“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well- preserved body, find but rather to skid in broadside, find thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “WOW!! What a ride!”
The quote reminds me to ask myself how I am living my own life.
I have not sent out a Laser Coaching Tip! since June because I had the opportunity to spend time with my 84-year-old father as he transited through the worst part of a serious illness.
My dad and I didn’t get along in my younger years; he wasn’t the best father I thought he “should” be. The vein of conversation I had about him was along the lines of, “if he had only helped me with my career choices, or if he had only attended all the father-daughter opportunities that were available to us, or if he hadn’t traveled for work so much, or if he wasn’t so gruff in his communications with me” and so on, “then my life would have been perfect.”
It wasn’t until I was able to notice that what was missing was my own commitment to be responsible for what I think that I began to have a fulfilling relationship with anyone else.
Yes, what I actually *thought* about my father (and others) led me to assume that it was his responsibility for me to be happy. With coaching at age 30, I began to observe my undermining internal conversations, and then I finally began to discover what my father had contributed to me. My 7 siblings and I always had clothes to wear, good healthy meals on our table, the experience of traveling the world and life in another country, and an education in good schools. This led me to the realization that I can take on anything and be as successful as I commit to be.
By learning to shift my way of thinking, in this case with my dad, I’ve been privileged to learn who my father has been in life.
He was born months after his 5 siblings and his parents immigrated to New York from Hungary in 1921. At 18, he joined the Army-Air Corps and became a fighter pilot, flying sorties on D-Day. During WWII, his plane crashed into a barn, and he broke his back. That didn’t stop him; he got out of the hospital after having metal rods and clips placed along his backbone to keep his spine straight and went on to fly in Korea and Vietnam. In the early 60’s, before the world knew it existed, my dad was a test pilot for the highly secretive long range strategic reconnaissance titanium plane called the SR-71, also known as the “Blackbird.” He professes to have taken it to heights of 93,000 feet and to Mach 3.2. He shared with me that he flew “everything in the air” from 1940 to 1970, retiring from the Air Force after 30 years.
He took up skiing at age 60, and it was extremely difficult to catch him on the slopes. I could go on for pages! What I know is that my dad has contributed to me mostly by living the true meaning of “skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “WOW!! What a ride!”
He’s still recovering, and yet with my willingness to have given up who I thought he should be, I know if he is to pass away before I do, I will have truly earned the privilege of being loved by him.
We were to learn to consistently shift our thinking to what’s right about or what works in our lives?
We will always be able to turn our mistakes and predicaments into opportunities for growth and relatedness.
In the next month, begin to observe how much your old ways of thinking about others have shaped how you are with them; the conversations, the actions you take on, the thoughts of who they *are* in life.
Next, begin to look from the perspective that you may really not know them as they are today, only who you determined they were years or even months ago.
Notice what begins to happen in your interactions with them. Is there room for discovery? Joyfulness? Compassion?
And, as always, do let me know what you find out practicing this exercise.