“If you cannot be positive, at least be quiet.” ~ Joel Osteen
One of my core beliefs is that life happens for me, not to me. This is not a belief that I was imprinted with during the formative years of my childhood, nor was it a belief that I bought into from church or school, or other potential influencers growing up. In fact, for a better part of my young adult life, it did not at all appear that my life was doing anything other than pulling me down and working overtime to hold me back in the muck and the mire of struggle and lack.
It was not until a few years ago, actually, that I consciously chose to shift myself out of the subconscious and innate belief that I am destined to be “like a plastic bag drifting through the wind,” as Katy Perry puts it. I chose to adopt a new belief, a belief that actually serves me, that actually puts me more into alignment with faith, peace, and joy. Ergo, life happens for me.
The biblical corollary to this is, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. Guess what? As all people are aspect of the Divine, and all aspects of the Divine are “called,” life is happening for all of us, all of the time.
“When you complain you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it.
All else is madness.” ~ Ekhart Tolle
Last week I had the oddest day. The kids were 20 minutes late for school because we sat in traffic for 40 minutes. The dog got sick in the back of my car on the way to taking him to the vet, and after waiting for 2 hours for the auto detailer to clean what I could not, I had to wait another 40 minutes because for some bizarre reason they neglected to so much as vacuum the back of the SUV where the incident occurred.
At the end of the day I calculated that I had spent about 4 hours of my day just waiting. If this kind of day had happened to me a few years ago I would have complained myself into an absolute state of disgust, angst and ire. But here’s the thing with complaining, not only does it self-induce unnecessary stress, but doing so actually creates more opportunities to complain about. What we speak about, we bring about.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
Don’t complain.” ~ Maya Angelou
Instead of putting more and more negative energy into a situation that I do not prefer, I choose to pivot my attention to what I do desire. One of the most practical methods I have discovered for accomplishing this is to consciously choose to step outside of my immediate emotional state and become an unattached observer to the experience.
For example, when I am sitting in traffic on a clear sunny day for no apparent good reason, and I notice that I am getting stressed out because being late is something that I do not prefer to be, I choose to release my state of frustration and agitation, and just notice that yep, I’m in traffic. Yep, I’m probably going to be late. It is what it is, and this is happening for me, even if I do not understand why or how. My mantra of choice becomes, “All is well;” because, even if it does not immediately register in our reality, all really is well.