There are days that I cannot, no matter how hard I try, to find the good and positive that surrounds me. I think we all have days like that, the “nothing is going right, everything is going wrong…I’m Eeyore” kind of day.
Here is a very recent example from Chez Garrett: I took all three children on a smoothie run and while we were driving back, enjoying said beverages, one of the twins (the dramatic one), proceeds to spill half of her “treat” all over the console and front seats of the vehicle. I paused, took a deep breath and tried to think about how I could possibly drive the car with my feet while perilously trying to scoop up mass quantities of strawberry puree and whipped cream and fling them out my window before being soaked into the carpet or pooling in my cup holders and console…Well, that was my fantasy. The reality was a wet, sticky mess, a child screaming as if she was being chased by hybrid werewolves/vampire/zombie/aliens through a field of thorns, about the whip cream loss, and panic cries from the other two in the back seat as they clutch their drinks in fear they will be commanded to share.
Suffering from short term hearing loss, discombobulation due to wet pants-itis and extreme frustration, I pull over to yank every possible napkin I have ever saved in my glove compartment to start the triage process while my son is exclaiming that he needs to “go to the potty” so loud that Australia could hear him. Final straw, yes, we were reaching it but on the radio came the Rolling Stones song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and I did a 180-degree mental turn from quietly cursing and shooting lasers from my eyes to laughing, nodding my head and getting back in the car to limp home and clean.
So what is the moral of my story, you ask? Well, first, whipped cream loss cannot be used in the “reason by insanity” plea nor is it a reason to scream three octaves above your speaking voice. Second, things will go wrong…there will be bad days…but the actions/reactions/situational issues that occur should not define you, define your perspective of life or cloud your reactions. Think about how you handle trauma, disappointment, loss, mistakes…what is your conditioned response? Was I angry, frustrated, and stressed? Yes, and I allowed myself to feel those things but I will admit I felt guilty about it. However, I saw my daughter’s face, and how my reaction affected her and I realized that how I react, how I present my mood, how I view the world directly impacts her. Over time, she will see that circumstances will define her, society and others’ expectations will define her, my worldview and my reaction to adversity and disappointment will help define her. She can internalize the examples around her to paint her mood, level of resilience, and mindset for a lifetime. What is important to note is, I may not be in control of the outside forces (as much as it pains me to say) but I am in control of myself. I have infinite control and power over my thoughts, my attitude, my ability to push through adversity, and how I interact and treat others. My ability to address and respond to life will evolve over time as I age, gain experience and education, and surround myself with like-minded and positive people. So, what will I represent to my children as they grow and develop their own paths, will I be the phoenix or will I be the fire?
Looking in the mental mirror, how do you see yourself? Do you define or do you let others create the image you see? I worked with a voice student today that has an incredible voice. She began her singing aspirations at an early age and sought education and mentorship from Broadway veterans. She has auditioned countless times and faced rejection. She has worked hard over the years and has an incredible gift. She is a perfectionist and is always looking to improve the tone of her performance. When I see her sing, when I hear her sing, I see a confident, strong woman…all the barriers and caution she has built around her disappears when she sings. She embodies the emotion of the song she sings. That’s the essence of vocal performance, good technique but what connects you with your audience? Your presence, your emotional connection with lyrics, how you relate to, and present to the senses the intention of the song. When asked for her perspective, she is clear that she doesn’t see what I see. She is an artist that has insecurities from past criticism, missed opportunities, someone that isn’t good enough. Well, she is more than good enough, SHE IS ENOUGH. The key is knowing that while we are not perfect, and never will be (I might add), we are a work in progress. Progress, not perfection…say it with me…progress, not perfection.
Let me give you a visual. Think of a large, tired, old bird that has landed in their nest. This bird was once vibrant in song and with color but life has made this bird weary, she is tired and wants rest. In this bird’s final moments, she bursts into flames and the heat of the fire that has been released from within her, the essence of who she once was, consumes her physical body and ashes are left. While tragic, magic is about to begin. Over time, the ashes come back together and from this mound of ruin comes a more beautiful, strong, bird that has luxuriously colored feathers, a crown that flows down and falls among her wings. She is stunningly beautiful in song and physicality. What has happened? Out of chaos, disappointment, fear, restlessness, struggle, etc. came beauty. She is progress, not perfection.
When presented with this story, the fire seems to be the nemesis, the evil that consumes and destroys but I want to challenge that. The fire is what comes from within, it is the burning desire, the listlessness of being trapped in repeated, limiting patterns. The fire bursts forth, destroying the old, destroying the disappointment, destroying the limiting beliefs, past hurts, old resentments. What comes out of the internal devastation is the beauty of new…the beauty of the evolving mind…the beauty of progress. Stepping into the fire, stepping into the vision that you are meant to be, taking chances and risks and becoming your dream…that’s bold…that’s the Phoenix. So how do you plan to show up going forward? What will your Phoenix look like? What impact will this resurrection have on the world around you? Represent who you truly are and what you are meant to be. Step into it, own it!
Do You, Be You, Love You…Be Flawsome.