How To Stop Owning Other People’s “Shit”…


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WARNING: I’m going to use the word “shit” a lot in this piece. I like this word because it gives you a clear image of the steamy pile of issues we’re all dealing with on a daily basis. So, from now on when I say “shit”, what I mean is, issues, past, wounds, hurt, pain, boundaries, belief systems, political perspectives, the sum of personal experiences and the unconscious of our “self” and others. I hope they change the definition for “shit” in the dictionary soon. You will also see me quote “self” a lot in this piece. The reason is because our “self” is all relative. Meaning, that our “self” and how we see it, is in constant flux, the way we identify it and with it is constantly different. So, I put “self” in quotes and separate from “your” and “our” so that you can separate a little from the concept and put “self” into a different perspective. You should read this aloud with your friends and turn it into a drinking game. Take a shot every time I write “self” and “shit”. Oh, and make sure to air quote them in the aloud reading. You’re welcome. Let’s get to it!

We have been told, often times, people and situations we encounter are mirror images of ourselves. It’s been said that the things we see and experience are merely reflections of the sum of our “self” back to us. I agree with this, but I think it’s being misinterpreted. People around us are only reflections of our “self” in the sense of your inner self. So, you need only pay attention to your inner feelings and voice in these interactions to gain insight into your “self”. This is the only true reflection happening. Often times, I believe others have interpreted this to mean that the way others treat you or the things about them that bother you are keys into your own “shit”. This is simply not true, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The reactions, emotions and judgments that others have towards you are plain and simply the sum of their own “shit” (see definition above).

We find our “self” (drink!), owning other people’s “shit” often. If we feel that we’ve hurt someone’s feelings or offended them in some way, we will own that. As children, we are taught to say “I’m sorry” if we have hurt someone’s feelings. So, in that sense we have been programed to own others feelings. Should you be sorry if you hurt others feelings? Well, let’s take a look at the definition of “sorry”.

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In a sense, “sorry” is used to convey how you are feeling about someone else’s “shit”. So, yes, I suppose it’s OK to be sorry for them in that respect and feel for them that they are feeling a certain way. What we do not teach children is the difference between owning your actions and owning others feelings. For example, if Timmy hits Sara over the head with a book, he should be sorry for that action. If Sara is upset because Timmy didn’t notice her new dress, he shouldn’t necessarily be sorry. Those feelings are due to her own experiences, those are her feelings alone to own. Can Timmy be empathetic towards Sara? Sure, and if he ever wants to be successful with women, he should be! So, if Sara is crying because Timmy didn’t notice her dress and expresses this to him between sobs, perhaps instead of saying “I’m sorry” he could say “I empathize with that”.

There is a big difference between owning someone's "shit" and owning your actions, it's important to know the difference. It took me many years to realize this. So, I found myself struggling with friendships and relationships because I was simply taking on too much responsibility for their "shit". You have to allow others to have and own their own "shit" and you need to recognize your own coming up. Can you empathize with them? Yes! One of my favorite lines I love to say is "You don't know their story". If we took the time to understand other's stories, we could recognize when their "shit" comes up better. So, when you come into a situation where you've offended someone or hurt their "feelings", try to understand where they are coming from instead of being "sorry".

Stop Owning Other People’s “Shit”:

1.) Stop being a scientist: It's not your job to dissect someone's response towards you. Stop spinning your wheels wondering WHY they are acting the way they are. If you are sincerely feeling empathetic towards them, ASK them about their feelings. The answer you get may still be blaming, in that instance you can sympathize, but keep in mind that the root of their feelings truly has little to do with you and all to do with their "shit". Let it go!

2.) Recognize the difference between being sorry and being empathetic: You should most certainly make an effort to empathize with someone. To understand their story, to experience those feeling with them and NOT to experience guilt or sorry feelings BECAUSE of their feelings.

3.) Catch and release: When feelings of guilt or sorrow arise from someone's reaction or feelings around you, remind yourself that you cannot own other people's "shit". Ask yourself if you’re simply taking on someone's "shit". Remember sometimes our own "shit" is in fact to take on someone else's "shit". Recognize when it's happening. Catch it quickly, allow it to run its course through your emotions, release it.

4.) Practice: Use uncomfortable situations to practice. Is this truly YOU causing someone to FEEL this way or is it their own "shit"?

