Over the weekend, I was leaving my neighborhood when a majestic white heron, like the one pictured here, flew low across the street in front of my car.
Seconds later, I turned left onto Village Boulevard (speed limit 30 mph, I believe) when a burnt orange Range Rover with out-of-state plates suddenly appeared behind me, swerved around me and zoomed toward the main entrance.
Definitely not neighborhood etiquette, not to mention downright rude! I quickly opened my iPhone camera and tried to snap a pic of the license plate but I was too late.
I was furious! Good thing I was on my way to my regular Saturday morning 12-step meeting.
Then it hit me
Suddenly I realized how the previous 30 seconds was a microcosm of my life.
Two quick moments: Close encounters with a beautiful white heron and a rude driver of an ugly Range Rover–each eliciting strong, instant emotions. Which do I focus on after the moment has passed?
I laughed out loud when I got a mental picture of Little Beth stomping her foot and muttering through clenched teeth, “Range Rover.” But the adult, more expansive me? White heron, of course.
Choosing where to place your focus
You’ve had similar experiences, right? A moment of awe or wonder or thrilling adrenaline? And a second moment–maybe within the “good” one, that is ugly or hurtful or just yucky.
It’s the Cherokee fable about which wolf do you feed?
Your decision is crucial because it sets the tone for what comes next–darkness or light? Kind-hearted or gritchy? Loving or hateful?
In the split second you’re given to make the decision, try to see past your self-focused vision to the people your decision impacts. Your family, children, neighbors, or in my case, the people with whom I shared the suburban streets. Our decisions always have consequences.
James Allen said, “Man is made or unmade by himself. By the right choice he ascends. As a being of power, intelligence, and love, and the lord of his own thoughts, he holds the key to every situation.”
My entire Saturday hinged on the decision I made in the 30-second flash of the white heron and the Range Rover. We make those choices multiple times each day.
Teach yourself to be present to those moments and then choose wisely. Your day, and the days of everyone you encounter hinges on your choice.
Peace to all!
P.S. A quick shameless plug for Facing Addiction and the team on the ground in Cleveland at the Caucus for Addiction Solutions during the Republican National Convention. Catch Facebook Live news coverage and interviews. Next week it’s on Philadelphia to host the Caucus during the Democratic National Convention.
Photo courtesy of AcrylicArtist