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I try to start each morning with a mental exercise: I declare what I'm grateful for, what exciting or enjoyable thing is going to happen today, why it's a good day to be alive.

A positive affirmation must make a noticeable difference in my affect, because today, when I was awakened by a backhoe backing up (beep...beep...beep...) and then by a chain saw ratcheting away, I was less than pleased.

After I went downstairs, my housemate noticed right away and asked me what was wrong. At that instant, I realized that nothing was wrong. People in the larger world were merely going about their business and the wrongness was only in my head. I smiled and said, "Nothing is wrong. I smell coffee brewing; the day is beautiful and sunny; and the voice of the chainsaw is heard in our land."

She laughed and we had a nice chat over a cup of coffee (or two).

It is certainly a gorgeous warm sunny day. It's the kind of January weather that brought people in droves from the East Coast and the Midwest, where in January winter has the land clenched in its wintry fist.

It's a good day to be alive.

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