5.) Take Breaks: Sometimes, we just need emotional breaks from life to reevaluate. Spend time in nature or with animals. Use this time to reflect on your own "shit". Better understanding our "self" helps us to better understand others. Spending time in situations where we do not have to navigate the reactions of others helps us to put our "self" back into perspective.

6.) Remember: It's not always about you. Most of the time, it's about them.

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How To Hear Your Soul


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I’ve read all the self-help books. I have “creating your own universe” and positive thinking down to a science. What I seem to lack is direction. What do I want to be when I grow up? What can I do, that will sustain me so that I can get out of the rat race for good? I’ve often felt that I am “good” at a lot of things, but not “great” at any one thing; a least, not great enough to be successful at it. However, I’ve had this recent epiphany that everyone has this same line of thinking. Therefore, we are all sitting around working away at our safe 9-5’s banging our heads against the wall waiting to find something we are great at. The good news? While everyone else is waiting to find what their great at, if I simply choose to start acting on what I am “good” at, I’ll be ahead of the pack just by taking action alone. I find that we tend to be our worst critics. So, we hold ourselves back, mostly due to our egos, and we simply settle for being content.

I don’t think we are here to be content. I think we are here to be so full of joy and love that we exude this out to others. I think that each of us is indeed great at something, but we never come to realize it because we are too busy keeping our heads down and berating ourselves. So, I find myself in a peculiar situation. How can I convert,” good” in to great and great into financial independence in order to kiss the rat race goodbye forever? I think the first challenge is the need to start with a huge mind shift away from the external chatter and towards the inner voice of the soul. The hardest part is getting out of your own way long enough to recognize the thoughts and feelings that are truly authentic to your souls needs. Meaning, finding the way to recognize when your ego is driving and your soul is not. How to recognize this? First you need to learn to differentiate between the cry of your soul and the demands of your ego. The ego is very similar to a two year old always wanting their way. It will nag and nag and nag. It will be very loud and very demanding and at times incredibly draining. The ego is hard to please.

What we are looking to hear is the soul. The soul is quiet, it’s patient, and the soul will wait its turn to be heard. It will not demand attention and it will never create discomfort. As human beings, we have been programed to listen to the ego. The ego is the one that buys the expensive car and house, anything it can do to make it feel soothed and noticed. The things the ego wants do not truly make you happy, but instead seek to please the outward. The ego is greedy. It’s unforgiving. In order to drown out the ego and hear the souls true purpose speak to us, we have to take conscious actions to put our best listening ears on. Here are

4 steps to quieting the ego and hearing your souls wish:

1.) Meditation – the best way to quiet the ego is to remove it from situations where it needs to be heard. Put it in situations where being heard is not beneficial. Giving yourself time alone, to quiet the minds chatter, will help you to feel the soul. To hear what it needs.

2.) Mindful Awareness – Create awareness to what you truly desire and let your ego take a backseat. Imagine yourself stranded on a desert island and ask yourself a few key questions that will help you to define if your ego is talking or your soul is reaching out.
• If I were stranded on a desert island, would this still feel good?
• If I were stranded on a desert island, would I still feel the need to own this?
• Would I still feel the need to help others stranded?
• Would I still feel curious about other islands?
• Would I still want the biggest tree house on the block?
• Would I still feel superior if my clothes were less worn than those surrounding me?

Find what feels good to you on your island. Putting your mind in these situations will quiet the ego, in this scenario the egos wants become insignificant because there is simply no use for them.

3.) Write Your Obituary – You read that right. In the end, we all end up in the same place. Questioning our own mortality puts life in a whole new light. It helps us to put into perspective what is important and how we want to be remembered.

4. Begin To Act – Each day over the next 3 months, take one deliberate action towards your souls purpose. Keep a journal to note the changes in your attitude and your body. Note the changes in others around you. Note the changes in the world around you. Note the changes in your meditation, mindful- awareness and at the end of 3 months write a new obituary. If you notice improvement in these things at the end of your 3 months, you’re hearing your soul.

If each of us were less afraid of not being able to achieve greatness by society standards and we began achieving greatness by the standards of our souls, the world would look very different. You would look very different. I encourage you to find your souls voice. Take the 4 step challenge and see where it lands you.

