During the last 8 weeks we’ve all probably experienced a lot of different versions of “sorry, we’re out of chocolate.”
Sorry, we can’t refund your trip to Europe.
Sorry, you need to pay your rent.
Sorry, your son won’t be graduating in a cap and gown.
Sorry, we’re closed.
Sorry, we only do takeout.
Sorry, your fired.
The list could go on and on. You know what it is for you. While you may experience a challenge that change is occurring, or that you simply can’t get what you want, the golden nugget is noticing how you respond to it, or perhaps, react to it.
This pandemic, with all the inevitable adjustments and concessions, has truly tested our ability to be flexible, to simply surrender to what is and roll with it. All the unknowns and uncertainties are driving us all mad.
We’ve gotten so used to having all the answers at our fingertips. If we don’t have the answer, we simply google it or ask Alexa. Most of the time, we look for quick answers to questions like “what was the name of that actress in that movie?” or “how do I make a fierce guacamole?”
We tend to trust the answer to these kinds of questions and go about our day.
Now, however, in the midst of a pandemic where the answers are not so straight forward, or in many cases unknown, we are left to our own device: interpretation.
In the gratitude training we do a lot of work around a distinction we call “fact vs interpretation” and when you get down to it, the facts are usually similar to “rocks are hard and water is wet.” Interpretations, however, vary from person to person, between cultures, politics, religions, and anything that we tend to either identify with or believe. Take death as an example. In some cultures it is celebrated, in others its associated with pain and grief. Death is still death. It’s neutral. WE put the spin on it.
Our interpretations around our current pandemic situation and unknown future are vast and creative. We are fueling our already somewhat static beliefs with anything that will make us right about those same beliefs. Some of us are even going so far down the rabbit hole that there is a newfound sense of belonging, simply because others are on board a particular narrative. We start re-tweeting, sharing, and talking about it. At some point, we even lose track of what our initial underlying belief was in the first place.
When we are unclear of what our purpose, passion and core principles are, it is easy to first bounce around to see what sticks, then, before we realize it, we are being thrown in all kinds of directions.
Social media, through algorithms and artificial intelligence, predicts and delivers what it perceives we want to hear. We become the victim to others’ narrative, to misinformation, to biased politics, and to conspiracy theories.
This information is being served on a silver platter with a bow on it. And given we have nothing better to do during stay at home orders, we engulf it, marinate in it, obsess over it, and without realizing it, our own narrative and language begin to change. We become someone else, and thereby changing the trajectory of our future...we begin writing a different story.
In my book Source Movement, I share about the five principles I live by to be the source, or context, to create peace on the planet in my lifetime. They are, Integrity, Responsibility, Gratitude, Service and Community. No matter what I do, I check in with these principles to make sure my ship is still on course towards my vision of peace. Lately, compassion has also had a huge part in how I respond to life’s challenges. If I find myself going down a rabbit hole that generate egoic thoughts such as “I’m better than”, “I don’t matter”, or “It’s your fault”, I simply re-ground myself using my principles.
So what does all this have to do with “being out of chocolate?” (See title)
Well, it’s about learning how to master how we respond to what is. When we become aware that we have full control over our own interpretation (which in turn generates how we feel about it), we can choose to work with what’s in front of us, rather than resist, reject and react. Abraham Hicks says in a talk about appreciation, that when we go to a restaurant and the menu is not to our liking, look for that one dish that you can get excited about. Then focus ONLY on that and be grateful for it. Work with what’s presented, with what is, and make it great rather than resisting based on our perceived “story.”
If we chose to look at our life as a story, or a play, or a book we’re writing, we can actually choose how we want it to play out. How will your character act during this play “The Pandemic”?
We can’t really rewrite history, we can only alter the present (how we respond to it) and the future (what’s generated out of how we respond to it). Right now, we’re in a chapter where the scene is set up based on our pre-pandemic awareness and prior conscious or unconscious character choices.
Look at it this way; you are preparing for a dinner party, setting the table, decorating, cooking, choosing the perfect wine, etc. Your final result will mirror back your efforts and intentions leading up to the dinner. You will find yourself in a scene that’s set up by you. Your context will create the content. In any given moment, you can alter the future outcome of that dinner party. Even if a guest shows up with bad news or in an agitated mood, you can choose how to RESPOND to what is, rather than react and as a result become the victim to what’s occurring in YOUR play. Instead, make it a part of the narrative, make it the twist in your plot, then create from this new revelation.
With that said, and since they’re out of chocolate, I’m now going to enjoy my vanilla ice cream fully!