thinking about her as a role model.
She found meaning and beauty in her music and her family relationships. What do you find meaning and beauty in? What do you do to maintain a positive life perspective — or to regain one when you are struggling emotionally?
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There's an inspiring topic, for sure! I can see echoes of that in the movie La Vita e Bella, and also in a character in a Pat Conroy novel (Beach Music). Some might scoff at the attitude that makes this kind of optimism possible, but I think it also speaks of great strength. My spouse tells me that some of the happiest times of her life were when she was homeless, because she was optimistic and saw beauty in small things. This is such an important thing to keep in mind. One way that I personally do this, when I remember to, is in noticing the interesting shapes forms, light and color all around me. When I pay attention to that it improves my life and my art. After all, even if terrible things are happening all around you, what profit is there in being sad all the time?
Roh's answer is spot on! You have to stop yourself sometimes, in order to see the beauty around you. In this day, and in her day, (Alice) we were moving headlong into the industrialized future. Everyone was moving at full speed, and had no chance to stop, and look around them at what little beauty there is in a big city? What she endured, is truly amazing in itself, and to find beauty where she was, well, that is something!!!
We all need to stop and smell the roses, as they say, or we will miss the blooms?! I have nothing but admiration for all of the people who had to endure such atrocities in their own country!!! I wish you all peace!!!
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