Kind of like a 3D movie, many of us have a tendency to “metaphorically” sit on the couch and watch life happening “at” us. We find ourselves reacting, putting out fires that are both stressful and crisis oriented. When we are in this space we are not living a conscious life nor are we are aligned with our birthright……that we are always “at choice.” Bad things will still happen. It is part of the human experience. However, we are always in that place of choice in how we respond to the not so fun stuff.
One year ago I went to a family wedding. Not uncommon in many families, especially step-families, we have our family “stuff.” I was nervous a good month before leaving for this event and rather than “walking my talk” as a life coach, I instead regressed back in to my old coping mechanisms. I put on my “rose colored” glasses. I am fun to be around when I wear these special glasses. Everyone and everything is great and beautiful and amazing! And everyone has a beautiful and pure heart. It’s all about forgiveness and love. Unfortunately some of the individuals in this family I married in to represent a lot of people in this world. The reality is that there are people who never do personal growth work, die with anger in their hearts, kill and steal with no remorse, etc. etc. etc. Suffice to say the wedding weekend was one of the worst weekends of my life (they never drank the same Kool aid as me and I don’t think they appreciated my rose colored glasses….plus I ask too many questions) I experienced the consequences of sitting on that couch. I spent some time in that “woe is me” place. I felt victimized. And yet I created the situation. I was not proactive. I did not design. And I was not conscious. It was my wake up call to do more work, to go deeper and to practice what I preach.
Fast forward one year later. Another wedding (really?!). However, this event was really rather magical. This time I did “walk my talk.” The players didn’t change (except for the bride and groom), but I did. This time I did not put my rose colored glasses on. Instead I chose to stay with the reality. The uncomfortable dynamics had not changed. However, I remembered that even though the situation I was stepping in to was not ideal, I did have choices. This time I (along with my husband) designed the long weekend. My beloved children are amazing, but I tend to get ungrounded when we are traveling, especially when confronted by the not so fun dynamics. Although it was a lot of coordinating/designing, with the help of friends, family and an amazing sitter, they stayed home. We also chose to create the weekend as a romantic getaway. We stayed at our own place rather than crash with other family members. We committed to checking in with one another about our feelings and needs. We rested, we got to bed early, we ate well, etc. We also predesigned dates with family members that we wanted to spend time with. As a result, I had wonderful quality time with some pretty amazing people. In the end, I was able to fully celebrate the beautiful love shared between the bride and groom. Unlike a year ago, being caught off guard, I was so immersed in my own grief to be a celebratory witness of the couple.
I am far from perfect and it is quite easy for me to get off track. And yet when I hold on to the power of choice and I am consciously designing my life, I feel empowered. I feel an authentic connection with myself and others in a realistic way. I am in a blameless state when I am designing. I am not the victim or the victor. I don’t feel trapped. And so the next time you find yourself in that “woe is me place” and feel that life is happening “at you.” Pause and remember you have a choice.