At the end of the Olympic coverage a few weeks ago, there was a special segment on the city of London, with an interview of a couple who had lived through the war. The energy of these people was great, and at one point the woman (who now must be in her 80’s) said that after particularly horrendous nights of bombing, she’d see hand-written signs posted around saying, “Is that the best you can do Hitler?!” with the tone of “bring it on, you have no idea who we are!” There was something about this that made both Jack and I smile. They were radiating courage and optimism and far more than being just survivors, they really seemed like they were loving life.
We’ve had a lot going on over the past week or so and I’ve needed to reach out and contact a number of people, most of whom were really glad to hear from me, and a very small percentage who gave me a “cool reception”. After one uncomfortable phone call, where I could feel the guardedness of the other person, I hung up and somehow remembered that woman who lived in London, and said in my mind , “Bring it on. You can be as unfriendly, cold and distant as you want to be and I am going to do what I need to do anyway.” I actually felt a sense on inner joy, happiness and power as I said this (very different feelings than I had been experiencing just a minute before). Those words pulled up an inner courage that felt delightful.
When I think that I need someone to love me, be nice to me, be happy to hear from me, or not snub me, so I can be happy, I am at the mercy of their mood, and am a passive player in my own life. But when I can say, “What you think of me is none of my business. My only business is what I am thinking of me, and what I am thinking about you, and I am going to do my best, to think the best, about both of us!”, I can feel myself returning to that deep center that really knows all is well.
“Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it–it’s just easier if you do. If you have a problem, it can only be because of your unquestioned thinking. ….When you know how to question your thoughts, there’s no resistance. You look forward to your worst nightmare, because it turns out to be an illusion…” Byron Katie*, from A Thousand Names for Joy; Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are.
Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is, is really a great place to dive further into this concept of not being afraid of situations, people and relationships by questioning our thinking.