Changing the world starts with changing ourselves. This quote makes the impossible seem possible and gives us a little bit of hope and control. You can make a difference. Lead by example and know that a better you leads to a better world.
This week I was blessed enough to visit the beach. I sat there quietly watching the waves gently flowing in and out. There are moments that I am completely present, where I can be at peace in the moment and experience pure joy. We know these moments when we are lucky enough to experience them, and this was one of those moments for me. I glanced over at Chase and he had written his name in large letters in the sand. I imagined writing my own name boldly in the sand. I watched as the gentle waves slowly erased the clarity of the letters. I thought about our lives here on earth and how insignificant each one of us truly is. We get caught up in our habits, our moods, our emotions, our routines while slowly time erases the memory of who we are. What do we do with our gift of time? Each moment, second, hour counts. It’s the one thing we can never get back. I think the humanness inside all of us robs us of precious time. We get so caught up in the memory of our past and the apprehension of our future, that this moment right now slips away while we are not looking. I wonder if people still notice my name. Do they see it boldly standing out in the sand on a beautiful beach? Or do they see it fading away one moment at a time where the winds of change and the certainty of the tide washes it away? What happens when the people we know and love are all gone? What happens to our name, our identity, the person we once were after our name can no longer be seen? It almost pains me to think about it. Truth is we are insignificant. This should be a lesson to our selfish selves and the me that is way bigger than we actually are. We are all guilty. We are all human. I struggle to find a way to be better and do better. I have so many answers that come easily when I am writing. But that ME, that part that resists change and stubbornly plants my feet in the sand, leaves me sinking until I am so buried I can barely move. Stuck, we become stuck when our ME takes over. Wouldn’t it be liberating to just surrender to each moment and live each one without regret. We have those moments and they feel good. If I could write something on my hand it would be the word time. A reminder to choose better in each moment, to choose better words, feelings, thoughts and interactions. Would it make a difference? Would I be better and do better? I guess the choice is now….
I was flying back home on a flight tonight when all of a sudden out of nowhere the plane started rattling around. Turbulence. It didn’t last long but long enough to remind me that even when everything seems to be going smooth, the uncertainty of each moment can catch us off guard. We have to be ready for anything, open to what the moment may bring, and trust that eventually, if we hang on tight and breathe our way through, that moment will melt away and a new one will appear. We all experience turbulence in our lives. How we react says a lot about who we are. For me, I don’t tremble in fear. I strap on my seatbelt and enjoy the ride and use my breath to slow the rapid beating of my heart. In a crazy way, it awakens me and makes me feel more alive. Sometimes I believe it takes a little turbulence to help us recognize and be grateful for the calm. How do you react when you experience turbulence? Pay attention to it next time it crosses your path.
I was able to attend a fundraiser for the brother of a friend in the town I grew up in today. Last night, as I lay in bed, I was bombarded by memories and the shadow of my life that existed here so many years ago. I couldn’t help but wonder what it might be like to still live here, the place that engulfed me and nourished me as I grew from a young child exploring the world, to a young woman setting out to make a life of my own. What would it be like to raise my kids in a place that was familiar to me as a kid? To send them to school with kids of people I once went to school with? It’s nice to feel part of a community and see faces that were once part of my everyday life. Looking back, I was so excited to graduate and move on in the world. Truth is, I had no idea how large the hole would be when life as I had known it would be no more. Faces I once saw everyday would be gone. Some forever, and a few I might catch up with occasionally on Facebook or briefly at a reunion. There’s something special, a bond perhaps that is formed when a group of people share so many years of their lives together, regardless whether any relationship ever existed. There a comfort in a familiar face. It’s like a gentle hug from our safest place. I always start to dream whenever I come to visit, of people and times that had once meant so much to me. Sometimes, people from my past make time in their busy day to catch up. There is no greater gift than someone validating my life and my existence by making sure our paths cross if fate allows whenever I visit. People are so busy these days. They will cook a meal or fit you in while they are busy going on about their everyday drama, but to stop what they are doing and sit down to take a moment to look into my eyes while making conversation, that is a gift.