If You Think You’re Pretty


When I was 10 the coolest thing around was the roller skating rink. If “coolest” didn’t show my age I’m sure the skating rink bit did, but then again I’m a slightly out of touch on what’s hip with the kids these days, so maybe cool is still cool. I guess I need to have some kids so I can know what’s cool again even though parenthood inevitably makes me uncool with both my friends and kids alike. The skating rink always smelled of stale popcorn and sweaty teenagers, but I loved it. My mom would take me every weekend for months. Until one of the “punk teenagers” pushed her and she broke both her arms, yes both her arms! My father nearly killed the kid, like seriously. You don’t know my dad. Anyway, getting off topic here. I so desperately wanted to be one of the cool pretty girls. I wanted to dress like them and talk like them and be picked first for the couples skate. Unfortunately, I was a frizzy red headed slightly overweight tragically fashion challenged very loud and awkward little girl. Need more of a visual? You know that little girl in a bumble bee outfit tap dancing for like homeless dudes in the “rain” video by Blind Mellon? Yea. Pretty much like that. Look it up, early 90’s, tragic little girl, just like me. What ever happen to them?

Anyway, None the less, try I did, to fit in with the pretty cool girls. One such desperate attempt to be a cool girl was made up of a plaid skirt, knee high socks and a button down shirt. Maybe I was channeling my inner Britney Spears. Anyways, I clang to the only other girl in the rink near my age thinking strength in numbers. She was a foul mouthed too short for her age gum in chewing confident runt. I wasn’t sure where all that confidence was being created in that bite size little body. We skated into the bathroom where the runt pulled out a small bottle of liquid from her even smaller training bra. She held it to her nose and inhaled “want some?” she asked pushing it into my face. It smelled like my dad on a day he forgot to use deodorant and compensated with what he called “foo foo juice”. I wrinkled my nose and turned away to cough saying “Why would I want that? You know that’s men’s cologne, right?”. The runt started rubbing the cologne on her neck laughing at my ignorance “Yea, I know it’s cologne doofus, I like to smell like men have been all over me”. I decided I was OK with not smelling like men had been all over me, that seemed like something I wasn’t cool enough to pull off and people would just think I’d lost a fight with a skunk. The cool older boy that worked Saturday’s playing music and making announcements came over the loud scratchy speaker “Ok kids, it’s time for snow ball, girls on the left and guys on the right! You know the drill, once around then rink and then grab a new partner”. I nearly fell on my butt as the girls put away their lip gloss and ran screaming out of the bathroom to line up against the wall. I hated snow ball. It was my most dreaded part of the night, I like shoot the duck or fast skate, those only took skill.

Kid

Snow ball took coolness and being pretty and thin. It was kind of a stupid name, I always thought, because it made no sense at all. Now that I am an adult, I think some sick 40 something dude made it up and laughed hysterically at these unknowing teens happily running out to participate in “snow balling” each other. Ew. I just threw up in my mouth a little thinking about that and the scent from the rink came rolling back to me. Anyway, here I am on the wall of shame waiting for anyone to ask me to skate but even the dirty stinky boy passes me up for the girl next to me who puts out her hand without extending her arm and making a face like she was sucking on a lemon. Even the stinky boy passed me up. The runt had already been around the rink with three boys as I stand pathetically against the now empty girl side wall. I think about skating back to the benches, where at least I can appear not to care with the other SMART rejects that didn’t even attempt to stand on the wall. The runt comes over and does some fancy toe turn to rest up against the wall next to me since she was so tired after skating with so many boys. Bitch. Anyway, she goes “Why haven’t you skated with any boys” and I’m like “I dunno, maybe I look silly in my knee high socks, like maybe they only look cool when you’re not in roller skates, or maybe I should have smelled like men have been all over me or maybe…” she finally looked over at me and took a break from making google eyes at the boys passing by. She tilted her head smacking her gum and chewing like a new born cow.

