It is said that old sayings prove true. When I was writing the title to this blog post, I was thinking to myself, “Could it get any more cheese ball than this? I’m starting to sound like my mother.” But I realized today that she was right and most of those hokey-dokey sayings have a lot of truth to them. You are what you think about all day long.
Recently I have gone through separation, divorce, death, foreclosure, custody battles and a financial upheaval in my personal life. Most of these things were out of my control and I had to take a step back and think about how I wanted to show up in my life. I ran away from home one weekend when my ex had the kids.
I drove 6 hours to the Grand Canyon and I sat on the edge looking at the vibrant layers of earth carved out over millions of years. Relax – I wasn’t going to jump – but I sat there thinking how tiny and insignificant I am, but my problems could fill up the great ravine. A tour bus pulled up and dumped out a bunch of women. Being me, I sat there and eavesdropped on their conversation. Polite, no. Interesting yes.
The women who should have been rejoicing in the magnificent beauty were bitching about their exes. They were bitter, nasty, funny, sad and missing the whole point of the Grand Canyon: majestic and overpowering beauty. I also noticed a lot of them were quite rude to the male bus driver. He was taking one not just for the team but the entire male species from what I could see.
I thought about myself and how I felt. Sure, I was bitter, nasty, funny, sad and missing the whole point of life some days, but I had a choice on how I was going to treat people around me. At that point my life was in the “sh$tter”, as my dad would say, but I realized that when I just treated people with kindness, despite my inner turmoil and fear, life was easier.
I realized that day that I didn’t really have a choice about what was happening to me, but I did have a choice in how I was going to respond. Was I going to become one of those bitter, angry women who railed at the unfairness in life or was I going to accept it and move on? What was I going to think about? Think about the past? Think about the loss?
Or, could I make a conscious choice to move forward and turn my mess into a message for others? I think about my son’s favorite television show, Ninjago, Lego’s recent take on the 80s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I think about Sensei Woo, the wise old sage from the show who my son made out of Lego and placed in our manger to oversee the Baby Jesus.
Sensei Woo said in a very profound episode, “We can’t change the past, we can only improve on the future.”
Yeah. That creepy little Lego man is right.