Saturday, January 16, 2010
As I reflect back, I know I was unrealistic. I know that my ego was writing out the wish list of what I was to become. I also know that the “lifestyle fairy” does not come and tap us on the head with her sparkly wand bestowing us with abundance, eternal youth and physical prowess, and lots of toys just because we wish for them, or that we are simply “good people”. These things, if fortunate to enter our lives, take work, a little luck, and patience. Maybe a large cardboard check from Publisher’s Clearing House wouldn’t hurt either.
The reality is we have free will with no reset button. We age and sometimes not gracefully. Our six pack abs from our twenties can look like fifty pounds of chewed gum by our forties. The long Bon Jovi hair from our youth can dwindle to resemble that of arm hair. The Camaro and Z Cavarici’s end up being a minivan and mom jeans. We can go from being track stars, to where the only time we run now is when we hold down the “X” button on the controller, or dash to get to the baby before he topples down the steps. It’s okay.
Where I am now is a culmination of many, many events that come together in this jam session called “my life”. The momentum of events, choices, locations, serendipity, and random cosmic events all come together like a man spinning plates in a vaudeville act. As we try to keep balance of all the events we can possibly control in our lives, eventually one of the plates may wobble and topple and if our attention is diverted. It falls, therefore changing the balance and dynamic. Life then takes on a whole new turn.
Right now is a result of all events, both good and bad, that create a perfect recipe of my existence. I have some great stories as a result. I have encountered challenges as many have. I have battled everything from addiction, estrangement, financial distress, pain, personal drama, business challenges, fear, and they all brought me to where I am now.
I have a beautiful wife and two kids, and my parents and in-laws are all alive and healthy. I have a business with great staff and clients. I have travelled and have seen many things. I have written a book. Currently I have a house, clothes, and food in the fridge. Life is alright. These too brought me to where I am.
If God were to allow me to perhaps eliminate some of the undesirable events in my life, I do not know what I would eliminate. One would think, “the bad stuff”, but those too made me stronger, grateful, and resilient. Not only that, since life’s events are so intertwined and we do not know where they either began or will end, my event elimination could be catastrophic.
Perhaps my choice to eliminate one thing may take me on a path to where I never met my wife. Therefore, I would have no kids or at least not the ones I so dearly love now. Would I still be alive? Would I be homeless or rich? I cannot afford the gamble, nor is “what-iffing” productive.
I found there are a few keys to dealing with life’s little stand-up routine.
Acceptance: We do not have to always like something, but we do indeed have to accept it. We have three choices here. Work on it, forget about it, or accept it. For example, if my weight is an issue: I can work out, find someone who likes fluffier people, or remove my mirrors and install dimmer switches. Complaining only adds to the problem and will probably raise my blood pressure to boot. Acceptance just acknowledges the truth of something and peels off my personal labels.
Forgiveness: Forgiveness of ourselves and others does not mean there is no accountability. Forgiveness most often deals with past issues. The past is gone, yet the accountability is where the lessons are learned. We can also forgive, yet love someone from a distance if their presence is painful. Most importantly though, when we forgive, we let go of the retribution and attachment to yesterday which slows us down from soaring through right now.
Control: If we wonder how we got here in respect to the fact we “lost control”, we must accept we never entirely had it. We can control our responses, we can work on our actions, but we are still at the mercy of everything from others, to the weather, and many events happening around us like a giant game of Plinko that will continually nudge us and knock us around. The best thing here is to refer back to acceptance.
Expectations: Our expectations must remain realistic and in proportion to the effort we put in them, and to whom we are holding their manifestation accountable. I have found it best to place expectations on others as I would be comfortable them being placed on me. I will fail at times, so will others. Try not to get too disappointed.
Faith: This is simply belief without seeing. Where you put your faith is personal. Faith though, is having a positive outlook that things will be as they should be, and that they will be eventually alright, and we are in good hands. It is the storms that show us where our leaks are, but it is also the storms that bring the rainbows. Since the future is a picture we paint in our minds; try to pick the brighter colors.
How the heck did I get here? I got here by a beautifully orchestrated mix of success and failure, gain and loss, and lots of patience and love. At least I took the scenic route. Even though I am growing too tall for my hair, and when I turned forty my stomach looked up at my chest and said, "You can let go now", I am fine with it all. Life does not come with a GPS and all I can do is try to stay between the ditches as I move along.