I don’t know about you, but this week was filled with angst, twists and turns and at times, complete surrealism. There was a feeling of the unknown and once confirmed, a reactionary response. In these moments, I tend to turn to my computer or a grab a notebook to spill my feelings. Sometimes it’s in the form of a blog and sometimes it’s in the form a sketched design. It’s a space I feel completely safe and free to share my thoughts through prose, in color, and in the space between the lines. Things don’t always play out they way we envisage them. Sometimes we feel wronged or robbed, but we have a choice on how we react or rise above. Then this evening, I came across a story that I had shared a few years ago to uplift another and it grounded me:
Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!” He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?” Michael replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, ‘Mike, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.’ I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.” “Yeah, right, it isn’t that easy,” I protested. “Yes, it is,” Michael said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line is: It’s your choice how you live life.” I reflected on what Michael said. Soon thereafter, I left the tower industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back. I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?” I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was the well being of my soon-to-be-born daughter,” Michael replied. “Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live.” “Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked. Michael continued, “The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘He’s a dead man.’ I knew I needed to take action.” “What did you do?” I asked. “Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Michael. “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Gravity.’ Over their laughter, I told them, ‘I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead’.” Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.
“THE BOTTOM LINE: YOU CHOOSE HOW TO LIVE YOUR LIFE.”
This past week the universe brought another incredible soul in my path. Initially connected through fashion, Getrude Matshe, is a Zimbabwean who found her way to New Mexico by way of New Zealand. This incredible woman is a serial entrepreneur, inspirational speaker and philanthropist. We had a deep conversation over coffee and I was graced to hear a glimpse of all that she’s seen thus far in her life. I am amazed by her courage and her desire to change the world by “teaching men to fish”. In our discussion, she used the phrase, “Life is a gift (if you know me, you know what this means) and you have to make a choice whether you live or die”.
That has continued to play on repeat in my psyche. You have to choose to be reduced or rise above. You have to choose to remain the same or to change. And while somethings you can’t change, you can choose how to face it. Until you face it, you’ll never have to option to make a change. I’ve read countless stories of people who overcame extreme odds because of mind over matter…or simply their attitude. In life there are no guarantees, it’s up to you what you make of it. And at the end of your days, did you dance or let the music pass you by? Use your voice. Use your talents. Act and create the world you want to see. Your attitude is everything and you can make a change.
With light and love!