Saturday, December 31, 2011

It pays to have change

My mind seems full with material to write about. When loved ones and friends share that life is challenging them (as it should), I seem to encourage people to write about it. There is something about writing, and the release it brings, that allows the mind and spirit to ease the perceived stress of the challenge.

While home over the holidays I faced challenges that ordinarily may have been viewed (by me) as "bad." However, this year, this Christmas season, I finally grasped how the challenges were inherently "good." I came to the realization during the Thanksgiving season spent at home that,

those whom we love most challenge us in a similar light.

I appreciate that about those close to me. They do not necessarily intend to challenge me, but they do. Generally speaking, in my family, we easily allow our thoughts and feelings to flow free. If I share something that doesn't sit proper with a family member, chances are good that they will voice their view, their opinion. This usually leads to some sort of debate - however short or long - with the end result being an acknowledgement of differences and no real consensus. I admire that my family has strong opinions about how they think and feel. I think that is a good trait to have.

In a similar manner, what would of been different had we, as loving people interested in understanding and accepting each other at where we are in life, sought to not defend our views, but observe them instead of reacting?

It is not common practice in my family to observe necessarily, we are assertive pursuits and this makes for strong thoughts and feelings, often shared aloud. My wish is to not condemn this because I feel it is an interesting portrait of not only my family, but as Americans at-large. We portray to be such strong and opinionated people, and in that we discard the idea of change; especially internally - the easiest and hardest place to start.

*****

It pays to have change. This was apparent when, on my drive back to North Carolina, I pulled up to a toll both somewhere in West Virginia with the right amount of change. To my puzzlement, a large overload of cars were lined up in the Full Service line. My guess is because they didn't have the exact change, or even bills smaller than a 5 to pay the 40 cent toll. After pulling through the toll booth without wait or issue, I smiled and exclaimed out loud: "It pays to have change....and it changes to have pay." What an interesting and dichotomous thought!

In order to make sense of this seemingly shifting blog post, I'll share this: we generally seek with fervor a change in our external lives - money, job, house, material possessions, etc. We do not, generally speaking, seek internal change or reflection and when the "toll both" comes, we are scrambling to deal with the new challenge - reacting with potentially flawed adages and prior experiences instead of openness and humor for the unseen. Much like my family, if change was met with acceptance and not such predictably reactive comments, would we shift to understand and accept the various viewpoints of other loved ones; even if we didn't agree? Effectively transitioning through the challenge to a space of internal tranquility for the viewpoint that differs from our thoughts, experiences, and opinions.

The portrait of our past has been painted in America, and much like us as humans it is flawed; but, there is always a new canvas in which we can forge our expressions - no matter their flaws or inconsistencies; no matter our age or stage in life!


Put it ahead of you.  We can change. Though, we need be open to it before we can. 


Start with your family, your friends, or even your perceived enemies. If you can accomplish, regardless of the stumbling and greater desire to remain "right" in your own mind, the ability to transcend yourself to accept others, you will have explored an inner change in your life, and that pays! It pays beyond the material world in which we've created.


Seek life and growth, start small, and keep spiraling!
In love and growth,

Alan 
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