She looked absolutely puzzled by what I was saying and I thought perhaps I needed to explain further my concern with my knee high socks, but she looks at me and starts talking so I don’t get the chance, “If you think you’re pretty, you’re pretty” she said in a high pitch squeal before skating off with boy number four. I felt like I had been hit with a sludge hammer. I repeated what she said to me, out loud, as she faded into the dark strobe lights of the romantic snow ball skate. “If I think I am pretty, I am pretty?” I asked out loud. What the hell does that mean? What do my socks and my scent have to do with how pretty I am? Until that moment it actually legitimately didn’t occur to me that anything like that would factor into how pretty I was. Not only did these things not factor in, but being pretty never even really occurred to me. Like, sure the boys weren’t asking me to skate, but it legitimately never occurred to me that it had anything to do with whether I was pretty or not. So, I rolled my silly socks down, turned my back to the rink and decided I was pretty. I decided I thought I was pretty that night, then I didn’t care if anyone asked me to skate. It’d just discovered this major secret, that I was pretty. So, I starred at the wall through the whole Whitney Houston song and counted the lines, for each line I repeated, “I’m pretty”. Seriously, I was 10 and this actually happened.

So, here I am feeling really good about myself and doing positive affirmation (before I knew what that was) and do you know what happened? Actually. Nothing. No one asked me to skate, but I strolled off that skate deck like I was a model on a run way and I did not give a shit. That felt really good. So, maybe it didn’t matter if a boy asked me to skate. In fact, I didn’t even bother getting up for the next “Snow Ball” skate. I waited until the skilled skating challenges and I won a trophy. I wish I could say that night changed my life. I wish I could tell you I didn’t struggle with eating disorders or seeking unhealthy attention, but I can’t. All I can say is, when I think back on that night, I think about the life long struggle I have had to get where I am today and that is empowering. One day, I hope I can meet a frizzy red headed slightly overweight tragically fashioned challenged very loud and awkward little girl and tell her “own that shit”. Because one day, none of this will matter and the fact that you are brilliant like no other will matter. I’ve had my fair skates with boys now that I am an adult, and it’s not all that great. Although, the affirmations followed me through life, so I guess I have something to thank that little smells like lots of men runt for.

Accept The Fact You’re Already Dead


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You have already begun to die. At this moment you’re closer to death than you are to life. Each and every day you die a little more. Perhaps you should just accept the fact that you’re already dead. When sick patients receive the news that they are terminally ill with limited time to live, suddenly the world becomes their playground. Sometimes, they even have their wildest dreams granted. Do you think that is because they have accepted the fact that they are dying? I recently read somewhere that this reaction is a direct result of our ego taking a back seat for once in its life. Suddenly, keeping up with the Jones’ isn’t the priority. Driving the nicest car and wearing the latest fashions lose their luster and their meaning. Things like family and adventure, true soul searching take up the driver seat. Ironically, this is how we should be living the remainder of our lives on a daily basis.

This isn’t a new concept, right? I mean it’s been done before, psychologist have pondered this for years. I know, you’re sitting there saying to yourself “yea, but I have responsibilities and I can’t just abandon it all to live a care-free lifestyle”. So, I guess then you just accept the fact that you’re already dead?  Which means, that you are missing all the in between stuff. Just because you live life to the fullest, doesn’t mean you have to abandon “responsibility”. Everyone has a different version of happiness, I am simply suggesting that you find yours. Maybe happiness to you is being the CEO of a company or maybe it’s traveling the world with nothing you can call your own except your name. There is no right or wrong, but something must be done. If not, life becomes a series of “have to’s”. Obligations and responsibilities that we all have to do. Let me ask you this, if you’ve accepted the fact that you’re already dead and succumbed to life’s many demands, why have you chosen to create hell as your final resting place instead of heaven? Why have you chosen to be miserable instead of happy? This is a choice people. There are many people all around the world that have much less than we do that have grasped this reality and chosen to mold it into a heaven instead of a hell.

Any of you that have read my past posts or know me personally know that I am not an advocate for organized religion. I’m simply using the concepts of “heaven” and “hell” because they are easy for everyone to relate to. One of the reasons I have kept organized religion at bay in my life is because I strongly feel that guilt, repression and judgment are a huge part of most of those “houses of God”. I think that God, if he truly existed in the form that is being taught in our churches, would be appalled by the misinterpretation of “his word”. Anyway, that is another rant for another day. Today’s message, should you choose to take it for its grain of salt, is that you can choose your heaven and you can choose your hell here on earth. If you subscribe to the belief that everything is made up of the same energy then you’ll agree that really, they are all the same thing. You just have to decide which vibration you want to be a part of. Perhaps that’s why they call it a “higher” vibration or a “higher” IQ or a “higher” bank account. Really, we all just want to get high. You have the power to be at a higher vibration in life if you want to be. If everything feels like it’s falling apart and life has become too much, ask yourself why. I’d be willing to bet many of those reasons would relate to the expectations of society or others around you that you have put on yourself. We were not meant to carry the burdens of obligations to our religions or our peers or even our family. We were meant to create love and abundance for the world. If we all start focusing on that and stop focusing on guilt and the need to be outwardly “successful”, what do you think that world would look like? All those people you are trying so desperately to please, will start to reflect this back to you. You are your own worlds mirror.

