The best moment of every day is the one right before you open your eyes. It is the delicate balance on needle thin wire when your mind is just letting go of sleep and on the other side the wide world beckons you in. For this one moment you are tabula rasa, pure and clean, the mind at its plateau with no disturbances to spike its peace. It is peaceful here, but alas most of us are never aware when we are in that equilibrium, too unconscious to appreciate it. For the very next instant we are tuned right in, our conscious mind jumping to open our shuttered eyes, letting the new day in.
From this point on we are a fast moving highway, taking twists and hairpin turns at every moment in this race called life as we are bombarded with decisions thrown upon us, choices that we make or the universe makes for us. A little bit of mundane mixed in with the profound. Like what kind of breakfast are you going to have, how long can you linger in the shower this morning, or how will you react when you find out your bike has been stolen or your car has been towed? You’d be justified in thinking this is a shitty deal, and anyone in their right mind would be absolutely getting angry. But then what? One flick of the wrist and Fate has pushed your equilibrium way down, but it is your choice and yours alone that is keeping it there. The world presented you a bad situation, but only you can choose to keep turning this into a bad morning, or a bad day, eventually even a bad week, a bad month.
Situations like these are the not the enemy, rather they are the checks to assess our mental balance. How are we doing, really? If you are not feeling very centered – despite what you may tell yourself when things are going just peachy – an unwanted thing happening, or a wanted thing not happening will be the quickest way to point out how you are feeling really. In other words, are you handling your lemons? Situations after all are neither good nor bad, they are simply things that are happening in the moment. Good or bad is the judgement you make, and also the perspective you take.
Remember that life is not linear, it doesn’t follow a set playbook that you can reference back to and check on the rules. At any moment, in any given place something is happening. Change will happen, is happening, will continue to keep happening whether we notice it occurring in the form of a gentle nudge, or falling on us like a ton of bricks. The difference between these two categories, which on the surface may be night and day, are actually one and the same. A situation happens because that is the nature of things, to happen, and you are left with the responsibility of choosing the reaction you will give. The situation, whether it be a guy cutting you off in traffic or a hurricane taking your house, is something outside your control. Your only role in this is to decide how you will define it. Good or bad is how you see it. How you react, is what you control.
Life is unexpected, it is what makes it exciting and downright terrifying. At every given moment universes can shift, stars may align, and magic and horror can both be invited in as guests. It is the mystery we sign up for, the bigger divide we are all a part of. But life did throw us a lifeboat, something to hold on to for safety while being buffeted around by her crazy waves and whims. And it is enough, it is all we need. The safest oasis we can hold on to is the control of our reactions, it is the maintenance of that equilibrium that defines whether we weather a storm or sail through calm waters. Life puts the reigns directly in your hands, it is not the other way around.
You can’t step in the same river twice
The water’s always changing, always flowing
We all must pay a price
To be safe, we lose our chance of ever knowing
Waiting just around the river bend
Everything is always happening because the nature of our world is change. Something will happen today, something else will happen tomorrow. Don’t waste your energy combating the force, it is like trying to box against your own shadow. Turn that power inwards instead, learn your own control and from that understanding come to realize that the world is truly what you will make of it.
Author’s Note: Thoughts and prayers going out to the families and communities affected by the recent devastation following Hurricane Harvey and Irma. Staying grateful and grounded on the reminder that life in its infinite mystery can take on many forms, and finding the new meaning this week in what we may take so easily for granted. Take care, and see you in two weeks! (Will be away next week).