by Nick Andrea
I was raised with the idea that, “When things go wrong you can choose to look at them a different way.” In my youthful obstinance, however, I considered this advice to be the hopeless optimism of a mother trying to protect herself and her son from the uncomfortable fact that they were utterly powerless to change their circumstances. Yet, in my elder years of 31 (a ripe old age, if I do say so myself) I have discovered the powerful wisdom in those words.
Who would’ve thought that changing the way we see our circumstances could change their effects on us? I discovered such last summer. I had gone north to the land of my youth to visit my family and friends. On the last day of my trip I was really looking forward to sailing with my friend, a perfect wrap up of such an emotionally transformative trip. But, it was raining, hard and I despaired. That might sound silly but I was emotionally raw and I really needed the respite from the powerful emotions I had felt that week. I felt so down, in fact, that I was seriously considering packing up and leaving that day.
In the moment of decision, however, it dawned on me that the day was not lost. There was value even if I couldn’t see it. It was like remembering the sun still existed on a cloudy day. So, I called my friend and said we should hangout anyway. So, we went to lunch and had one of the deepest conversations we’ve ever had. That was followed by him letting me drive his speedy little sportster which I gladly flew through the lush back roads as we screamed for joy like children and appreciated the natural beauty all around us. I began to get a sense of inner well-being arising not because of anything, but just because.
So, later that afternoon I walked my dog and met some neighbors who were very kind and we let our dogs play for a while. Then, I took my mother to a funny movie which we both really enjoyed. Finally, the universe blessed me in a way I had not foreseen: I was re-united with a child who was once very important to me and had been trying to see again for years with no luck. She has been part of my life ever since.
So, I learned that day just how right my mother was in teaching me the power of changing my view, for which none of the blessings of that day would have happened if I hadn’t. So, I say that each moment is a painting and our mind is the frame. Change the frame and we see something entirely different. What affect us more than how the world looks?