When I look back on my life a year ago, I am moved to tears by the gratitude I feel for some much needed change. For years I took a backseat in my own life. I accepted the circumstances and allowed myself to play the victim. At some point, I knew enough was enough and every intention and choice I made purposefully moved my life in a different direction. I am beyond happy now. Until I could picture myself feeling elated and peaceful, there was no way I would bring that image into reality. I had to want it enough to believe it was possible which then led me to find a way to make it possible.
Remember, where and who you are today will not be the same as where and who you will be a day or even a year from now unless you are too afraid to make a move. The same behavior and repetitive negative thoughts will only lead you down the same road. If you want to explore new, exciting ground then you have to take the first step in a different direction. Don’t wait any longer. Do it today!
The way I see it, we have a choice. We make the decision to look for the good in someone or we examine someone with a microscope to broadcast the bad.
I wrote a post a few weeks ago about a conversation I had with my son. I was frustrated with him and I spent the whole ride home from school telling him all the ways he disappoints me. I was stopped mid-sentence when he interjected and said words that really made me think. “Do I do anything right mom?” My heart sank and I allowed myself to feel the very pain I was choosing to inflict on him. Who did I think I was that day? How would I feel if everyone wanted to have a conversation about everything I did that was disappointing. Didn’t I already know my flaws and feel bad enough without someone else pointing them out?
The lesson is simple. Just turn on the news and watch this sad process in action. Basically, we get what we look for. We can look for and report the bad, the negative, the doom and gloom or we can seek out and celebrate the good. The problem isn’t always the person or the situation we are pointing our eager finger at. Often times, it is our own perception that is the biggest problem at all. Time to get real. We can’t heal what we won’t acknowledge.
Some days and weeks, I feel bombarded by negativity. I get those phone calls from my daughter leading with the words, “Oh no! Something terrible has happened”. Her dorm room has water in it for the third time. My son has two Chapter tests and a paper due tomorrow. Everything is piling up and the world is spinning out of control. Every time I watch the news I just want to hide under my bed and never come out. So how do we shield ourselves from the blows of negativity? How can we let it all bounce off so we don’t get dragged down with all the chaos?
Sometimes it comes down to making a choice to stand strong in the middle of the storm and trust in the knowledge that it will pass. Whatever seems big today, whatever doom and gloom looms over my head, will probably seem much smaller in a couple of days. So chin up, shoulders back, one foot in front of the other is the only plan I have. It’s hard not to be affected by the pain and discord going on around me but like it or not I have to carry my share of the load. Even when it’s hard, stand your ground, stay calm and focus on the good. Find it, seek it out and pay it forward. We can find connection through our struggle. We all carry a cross. Some of us just make it look easier than others.
As many argue over and push the issue of gun control, I am convinced the most dangerous weapon of all is our words. What we say and what we post sends out an energy that either fuels a fire that is already burning out of control or contains it. Unlike guns, everyone comes equipped with a mouth. It is up to each and everyone of us to use it respectfully and this “I won’t sit down, I won’t shut up” attitude that has infected most of America is killing our spirit. Once you kill the spirit and morale of the people, what is left? How do you live in a world that is in constant conflict and continuous chaos? Some people thrive in that scenario. It gives them purpose but it also holds peaceful people in a prison they cannot escape. There is always someone lurking around the corner to pounce on your words and fight the good fight. Many of us are tired. We don’t care what you think. We just want you to be kind and be quiet but there is a strong force in this country that breeds selfishness and stifles the common good and humanity as a whole. People who think they are warriors are creating a battle most of us do not want to be part of. We need more quiet, more reflection, more lovers and peacemakers and less of your endless opinions. Sometimes it’s better to keep your thoughts and words to yourself. Having the right of freedom of speech does not entitle you abuse other people. At some point you have to decide, is what I’m about to say going to contribute to more hostility or more peace? I guess you’d have to care about others more than yourself to even contemplate the question in the first place. Sit with that for a while.
Today I woke up bursting with energy. It’s Friday and after a long week filled with some interesting obstacles, the weekend is almost here. We are headed to see my daughter at college for family weekend and it will be so nice to step away from the usual mundane to do something a little bit different. We forget sometimes how important it is to do something that makes us feel excited and alive. The soul needs to be nourished too and when we get caught up in the stuff that really doesn’t matter, we lose that spark that makes us feel grateful to be alive. I hope your Friday is filled with love, happiness and hope. Have a fantastic day.
Sometimes I wake up to a load I don’t feel ready to carry. I barely have my eyes open and animals need to be let out, dishes are in the sink, laundry is so backed up I can’t see over it with 100 things on my to do list. My mind wanders to my kids who are fighting battles of their own and I wince as I think of family far away sitting at a funeral I’m too far away to attend. I whisper to myself quietly, you’ve got this and thank the Lord that this weight that is mine to carry is not too heavy at all. I may not want to face the day but I am more than equipped to handle whatever comes my way. Sometimes it’s okay to admit I need a little rest or to reach out to others for support when I cannot muster up my own.
Whatever battles you are fighting, remember you are not alone. Most of us are most likely feeling the same way. We may hide our worries and troubles behind a half hearted smile but they lurk there quietly as we go about our day. Be kind to everyone you come across. Look into their eyes so they know that someone really sees them. Spread some kindness and compassion and leave people feeling happier than when you found them. It’s the small things that make the biggest impact. Do your part.