I felt really blessed to be part of that event today. Sometimes, problems are so big, but with the love and concern of enough people, that burden can be shared. I wish everyone in the town could have been there to support that young man with ALS. To show that man that his life is important, and his struggle is important, that people care. I hope I gave him and his family that gift today. It is a memory that will always remain in my mind. Being home at the right time to share a life changing event with so many that at one time meant so much is a blessing. Take this lesson with you today. Are you still to busy to take the time to make someone feel important? There is no guarantee that you will have that opportunity another day. Time is precious. It is one thing we can never get back but something we often wish we spent a different way. Next time you cross paths with someone you know, pause, take those few minutes to make them feel their existence is important. A few minutes can make all the difference.
I can’t help but get frustrated with the epidemic of selfishness that is eating us alive from the inside out. Truth is, I really don’t believe people are vindictive or do it to hurt others. I just think people are so bogged down by the ME in them, that they can’t see out from underneath themselves. I try really hard to teach my kids to be aware of others around them. Do people forget that their every action affects everyone else around them? If you walk into a room in a bad mood everyone feels it. We are all guilty of this one right? However, a person that bursts into a room with a smile and a good spirit is equally contagious. Where we walk, how we drive, our promptness or tardiness, our response to others, our unkept promises all influence everyone we cross paths with on a given day.
So, how do we reduce the size of our me? How do we wake up and say, today, I am going to be completely selfless and make the day special for someone in my life? We may even attempt it and have the best intentions, but if we approach this task in a manner in which we have a bad attitude, outwardly or inwardly, we fail.
I believe it starts with our children. If we rush around to meet their every need and our actions tell them that every tantrum and every need they have trumps our own, than what kind of teenager can we expect in the future? That needy over indulged toddler that doesn’t ever have to wait for anything turns into a selfish teenager and then for the million dollar question…..what type of adult do they become? Are they the kind of adult that grows up and wants to make life better for others or do they end up expecting, well into adulthood that everyone and everything should revolve around their needs?
As a woman in my forties, I have learned to allow myself time to meet my needs. For me, it’s a quiet start to my morning at a coffee shop where I can plug into my iPad and write or listen to music that I love. Or, maybe it’s a quiet Yoga class where I can unload all of my burdens that I carry in my shoulders every day. It’s different for all of us. I know though, when I stop doing those things for myself, I become agitated and irritable. Some people mistaken taking care of your own needs as selfishness, but I disagree. I believe NOT taking care of yourself and spilling your anger and frustration into other peoples lives is the real tragedy.
Sometimes, I wish I could start all over. Take all this knowledge we acquire over the years, be able to go back and do things in a better way, a smarter way. What a neat experiment that would be. Would we do things different or would we make the same exact mistakes all over again? It’s fun to wonder but I guess there’s no way we could ever really know…
I stumbled across this quote today and the words seemed to scream at me as my eyes struggled to make sense of them all together in one sentence. I know in my life, I am often stuck between moving forward or starting over in something I initially failed at. Each time I make another attempt, my mind has already accepted defeat. I believe I get so caught up in initiation or end goal, that the enjoyment, or steps to get from one place to the other get blurred out of the equation. It is like that movie Ground Hog Day. I have to wake up and relive every day over and over because I stubbornly insist on doing things exactly the same way. How can I expect a different result if I keep sticking to the same equation? That is what is so frustrating for me. I already know this, so why do I waste time trying to kid myself in believing this time will be different?
I thought it was worth giving this reoccurring dilemma some time and thought. Maybe, now that it is in writing, it will serve as a reminder for me to still believe in achieving my goals. Only this time, the steps in between need to find new territory, a new path that I haven’t discovered until now. That old path is rugged, monotonous, and discouraging. Looking forward to the new path that lies somewhere ahead. I think the first step must be the one in my mind and then maybe, just maybe I will find my way.