A MUSE OF AUTHENTIC HAPPINESS

Sometimes, people have said that Tim is the kind of person you love to hate. He is always in a good mood, upbeat and positive. When someone asks him, “How are you doing?”
He replies, “IT CAN’T GET ANY BETTER!”
Nine times out of ten, his happy, boyish, charming spin on these words elicit a smile.

He is a natural ‘people person’ and coach. If someone is having a bad day, Tim will tell them to look for the positive side of the situation. The amazing thing about this is that he believes it, authentically, from the heart. I can tell you from first hand experience that Tim receives more than his fair share of incredulous or cynical looks. That does not deter Tim one bit; it only motivates him to work on lifting the person’s spirits just one degree. It’s almost as if he takes it as a personal challenge. Watching his style in action has always made me curious. One day, many years ago, I said to him,

“You puzzle me. I don’t get it. You can’t possibly be a positive person all of the time. You have personal, business and financial hurdles and setbacks just like everyone else. You work in an incredibly stressful industry full of conflict and antagonism. How do you do it?”
Tim grinned as he answered,
“Every morning, the first thing I do is say a silent ‘thank you’ for waking up above ground. It’s a good day when you are alive. The second part of my answer to you is about choices. Each and every day we have two choices. We can choose to be in a good mood and positive or we can choose to be depressed and negative. I consciously choose to be positive. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be upset and a victim or I can ask myself, ‘What am I learning from this?’

Every time someone comes to me upset and complaining I have choices. I can choose to accept their complaining and allow it to take me down with them or I can choose to focus on the positive side of life.”

I looked at him with obvious skepticism and said, “That’s no easy task.”

Tim passionately responded,

“Yes it is! Again, it’s about the choices you make. When you wade through all of the daily debris and muck around us, every single situation is a choice. I try to be constantly aware of how I am going to respond to a given situation; what choice I am going to make. I try to choose how people and events are going to affect my mood. I choose whether to be in a good mood or a bad mood.

The bottom line is:
I choose how I want to live my life every single day.”

Over the years I have continued to study Tim’s attitude and reflect upon his ever-deepening personal philosophy. I have to admit to intermittent skepticism and sometimes feel terribly lacking and mentally undisciplined because I am not able to maintain such a constant and consistent positive outlook and sense of authentic happiness in the moment.

In 1998, Tim was involved in a business and family crisis. His brother, whom he had respected, trusted and loved unconditionally, betrayed him as a brother and a business partner by stealing millions of dollars from the partnership. Tim closed the business, sold his dream house on the beach and found himself facing the possibility of death due to a rare and serious heart condition which had developed during the course of this nightmare.

On a spring afternoon, while mowing the lawn, Tim started to feel unwell. The color drained from his face and he was exhausted. Almost leisurely, we drove to the emergency room ‘just to check everything out’. Tim wasn’t in pain and as we walked through the double doors, he joked with the nurse and made her smile. She directed us to the screening exam room and hooked him up to a pulse meter. She looked at it and with exasperation said, “This machine must be broken! It’s not reading properly. I’ll be right back.”

Casually, she went down the hall to retrieve another machine. She came back into the room and hooked Tim up to it a second time. Then with a burst of what appeared to be panic; she jumped from her chair and yelled,

“We have an emergency here! Find the doctor NOW!”

She put Tim in a wheelchair and he disappeared into the inner sanctum of the ER. As he went, he smiled a sheepish grin and gave me a big wave. The nurse had not told us that his heart rate had jumped to almost 220 and was erratic. Ten minutes passed before a young doctor came into the waiting room and said to me, “We’ll do everything we can to save him.”

I thought he was joking and laughed. The doctor cocked his head and looked serious, alarmed and perplexed, “No, I’m serious. We will do everything we can but his heart has gone haywire.” Before I could gather my wits, the doctor had disappeared behind the swinging double doors.

The good news is that Tim survived and is alive and well to talk about it. Years later, I asked him what had gone through his mind when the medical staff told him that he might die as they held the electrical stun paddles only inches above his chest.

“The first thing that went through my mind was that they must be joking because I felt too good to be dying. But when I saw their serious expressions, I became concerned. In their eyes I saw the possibility that I could die at any moment. I knew I needed to take action.”

I gently prodded, “Go on. What did you do?”

“Well. There was this nurse. She looked very stressful, tired and tense. Overwhelmed and unhappy. She was the one shooting litocaine into the IV and telling me in a very formal tone that if the drug didn’t work quickly to slow down my heart rate that they would have to use the paddles. I looked at her and said something like ‘no paddles on me!’. Then, almost immediately, I could feel some sense of relief. The incessant beeping of the overhead monitor began to slow down and I knew things were improving. I looked at this nurse again and with celebration in my booming voice said, ‘I LOVE YOU Nurse Nancy! I love you guys!! I love you doc!’ They burst into laughter. I started telling jokes again. They laughed some more. With everyone laughing, I knew I would be OK. The critical moment had passed.”

Since that time, Tim has continued to ‘walk his talk’. In 2000, at the age of 47, he consciously chose to create a new life and adventure for himself. Today, Tim lives health-full-y and happily on a beautiful tropical island far, far away.

If you ask him, “How are you doing?”
He replies (you guessed it), “IT CAN’T GET ANY BETTER!”

Moral of the Story:
It’s all about Choice, Attitude… and a sense of humor.
--Written by his partner of 34 years Deborah Stewart--


10 comments:

Patricia J. Mosca said...

Can't wait to meet this guy!! We shall dub him a WILD WONDERFUL MUSE MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Patricia J. Mosca said...

PS..Do you think he would wear a crown?!?!?!?

Anonymous said...

He chooses great cars too.

megan said...

I'm sitting here with my mouth hanging open. Which is more amazing to me:
1. this incredible example or
2. how you are a fountain of inspiration
thank yoU...I'll be thinking about this today at my office...and it will make a difference in my experience of the day!

bluegreen dragonfly said...

so is the 9 muses book the inspiration for this blog title??? I love this story-thanks for your awesome support of my blog!

tj said...

I'm going to add this to my favorites list so when I loose my perspective at work, I will read this for an attitude adjustment.
Thx.

Jon said...

A story I will remember.

Suzan-- said...

Royce--Your blog just simply ROCKS!! I love your pictures, and writings! This story is amazing (not to mention THAT CAR!!!!)LOL... Thank you!

Suzan

Laura said...

Royce just visited your IMT blog so here I am - amazed is all I can say after reading this story. I'm also amazed at how fortunate I am to stumble on incredibly inspiring and uplifting blogs like these in my 'journey' - thanks for sharing.

Cheryl Finley: said...

I agree with Pattie...I'd love to meet Tim! ..what an inspiration and example...to say the least...oh my gosh!! And you...what a beautiful snapshot of the soul and spirit of your prince. Truly a living inspiration. Life is indeed good, and we have so much to be thankful for... you and Tim are two of them!

Thank you!