There’s good news and bad news.
The good news is, you have a lot of options, and you could become any one of a number of future you’s.
The bad news is, you have a lot of options, and you could become any one of a number of future you’s.
The person you are today is the result of choices made by earlier you’s. That is the law, and there is no changing it. (You don’t get to blame God, the government, your mother, that nasty co-worker, or your ex-husband. The universe operates under the law of free choice. As they say in the 12 step programs, your best thinking got you here. If you don’t like wherever that is, change your thinking. It’s like a navigational system in a vehicle–it will follow the coordinates you set.)
I hear you. You’re saying, “Did all those people in the way of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita choose that path?”
I believe that, in the strictest, most elemental sense, they did. Before they came into this wonderful, dangerous, messy world, they agreed to the experience, for purposes only God can fully understand. I know it’s tough to wrap a mortal brain around this, but that’s why they call it Faith. If we didn’t have to take a lot of things on trust, what would be the point of the exercise? And no–this does not excuse the rest of us from compassion and generosity and active participation in the solutions. If we don’t push up our sleeves, forget our differences, and wade in to help, who will?
And who really knows? The hurricanes may have been allowed because it seems to take a major disaster to get people giving and thinking as a unit. Furthermore, the hurricane may be a pivotal point along the path to the selves these individuals want to become. Adversity can crush the spirit, or it can strengthen. Even if you didn’t choose the disaster, you can still choose your interpretation of it. That’s the fulcrum, the point where the balance shifts. It’s not the event. It’s your interpretation of the event.
Back to the succession of you’s. The first step in getting unstuck is to choose a direction. Who do you want to become, day by day and choice by choice? Go ahead, check out your future selves. Use that powerful imagination of yours. Pick a self you like, and one who is doing something you now regard as impossible. (That’s important. Why bother with a self who won’t step outside her comfort zone and try something new?) Journal about this Future Self of yours. Maybe even dialogue with her. (I do this a lot, and it’s powerful.) Ask her questions. How did she get where she is? What steps did she take? (Don’t expect her to be perfect. She’s still moving along the chain of successive selves, toward an even better version of herself.)
As an example, do you want to live in abundance, or do you want to be a bag lady?
If you make conscious, focused choices, you will do the former. If you live by default, believing that life is random and you’re a victim, you might become the latter. (Though probably not, because there’s Grace to consider. Thank God for unanswered prayers.)
I guess the bottom line is, show up, suit up, and play the game. Be involved. Be present. Be the best current you possible. Know that bruised knees and bloody noses happen, in any game.
Choose an objective.
Set a course.
And move toward the next self, choice by choice.
Don’t try to leap from Current You to Mother Theresa. Quantum leaps are no good, because when you make one, you miss all the learning experiences in between, the insights and skills that would have sustained you in the new place. You need the foundation gained only by making the journey, with no shortcuts.
Just fix your sights on the Next Best You. That’s quite enough. Do your best, and keep moving.
It does take…
May you be blessed.
May you be safe.
May you be healthy, in mind, body and spirit.
May you stand for those who cannot yet stand for themselves, but will, if we just keep our lamps burning so they can see the way.
May you prosper, and share that prosperity with others.
May you be your own best friend, for then you will be able to be a real friend to others as well.