People come into and out of our life and sometimes we do not have a choice. At times their lives are too busy for us, or maybe we are too busy for them. Often we do not know why we no longer connect, hear from, or are a priority for others. There might not be a malicious reason, life happens, shit happens. Maybe the famous line: “It’s not you, it’s me” really is true in friendships and working relationships. I have had a few frustrating conversations over the past week and I continue to wonder, was it me, or was it them? Should I have handled things differently? Should I have been more patient, or more direct?
When we do not receive direct feedback from others, the “It’s not you, it’s me” line does not answer our questions. We might agonize over whether we have alienated someone, pissed them off, or made them feel tiny. Sometimes we will never know what we did (or did not do in a situation). Our agony is not really worth the time, especially if we never receive answers to our questions. We must move on and continue towards what is next.
There were a few individuals that I especially was looking forward to having in my life in the near future. Sometimes the roads that we think will meet are just a mirage, we dream of where they could lead, and somehow when we get closer to where we think they meet, we realize it was all just our eyes playing tricks on us. Or maybe we allowed our mind to dream and wonder where this moment in our life could take us. Whether it was not meant to be, or it was not meant to be at this moment in our life. We can be grateful for what we learned in the process. I know that sounds cliché, but really each step we take, leads us to the next opportunity that awaits us. We just might not see it clearly at first. I am having such moments. Was it me, or was it them? What I thought I would see on the other side is different from what I am seeing now. I have to clear my mind and be open for the true picture that is before me.
Definitely not easy, but maybe the true adventure is not knowing what we will see on the other side. Maybe when our imagination runs wild, we can put a picture together and even when it does not turn out like our dreams, sometimes when we wait patiently and long enough the end result is better than we can ever imagine. I am willing to wait, maybe less patiently over time, but I have seen it before and I know my imagination is sometimes not large enough for what is possible.
Sometimes we are put into situations before we are ready, and sometimes we will never be ready for the situation put before us. I had an aha moment while reading “The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands” by Lysa Terkeurst. A great, thought-provoking book that might lead me to share more in future posts. A quote she shared was such a vivid analogy for me. A quick side note, I am a very visual person, and I often go on side tangents with random analogies. Sometimes they are good, and sometimes they are so off the wall. In any case, this one so perfectly explains her idea.
Terkeurst talks about an early snowfall and seeing what happened to the trees due to the weight of the snow:
“That’s what happens when a snow comes early. The trees weren’t designed to face snow before releasing their leaves. They weren’t made to carry more than they should. And neither are we.” Page 92
Such a great reminder that we have to let go of certain things in our life to make room for new things. Let the old fall away, let the leaves drop to the ground in order to be strong enough for the next phase. If we try to do it all we cannot withstand the strain and the toll, and either we break or a limb breaks, often with irreversible damages. If we hold on too long for fear of what is next, not aware of what is right in front of us, we may jeopardize our future.
Lately I have been resisting change in my life big and small. The small stuff: I am not ready for fall. I do not want the temperature to change (we had to turn on the heat one night this week). I detest looking at my clothes from last winter, and saying goodbye to summer dresses and flip-flops. Yet, there is also pumpkin, yummy fall spices, and looking forward to the beautiful colors of fall. It is a shift, a new way of looking at the world, a new stage.
Ah…pondering life through a tree, leaves, and early snowfall. Are you preparing yourself for the changes happening in your life right now? Watch out for the early snow fall.
“It is going to be better than you ever imagined.”
I do not remember when I first heard this statement. I know I was young. Life was not always a piece of cake with ice cream on the side. It is a thought that has always stayed with me and always resonated. It brought me strength. When things were tough when my mom was sick it made me think about days when life might be better. At times I thought, well it cannot get any worse, so it can only get better. Whether you believe in God, a higher power, or the universe, there is a design to our lives that we do not always have control over. When we let go and let the design take shape and happen as it is meant to, we open ourselves up to allow for “better than you ever imagined.”
