I want to share with you something that happened last week that made a profound impact on my life. I went to get my hair cut. No, it’s not the wonderful job she did cutting my hair that is going to change everything. (But she should get some accolades, she did a great job). It was something she said. While the stylist worked away, we were chatting about the world and our lives, as you do with your barber or stylist. As we said our goodbyes, she said something I have not heard in a long time, “Well the world isn’t going to change so I decided to change myself.” I sat there for a moment and I said to her, “your right, and that is the answer to all of this.” She looked a bit confused and said, “But I am only one person, so it won’t make a difference in the world.” I told her that is where she is wrong. With a baffled look she said see you next time and I left. For the record, I think all hair stylists and bartenders should be awarded honorary doctorates of life. They have all the answers if you listen and think carefully about the “small” talk.
What We Have Forgotten
After some reflection about our conversation, I thought I would share my thoughts with you. How many times do you say it yourself, or hear it from a friend or co-worker, “I am so tired, I just need a break”, or “I wish the world could just slow down.” We are now 10 months into this pandemic. Every night I sit at home reading and thinking about everything going on in the world, and not because I want to. The news stories, and people talking on social media, leaves me feeling a bit uncertain and nervous about the future. I must be honest; I don’t like this feeling.
Change is Difficult
Are you questioning what is happening in our world as well? My questions create a sense of anxiety in my overzealous brain. Clichés run in the back of my thoughts, perhaps in the hopes they will shed some light on things and settle my nerves. My favorites are, “All things happen for a reason, Hindsight 20/20, or the universe will only put on your plate what you can handle. But then I think, what am I supposed to be learning from all this – what are you trying to teach me universe? I am a big believer that life changes because you need it to. But you just may not realize it yet. I notice that anyone experiencing a big life change will fight it with all their might. Life changes are to teach you a lesson or remind you of what you have forgotten. They take you down a new path with different opportunities. So, with that in mind, I decide the bigger questions are, what are we supposed to be learning from this pandemic and why is my stylist’s statement resonating so deeply.
Problems and Lessons
The most common complaints I hear are that we are too busy and wish we could stay home. We just need a day to rest. Then, we go into lockdown. We are all upset that events are cancelled, and we are told to stay home. Isn’t this what we asked for? We are told we can not visit our friends and family and we need to keep our distance. We miss these people and its not fair that we can not go and visit with our loved ones. The lesson here is that family and friends are what is most important in life. Many have lost jobs, businesses, and livelihood. Many people are experiencing financial hardships unparalleled to anything we have ever come to experience. So, we have learned that the most important thing is a roof over our head and food on the table. Fancy clothes and a lifestyle are now second to basic life necessities. Then there is the fighting about what is the right thing to do. Wear a mask, or not, reminds us that we need to take a moment and think of how our actions affect others. A simple act can mean everything to someone else. Other problems such as who we should vote for, or not, rules that are in place by health authorities, travel restrictions, the list is endless. These problems are dividing us more than ever and I am afraid it is only going to get worse. And then I hear it again, “Well I can not change the world, so I decided to change myself.”
The Power of One
Imagine the power of one. Imagine what would happen if everyone changed one thing about themselves. I was telling a friend my story and gave them an example; of something I did to illustrate how it works. I asked her what the effect would be if I woke up and decided that instead of being unhappy about what I can not do, I look at what I can do with a different attitude.
The local bakery is closed, and I really want cookies, so I dig out my Granny’s old recipe from the back of the drawer and start to bake. My daughter decides to join me. I teach her how to bake while I share a story about Granny’s oatmeal cookies, with jam in between, and sneaking them from the tin, thinking she did not know. The smell of cookies in the oven prompts her sister to join us. We all share the warm cookies, a few stories, some laughs, and spend time together. Our day changes from feeling stuck and bored to happy and warm. The girls share their day with their friends who decide to follow their lead. You know, like the old Herbal Essence commercial. (Yikes, I think I just dated myself). So, one person had a positive effect on two people, and two people share it with 4 people, and so on.
Now, let us think bigger. What if everyone did this? What if everyone took what is before us and found the opportunity in the crisis? How would things change if today we are thankful instead of frustrated, resentful, and angry?
Making A Choice
Some businesses are closing, and others need employees and help. What if we take the jobs we do not want, for now, until things change? Manage with less, for now, until things change. What if we thought I can not physically see my friends and family, but I can facetime or skype them. Remember when we did not have that option a few years ago? If you wanted to send a message you needed stamps, envelopes and include photos you had to develop. Do you remember when a long distance phone call was charged by the minute? What if we all woke up and said today “I will make the best of what I have.” Let’s see what happens to the world. I bet you one person can change the world by simply changing themselves.
I started to think about the sick, disabled, or those recovering from a catastrophic accident. How do they deal with such a massive change in their life? Is it the small things? The little victories? Is it a desire to have the best life possible? Is it because they wake up in the morning and think I can not change my situation, but I can change the way I look at it?
I am not saying that life is perfect, and we should all wear our rosy colored glasses all the time, that is not realistic. But what if we could change the world and the way we see things by just changing our attitude. What if we find the opportunity in the crisis? Laugh at the mistakes instead of getting upset. Maybe, this pandemic is just our lesson in shifting our thoughts and reconnecting with a simpler life where we remember what is important.
As we go into the holiday season, and for some a very different and difficult season this year, lets remember to think about 2020 and what it has brought to our attention. Instead of feeling resentment, anger or sadness let’s think how we could change ourselves. After I sat back and accepted the turmoil of this crazy year, I am thankful. 2020 has taught me a lot about what is important, it has given me the time to figure out how to best help those around me, and in the long run we will all have a better life. The answer was not in extra money, or holidays, or fancy things. It was in the gift of time to reflect and change how I go about this world and hopefully make a positive change for someone else
Wishart Brain & Spine Law Team
Robyn Wishart, Michelle Sagert, and the team at Wishart Brain & Spine Law are here for you. Wishart Brain & Spine law knows that recovery from a catastrophic injury is difficult. There will be days that feel impossible and other days that will be amazing, giving you the power to keep believing in better things to come. We believe that recovery is not just physical or financial. Our team is here to help our clients obtain the best possible recovery for not only the victim but their family. Part of your claim and recovery is to find resources, support and help for you and your family. You are not alone. If you are the caregiver of someone recovering from a Spinal Cord injury and need some community support, please contact our friends at WAGS of SCI.
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