The way you doing anything is the way you do everything. So, if you’re really honest with yourself, are you handling this pandemic the way you handle (what was) your everyday life? Is it a crisis? Are you panicking? Does it feel like something is missing? Like you should have known better, or done more, or saved more, or created more by now? Do you have regrets? Do you yearn for what was? And how is this thinking different from the way you were thinking before the $hit hit the fan? Honestly? What if… you decided to elevate your mind to a state of gratitude? What if you started searching for the opportunities present in this challenge? What if you decided to leverage your gifts, talents and abilities in service of humankind, right now? Just remember… the way you do anything is the way you do everything.
It’s up to me. I choose how I go through this. I choose my response. The old habit may be to panic, catastrophize and focus on what could go wrong, but this habit isn’t helpful. It isn’t life-affirming, or empowering. It doesn’t enable me to offer my gifts to the world. Why not breathe? Why not practice gratitude for what could be an incredible opportunity for awakening, for transformation? Why not envision a realm of infinite possibility? Let’s collectively create a brand new habit called: awakening to our blessings, envisioning possiblity, offering our gifts in service to the greatest good!
Halfway through this challenge, and I have to pause to be grateful for gratitude itself. I began a gratitude journaling practice years before my marriage ended, and had made it a habit to focus on what was going well in my marriage, so I was shocked when my husband announced it was over. Turns out he had been doing the opposite, focusing on what I did that annoyed him. Although I pleaded with him to step back and look at the good in our lives, he had made up his mind that I was the worst wife ever and there was nothing I could do about that. I continued to write in my gratitude journal as my life fell apart at the seams. I continued writing in my journal even as the voices in my head told me I’d be better off dead. I continued writing in my journal as I weathered storm after storm after storm. I have learned perseverance, strength, discipline, will, resilience. I have learned how to put things into perspective. I have learned that I don’t need a man to feel worthy— I am worthy because I exist. I survived. And I attribute a large part of my success to the mindset I developed while practicing gratitude. Thank you gratitude!
Choosing to change and choosing to like change… will help smooth the path of life’s inevitable changes. And life demands that we change. There is no way around it. Every day draws us closer to the inevitable edge of the great abyss that stares back, revealing the nothingness of our dissolution. Who will we become before death closes our eyes forever?
Slowing down, taking time… Body run down says Stop. Rest. I listen. I rest as much as I can in between classes. It would be so easy to blame. To go back into victim mode and complain about the upheaval. But that’s not congruent with who I am. Who I am is strong. Who I am is loving. Who I am is resourceful, creative, inspired. Who I am is kind. So instead of looking out and blaming, I look in and ask, What can be done now? My body says Rest. I listen. I rest.
Turning adversity into opportunity… being willing to see value in difficulty, not complaining, but doing what needs to be done. Rewiring my brain is difficult. My brain wants to complain. It wants me to feel sorry for myself, to feel like a victim, to focus on the abandonment, the betrayal, the grief and the loss. It wants me to feel envious of intact families, and look at women with their men and ask, Why not me? I’m tired of being tortured by my mind. I don’t want it to remind me of everything that went wrong. I want to focus on what’s going right. But after four decades of negative programming, I don’t know if I’m capable of seeing the positive.
When it all can change so quickly, when it all can be swept away without warning, what exactly can we count on? When we know that life is full of challenges, unpredictable ups and downs, sudden turns in the road and no guarantees for our happiness and success, what can we really look forward to? I’m starting to understand how our life philosophy matters, how if we can expect and embrace challenge we place ourselves in the driver’s seat… Our mindset matters. If we can make up our minds to view every life event as an opportunity, a chance to change, grow and evolve, we will have no shortage of peak moments. Today is the best day of my life. Today is the day of my amazing good fortune; no matter what happens I choose to make this so.