I realized my power of choice while walking down a sidewalk at my university. I had backed out on a scholarship from an out-of-state private university because I got horribly homesick and panicked. This had my parents beside themselves and my family wondering what could have happened for me to come back so soon (the drama was right up there as if witnessing a murder). I made it back in time to apply for late admission and start at my state university.
It was about the third week in when my mother said to me, “You are going to regret this.” Her words felt dark and full of doom, like a curse about to fall on me. With a rejection that came from my bone marrow, I said, “No, I won’t.” As if my words were a protective shield.
I have no idea how I got to the university that day. Still, there I was, miserable as can be walking down a long sidewalk when a clear thought just washed over me – I can choose to be happy. Because they are all unhappy about my decision, I don’t have to be. This can’t be the end of my future. That’s ridiculous. I’ll just go step by step. I can choose to be happy no matter what is going on with anyone else.
And then, for the first time since I started at my university, I saw it. I saw the beautiful old Spanish buildings, the shabby “modern” student center full of people, the tree-filled campus, and I became acutely aware of the easy laughter of so many. I loved my four years at the university and then went off to Boston for post-graduate studies.
Situations, and anything really, is given value or importance only by us. We are the ones who qualify them. I am who determines: This is important – I am going to be miserable about this. Or, this is important, I am going to enjoy this. Or maybe, this does not matter to me at all, ignore it and move on with my business. How I experience anything is my choice every single time, not someone else’s.
“When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace, and love.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
I would love to say that I never had a worry or a sadness again, but of course, that didn’t happen. I have had a couple of miserable times, some sadness, disappointments, more worrying than I would have liked, stressful times, and a near burn-out (or a bona fide one).
I have learned to keep them as short-lived as possible and move on with the business of enjoying my living. We don’t have to be older or have had difficult experiences to be present and appreciative of our now. Many senior people are not present nor appreciative even with all their experience – clearly, it is not an experience factor; it’s a choice.
We can take a long warm drink from the cup of life if we allow ourselves the time, space, and quiet. Life, being Nature, acts like it; generous in its abundance and unhurried in its seasons. There are those who walk easily, casually, at their own rhythm. In their own energy all of their lives. Brief bumps here and there- but on they walk, like the rest of us. Just more lightly. In better spirits. What a blessing! We all have that blessing – it is our choice to make use of it or not.
“Make each moment an occasion to live deeply, happily, in peace.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
Settling into our now is a precious gift we can give ourselves. From this point of living deeply– everything else works out. My full presence takes care of everything because I am giving breath to my life, my way, my choosing.
Alert! Present and imminent danger!
-from a violent movie my husband was watching
My husband was watching a movie, and as I walked by, I heard a character say, “Alert! Present and imminent danger.” And I thought, most of us have lived alert to some degree of dangers, worries, anxieties, fear, insecurity looming over and within us. The phrase, present and imminent danger gives a powerful, clear feeling of what the energy is and your purpose – get ready for possible next steps. You do not know what next steps might be required, but you are ready to take the next steps.
You become acutely aware of the now (present) and what surrounds you and the clear expectation (imminent) of an outcome (danger). If you hear that phrase, you become alert, clear, and ready.
Why not choose that powerful energy for positive alertness?
Alert! Present and imminent goodness.
Alert! Present and imminent opportunities.
Alert! Present and imminent fun.
Can you feel yourself becoming alert, clear, and ready for it? In being alert, we are open to see opportunities for what we choose and are ready and flexible to take the next steps. We will take the next steps as we go. Can you just feel your readiness for something fun?
“It is the feel of the Life Force that life is about.” -Abraham-Hicks
Wishing for you a beautiful week of choosing your happiness.
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