So, consider this your notice of terminal illness. Because, honey, I hate to break it to you, but you’re not going to be the one that gets out alive. Take your dream trip, fall in love, follow all of your dreams. Put away the judgment of others and watch how fast others drop the judgments of you. More to the point, who cares? This is your life and you only get one shot in your current form. You can have all that you dream of, but you must first dare to dream. We were not put here in this form to live life just enough. We have been given the gift of free thought and each of us has the ability to use that tool to our advantage. Choose to believe that. Every limit that you have put on yourself, every insecurity and doubt is yours alone to own. Put your ego in the back seat and start steering your life based on how you want to feel and where you want to go. It’s a lifelong practice that will ebb and flow but you can start by taking the chances that you have the privilege to take.  If things start to look bleak, start appreciating those little things you take for granted. I mean, all the little things your take for granted! I love to travel and that is certainly a good way to remind all of us in the US how lucky and spoiled we are on a daily basis. You don’t have to feel bad about that, but I’d encourage you to be thankful for it!

We have not been programed mentally our entire lives to think this way. We have been programed to believe the we are not good enough and that what others think of us is very important. Therefore, our ego tends to take the driver’s seat more often than not. I always think of my ego as a whiney little boy barley able to touch to gas and the break. Peaking over the steering wheel, crashing into things, leaving me with bruises and scars. He’s up there saying “are were there yet? Why aren’t we there yet? Sallie got there yesterday and now we are behind”. Remember that your ego is your small child and they need to be disciplined. So, tell them “take a back seat kiddo, I’m taking back control”. You wouldn’t let your five year old drive you around all day would you? Then why are you allowing your ego to?

The only thing standing between you and your dreams is you.

Deep lessons Concealed


Whenever something negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it – Echart Tolle 

I try not to focus on the negative aspects of my life. I try to take deep breaths mediate and send loving energy out to the world. I try to send loving energy to those that are not giving me the same respect. I’ve learned a few hard lessons over the past few months.

1.) When your mother told you to just “ignore it” when girls at school were being catty towards you and they would stop, she lied…. it didn’t work then. It still doesn’t work.

2.) You cannot jump into a friendship as an adult the same as you could as a child. You have to ease into the process and really get to know others true colors…. or you will find them out too late. 

3.) Some girls never grow out of catty, jealousy or revenge. You have to be the bigger person, even if you draw blood biting your tongue.

4.) Sometimes being the bigger person, get’s you into more hot water. While others are busy discussing you, and you’re refusing the discuss anything, I guess it’s human nature to listen to the one talking. Even if it’s ill intended. 

5.) Those that cannot make up their own minds, will allow others to make it up for them. Even with little or no evidence of the accusations. This is why our judicial system is so broken.

6.) If someone thinks something you’ve written, said or thought is about them…….they have a guilty conscience……………(A Good friend pointed this out to me the other day, wow so true!) 

7.) It’s OK To go on a totally negative rant on your otherwise ZEN blog when you’ve reached your wits end.

8.) It’s OK to decide someone isn’t a good fit in your life. You can still pick your friends even if you can’t pick their noses. Pick carefully or you might draw blood. 

9.)  I’ve always subscribed to quietly and gracefully exiting a relationship and I still will.

10.) When you’re getting married, you should be allowed to talk about it all the time. You should be able to complain about the 18 different dresses that were all wrong and every single annoying and ridiculous detail of it. Your friends should smile and nod and smile and nod until you have no more talking about wedding in you. You should be able to have little to nothing else to talk about until it’s all said and done.  It’s a right of passage as a good friend. We all have to do it and we should all secretly love it when we truly are a good friend. 

