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.
If you knew this current trial,
this set back,
this seemingly impossible situation
were actually a great gift,
handwrapped by Spirit,
tied up with a bow
and a lovely tag attached
with your name on it—
would you open it?
If you knew that this gift
when welcomed and fully accepted
would lead you to your next level
would you receive it?
If you knew that this gift,
painful and perhaps
were rendering you stronger,
more capable, more competent,
more confident, more courageous,
more resilient and more intelligent—
would you say
Let’s assume for one moment
that everything suggested here is true…
wouldn’t it be time for some gratitude?
The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.—Marcus Aurelius, 121-180 c.e.
I sit down to write and feel blocked
because my open and honest expression
might be twisted and used as evidence
by the one I formerly trusted with my heart
that there is something wrong with me.
(That something wrong being that I’m a human
going through a particularly tough time.)
And so I embrace a sort of forced positivity,
which cannot be all bad, right?
I mean, for God’s sake,
I have clean drinking water, on demand,
water to bathe with, a toilet inside my house…
This puts me in the top 20% of the world’s population.
I have voting rights.
I have my health.
I have my mind.
I have a college education.
I have work that I love
and two beautiful children
and an opportunity to start over fresh
every single blessed day.
In essence, I’m being blocked from complaining,
and this impediment to complaints
advances my ability to celebrate what is working.
This open and honest expression
might also be twisted and used as evidence
that there is someting wrong with me,
but if this is the case,
then it only reveals what is wrong
with the reasoning faculties
of the person doing the twisting and judging.
Therefore, thank you, dear soul,
for giving me cause to pause
and go on a negativity diet.
I shall grow fat with gratitude and grace.
I spoke with a man today
who specializes in the psychology
of humans being evicted from their homes.
He gave me some sound advice:
This is a low point;
you can only go up from here.
Money is no big deal;
you can always make more of it.
As long as you and your children are healthy,
everything is going to be just fine.
Don’t focus on two years from now,
just deal with whatever problems arise today.
You’ll get through this
and someday this will just be a memory.
It’s awful, but it’s temporary.
He shared that he had lost his house
during the recession over ten years ago.
It helped to know
that he was coming from experience
instead of blind sympathy.
My task now is training my brain to know
that I am safe in this moment,
and conditioning my nervous system
to respond with relaxation
in the face of challenge—
or at least to have a positive mindset
about the challenges.
It feels like a superhuman feat
to trust, to have faith, to breathe,
to choose my mindset…
But the alternative is despair.
I’ll go with Option A.