"If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it."
– Mary Engelbreit
Anyone can read this quote and recognize the simple brilliance it points to, but the power isn't in the recognition. The power is in the experiencing...the power comes when you find yourself a changed person. Recently, I was fortunate enough to experience a change in perspective and all that unfolded from it. It reminded me how easily and quickly change occurs. It always seems to happen unbeknownst to me, and by the time I notice it my reality has already shifted. This is quite to the contrary of mainstream's view of change, which usually involves a long, painful process wherein one must "re-train" themselves.
Let me begin with a story. It's my story (or part of it at least) simplified for everyone's benefit. I did not grow up with my biological father, but I did grow up with a dad. He meant a lot to me, naturally. As time went on and I entered my teenage years, trouble hit my parent's marriage & my dad began to check out. One of the things that he began to do with his time was to become a mentor to various young kids in our small town. He began to spend a lot of time with other kids and he began to financially support them, as well.
I was jealous and hurt. I carried this with me far into the future. I hit certain levels of forgiveness and acceptance with my dad over the years, but I kept my boundaries firmly in place. I would, occasionally, hear about someone new in his life and how he was helping them. It always was upsetting. It was always personal even when I knew this was foolish.
There was one girl in particular that I had avoided. I avoided her, because my dad really loves her. She calls him dad...he walked her down the isle on her wedding day. He bought her a car, bought her a restaurant. People around town have asked my sisters why they never met our fourth sister sooner, yet I had never met her. It was all so overwhelming that I just decided to never meet her and to avoid thoughts of her in general.
Recently, though, in the last few weeks I have been experiencing my time with my dad differently. My perspective just seemed to soften. He looks older to me...he seems different. I don't think, in actuality, that he changed in the last few weeks, but the way I see him changed a lot. My thoughts of him changed & so the lens I see him through is also different.
There have been a handful of positive results due to this change in perspective. All of them can be summed up by the fact that when I think of my dad now, I smile. I smile, not roll my eyes...this feels wonderful...free...sweet. Beyond this, however, my new thinking created a specific experience that I know would not have happened within the confines of my old reality.
While visiting my hometown for the weekend, I made lunch plans with my dad. I know he always eats at the restaurant that he co-owns, but this time I did not suggest somewhere else...I did not squirm in my shoes while my stomach turned inside out. I just smiled, felt peaceful, and said to myself and to him, "why not?". As it turns out, my dad, my daughter & I had a delicious lunch full of laughter and love. We met this girl who I had previously despised, and I found her to be kind and sincere. I left feeling glad that my dad had helped her. No threat in site...completely secure. I felt such love for my dad. I felt so glad to have my daughter experience it with me. There was no room for my old perspective, because this new place fit just right.
So, what's the lesson here? I'm not sure. If it just took knowing that perspective changes everything, we'd all be "fixed". It takes having faith that your perspective will self-correct. This way, there is no forcing it...no willing it to be. There is only the experience of chasing a good feeling...knowing that this will take you to where you belong. Then with all the ease and grace of saint you, like I did, will find yourself changed and seeing with new eyes.