Ew it’s kinda nasty out there isn’t it? Storms and earthquakes, big and small, continuing fights about the budget and the continuing wars we face. And I could go on. Frustration with the simple inability to ‘get back to normal’ is shared across the country. Things seem dicey and patience appears to be running thin. All of that said, if you are looking to feel better and find a wee bit of inspiration, we should venture into your thoughts and look at your perspective, for this is the very one thing you can control.
Let’s establish some ground rules so we are all on the same page:
1. Life isn’t fair. Fair cards were not handed out when you were born. Although many of us suspect that there are those who were secretly handed one as they left the hospital by the on-call angel nurse who tucked it under their blanket, the truth is we were all given the same blank canvas.
2. Life is a mystery. No matter what you believe, who you worship, dead or alive, how your spirituality guides you, we are all working on the scaffolding of faith. Faith is the leap we take on belief. Belief is how we reconcile our journey. There is no religion or factual guide that has all of the answers. There is much we know, and much we don’t. Or, as I quietly put it one night to my roommate in college during an incredibly reflective time after a crush that went bad, changing my major midstream and learning that my ‘life’ was just one flavor of many, ‘Life is the weirdest thing in the whole wild world.
3. Life is what we make it. This is where my fire smolders a bit; I am constantly amazed at the entitlement many demand. Here on the east, a few years ago we experienced two winter blizzards. Anyone who has visited Washington, D.C. knows that the likelihood of our area being ‘READY’ for something like this is slim to none. No, we didn’t keep 67 extra snow plows available for storms that come once very 100 years and no, we didn’t have steadfast plans for disaster issues from ice and snow. During the storms, I heard about people throwing snow at plows because they had taken several days to come and get to some side streets. Everyone experienced the same storm, the same challenges and the same delays.
Pushing out to the situation or others that are trying to help us won’t solve anything or help us out – it will only make things difficult and challenging.
Last week, we established our ground rules for changing our perspective: nothing is fair, we don’t understand everything and how we get through any of this is up to us.
Focusing on the ‘up to us’ part is my specialty. Along with thousands upon thousands, things have happened to me that I couldn’t get my hands around that I couldn’t understand. And so. And so I stand outside of it and I look at it. And I find gratitude wherever I can. We can always start with the basics.
IF you are reading this, you have your ‘faculties’ meaning you are alert, able to process, your mind is working and you aren’t struggling with a debilitating mental illness, then let’s give thanks. If you are reading this from a computer and you can READ which means you are educated (no matter the degrees or the grades, you have more than most), let’s give thanks.
There is the woman crying quietly in another country because she is a woman and not allowed to have a fair trial, no matter that she was raped. There is the small 8yr old who is passing away from a disease in the next 24hrs because there is no cure. The war hero who can no longer walk or care for himself is now in a home with substandard care and hasn’t had a visitor in two years. There is the neglected teen who wanders the streets looking for identity and when he can, pushes drugs into his system to numb the pain. These are the obvious examples but there are more.
Deeper still: there are mothers, brothers, uncles, sisters and stepfathers – there is some of everything in some foreign country, doing what they can every day to keep peace on our soil and do their part for our military. They wake up every day and never know what is coming their way. People hate them, and they aren’t sure why but they fight and they show up and they try hard.
There are entire countries in bankruptcy, some run by drug lords, and some facing disasters beyond their comprehension. And yet, on we go. Every single day, every single minute, every single second, you have one ability that is shared across the globe. You can choose how you look at things. You can choose your thoughts. You can choose your perspective. Nothing – no disaster, no person, no situation, no hurt, can take that away from you.
I know it’s not easy. This doesn’t mean that all is well and there is no pain or heartache. It does mean that some of this is just junk to move through, things to process and put in their place while you remember that you are still here, with us, enjoying these moments. ‘This too shall pass’, is one of my favorite quotes. Father time is our friend, as time moves on, things change. That is the constant you can count on. Change.
And with change comes the new. Things move along and you are given a new view. When you see things from another mountaintop, from another view, you can see the struggles around you.
We all swim in the same emotional waters – we have the frustrations, hurt, anger, resentment and loss. Yet we are all in this life pool of shared dilemmas. You are not targeted, and troubles are not just given to you to carry.
During one particularly difficult day I had years ago, I realized that my despair was something that many before me had encountered. It hit me square between the eyes – I wasn’t experiencing any feeling that others hadn’t experienced before. That gave me comfort, knowing that I was part of this beautiful ‘life’ experience – and that I wasn’t alone or singled out or some sort of test case for suffering. I was simply alive.
Still stuck? Then just move a bit- use your body to work it out, something has to give, when you exhaust yourself it’s much harder to be bottled up. No matter what may come our way, I send you the gift of knowing that you are in good company and never alone.
As the wise have said before me, ‘choose your thoughts, choose your life.’ Take heed, take care and take time for you. You are simply not alone; we are all in this together. Hugs and love.