Bring it on!

Our friend Margaret has chickens, and they love sitting on top of her hot tub!

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.

20 thoughts on “Bring it on!

  1. Good Morning, that’s just it, sometimes I forget ”
    life is simple”, plan to read the books by author.Thank You Mary for this reminder. Have a wonderful day.

  2. Absolutely perfectly said! This certainly resonates with “the truth of who you are”.

    I worked with a principal once whose philosophy included “when you meet a hornet’s nest, embrace it”! Not always easy to accomplish, but with your encouragement Mary, the results can be amazing.

    i’m looking forward to reading the book you mentioned. for further encouragement

    Love from Fran

  3. Your third paragraph today is absolutely brilliant and inspirational. I’m going to pin it to the bulletin board above my desk. As a longtime sufferer of needing to be liked by others in order to feel happy and good about myself, I work every day at my recovery. Your words will be a daily reminder to stay focused. Thank you.

  4. This post is perfect timing for me! Remembering that others moods and attitudes are their problem, not mine, is sometimes hard…especially if I am in a hypersensitive or emotional mood myself! I love the ‘is that the best you can do…bring it on’ approach! You are so right! And I never thought of myself as being a passive player in my own life if I allow or choose to be negatively impacted by another’s mood! I don’t want to give that power over to them! Thanks Mary!

  5. One thing I learned about situations when someone gives me a cool reception or is downright unfriendly is to simply tell myself, “It’s not about me. Let it be theirs.” I often say that to my daughter (who is in high school) when she complains that for no reason she can understand, someone she knows snubs her or reacts to what she says by being irritated. People carry their own baggage, and we often have know way of knowing what’s happening in their lives to make them react negatively to what we say or do – it’s not our problem- let it be theirs to deal with. Great post, Mary.

  6. Dear Mary, your strength and bravery in the face of adversity is an inspiration! I have spent a large part of my life helping others feel good about their life, themselves….only to realize that the most important person who needs my help is me! Thank you for your reminder to stay centered in the realization that how we treat ourselves is paramount to joy and harmony within. Byron Katie’s book sounds fabulous…thanks for the tip.

  7. Just what I needed to hear, about wanting the approval and “niceness” of others, because over the next few days I have to tell some people things they won’t want to hear, yet must be said. Thanks for the attitude I’ll need to take!

  8. “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” Amen, Mary, you could not have said it any better…in my early 70’s though I might admit to slightly more than early as I have a birthday coming up….I reached the point this year and two years ago with two young women in my family, my daughter and step-daughter, who have kept me dancing on my insecure toes for many, many years. Why did it take me so long to wake up…?? My own insecurities, that’s what. What a waste of time and years. They both had me over a barrel and I’ll rephrase that and say honestly, I had myself over a barrel. You’ve sure hit the nail on the head this morning, Mary….I’m pulling off the above quote and pasting it to my printer…my inspiration station.
    SandyP in Canada

  9. Thank you for this post, Mary. Given some recent happenings in my life, this was a perfect reflection for me this morning.

  10. The Brits had guts and class. They are an excellent example.

    Thanks, Mary, for another reminder of how to pay respect to ourselves. My 70th birthday is fast approaching and, like Sandy P., I don’t know what has taken me so long to respect myself enough to finally voice what needs to be said (to my daughter-in-law). This may be a birthday of mine the NO ONE will forget! 🙂

    Thanks for another shot in the arm…or should I say, Idea-in-the-head?

  11. I think there may be a run on Byron Katie’s book at our local libraries, or however we all get our reading material these days. It is so hard to confront another with painful things we must bring up. We put ourselves in a vulnerable position not knowing if we will be received with respect and a true listening heart, or if the other person may know just which buttons to push to make us feel we are somehow not justified to feel the way we do. I am so glad to read these words today, Mary. Like many here, they seem to come at just the right day. Was just about to hit post comment when this came to mind from Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

    This above all: to thine own self be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man.

    One other sentence Mary that jumped off the page for me was “Everything happens for you, not to you”. I guess then when life hands lemons “to us” it’s up to us to take them and make them work “for us”.

  12. Well said Mary! I especially liked your sentence about being “at the mercy of their mood”…love this and will continue to work hard to relize I can’t control what others say or do or feel but only how I react.
    xoxo

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