“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.” ~ Maya Angelou
I’m going to tell you a secret.
But first, let’s understand something.
We tell others what we need to hear for ourselves. So when I write these words to you, I’m really talking to myself.
When I tell you to be happy, I am simultaneously convincing myself that happiness is what I want.
If you asked me “How can I pick myself up off of the floor?”
I would tell you to just keep chugging.
Because that is what someone told me last week.
If you asked me “How can I be happy?” I would share the following with you:
“Wake up! If you knew for certain you had a terminal illness–if you had little time left to live–you would waste precious little of it! Well, I’m telling you…you do have a terminal illness: It’s called birth. You don’t have more than a few years left. No one does! So be happy now, without reason–or you will never be at all.”
~ Dan Millman, The Way of The Peaceful Warrior
I wish I were the girl who life could hit with a sledgehammer and my response would be to smile back at it and kindly ask, “Feel better?”
Instead, I am the girl that Maya Angelou would probably shake her head at.
I love rainy days, but if someone lost my luggage I would have a fit.
If the Christmas tree lights were tangled, I would fall to the floor and cry and have a tantrum until someone fixed it for me.
But I would be mad at them for fixing it.
I’m the kind of girl who needs tough love in life. I will push you away just to see if you will leave, then blame you for leaving when I pushed you out. I need someone with enough fire to keep me in check, tell me when I am wrong, and praise me when I am right. I need someone to stand up to me and say “Hey, get it together. There is only now.”
[I am struggling.]
Then I need that person to turn on this song:
Make me a cup of tea.
Help me put on clothes if I’ve reached that bottom.
Then make me—perhaps physically lift me—out of the house.
Into the car.
To a studio or some faraway quiet place.
Toss me onto my yoga mat.
And leave me there until I’m ready to cooperate.
I promised you a secret and here it is:
Life is a lifelong battle.
But it doesn’t have to be.
The practice is working, all the time.
But you have to show up for it.
And the hardest part—truly, simply—is getting to your mat.
Editor: Kate Bartolotta.