11.) Life is busy and complicated. All the time, it’s up to you to decide what is important to take up that time.

12.) At the end of the day you still have try not to focus on the negative aspects of your life. Try to take deep breaths mediate and send loving energy out to the world. Try to send loving energy to those that are not giving you the same respect. Learn a few hard lessons over the next couple of months.

Resistance Epiphany!


This morning a read an article by Suzannah Scully that really hit home for me. Lately, I have been feeling this big dark space inside myself and I am not sure what to fill it with. When I tell people that I have an amazing job that I hate, they think it’s simple to reply “then do what you love”. For some reason what I love is harder to do than one might think. It’s not harder in the sense that it’s particularly hard to achieve, that might be true too, but I think it’s harder because it’s so close to me. I’ve been struggling to pin point why this is and where this is coming from. I’d tell friends and family that I knew I wanted something, but I just didn’t know what it was. They would encourage me to pick my music back up or write the book I’ve been meaning to for years and I would shake my head “no, no it’s not that it must be something else, something I will actually be successful at”.

After my book club finished reading “Madly Chasing Peace” by Dina Proctor, we were graced with an in person visit to talk about the book. This turned into a round table of questions that eventually lead into creating your own universe and our own personal beliefs and experiences. I remember feeling so vibrant and excited when discussing these concepts that I love! At the end of the discussion I thanked Dina and briefly mentioned that I was struggling with what I am “meant” to do and that I had been meditating on it to no avail. Dina teaches a 3X3 method where she outlines how you can strengthen your mediation by practicing the skill for 3 minutes 3 times a day. I remember she asked me “what makes you feel good, how did you feel when you were doing music?” I felt this serge of discomfort bubble up into my chest and I waved off the suggestion like it was completely outrageous. She then said “sometimes it’s just a matter of getting out of your own way”. At the time I thought I understood this statement, but now I know I didn’t until today.

It wasn’t until reading the article by Suzannah that I had this truly A-ha moment when I realized what the discomfort was, I was resisting. The article details an episode of Super Soul Sunday where Oprah Winfrey was interviewing Steven Pressfield on his latest book “The War Of Art“. She goes on to explain the premise of the book and the interview. Which I will not attempt to do because she had written it so eloquently I simply could not compete and I highly suggest the read. However, the one line that hit me like a ton of bricks was “When I heard Steven say that the more important an activity is to our soul’s evolution, the more resistance and fear we will fear, I knew exactly what was happening to me. Every fiber of my body is trying to stay in my comfort zone.” Oh, My God. That was me! I mean that is exactly what I have been trying to explain to myself and anyone else that would listen.

So, now I have the explanation. Now I know what this uncomfortable feeling is whenever I start out to tap into my creative side that I love and loath so much. I think what I have discovered from this epiphany is that I simply need to start something. Perhaps it will lead me into another career path that I hadn’t thought of or perhaps it will simply fill the empty space enough to feel whole again. Either way, the message is ACT. All this time I felt I would be completely happy just to obtain financial stability and to a point I was. It fed my desire to travel and opened opportunities that had not be available to me in past careers. Although, the longing was still there. The sense that something was missing still seems to bubble to the top.

I’ve decided that if I am feeling resistant towards something, I should try to pursue that very thing. I’ve always loved being a recording artist, but the stage was for the birds. I resisted this so much because it was totally out of my comfort zone. I liked keeping my head down in the studio and having complete control over the outcome. I will actively set out to correct this and see where it takes me. Perhaps, I am meant to be on stage or perhaps I am meant to get other people there. What I do know, is that I am not done exploring the idea. I will start the book that gives me great discomfort to even admit to in writing. It’s time to move towards the resistance with equal and greater force. What are you resisting?

Make Lemonade


One thing people tend to forget in life is that not everything is about them, in fact nothing is, it’s only the way you feel about it which makes you take it personally. Even the way someone is acting towards you or a current circumstance really has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with that persons own experiences and interpretations and your feelings towards the situation. Most of society has not learned the skill of controlling their emotions and are therefore are in fact controlled BY their emotions. The way that you “feel” really has very little to do with the person or situation you believe is causing you to feel that way. It’s your choice to make a situation whatever it is and you have the power to change it.

