by Linda-Ann Stewart
Our desert area has been receiving some much needed rain. One day, it threatened but never fulfilled the promise, so Jeff and I decided to take a walk before dusk. We were about ten minutes from the house when it thundered and the heavens opened. As we sloshed our way home, getting drenched, I chuckled and said to Jeff, “This is something we’ll laugh about in a few months.”
I could have gotten upset and made myself miserable (or emotionally miserable, as I was already physically uncomfortable) about the situation. Instead, I took a more objective view of the experience and kept it in perspective. The incident wasn’t going to last more than thirty minutes in our entire lifetime, and it was going to become a good story to tell. So why should I let its importance get blown out of proportion?
I have a favorite saying, “Everything is relative.” I don’t believe in a black and white world, nor do I believe that there are absolutes (except for the Universal Absolute of love). All of our beliefs, attitudes, and experiences are in relation to everything else in our lives. For example, a person may enjoy eating high fatty foods and not exercising. Then one day, their doctor says, “You have heart disease, and unless you change your lifestyle, you’re going to die.” The patient now has to make a decision about what they want most.
All of a sudden, they realize that their pleasurable life is killing them. They have to change their perspective towards their lifestyle to continue to live. If they love life, then they’ll choose to permanently change their menu and activity level. In the span of a day, the importance has shifted from one type of enjoyment (cakes, sauces, butter) to another kind (mobility, breathing, continuing to be with loved ones).
I’ve known many people who had a diagnosis of heart disease, diabetes, or respiratory problems from smoking that suddenly transformed their viewpoint about their way of life. They either had to change or suffer a lesser quality of life. However, they didn’t just go through the motions of modifying their habits, without adjusting their view of them. To be successful, they had to make their changes mental and emotional, and not just behavioral by quitting smoking or altering their diet. They became highly motivated to make the changes at every level of their being. What was important in their lives switched from one day to the next.
This is true in every area of our lives. For example, Josie refused to talk to her friend due to a minor disagreement. Then she heard the friend had lost her job, her partner, and had a health scare. Suddenly the dispute paled in comparison to Josie’s concern for her. Her point of view about the situation shifted.
It’s like looking through a kaleidoscope, then turning the far end. When you do, the pieces of brightly colored glass move around so that you see a completely different pattern. The same pieces of glass are there, but their design has been radically rearranged. We don’t tend to let go of the familiar until it becomes more trouble than it’s worth and our perception of it changes. Then, the formerly comfortable becomes less important than the new objective, and we’re willing to put our energy towards improving our lives.
When you’re confronted with a difficult decision, an unsettling situation, or are simply feeling upset, you can ask yourself “Will this matter in a month?” or “What is the long range effect of this, and what am I willing to pay for it?” If you want to alter an attitude, belief, emotion or behavior, figure out how to change your perspective toward the old way of being and increase your motivation for the new. Once your perception has made an impression on the subconscious, all the pieces will adjust to your new viewpoint.
I remember that “Everything is relative.” As I make my choices, I assess what’s most important and keep things in perspective. I decide what is best for me in the long run. When I make a decision to change, I know that the Universe will support me as I support myself. Using all of my inner and outer resources, I easily and willingly release the old way of being and now move in the direction of my goal.
Copyright 2007 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved