There was a farmer who had an old mule. The mule fell into a deep dry well and began to cry loudly. Hearing his mule cry, the farmer came over and assessed the situation. The well was deep and the mule was heavy. He knew it would be difficult, it not impossible, to haul the animal out.

Because the mule was old and the well was dry. the farmer decided to bury the animal in the well. In this way he could solve two problems: the mule would be out of its misery and the dry well would be filled. He asked his neighbors to help, they agreed.

As they began to shovel dirt into the well the old mule first became hysterical. But as each shovel full of dirt hit the animals back, a saving thought came to the mule. He realized that every time a load of dirt landed on his back, he could shake it off and step. This he did shovel full after shovel full: shake it off and step up. It wasn't long before the mule, dirty and exhausted, but quite alive, stepped over the all of that deep well and walked away.

Great attitude: Shake it off and step up. Great approach to life: Shake it off and step up. The other option is just to hold on to what was, what happened, what was said. Let it go.

In a few weeks it will be a new year. So what have you done to shake it off and step up rather than letting what people say to you and do to you stay stuck in your memory and you just cannot shake them lose? Have you allowed yourself to get buried deeper and deeper in the well of other people's opinions and actions? What can't you shake loose from your memory?

It is time to get out of the back seat and say, "I am in charge of my life. I am in control of my happiness." We cannot control everything than happens to us. We cannot control the color of our skin, who will win the super bowl (although it will be the New York Giants), where we were born, who our parents are; but there is one thing we can control: How we respond to what happens: Stay stuck. Feel awful. Anger. Resentment. Could kick myself for letting it happen. Or. Shake if off and step up. A rude comment. A past mistake. Being snubbed. Let it go. That's what counts. That's what will make you or break you.

Choose happiness. I have discover the words of Abraham Lincoln are so true, "people are about as happy as they choose to be." Happiness is an nside job and can only be created when I take charge of my life and stop holding on to hurts, disappointments, mistakes, and failures. They never leave me as they find me. When I deal with them in a positive way it shows what I am made of. Shake it off and step up. It's the only way to live life. It gives us a chanse to let go of all the emotional baggage that weighs us down. Shake it off and step up. Now. Tomorrow may be too late. Stay Well.

Father Joe Sica, Our Lady of the Snows Parish. 301 State Street. Clarks Summit, PA 18411 I am a priest for eighteen years and have spent most of my priesthood teaching High School Seniors. I have published in Catholic Magazines and lecture at Religious Education Conventions and parish retreats.

Author's Bio: 

Father Joe sica is a priest of the Diocese of Scranton. I received my Bachelor Degree in Philosophy and Theology from the University of Scranton and my Master of Arts Degree from The Catholic University of America. I have taught for most of my priesthood at the High School Level. Presently, I am the assistant pastor at Our Lady of the Snows in Clarks Summit, PA. I have published in various Catholic Magazines on the topics of self-esteem, attitude, and relationships.