It Is What It Is
Sometimes we get ourselves twisted in a knot. Life seems like it is one cruel joke after another. We feel thrown around, like running shoes in a dryer, when things happen and we come out dizzy from the ride.
I have learned, from some very wise teachers, that things are what they are. It is when we judge them as good or bad and attach our own meaning to them, that we have a reaction.
This week, I was travelling on Northern Avenue, heading west, when an elderly man, travelling eastbound, decided to make a left turn directly in front of my car. The brakes on my car were in full blown ABS mode, with the gas pedal almost pushed through the floorboards.
The tires squealed as loud as I have ever heard them and I used very foul profanity as I watched in slow motion, before stopping less than 3 inches from plowing into his elderly female passenger.
My heart was racing and I remained stopped in the middle of the intersection, for a few seconds, as I watched the man pull into the parking lot and then stop from the shock. I was about to turn my car around and give him a blast but decided to proceed forward, because I didn’t want someone to run into me from behind.
I thought about that moment, a few times after. This was obviously a very bad thing, right? Or was it? This episode reminded me to slow down. Although I had just pulled out of a parking lot and I couldn’t have been travelling all that fast, I wondered if all of my rushing around and constant errands were being done mindlessly, as I maneuvered from one thing on my ‘to do’ list to another.
This episode reminded me that life can end in an instant and that we must make the most of every moment we are alive. This episode reminded me to ensure that I tell my family how much I love them, on a regular basis, just in case my life on earth came to a screeching halt.
When things happen, that we did not expect, are we instantly judging them as bad or is it entirely possible that the very thing that seemed so awful was actually good for us, in the long run?
Is it possible that when we are delayed, thrown off track, cancelled or delivered something unexpected that it can be a blessing in disguise?
I can’t help but think of the people who were supposed to be in the twin towers in New York the day the planes hit. Apparently there are many stories of people who ended up stuck in traffic, had a sick child, missed their ride, had to stop at the drugstore for Band-Aids, etc.
All of these people ended up being late for work or late for their appointment and were saved from being inside the building, when so many others perished.
What about stories of people who missed their flight and then the plane crashes. What about the soldiers who survived when other members of their troop were killed, because they were reassigned to a different duty that day.
When something unexpected happens in our lives, we tend to make a judgement whether the episode is good or bad; negative or positive. We form an opinion about the situation and then create our own story around it.
It is interesting to pay attention to our stories. Are they hurting us and ultimately causing us stress or are our stories keeping us sane.
After decades of stress producing stories, I choose sanity. I decide that when anything happens in my life that ‘it is what it is’.
When a mouse ran across our basement floor during the one minute I was showing the lower level of our house for sale, I was horrified!
I couldn`t believe that such a thing would happen. What are the chances of a mouse running across the floor, in the very moment I was showing the basement, in broad daylight, when we didn’t even know we had a mouse in our basement!
I had to laugh about it after when I directed my husband to take care of it. He rigged a bunch of traps, caught it the next morning and jokingly sent me a text that he strapped it to the hood of his truck and drove to work honking all the way with his big catch!!!
We obviously scared off the buyers who had put a greeting card in our mailbox, asking about our house, when it wasn`t even listed for sale in the first place. Maybe it was a sign that we aren`t supposed to sell. Maybe it just `is what it is`.
Life doesn`t come with instructions. Unless it did come with instructions but they were in a different language and we threw them out.
Life is going to trip us up. It is going to test us and challenge us and tempt us and confuse us. We can freak out and get all upset. We can get toxic, negative, hateful, bitter and angry about our circumstances, which interferes with our normally sunny disposition, or we can look at it from a different perspective.
The perspective that I have learned to choose is self-talk that allows me to feel better about any situation. That is where gratitude comes in. There is always something to be grateful for.
Speaking of gratitude, I am so thankful that all of my husband`s latest annual round of medical tests have come back all clear and he is good to until his next big service appointment!!! Life is good…
So, the next time you get a zinger, or even a minor inconvenience, sent your way, will you go to the dark place or will you strap on your big girl or big boy pants and choose to make the best of it.
The good news is that this is completely up to you and all your choice. Personally, I would rather be sane than constantly in a twist…
‘If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.’ ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett