In yoga class last night, we were doing a Sun Salutation sequence. You start standing with your hands at heart-center, you stretch your hands up to the sky, hinge at the waist, and bend down to touch the floor by your feet. As we were doing this, our instructor said, “It is not about touching your toes, it’s about the journey.” Loved that.
Life is about the journey. I have told my kids many times over the years, everything that happens in our lives, makes us into who we need to be. We have a choice in how we respond. Each of us has our own story, good things that have happened and bad, challenging time and peaceful times, things we understand and other things that really just don’t make any sense. We have a choice in how we respond.
I have had more than one person I’ve met tell me my family is weird because we are not traditional. I have two older sisters, two younger sisters and a younger brother, but we did not all grow up in the same household. The first four of us were born to my dad and biological-mom (we’ll call her bio-mom for short), my next sister was born to my dad and his second wife (my God-given mom), and my third sister was born to my dad and stepmom (my kind-hearted friend). When I was five, bio-mom and dad got divorced and bio-mom left us with dad and God-given mom. Walked away from four kids. Not sure why, but she did.
This all doesn’t sound too crazy, a little out of the norm, but not too bad, but it doesn’t stop there. When dad got married the last time, the first four of us stayed with God-given mom, she raised us (now you see why I call her God-given). The really crazy part that people have pointed out to me is, I have many memories of family events where we all still celebrated as a family… together... dad and stepmom, God-given mom and her partner (boyfriend at the time) and all of us kids. Can you imagine doing that today with your ex-spouse? Not sure I could. Now, it wasn’t all ‘rainbows and roses’ but I still love the example that they set.
Life is about the journey and what you make it. We have the choice in how we respond. This is definitely not the norm, but it was a choice my parents made. They put aside their crazy (the emotions, hurt, anger, jealousy, frustration, etc.) to try to give us some good family memories. Now, I am not saying this is for everyone, if you can do this, that is very impressive.
We can make situations loud and ugly or we can choose to take the high road. This is not a sign of weakness. There were many times it took everything I had not come unglued and say all kinds of ugly comments back to what was being said to me, but it would not have helped anything. It was not easy to let the other person ‘win’ during an argument, but in most cases, it didn’t make a difference, and what did they ‘win’? I stand my ground when it is important, but if it is not important to me and doesn’t make a difference to my kids, what does it matter. We have a choice, and I have learned, if I don’t react to them, if I don’t let them control me by getting me to respond back at them like they are to me, I don’t have the guilt and/or regret for the ugliness that came from me.
This is not easy, but with practice, it does get easier. Stand your ground when you need to, but if it doesn’t make a difference in the big picture, it is not worth the energy. Choose strength, stay on the high road, and take control of your emotions.
Sending peace, love and joy to you!