Or what a recent car accident has taught me.
A car accident (fortunately with no injuries involved) comes with a lot of emotions and feelings. Psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying” referred to 5 stages of grief when faced with unexpected losses, such as a terminal illness. Those stages are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, and could be lived in any sequence or length.
Whatever traumatic event you might be facing or have faced in life, therein lies an unwrapped gift for you to open when you find the courage to drill down with your soul, mind and body:
- What has happened? Could there have been a different way? What are the practical lessons from this event, that I should carry forward? How could someone I love avoid being in a similar situation?
- How much worse could it have been? Did I live/see the worst? Did the worst happen?
- What’s the significance I choose to associate with this event? A failure, a loss, a tragedy, a reminder that how much I try, I cannot win? Or a sign that change is always permanent and that strength is won when resistance happens? What if this can be the beginning of a better future, of breakthroughs and of truth? Do I want to look back at this time and see it as a time of failure or as a time when big changes and decisions started happening?
- What’s next from here? Can this be a springboard to soar, to start new habits, to do something new? How does this practically looks like in my relationships, day-to-day interactions, decisions and actions?
On the backdrop of a challenging and unprecedented year, this car accident is in fact shaping a response and a positioning to carry forward in 2021: what if I didn’t take anything or anyone for granted? And to be honest, I had heard those same words just some time ago in a differently wrapped gift of another experience. As Pema Chodron says in her book “When Things Fall Apart”, “nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”
We make thousands of decisions every day and we make decisions – good or bad, conscious or unconscious, on or off autopilot- in a split of a second. So in this split of a second, what if I didn’t take anything or anyone for granted? How would I act, respond, interact? How would I feel? What would I do and how would I be as a parent, daughter, spouse, leader, friend,…? What would I in fact do differently if I didn’t take anything or anyone for granted? Who and what would I appreciate, encourage, empower, love and care for more? How would I challenge myself or others, or fight for my dreams, rights and hopes?
Your questions and responses might be different than mine but here to a 2021 with no one and nothing taken for granted!