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Hello and welcome to this quarantine addition. Which for me, looks like just another day of the week. I spend 99% of my time working from home, so now I just don’t have to feel guilty for never changing out of my yoga pants.
I knew I wanted to talk about the unprecedented times we’re navigating, but I kept thinking, do we really need one more person telling us to be safe and how to deal with these uncertain times? It seems like everyone is going Live on Facebook with encouragement and posting a plethora of funny quarantine memes on Instagram.
I feel like we’ve all talked about this pandemic ad nauseum and I’m not sure I could add much more to the current steady stream already flooding your social media and tv, but then again is there really anything else we think or talk about?
So, instead of just giving the standard encouragement of “we’ll get through this”, I hope to bring a fresh take on this topic and push you even further from your comfort zone.
I hope to challenge you to
- Change your perspective
- Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
- Utilize your greatest asset
Even though everything I’m talking about was birthed from our current events, this is not about politics. It’s not about republicans, democrats, liberals or conservatives. This isn’t even about the USA vs. the rest of the world. This is more personal than that. This is a personal philosophy that I hope will challenge you to apply these in all areas of your life — religion, relationships, education, politics.
In a matter of two weeks, I went from a sleepy American to a blazing citizen. This pandemic has spurred me into an insatiable thirst to learn what is going, the history that leads us to this point, and the long term economic effect this will have on our world.
As you can imagine, Matt and I tend to swing on the side of Kumbaya. We hold our personal values of life and liberty, but at the end of the day, we’ve stayed away from current events and politics, because of its volatile environment. We haven’t watched the news in probably…ever. Especially these past 6 years as we’ve focused on keeping our thoughts free from fear.
But then suddenly the world turns upside down. I realized I can no longer ignore what is going on in my world. This crisis is affecting our jobs, our finances, our health, and our future. This is hitting very close to home and it’s throwing us out of our complacency. It’s thrown me out of my complacency.
It’s time we get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’ve learned to live this way when it comes to my emotional healing and relationships with Matt and my kids, but this is a new level of growth for me.
But like the Dali Lama says, “It’s the very struggle of life that makes us who we are. And it is our enemies that test us, provide us with the resistance necessary for growth.”
It’s easy to immediately believe that drastic changes like this in our world are bad and headed for disaster. And even though the virus affects so many people, it’s definitely a concern, but over the past few years, I’ve begun to operate for a new perspective. A perspective that does not immediately jump to defining situations as “good” or “bad”, because there is no way of knowing the consequences of any given situation.
There’s a story that’s told by Alan Watts that explains this
Once upon a time, there was a Chinese farmer whose horse ran away. That evening, all of his neighbors came around to commiserate. They said, “We are so sorry to hear your horse has run away. This is most unfortunate.” The farmer said, “Maybe.” The next day the horse came back bringing seven wild horses with it, and in the evening everybody came back and said, “Oh, isn’t that lucky. What a great turn of events. You now have eight horses!” The farmer again said, “Maybe.”
The following day his son tried to break one of the horses, and while riding it, he was thrown and broke his leg. The neighbors then said, “Oh dear, that’s too bad,” and the farmer responded, “Maybe.” The next day the conscription officers came around to conscript people into the army, and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. Again all the neighbors came around and said, “Isn’t that great!” Again, he said, “Maybe.”
The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity, and it’s really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad — because you never know what will be the consequence of the misfortune; or, you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune.
With this sense of not knowing whether everything that happens is good or bad, it goes back to the scripture that says, “All things work together for good”
So, no matter what, at the end good prevails. And like John Lennon said, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”
So, how do we take things in life that we would generally classify as bad, “like the world shutting down and thousands of people getting sick and millions losing their jobs and businesses? How can we honestly say good can come from this world disaster?
The Dali Lama in the Art of Happiness says,
“In today’s world, the attempt to develop a flexible mode of thinking isn’t simply a self-indulgent exercise for idle intellectuals — it can be a matter of survival. Even on an evolutionary scale, the species that have been most flexible, most adaptable to environmental changes, have survived and thrived. Life today is characterized by sudden, unexpected, and sometimes violent change. A supple mind can help us reconcile the external changes going on all around us. It can help us integrate all of our internal conflicts, inconsistencies, and ambivalence. Without cultivating a pliant mind, our outlook becomes brittle and our relationship to the world becomes characterized by fear. By adopting a flexible, malleable approach to life, we can maintain our composure even in the most restless and turbulent conditions. It is through our efforts to achieve a flexible mind that we can nurture the resiliency of the human spirit.”
It’s when we are most flexible in our perspective, our minds, and our willingness to adapt to new situations in life, that we will discover the most happiness, opportunities, and growth.
And our president, Donald Trump in his book, America We Deserve, says, “There is opportunity in adversity.”
We have an opportunity during this global downtime to tap into our greatest assets, but the problem is, we tend to take these assets for granted because they’ve been given to us for free. They’re standard issued at birth. These are our health, love, family, and life. And our greatest asset that we rarely invest in: our mind.
Ironically it’s the things that cost us money that we put the most value on, except those things can easily be replaced.
In 1914, There was a massive explosion that incinerated 10 of his buildings, destroying his life’s work and Thomas Edison told a reporter at the scene, “Although I am over 67 years old, I’ll start all over again tomorrow.”
Thomas Edison understood a very important principle. Things that cost us the most money can be here and gone today, but can easily be replaced tomorrow. The things we buy with money can easily be replaced.
But the gifts we’ve been given for free are often the ones we take for granted the most, all the money in the world could never replace these things once they’re gone. So, during this time of uncertainty and global panic, we must remember to invest in our greatest assets, we must double down our investments in these things because our return will never crash and will always return a profit.
During this time with all this extra time on our hands, it’s important to tap into your greatest asset — your mind.
James Allen states in his book, As a Man Thinketh, “A man’s mind may be likened to a garden”. And it can be carefully tended to or allowed to run wild, but either way, it’s going to bring for its harvest. Just like an actual garden, if plant flowers or poison ivy, it doesn’t matter, they will both grow in a bountiful harvest. The soil doesn’t care what you place in it, it will produce whatever you plant there.
You decide what is going to grow in the garden of your mind. You can plant fear, but what you harvest will be more fear. Look for ways to educate yourself, because its education replaces fear. Explore your curiosities, because like Walt Disney said, “Curiosity leads you down new paths.”. Dive deep into learning, exploring and stretching the capacity of your mind for this is where lies your freedom and the solutions to your problems.
Emerson says, “What lies behind us, And what lies before us, Are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.”
There is greatness within you. I know you can sense the beating drum of your heart, calling you beyond the life of complacency. We’ve been given a gift in our world. We can see it as a travesty or we can see it as an opportunity. We can look at it at our demise, or we can see if as a collective rising up. We can see this as our potential end or we can see it as a new beginning. It’s all in how you look at it, but just know you play a part in raising the collective. You’re not a victim in your life. You’ve got control even when life feels out of control.
It’s time to begin planting the seeds of life, love, and understanding in the garden of your mind.
Here’s my challenge for you: During these quickly shifting times, begin to root yourself in the solid ground of love. Pay attention to the seeds you’re planting in your mind. Are you listening to those who are spreading the seeds of fear, panic, and worry? Do not dwell on these things. Look for new perspectives in every situation. Remember, there is no way to judge whether a situation is “good” or “bad”, so radically accept life as it comes, and there is always a solution to every challenge in your life.
Keep investing in your greatest asset, your mind, as you pursue an abundant life.