“Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.”~ Leo Tolstoy.
I am an impatient person, of this I am fully aware. I have to consciously make myself wait, breathe, and allow things to happen. We are often dissatisfied with our life, our jobs, the people we share space with, and long for something to change. If only, we think, if only we had taken that other job; if only we had married someone different; if only our kids had listened to us. We long for things to change and often forget that unless we are prepared to change, we may end up being just as unhappy in a new situation.
Today is a very hard day for a specific group of people. It is the eve of the tragic mass shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. For those affected, life changed drastically in a moment. But has society changed since then? To be able to move beyond such tragedies, there needs to be some greater good achieved. Something that makes us grow as human beings, or move to a better place. Yet in order for that to happen, we need to change. Living in the US it sometimes seems as if the opportunities for growth are drowned out beneath the strident cries of the ignorant.
Mandela is gone, but his lessons continue to inspire, if we pay attention. It is indeed ironic that at the memorial service for a man who stood for reconciliation and forgiveness, instead of discussing the work which needs to be done to promote peace in the world we are dissecting a handshake. How can we hope to move our nations forward when we let negativity and close-mindedness dictate our actions?
There are so many opportunities for us to become bigger people, but often we remain stuck in old patterns and habits, scared to try on a new attitude. We see the ways in which others need to change, and don’t notice our own unhealthy behaviors. We proudly announce, this is who I am, as if we are a finished product. But it is often not the ‘who’ that we need to change, it is the ‘how’. How you react to things can bring about a complete transformation, if you just let yourself see things differently.
When you find yourself in a state of affairs that frustrates you, have you ever tried to reframe the situation? Is there a way that I can view it that will make it easier to deal with? Interpersonal conflicts can bring about much grief. There may be someone who pushes all of your buttons, and you develop tension headaches and neck pain trying to suppress your reactions to them. But instead of reacting, try to imagine yourself in their shoes. They may be hiding an ocean of grief, or trying to juggle many different stressors in their own life. Although it may be difficult, if you practice compassion for those who annoy you, you may find that those irritants lessen and can be overlooked. This is not easy, and it requires much patience, but ultimately you are changing the world from within.
If life is a lesson, and we don’t know when we are going to be given that final exam, then we need to be on our toes at all times, reviewing and preparing. If the goal is not to learn as much as we can, grow in every way possible, and leave the world a better place, then what is the point? And if it requires us to change, then perhaps that is what we must do.
December is my month, my birth month, but I am a bit upset about having to share it with Christmas. For I swear that December is the shortest month of the year! As soon as December 1st hits us, it is already the middle of the month! And it is a time of year when people go crazy, spending money they don’t have on gifts people don’t need. Could we change that in any meaningful way? There are scary stories out there about the depth of poverty in this country, homeless families with not enough to eat. At a time when many of us eat far more than we need, how can we do our part to change the reality for children who are going to bed hungry? If we really want to celebrate the life of Christ, we should be giving gifts to the needy, not rewarding the greedy.
As 2013 comes careening to an end, and another year lies in wait, we have the opportunity to think about new beginnings, new attitudes, new habits. On another cool South Florida morning, with the beautiful decorations of Christmas brightening up the neighborhood, I wonder about the messages that we are missing, the opportunities for growth that we ignore. Mahatma Gandhi said “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” We must.
Happy Friday family! Have a wonderful weekend, may the season bring you many blessings and may you bring many blessings to others. For those in the South Florida area, I hope you can come and celebrate the season with us tomorrow night at Genesis Restaurant and Lounge. We should take every opportunity to appreciate our friends and dance like nobody is looking!