I was pretty bummed out this past week when I got a cold. Bummed out is the wrong word… I was super PISSED. Didn’t life know I had things to DO?!? I had people to see and a video love note to record! Alas, my body clearly craved rest so after some initial resistance I surrendered to the slower schedule my body needed and rested.
All the time. We get sick, our tire gets a flat, we fall and sprain an ankle, we get yelled at by our boss in front of the whole team for something we didn’t do, we get bitten by the neighbor’s dog, we slam the car door on our fingers. I mean, how much of our lives can we actually control?
Moments like these we think, not a lot.
I am fascinated by this topic of “control." I’ve spent so much time studying, researching and learning about the phenomenon around why things happen the way they do and what we can do about it. What we can and what we can’t control. And how to feel graceful and powerful in the midst of it all.
Cause to me, that’s what being a leader is all about. How can we respond to life with a little more sweetness? How can we be a little more loving and positive without feeling fake and inauthentic? How can we be happier people despite all the crap going on out there? How can we remember our true essence during times of crisis? How can we “win” the game of karma?
And here’s one of the MAJOR things I’ve learned: we may not be able to control circumstance but we certainly can control how we react to it. In fact, how we react is KEY to creating an empowered life. That is how we gracefully expect the unexpected, by giving ourselves the power to react in a way that results in positivity rather than negativity.
In the reaction to the daily joys and pains is where your true grace lies. When we react with anger, frustration, hurt, we are creating more pain in our lives. When we react with equanimity, understanding, compassion, we are creating more joy in our lives. This is regardless of circumstance, regardless of how much we think life is going our way, regardless of what we want to happen. Negativity begets negativity and positivity begets positivity. Period. Welcome to the world of karma =) Or put simply, cause and effect. What we give out, we get back.
Disclosure: I am NOT saying disregard your feelings. Or punish yourself for feeling negative feelings. It’s important to tap into our feelings and understand what is triggering the emotional response. It’s important to compassionately investigate. AND when it’s time to respond to life, know that you always have a choice.
This is especially important during the holiday season because holidays is time for family, for better or for worse. We absolutely have NO control over other people, especially family. We cannot force our family members to understand our lives, or to be supportive, or to even keep their opinions to themselves.
So what do we do? We remember we can choose. We empower ourselves to react with whatever reaction we earnestly want reacted back to us. For example, if you want people to not judge you for your decisions, grace others with no judgement.
This is a LOT easier said than done? Why? Because our Ego tricks us into thinking we don’t have a choice. It tells us stories as to why we should be angry or indignant. We feel justified to our negative reactions. We say things like “but if i didn’t react with anger, they would think they can get away with such behavior!” Can you see how this isn’t much different than the “but he hit me first!” excuse that we hear from kids? And just like we do with children, we need to gently remind our Egos that reacting with anger doesn’t balance the scales. I love this quote:
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind - Gandhi
If you are reading this right now, it means you are ready to take ownership of your life. And that includes being a wholeHEARTed leader, showing the world the power of heart-centered living. Being kind and compassionate is sexy. And it pays off. And its hard as anything. And it all starts by remembering even in your deepest moments of crisis that you have a choice.
I found that whenever I remember that I have a choice on how to act, I feel a little freer. I don’t feel so bound by the situation. I don’t have to believe the stories I tell myself. I can break the cycle. I can be the bigger person.
Remember this, sister, when things unexpectedly come your way. Use this opportunity to tap into your heart space and engage in life instead of sink to negativity. The Universe loves you and would never give you something you cannot handle.
To your worth,