Life is full of randomness.
Whether you believe that everything happens for a reason, or that your day is a collection of random, unexpected surprises, it remains that while we can plan for a load, the majority of the events cannot be anticipated, let alone controlled.
I would like to believe that random or not, what happens carries a meaning.
I am well aware it’s my way to reassure myself and to relieve my constant internal chatter; I can also see it in various life events through the lens of hindsight.
And let’s face it, I am rarely that philosophical when the thingy hits the fan.
In the heat of the moment itself, it’s somehow difficult for me to kneel and thank whomever I feel like thanking when I am in the middle of a crisis; however, I must say that for the majority of the times, I ended up seeing the end lesson.
It remains for me that an event can be an opportunity for further learning.
And when on a beautiful Friday morning I got hit by a car, it got me thinking…
How did that happen?
Why did that happen?
Slather, Rinse and Repeat
Why did that happen again?
Weeks later, and I still haven’t found a satisfying explanation for it, although I gained some precious insight since.
Music blasting in my ears, I was taking a walk in sunny Manhattan, my brain weighing pros and cons of a decision I needed to make for some time now, when bang …it hit me, no, not an idea, but an SUV.
It was no big deal really, the driver didn’t see me, he hit the brakes at the last minute and I fell. An unfortunate hazard of living in a big city…that’s all there is about it.
And yet, the thinker that I am, I have been since racking my brains for a reasonable explanation.
The why, in a nutshell.
So here goes a countdown, chapter by chapter, of my process, and some key takeaways for you to ponder.
Chapter 1- the gift of being present
Aside from the moment between being hit and landing on the pavement, I was fully present.
I was on full alert, seeing, hearing, and feeling, my brain processing and considering options.
It’s not worthy of any medal in itself, but worth noting because it allowed me to feel clear headed and to take my decisions quickly and rationally.
There is a time and a place for fantasy and daydreaming, and being in the middle of a crisis is not one of them.
Being aware of what’s happening around you at that precise moment, when you allow yourself to experience life, real time, taking a small step back to observe the situation, this is when you mobilize knowledge and logic to take your optimal decision.
Chapter 2 – the gift of seeing the kindness
Between the two teams of firemen, the police, the people, the EMTs and even the driver himself, everyone was kind. Just plainly and genuinely kind.
I was expecting respect and professionalism. I got the best of humanity.
The woman who collected my belongings didn’t have to do it.
The driver told the police it was his fault, and he turned to me and said he was sorry, many times over. I was quite fine; it wasn’t that bad, he didn’t need to apologize. Yet he did it, repeatedly.
Could that be the blessing in disguise that is so much talked about?. There are so many times when I bitch and whine about how aggressive some people can be in a big city. Have I been so blinded by my frustration and exasperation that I am not seeing the humanity in the little gestures?
Are you missing out on these moments that could restore your faith in mankind? Can you look around you today, during your commute, at work, at home, and make a mental note of all these random acts of kindness? How does that change your perspective when you get to your office or to your home at the end of the day?
Chapter 3 – the gift of the seeker
I wonder if you are like me; you need to know why things happen?
Why do I need to know? Because once I brought something to the surface, I start paying attention to the patterns, so I can change any unhealthy behavior.
I can then investigate and understand the underlying causes, the roots, the outcomes and the changes that I need to make.
I become a different person as I am shifting my mindset. I can then make corrections and amends and move on.
Are you one to need to know the everything of anything ? If so, congrats, I can tell you, you’re not the only one. This is a gift. I call it the gift of the seeker; others may tell you that you are one of those doubting Thomas. And hurray to you! By doubting, due diligencing, enquiring and questioning, you know that whatever you decide to do will be the right decision and choice for you.
Now the question for you is, are you an overthinker? By spending too much time over-intellectualizing, aren’t you missing out on life’s mysteries and adventure? See today which are the places where you need the gift of the seeker and the other places in your life where you can practice the gift of acceptance of what is.
Chapter 4– the gift of acceptance
Ah that one. I have so much resistance to it.
“You don’t need to know why, just dance with the flow of life.” I cringe every time I hear people say it.
What the heck does that mean? Do I look like the biblical Job to you?
I always wondered if Job was really sane and if he wasn’t secretly a masochist. In reality, I see him now as one of those guys who see in any challenges an occasion to rise above and learn more about himself. And by accepting his reality, as it is, without the need to control it or to give it a meaning, he showed us a way to self-mastery.
It’s called the path of least resistance.
I know from my side that I have a long way to go before getting to that point. I will continue rebelling and fighting against everything until I get another message, or a hit in this present case, that will make me finally question my ways.
Why do we have to make everything so complicated? Isn’t it a gift, to be inspired and to go with the flow, without needing to overanalyze what we are eating, wearing or saying?. It seems so much easier to just let go of the ultra controlism and embrace the present moment…yes, back to that one.
The art of acceptance is also that art of letting go and of surrendering to the present moment. Now if this feels unattainable to you, as in, “it will never happen”, “over my dead body”, I am with you!
However, there are smaller steps that you can do to make it easier. And probably the most obvious one is to drop the expectations.
You know what they say, the higher the expectations, the higher the disappointment.
So if you expect the lightening of Zeus to make you the new Gandhi or Buddha or Jesus (or any other superhero), think again. Because the only thing you will get is an epic thunderstorm, and you’d be surprised to see by yourself that, it’s true, sometimes lightning can hit twice. Just saying…
And sometimes, going with the flow is seeing the weather app and taking the right umbrella. You don’t need to know why it’s going to rain today. Right?
Final Chapter – Get the message or the lesson for that matter…
I remember reading one day from famous Coach Cheryl Richardson that her teacher said to her something along the lines of, “when it’s time for you to receive a message, you’ll first have a little nudge, if you ignore it, it becomes a problem, if you ignore it, it becomes a full-blown crisis. So get the message”.
So yeah, don’t wait to get hit to understand that it’s about time for you to start the process of moving on.
In other terms, don’t wait for an uncomfortable situation to stink before getting out of it.
Don’t be the last one to shut down the light.
When a situation is not satisfying anymore, when it’s making you queasy, don’t settle; see this unease as one of those nudges that are telling you that something needs to change.
A good time to start that search for a better place to be.
Whether everything is a message or just something fortuitous, we will always be better off moving on from the catalyst and do something about it.
You get to decide on the appropriate action, or non-action, depending on your own circumstances.
One thing for sure though, there is always a lesson to be learned from any kind of events. Because the beauty of experience is that the lesson and the knowledge can be transferable and adaptable too.
We have the freedom of own our choices. Our responsibility is to use that freedom wisely.