When I have had trying work situations and it was hard to see to the end of a long tunnel, it brought me hope. Hope. We all have to have it. We can have it on the darkest days, and it can be with us when life is good. Hope leaves us in a place that brings our imagination to what could be, to what is possible. When you are in a tough relationship and it seems like maybe settling is an option, think about how taking a stand for yourself means that the result of your life will be better than you can ever imagine. It does not mean it will happen the next day or the next month, but standing strong for yourself can only result in amazing things.
It has in my life. Many times when I have thought why was I put in this situation? Why me? I have been so good, honest, and did the right thing, why do I get the shitty end of the deal? What I have learned is that sometimes it is not about the hand of cards you were dealt, the person that passed on in your life, the job you lost, the friend who treated you poorly. It is about how you handle that challenge, how you do or do not let it affect you. That is how you grow, and how we open ourselves up to the strength and lessons we learn. And, many times once we work through our hurt, pain, or sadness what we receive on the other end is better than we can ever imagine.
Do you ever have a conversation with someone only to realize they are in another world? Their mind is thinking about Facebook, the text they just received, the email they need to respond to? We are now such a highly connected society that we often do not go more than an hour without having connected with someone that is miles away from us, yet we struggle to sometimes connect with the person that is sitting right in front of us.
A few months ago I finished reading the book: “Program or be Programmed” by Douglas Rushkoff. A few days ago, I was reminded of Rushkoff’s book, after an interaction that just felt too on the surface to me. We have become a society that just takes from the top layer. We are getting farther and farther away from going deep. Our world revolves around the moment by moment distractions of our phones, tablets, and what is happening on the Internet. Rushkoff says:
“A society that looked at the Internet as a path toward highly articulated connections and new methods of creating meaning is instead finding itself disconnected, denied deep thinking, and drained of enduring values.”
My question is what can we do to get back to deeper values, connected conversations, and quality interactions? I also like what he says here:
“Faced with a networked future that seems to favor the distracted over the focused, the automatic over the considered, and the contrary over the compassionate, it’s time to press the pause button and ask what all this means to the future of our work, our lives, and even our species.”
I want to take another look at my moments and interactions and see how I act. I already know that I am a multi-tasker. I at times applaud myself for all that I can do at once. But, am I doing things better? Am I really focused on all that is happening around me? Could I provide more quality to whatever activity that I am doing by being completely 100% connected and aware?
The desire to know what will happen next. How will things go when your family visits? Will you receive that promotion? What will you learn at your next doctor’s appointment? If only we could know what the future brings. It could make our life easier, and it could make our life dull. This Daily Om: “Fully Committed to Now” speaks to wishing we knew what was going to happen to us:
“If someone had told you as a child of all the jobs and relationships you would experience, along with each one’s inherent ups and downs, you would have become overwhelmed. With your head full of information about the future, you would have had a very hard time experiencing your life in the present moment, which is where everything actually happens.”
I have been through a lot in my life. If I could have looked ten years ahead to know all of the different ups and downs, I think I might have lost it. That is why we are only given a few details at a time. It is like we are the Encyclopedia Brown or Sherlock Holmes of our life, but we are only given a few morsels, and the detective work lasts a lifetime. We are cracking the case and as we do we learn a bit more about ourselves. We find out about our strength, our poise, and patience. We are tested by the facts, the compelling odds, and then we synthesize the details to find answers to our questions that are meaningful to us.
Having said all that does not mean that I do not crave to know what is next for me. Am I doing the work I should be doing? Is this where I will be in 2 years? 5 years? What is my time table for starting a family? What is the future for my friends and family? I have so many questions, that only day by day will unfold for me. Sometimes I want a hint or at least the cliff notes for my future, because that would help, would it not? Or maybe that would be dull, like reading the last chapter of a novel and not wanting to read the rest of the book.
By being detectives of our own lives, we are able to be present in the now, always watching and aware of all that is happening around us.