Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dancing (Under the Gallows)

Here is a wonderful video about Alice Sommer, who at 106 years old is the oldest Holocaust survivor.  Not only is she an extraordinary person but a talented musician.  She survived, in Theresienstadt,  in large part because of her remarkable musical abilities.  But I like her most of all because of  her philosophy.  Among her powerful statements are the following:
Music was essential to survival.
Every day, life is beautiful.
I was always laughing.  Even there [in the camps] I was laughing.
Watch the video to learn more about Alice and to listen to her words.



Recently I found myself thinking about this outlook and what I have now learned is Alice's approach to life.  It takes much hard work and devotion to shape optimism. When on vacation it is easy to have such an outlook. There are not the familiar pressures of work and school.  The daily grind is absent.  You are then free to explore the vacation paradise to which you have traveled.  So sometimes I imagine that I am on vacation and go out and explore my own neighborhood.  You should not have to travel far to reshape your worldview.  It might be just as simple as a small detour on your way to the office.  Below is picture from the hilltop overlooking Cold Spring Harbor.  The North Shore of Long Island is beautiful this time of year.


Alice is right.  What a beautiful world indeed!  If she can say this for 106 years then I can say day in and day out.  Sometimes however the detours help.

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