By Dr. Steve
Truly Are A Dime A Dozen
basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything
as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.
Damn! Damn! Damn! I was muttering to myself as I walked away from the ticket window.
had just gotten the news that my train was going to be late.
after taking a seat, I was still talking to myself, Late! Late! Late! Late! A
thousand times it comes on time. Today of all days its late.
sat in my seat smoldering over the realization that I had few choices and even fewer real
alternatives, a woman sat down next to me.
do you know what time the trains coming? she asked.
late, I grunted back at her.
smiled and said, Yes I know, but do you know when its going to be here?
who cares? I grumbled. Isnt it enough to know that its late. Just see
how they treat us. Other times, nope, other times, its never late. But today, of all
days its late.
sound like its personal, she said.
is personal. I have tomorrow off and now I cant enjoy it.
why would that be so?
now Im in a bad mood and my bad moods last for days, I said in the most
whining tone I could mustard up.
you really think a train delay is personal, something done against you? she
I? I responded.
are you taking this so personally? she asked still not understanding what was
perfectly obvious to me.
I am personally angry. And its my personal life. And besides Im just
weird thing was the angrier I got, the more she smiled at me. Finally I said to her,
Well, Im glad that this makes you laugh. I bet that if my discomfort makes you
happy then you would be rolling on the floor in hysterics if I fell and sprained my
she explained, Im not laughing at you. Its just that I see so much of
how I used to be in how youre acting right now. But Im happy to say, Ive
changed my attitude about a lot of things.
so whats your big secret? I asked resenting her more and more.
dont know if it was any one thing or just a lot of little things. I guess I finally
decided to accept that stuff just happens sometimes. Sometimes banks make mistakes.
Sometimes my friends do me wrong. Sometimes things that I count on dont come out the
way I want them to. And sometimes, sometimes trains are late.
was finally getting my attention, so I started to soften my attitude towards her.
Well, whats your point?
point is that you mustnt think you are the target or the victim of chance
happenings. Even though you hurt, that doesnt mean someone is trying to hurt
you really expect me to believe that this train that is about to delay my weekend and
cause me untold amounts of misery and grief from the residual anger I will carry around
all weekend is JUST A CHANCE THING THAT HAPPENED? I asked starting to become
exasperated all over again.
didnt flinch as she said, At least admit that it could be.
something caused this anger inside of me.
I think something did, she said seriously, I just dont think that it was
as personal of an attack as you may feel that it was.
just late? I asked somewhat in resignation.
its just late. If you are willing to listen, I have an idea about how to look at
this whole late-train crisis thing, she shook back her hair as she spoke.
you making fun of my crisis?
I will save that for when I know you better. Anyway, do you want to hear my theory?
think that this train being late presented you with an opportunity that you might not have
really, I replied somewhat skeptically.
then Ms. Know-It-All, what kind of opportunity might that be?
brunette opportunity who usually doesnt talk to strangers.
you? I bet you talk to everyone, I said.
believe me I dont, she said while shaking her head. Its just that
you looked so upset and you were sitting there muttering to yourself.
was in a stupor or some kind of fit.
saw what you were doing, my point is that you mustnt see everything as a personal
affront. Sometimes things arent what they appear, sometimes they are tremendous
opportunities disguised as disappointments.
I think of you as a tremendous opportunity? I asked somewhat hopefully.
just say that I am a jewel that you might never have seen if the train had been on
does that make me a tremendous opportunity for you? I asked somewhat persistently.
dont know yet.
will you know?
I give it some more thought.
we sit together on the train? I asked.
we can, but the train isnt going to be here for awhile.
when is the train going to be here? I asked.
just say that meeting me is a bigger opportunity than you could have ever imagined.
things arent as they appear, they are an opportunity? Oh, come on now. We know
exactly how to think about whatever happens to us. We are much practiced at interpreting
the events of our life. We are well rehearsed at holding onto our point of view. We are
battle tested at not letting go of our narrow mindedness. Clinging to our view of life,
knowing what to make out of the events in our life is like an Olympic sport for most of
to tell you the truth, the circumstances in our life are really opportunities dropped in
our lap. Opportunities to transform our judgmental, self-critical ways of viewing life
into one of compassion and understanding.
so, you may be wondering. Simple.
can accomplish so much by this singular act, transforming the way we think about the
circumstances of our lives. The transformation? No longer thinking in terms of good or
bad, right or wrong, perfect or worthless. No longer holding as our highest value winning
or losing, being number one or being nothing at all.
the point of our journey is very different indeed. Its not the point to avoid
mistakes and misdeeds. Its not the point of our journey to avoid hurt and
all need to embrace something different, a rule of thumb if you will. As we step out of
the shadows, we will inevitably bump up against our limitations. Our journey is not about
achieving spiritual perfection. We are here to learn about ourselves, who we are, how we
react to life, where we fall short, how we can use who we are to expand ourselves.
out of the shadows is a process of adventure and experimentation. Seeing the circumstances
in our life as opportunities provides the impetus we need to continue moving forward, not
straying from our path of experimentation and adventure. Developing a mindset that
interprets our life challenges as opportunities is the key to our cultivating personal
do we make such a transformation? Stop the judgments. Stop the personalizing. Stop the
self-victimizing. Stop the demands for perfection. Release yourself from a quest that
judges your humanness rather than celebrates it. Turn all of that in for one basic
simply, all that the universe places in our path is an opportunity. An opportunity to
grow. An opportunity to learn. Its an opportunity to end the war that is waged
within ourselves. End the war that is waged between life and ourselves. An opportunity to
get our life back in harmony. Back in harmony with the true purpose for which we are here.
by undergoing this transformation in how we view the world, we will discover that what the
universe places in our path is an opportunity to look inward. To awaken our soul. To
strengthen our spirit. To provide us with the necessary tests to sustain our faith.
is how the universe illuminates our path. It tests us. The universe provides us with all
that we need to learn about ourselves, all that we need to do in order to expand our lives
as well as the consciousness with which we expand our lives. Its up to us to view
those circumstances that the universe offers up to us as the means by which we grow or the
means by which we are oppressed.
the benefits go beyond what I have just mentioned. Imagine how the relationship you have
with yourself will change by letting go of the criticalness that haunts our lives. The
voice that never lets up on us, questioning what we do, how we do it. The voice that
pushes us, beats us down, never lets us have a moments peace.
the path to stepping out of the shadows is not a path of competition, competing with
yourself or others. The relationship you have with yourself cannot be healed by living
life by the judgments that live within. A path of genuineness can only be best served when
we view the people and the circumstances of our lives as opportunities, not as threats,
not as proof of our worth, not as judgments of our value to the
see if you can discover for yourself the truth about what I am saying. Why not make a list
of those circumstances that continue to appear in your life, circumstances that you
experience as limiting or even oppressive.
lets see if there is some way to start thinking about them as an opportunity. How
might it be that these obstacles may be the universe opening itself up to you and saying,
Here is something to help you learn about yourself and your journey?
exercise can be an incredibly liberating exercise if you follow through on it. Please give
yourself the time to do it! Try and get to the point where it becomes an automatic way you
come to think about the experiences in your life. You will not always be able to see the
opportunity in every happenstance of your life, but that doesnt mean there
isnt one there for you. However, wouldnt you agree that even asking the
question gives you a new choice, and afterall, that is the first step to personal freedom!
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