Regarding keeping a positive perspective, I do believe it was Mike, my first mentor, who I can credit for opening my eyes to and causing me to appreciate the power of having a positive perspective.
Mike and I met when I was, give or take, 17 years old. He was the lead service dog trainer and founder of C&M Care 9's, a non-profit organization which I sought out when I was seeking my first psychiatric service dog. I'd like to make mention of Carole, as well, as she is the "C" in C&M Care 9's and most importantly, Mike's wife.
More on my journey with a service dog (and how Chance, my service dog, saved my life in more ways than one) later.
For now, what's important are two simple sentences that I will forever remember Mike saying to our group service dog training class. The days on which we always gathered together to learn were Saturdays and this one, as I recall it, was otherwise unremarkable except for Mike's words.
"When I die I do not want to be remembered as a man who had a glass that was half full or half empty. I simply want to be remembered for being a man who was just happy to have a glass."
I remember that as Mike spoke those words he had a tear twinkling in his eye the way he always did when he spoke deeply and genuinely from his heart.
Instantly upon hearing this message, I felt intense admiration and awe for this man and for the rest of the day I viewed the world as being a bit brighter, somehow. Mike, to me, was wise and had a truly enlightened view of the world. I also knew, in that moment after he spoke, that I wanted to live the rest of my life so that I embodied those words and in such a way that their essence emanated from me.
I will forever be grateful for what Mike taught me and for the intangible gifts of confidence, learning to trust myself, courage, hope, and too-much-more-to-list that he helped me acquire.
I would say he "gave me" these gifts but in my recovery I have learned the importance of not giving credit away for work that I myself have done to get to the point I am at. I recognize that although Mike was my teacher I, the student, did the work.
This post is for Mike Artim, the man (the mentor, the legend) who started me on the past that most certainly saved my life.
Thank you, "Uncle Mikey!"