“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.”
“To a dog, there are no good or bad smells, there are only smells.”
Someone who can apparently speak with dogs
That’s it, basically. Words can be strung together in an infinite number of ways to tell the story of life, to flesh out the details or glean the lesson, but what it boils down to is just that – things happen. Label it what you want – incidents, phenomena, cosmic flow, predetermination, chaos or, as the bumper sticker philosophers do, shit – life is just a series of events stewed together. Things that you have witnessed and participated in make up your life. The things I have seen make up mine. We are born, a bunch of stuff happens, and we die. Things happened before we were here and things will continue to happen long after we have ceased to be housed by this fleshy shell.
These things may sometimes cause you to scream, laugh, curse, run, cry, eat, smile, drink, sleep or begin scrapbooking, none of which, though, will have the slightest effect on whether or not they happen because those are simply reactions. Things happen and we react and that becomes our experience. This is how we define our existence. We paint the moments of our lives with emotions, thoughts and actions, creating our reality all the while as reality is wholly our creation. How we react to the events that unfold around us is the most important factor in determining the narrative of our lives.
This is not to say we can’t influence how things play out around us because I think we can. I believe that our energy and intention have, in fact, more to do with the course of future events in our lives than most of us (me included) can possibly understand. But that is concerning what is yet to come, not what has happened or is happening now. The last lines in our stories are always the ones we are writing in this moment. We don’t know yet what the next moment will be nor should we – that would take a lot of the fun out of it.
What we are left with is a canvas covered with all of these things – these moments – outlined in pencil, just waiting for us to paint them. We alone, then, determine if we will paint them with our fury or our repose, our sorrow or our joy. We dictate what that moment will forever be to us. We give each moment its vibration and its resonance in our lives. Good or bad, hot or cold, naughty or nice.
Of course, it isn’t all as simple as just choosing different colored paint. Our palettes are hugely influenced by societal norms, cultural beliefs and individual fears, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be changed. Revolutions fail, spouses cheat, dogs bite and dinners are burnt – all of which can at first look like a paint-by-numbers picture, leaving little for us to interpret. But maybe the revolution was misguided, the spouse was an anchor, the dog had a thorn in its paw and dinner sucked to begin with. Maybe more was to gain by such seemingly negative events than could first be seen. Maybe the angry red brush can be traded for a softer tone.
The same can be said for events that first appear to be nothing but positive. The winning lottery ticket does not always become a painting of happy little trees, as it were.
How we choose to process these things that keep on happening, then, becomes our experience, our reality, our life. How we learn from all of these things is also a product of this choice. If we label some moment as good or bad we have already limited our own ability to digest all of the possibilities. If we instead choose to just process the moment as it is without attaching an emotional judgment to that moment, then we can free ourselves from the constraints of our visceral reactions.
Things happen. A bunch of stuff happened today and I expect tomorrow will look about the same. I will continue to try to process the things that swirl around me without attachment, not looking for the good or the bad, but for the lesson. And using all of my colors.