Life is an odd thing. How it is, both qualitatively (how good) as well as quantitatively (how much) is completely dependant upon how it is observed. It always amazes me how certain events repeat themselves – situations, circumstances…whatever that are eerily similar to those that have occurred before. Almost déjà vu, but not quite. Although strange enough left at just that, what is tantalizingly bewildering is how my attitude or perspective in general influences not only how I react, but also how I am affected. It’s as if, when in the right state of mind (i.e. a positive attitude), certain unexpected, unplanned or unwanted turns of events can just pass on by. There is no emotive response. It’s almost like saying to myself, “Oh, so it’s going that way. Now that’s interesting.” And then I just let it go by. No harm, no foul.
It has not always been this way. It used to be that if things didn’t happen as I expected that they should, there was trouble. Ok, maybe not always trouble, but at least I was troubled. It messed with my psyche. An example? One slow driver that I could not get around would ruin an otherwise perfectly good day. My perception or interpretation of such an event would vary anywhere from a personal affront to righteous indignation to feeling like some poor, pitiful, cursed and luckless sap just waiting for his turn to die. The internalization of external events was making my world a living hell. No matter how hard I tried to get everything just right so that it (whatever it was) would work out how I thought it should, something always went awry.
There are a very limited number of variables that are within my control. Period. That means that other things dependent upon those variables, even though they appear to be indirectly within my control, are not. All I really have any control over are my own actions. That would be enough if everyone thought the way I do. However, everyone thinks just a little (or perhaps a lot) differently. Furthermore, others enjoy the same control over their actions as I do over mine. Although yours may influence mine (or visa-versa), they cannot dictate. This is an important distinction that is, in my estimation, always true even in the most extreme of situations. No matter how oppressed, free will always exists.
So what does all this mean? Perhaps not much, but I do get a better perspective on my place in the world. I am not nearly as important as I thought I was. What a relief! The other side of that paradox is also removed in that I am not as worthless as I so often believed either. Furthermore, my perception of what is mine has been re-centered and simplified. All I get is now. The past is gone, spent, done and the future is not mine until it arrives. Anything and everything else is on loan - I won't be taking it with me. Right now, however, is mine to do with whatever I wish. As a result, I am no longer in correction or damage control mode. I don’t have to constantly fix or improve what is already done. I am free to take steps toward a goal without expecting anything more than a new set of steps in the next day, hour, minute…sometimes second.
Nothing is granted. Nothing is guaranteed. The gift is now. Each new moment is a new discovery, a new adventure, a new challenge, a new insight - a new now. I have the humility to know that I am made of the same stuff we all are, indeed that everything is. I just try to do my part and let the rest go. It may sound overly simplistic but maybe it really is that simple. I have a choice about how I proceed through life. I can be this ball of stress, always trying to control the uncontrollable, tame the untamable; or as a humble cog in the great machine that is life – the universe. I don’t know what’s next. I can’t possibly. All I know or ever will is now. And that is plenty.