In a world where everything is fluid and ever-changing, are we prepared to face the flow of life with its incessant chain of pleasant and unpleasant circumstances?
In the face of unpleasant circumstances, am I prepared to show up with dignity, and reflect the best of who I am?
Last week, I came home at the end of an intensive workshop day (Personal Mastery for those who have been through the experience before). It was 8pm and I had just picked up my daughter from soccer. She had a lot of homework. Here I am hurrying to open the door to cook dinner and maintain an appearance of normal routine during the disruptive rhythm of a nine-day workshop. But I turn the light on and the house stays dark. No electrical power at all in our home. Surprised, I go into my familiar knee-jerk mental models:
- Feeling anxious about the state of the world, the increase of natural disasters and the collapsing of the old infrastructures in the USA. What’s wrong with the country?
- Feeling victimized that we are the only house in the neighborhood with no power. What’s wrong with us?
- Feeling guilty that my daughter can’t do her homework. What’s wrong with me?
- Feeling angry at my husband, in case he didn’t put the flashlights in the right place. Well, he actually did.
I failed to react with dignity. I don’t believe that I have to show up as the best version of myself all the time. But, in order to prepare my nervous system for inevitable and unpleasant life circumstances -like aging or dying, for example- I could practice by graciously handling the small ones.
So, next time I am in Paris and receive pigeon droppings on my head, I’ll make sure to smile with dignity and thank the bird for reminding me about the fluid and ever-changing nature of life.
And next time I go home and there is no electrical power, I’ll make sure to thank Pacific Gas and Electric Company for reminding me that in the face of power outage, I can still be an anchor of light.
Reflective questions: What are the small unpleasant life circumstances that you could handle differently?