Even though these are anxious days, we can also use this time to discover and build muscles we never knew we had. Resilience and strength are waiting to be revealed. We can harness the joy of being alive. That doesn't come from spa treatments or a stress-free life. It comes from living a life permeated with joy and meaning.

Here are two steps to make it happen.

Live Life with Meaning

Some people think we need to donate thousands of dollars or build a village to live a life that has great meaning. That’s not true. A meaningful life means that my being here makes a difference. I live with a sense of purpose.

Ask yourself: How is this world better because I am here? Whose eyes did I make shine?

When we think of our legacy, what comes to mind? It’s not about financial wealth or doing something earth shattering, but the spiritual and emotional gift that I give to the people who are part of my life.

The words we speak, the way we live, the hope we keep alive, all become our life legacy. To this day I can recall my father telling me in upsetting situations “Sheyfalah (sweet dear), you don’t have to hear everything. You don’t have to see everything. God gave you two ears so it goes in one and out the other. Two eyes, so you open one and close the other.” My father taught me how to move on.

I close my eyes and I can still hear my mother’s voice whenever I was frightened, urging me to “Pray! God hears every word. The gates of tears are never closed.” My mother’s book of psalms strengthens me, its tear-soaked pages testimony to her life.

These messages become a parent's legacy; one of thousands of everyday interactions. The gift remains despite the passage of time, guiding us.

We each have an opportunity to create our own legacy. A saying, a smile, a hand reaching out to another, even a weekly phone call to a person who feels alone. Little acts of kindness spread our magic through the world. Our spiritual fingerprint leaves our permanent imprint and colors the planet. We create a meaningful life through the little moments that touch the hearts and souls of others. And we can perform these even during the pandemic; especially during the pandemic.

Plug into the Positive

Human nature is drawn to the negative. We pay attention to the stains, the frustrations, that which irritates us. We are surrounded by news that makes us feel down and fear of the unknown.

If we want to be more positive, let’s begin by turning off the constant feed of news and social media that ignite anxiety. Stop checking your phone every few minutes. Set aside a time each day to check your device but otherwise don’t pay attention to the stories that sap you. Worry and fear never uplifts us.

Working on ourselves to be less critical and judgmental cleans our life lens and brings us greater joy. It’s draining to be constantly angry. Remember, nothing grows in acidic soil. Negative interactions breed negative relationships.

Plugging into the positive means recognizing the times that things are going right. Think of the many blessings you have but have taken for granted. The friends, the family, the time spent with loved ones. Collect good memories in your mind. Draw upon them to nourish your soul, especially when feeling down. Happy reflections bring us to a place of joy. Think of times you felt encouraged, people in your life who infused you with their spirit. These are your hugs from Above that let you know that you're cherished and watched over.

Discover friendship. Not social media, but a true friend, someone who may already be in your life, like a family member or someone you’ve known ‘forever’ but forgotten to cherish, and give of yourself and your time. Loneliness is toxic.

It takes hard work to rid ourselves of our negative eye but it is life changing. Begin with a simple step. Seek out one person each day to say ‘thank you’. A spouse, a parent, a child, a friend, a neighbor, a stranger, there’s no end once you start thinking. You will realize how much good you have overlooked. Show me a grateful person and I will show you a happy person.

There is much we cannot understand during this difficult time. But we can strive to bring ourselves to a place of greater meaning, joy and positivity that will sustain us.