Last week I was driving behind this truck working its way slowly up the hill. And just as I noticed the unfortunate creature sticking its head over the top (no doubt on the way to the abattoir), a river of effluent poured out the bottom. Completely spraying the front of my car. Of course, two choices presented themselves. And so I made the choice to laugh out loud and drop back a little to prevent a repeat performance. There’s nothing like a good laugh to diffuse a situation, is there.
They say S**T Happens! And it does. Sometimes piles of it. But what is more important than the stuff that happens to us, is the way we respond. Because that’s something we do get to control, isn’t it. And we always have a choice.
This guy who calls himself The Happy Buddha tells a great story about two arrows. The first arrow – those things in life over which we have little or no control, can stab us in the heart. That’s just a part of life isn’t it. But what do we usually do? We pick up a second arrow and stab ourselves in the heart with the thoughts that run through our head. Pretty stupid, huh! The stories we create about the situation. Making our situation and how we feel, so much worse.
Losing a job, a failed relationship. The first arrow can be so many things, can’t it. And I’m not pretending they’re not painful. They are. And they are a part of being human. But what we tell ourselves about these experiences is so much more important. And over the years I’ve come to realise no matter what happens, I can take a moment to pause before responding. And I can check the thoughts running through my head. If I tell myself it’s all useless I will only increase the misery. But if I take the time to notice instead the opportunity that comes with each and every experience, and change the thoughts running through my head, then I give myself a gift.
So take the time to notice your thoughts. Notice your stories about the situations in your life that cause you pain. What are you telling yourself? Is it possible that you could you be telling yourself something better? How would that affect your day? How would that change your life…