How you respond to others says a lot about yourself.
I was driving around my little town of Manhattan Beach last week, listening to my latest audio book, when it hit me. 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 has been one giant learning after another and the last seven months have 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 has changed in my life. I was feeling more than a little worn out, and maybe lonely, too. That’s when it came to me, an awareness that I’m not alone.
Life is communicating with me through all of these events.
Life is challenging me to consider new ways of seeing things, a broader purpose and perspective.
- 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 understand and am understood.
- Life asks me if I am capable of empathy when a friend calls to talk about losing her job.
- Through the death of a friend’s son, life asks, “How do you confront loss? What do you really believe about death? How will you respect and support the process of grieving?”
Could it be that Life is even awaiting my response?
Later that day, once again in my car as I work my way through L.A. traffic, 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 or 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 received a secret message. Suddenly I’m happier, tingling and more alive 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.”