life coach rona 17 03 19 attitude

 

Thank goodness for heroes. They remind us who it is we want to be.

Since January 16th, my dad has been sick, in a hospital, in rehab, back in a hospital, and headed back to rehab yesterday.

He can’t eat; he can’t sleep; he can’t breathe; and, he is in pain. His days consist of sitting in a chair, being moved to a bed, then back to a chair the next day.

Yet, he rarely complains.

The core precept of Stoic philosophy is this: know the difference between that which you can control and that which you cannot control. Then, focus exclusively on that which is in your control. Forget the rest.

Dad is pragmatic. He knows he can’t control what is happening to his lungs and to his heart. But what he can control is his thoughts, attitude, and behavior.

My siblings and I have had the privilege to be by his side for many hours across these many weeks and have observed his attitude and behavior.

We have watched him as Doctors give him less than promising news day after day after day. His refrain across all this time has been consistent: “What are you going to do? We will take it one day at a time.”

We have watched how he treats those around him: he is gracious and grateful, and often shares a joke, or two, or three, or four. His caretakers love him. Many have said he is the most positive person they know.

He looks at the hard work on his road ahead and says simply: “Baby steps.”

As he has done all of our lives, Dad is showing us how to live life well.

As he embodies acceptance, kindness, humor, positive attitude, bravery, hard work, and an optimism that all will be okay, he teaches us to do the same.

And together, we grow! 🌱

 

life coach rona 17 03 12 resistance

 

My daughter takes jujitsu. As I observed her class on Friday night it occurred to me that the basic principles of jujitsu offer a good strategy for living.

I am fascinated to watch my daughter throw opponents who are much larger and heavier than she is. The technique for doing this is based on the principle of using the attacker’s energy against him rather than to oppose or resist directly.

My daughter and others in her belt rank seem to effortlessly use their opponent’s strength and movement to throw him swiftly and efficiently.

By contrast, I noticed the lower belts use force and resistance against their opponent. In doing so, they struggle harder and longer, exert more effort, and clumsily throw their opponent, often folding or falling under the pressure.

In jujitsu, as in life, nonresistance can be effortless; resistance can be effortful.

In life, we can resist, fight against, and complain about our current reality: a bad haircut, a child who is struggling, traffic that is moving slower than we need to go, a health challenge that is not going away, the promotion we counted on and didn’t get.

Or, we can accept life as is. Not from a place of giving up or helplessness. But from a place of strength and an inner knowing that when we move with the energy of whatever comes our way we are better able to use our own power and resourcefulness to manage through life’s inevitable ups and downs.

Resistance causes us to tense up, lose energy, and fall hard. Nonresistance allows us to flow and roll with whatever life throws our way.

Which will you choose today?

 

life coach rona 17 03 05 turtle

 

Lesson learned. (Again! )

While driving to MA last week to visit my dad, a tree had fallen across the parkway and all the cars were forced to exit. I felt annoyed at the inconvenience, frustrated as I tried to meander my way further up on the parkway, and sad that it would shorten my time with Dad.

Once back on the parkway, another tree had fallen on the opposite side. Those cars were at a complete stop. There was a long stretch of road between exits and the cars had nowhere to go.

I felt grateful that I was not in one of those cars!

On my way back home later that evening, I drove past a car that had careened into a stone embankment. The car was ablaze.

As I prayed for those souls, I felt grateful that I was not in that car.

I believe that the Universe served up these three parkway incidents as a reminder: whatever challenge I am facing, there is always someone, somewhere who has it worse.

Remembering this can provide much-needed perspective when managing through life’s ups and downs. Perspective can take us out of the trenches of our sorrow, give us space to breathe and experience something outside of ourselves, and provide renewed strength to soldier on.

Wishing us all new and greater perspective as we look at life so that can we experience not only our blessings but even our difficulties greater appreciation.