(**afterthought….this post is a tad preachy, but trust that I was preaching an interior sermon when I wrote it. By reading, you’ll have a sense of where my thoughts are about my own life….and if something resonates within your own life, then all the better)
It is a cold and windy day of May. I’ve had a few bad days, challenges, conversations which I wish had not happened.
But I cannot go back in time and redo.
Nor should I want to.
We cannot change the weather, it is going to blow or chill or overheat as she will, but we can bundle up, carry a nifty umbrella, seek the shade. We can respond to weather in ways that open up opportunities that don’t come along every day. I love my blue umbrella, but I don’t get to flip it open and see the design very often. I’m often in a hurry to the next thing and rain slows down my walking and I need to slow down.
And those challenging conversations, Amy, what about those?
Yes, we get to respond to those, too.
Respond, not react.
But that is where I get caught. Too often I react, flare up, defend, feel disgruntled, am put out. Too often I cling to feeling like an injustice has taken place and I am justified in reacting anyway I want.
Which is true. I can react any way I want.
Or, I can respond.
Responding takes breath. Responding requires maturity. Our response might not be the best, but it is better than an emotional flared reaction. Responding takes moving our position so that we can see what we’ve been looking at through someone elses place in the conversation.
The most basic conflict resolution or mediation skill is to see the situation from the other point of view. But lets add to that….in taking that breath, in connecting to our higher self, in letting maturity flow through us like silken strength, we can see that there is more than my view/their view. Their is a view from above, from below, from the East, from the West, from an angle, from the inside out. Suddenly, my choices for responding are unlimited. Our possibilities for expanding who we are in a tense moment are exponentially exploding.
Take that breath. Offer yourself grace. Applaud someone who has the guts to do what you cannot do. See the beauty in all of it, because we are all one and part of the whole.
Now, if you’re like me, you’ve “responded” only to later feel like you’ve responded poorly. It happens. What sounded like a solid response in my head didn’t come out quite right. Like the uncontrollable weather, we can rummage around within us, finding our nifty umbrellas, flip them open….and respond again. That takes A LOT of breathing, let me tell you. A lot of breathing and reflecting. And I don’t think its a redo, as much as an improvement. I can’t rub away words spoken, or eyes rolled, but I can say “Look, I didn’t handle that very well. Can I try again?” To get there, ask yourself some questions:
Is this who I want to be in this world?
Am I better than this small mindset I’ve just displayed?
What are other options?
and my favorite…..
Is it too late to respond another way?
Likely not. If we are in a relationship with someone, or even if we’ve been reactive to ourselves, there is a natural longing for wholeness to be fed. For health to return. For forgiveness to take place.
The rain does not need to be something that beleagueres me. It can be what calls me to a cup of tea and a conversation.
A bad reaction or mispsent response can be that thing that breaks a relationship or that offers a second try and a place for deeper sharing, forgiveness, understanding, and we all are smarter, more caring, more realistic in the end.
And, to be totally cheesy, when that moment of forgiveness comes, it is the sun busting through the clouds, the rainbow, the renewed earth.