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How you communicate with others says a lot about yourself.

I was driving around my little town of Manhattan Beach last week when it hit me.

Listening to an audio book a friend had recommended, the author began talking about using a growth mindset to mine your life for lessons that can be learned along the way. This wasn’t a new concept for me. The last five years since my cancer diagnosis had been a giant learning and the last seven months had been particularly huge in the lessons department. I completed an 18 year marriage, moved into a smaller home and spent night and day focused on making things warm and supportive for myself and my daughters. So much had changed in my life. I was feeling more than a little worn out, and maybe lonely, too. That’s when it came to me:

Life is more than just a one-way feed.

Life is communicating. And, even waiting patiently for a response. It’s asking me to challenge my way of seeing things so it can show me a broader purpose and perspective—and this is true even in the events I never considered before.

  • Through divorce I’m asked, “How can I be loving even when I’m hurt?”
  • Loneliness and solitude are life’s invitation to consider if I really like myself and enjoy my own company.
  • A miscommunication with someone asks me how I can be more clear and access different skills to be sure I hear and understand others.
  • Life asks me if I am capable of empathy when a friend calls to talk about losing her job.
  • Through the death of another friend’s precious son, life asks, “How do you confront loss? What do you really believe about death? How will you respect and support her grief process?”

Once again in my car, working my way through L.A. traffic to an event, I’m at a stoplight in the left turn lane. The light turns green. The driver in the blue Mercedes in front of me doesn’t budge. My light tap on the horn puts the car ahead of me into motion, but it’s too late. As the clock on my dash ticks off the minutes, I grow ever more anxious as I wait for the light to cycle through again. That’s when I hear it.

Life’s question is quiet, but clear. “How will you use even the small moments you are given?”

Will you spend them angry, blaming and self-righteous? Will you feel justified by the other driver’s absentmindedness and become a little less kind, your lateness pressing more heavily on you with every minute? Will you let the stress of that change your demeanor for a few minutes? the hour? the rest of the day? Will you make it mean something or just let it slip away? Will you choose to be peaceful in spite of how the world pushes you to be otherwise?

As the light turns green again I make my turn, a small grin creeping across my face. I feel like I’ve just discovered a secret. Suddenly I’m happier, tingling with more aliveness than I’ve ever felt before. I am not alone, but rather in a constant conversation with the source of energy that runs the universe. The intelligence that moves through me as I breathe in this very moment is communicating with me. And if it’s true for me, then it’s true for everyone. I realize, too, that I have something to say to that source.

“I hear you. Thank you. I will choose kindness.”

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Heathere Evans, APR, teaches teams and individuals how they can enhance their success through effective communications practices, inside and out. Learn more about Pivot workshops and coaching or follow her on Twitter.

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