I woke this morning long before the sun. Spontaneously and instantly there was a smile on my face. I quickly recognized that the source of this smile was a result of the anticipation I felt for this brand new day waiting to greet me. But then… this morning the thoughts came flooding in…the massive to-do list, the 12 hour work day ahead that has no scheduled breaks in it, the recognition that these mornings of late I am no longer greeted by the morning sunshine and the weight of responsibility that so many of my days now hold for me… and with these thoughts the smile quickly disappears and dread now screams from the crunch lines of stress on my face.
I very quickly catch myself…there are my polarities for the day – a desire for time freedom and an overly structured day – my desire for light verses the reality of darkness.
I decide to lay in the warmth of the blankets for just a little longer. I quickly move to the skills I have come to cherish that move my mood from yuck to yum. I take my deep nurturing breaths and with each one I embrace the energy of life that blesses me. I move to my gratitude exercise, listing several reasons for me to be thankful and after a few short moments I am reminded as to why I woke with a smile.
Now that I am feeling that smile cross my face again I hop out of bed. But soon into my morning I decide to pop onto Facebook. Often this exercise leaves me feeling lighter as I feel appreciation for seeing the faces and updates of many wonderful people in my life. But today I click on a video hoping and assuming it’s a ‘feel good’ clip like so many on my feed. Not this one! It’s the tragic incident in India involving a man that somehow got himself in a tiger cage. Why did I choose to watch it? I felt my heart drop as I realize the ‘feel good’ is not going to happen. Instead I am left with a horrific image in my mind that plays over and over again. Why did I not stop myself from watching the video? I sit in the yuck unsure what to do. I know the reality is that horrific and tragic things happen in life. I have personally witnessed or experienced far too many. My mind races with trying to figure out how to get back to that feel good smile from just moments before. It is in that moment that I make my second choice of the morning to stay aligned with my desire – my responsibility – my goal – of doing what I can to live my life fully and to love each and every moment of it. How do you love the moments in your life when trauma/tragedy strikes… when irritations happen…when the yuck comes moving in? I am then reminded of a Taoist story on good and evil as inseparable parts of life:
There was once a poor farmer who’s only wealth was a mare. One day the mare ran away and the farmer’s neighbors come to him and said: “What a terrible thing that your mare ran away”. The farmer replied: “I don’t know if it is bad or good. That’s life.”
His mare turned up the next day with a heard of wild horses. The farmer’s neighbor came and said: “What good luck, your mare brought you so many horses. Now you are rich.” The farmer replied: “It is difficult to say if it is good or bad. That’s life.”
The farmer’s son decided to train the wild horse. But one of the horses threw him. He broke his leg and became lame. The neighbors said: “That is terrible luck that has happened to you and to your son.” The farmer replied: “It is neither good nor bad. That’s life.”
Soon after a war started and all the other sons from the village were taken to the army except the farmer’s lame son. The neighbors said: “Maybe we shall never see our sons again, but you are lucky as your son was not taken away.” The farmer said: “I do not know if it is good or bad. That’s life.”
I cannot feel bad enough to make it better for another. I choose to live heart opened, engaged, and with empathy for others and for myself. In that moment I remember I have a choice… take action to be the positive change I wish to see in this world. For today I take a moment to honour the victim in the video. I send loving vibes to those in pain. Then I honour myself by bringing myself back to the smile that graced my face long before my eyes even opened this morning. In that moment I remember that I love my life regardless of the conditions; knowing some days I will do this better than others.
© Kathy Bazinet 2014