I was recently traveling in Hawaii and feeling a bit down because my Fiance had been on a business trip there that I had tagged along on. Granted, I should have been prepared to spend a significant amount of time alone due to his work responsibilities, but alas I still whined “there is nothing to do by the time you get off, we haven’t done anything!” It hit me then, that yes WE had not been able to do anything that was worthy in my opinion of a vacation adventure, but that was not his fault. I still had myself to blame for letting time pass idle. Even though truth be told most people would have been perfectly content lounging about the beautiful beach of Waikiki and here I was complaining about being lonely. By the second day, I realized how silly I had been allowing these feelings of fear and self pity overwhelm my time in this beautiful place, even alone! I decided to take matters into my own hands and ventured off by myself. I found a sailing trip for only $20 by chance and hopped on board with a boat full of strangers! A wonderful couple from Vancouver shared their beer with me and I learned so much about their lives. What an amazing thing they had done, moving all the way from Korea to Vancouver learning the language and cultural differences along the way!  Had I decided to let my emotions get the better of me I never would have had such a wonderful encounter.

I ventured off to the zoo next and was in awe of the difference in the experience of being with the animals solo. It was a week day so there were few people walking around and I had the opportunity to sit individually at each exhibit, quiet and study the animals. With no pressure to rush and no other obligations, I took advantage of my time to sit and spend significant time at each station. I saw couples and families walk by, hastily peering into the exhibit for a few minutes, shrugging at the lack of animal presence and walking away. I’d smile and chuckle to myself as the leopard would poke his head above the rock once all motion ceased on the outside. I wonder if he felt relief to be seemly alone again and had to laugh at my own resistance to that very same gift.

Leopard

I watched him for quite some time, having off and on staring contest as if trying to read the others thoughts. At one point a rather loud and rambunctious crowd drew with children and their yelling parents. The children would whistle and make loud roaring sounds towards the leopard. Slowly and reluctantly he pulled himself two by two to all four feet. He yawned and climbed onto the rock closest to the bench I perched on, now surrounded by yelling children. His face turned serious as he squatted then peered down at the children, all anxiously awaiting some remarkable act. The leopard had a bowel movement yawned and retreated back behind the rock. Wide eyed and shocked the children let out an enormous ripple of laughter as if this was some kind of deliberate comedy routine for their amusement. They trotted off happily exchanging gasp and laughter at one another.  “If a message was being sent at all”, I thought, “the joke was on them!” To me it seemed like a big “screw you for messing with my nap, take this human brats!” I let him sleep after that and moved onto the elephants.

The one afternoon that my fiance did have totally free we planned to go hiking. Based on the tip of another amazing person I met on my trip. She was a local coming home from LA and we struck up a conversation on the airplane, I was so inspired by her passions and plans for the future. She and her friend had been planning to open their own boutique in Hawaii. People that truly know their paths always fascinate me and I love learning about them. Upon walking to breakfast on this beautiful morning a sudden down pour hit and we knew hiking was too dangerous and out of the question. We talked over breakfast about all of the what if’s that could occur and decided it was too risky, but just as quickly dismissed all of those thoughts and figured even worst case wasn’t so bad. Since we were on a positive and somewhat dangerous train of thought, we decided to rent moped’s and cruise up to the hike in the rain.

Along the way, the down pour became so intense that our clothes were soaked through and we could barley see in front of us. We pulled over to the side of the road, but instead of discussing the obvious dangers and misfortunes of the weather we laughed so hard we cried. We climbed back onto the soaked leather seats and continued our trek. As it turns out, reading directions while driving a moped is not a very realistic feat. So, instead of heading to the hike suggested by my new local friend we found ourselves randomly at diamond head. Just as we made it to the top of the look out view, the rain ceased and the beautiful skies shown through. Most people would have chosen to let the rain get the better of them, they would have run back to their hotel news paper over their heads and waited it out. The fact is, a bad situation is only a bad situation if you decide that it is and allow it to be. Every moment in life, even death can be joyous and free. We all have a limited amount of time on this amazing earth in our current physical forms. It’s up to you to feel the best you can in all of those moments in your life, even the “bad” ones.  Choose to enjoy, choose to release situations that cause you grief and are out of your control, choose to be happy, choose to change, choose.

If you don’t add sugar to lemonade, it’s going to be sour.