How many times have we heard that we should always treat others the way we would want to be treated? I have heard it many times in my life and I am now wondering how many times I could have done better? OK, really I can’t count that high. Wow!
I was in a car and drove past a bus stop last week and there was a woman standing there crying her eyes out. I found myself staring at her and I could feel her pain and as the light turned green and the car I was in moved away, I wondered if I should have jumped out of the car to see if I could have helped that woman. I wasn’t alone and I wasn’t driving, so I withheld the deep need to yell ‘turn the car around’. Now I wish I had because if that had been me standing there crying a stranger might have made a difference in my life. They may not have been able to take my pain away but they may have given me hope that all would be well. Since I will never know what kind of pain she was suffering, I will never know if even a smile would have made her day.
Aren’t there many times you just wish that you handled things differently, don’t you wish you could go back and have a ‘do over’? I wish I could go back to that bus stop. But the reality is that moment is gone forever and I didn’t make a difference. Would I have even looked at that poor woman twice 6 months ago? The truth is I probably would have turned my head away and never thought of her again. After all we all have our own problems and oh my aren’t ours the worst?
This moment is all we have, we hope that the next moment will come but we never know until it arrives. Staying present in the moment is hard to do as we tend to stay rooted in the past, stay in our anger holding onto it so tightly that when the moment comes it passes us by because we are still in the past. We keep ourselves stuck in self pity, resentment, anger, being a victim….that we miss out on our one opportunity to be in the now and make a difference for others and ourselves. By not letting go of the past we will not only lose the moment, we lose our future. Our future has not been written yet and we can make it anything we want it to be, it doesn’t have to be one filled with anger and resentment from old stuff.
It was just 12 days ago that I heard some of the worst news that I could have possibly heard and I am proud that the reaction I had to it was not the reaction that I would have had 4 months ago. I know in my heart that the work I am doing to stay centered is keeping me peaceful. I thought about how I would feel in the other persons’ shoes and how I would want to be treated if I had been the person doing the offending so my response to the situation was different than any response I had ever had in my whole life, I did things differently. I was kind and loving and I reminded the person who offended me that we are all human and make mistakes. I may never know if my response was truly appreciated and I did not respond that way for the person involved, I did it for me. Now that I see that, I am satisfied that I did the right thing and no one can take that away from me.
As I go through the moments of my life, I will try to stay positive and upbeat, if the moment holds a problem I will remember that all problems can be solved and that anger and resentment do not solve anything. I will try to let go of the past moment so that I am free to embrace the beauty of the next moment because if we are open to it the gifts will come.
I am grateful today to all people that have passed through my life to help me learn more about myself and the world around me. I am grateful to the woman at the bus stop for teaching me to listen to my inner voice (even though I didn’t act on it) and hopefully next time I will!
This moment, right now, right now, right now, right now, right now, right now…. Is all we have, did we make the most of it or did we let it pass without appreciating it? Did we do the right thing, did we tell someone we appreciate or love them? Were we kind to others or ourselves?
I am positive that with practice I will learn to stay in the moment, listen to the inner voice that guides me to do what is right. And….
Remember to always treat others the way you would want to be treated!