Yes YOU can (what?)

Yes you can!


Change, optimism, a “can do” attitude. Much is written and promoted seeking to affect change in people. Guides to improving a person’s outlook on life. Ridding one’s life of clutter, getting organized and always thinking that the future is going to be better, improvements are just around the corner. I, personally have always had a positive outlook towards my life. Most likely such an attitude has aided me in weathering those storms that cross through all lives at some point or the other. Some things I can affect. Having a positive outlook always helped me to find solutions. Not giving up. Able to get up each day with a balanced view towards where I was headed and how I would reach my goals and dreams.


However what was hardest to learn throughout this journey was balance. Accepting that I could not control each event and the outcome. We are still human. We still get sick. Ultimately we are still going to die. It is that time and space between our coming hither in birth and our departure in death that we are left to deal with. Then there are all those challenges in that time and space. I drive cautiously, maintaining a safe distance between my vehicle and the one in front of me, driving at safe speeds and watching my mirrors. In fact I am quite proud of my driving record. But there was that one accident that occurred. Me, driving in the left lane on a four lane divided highway, not on the cell phone and driving under the speed limit. Years later I can still see in my mind’s eye that white mini-van, the lady driver pulling out of her apartment complex. She looked to the right, never to the left (where she would have seen me) and then against all understanding she pulled out and crossed the right lane (which was clear of traffic) and entered the far left lane where I was driving. I remember thinking “there is nothing I can do to prevent this accident”, my thoughts were that I was either going to be injured and in the hospital or worse yet dead. Though my car and her van were totaled neither the injury or death occurred. Car lost, major shake up, and major inconvenience. No amount of positive thinking or optimism or “can do” attitude affected that incident. Maybe I affected the outcome somewhat by allowing my body to relax, simply accepting the fact that I could do nothing. Maybe that prevented broken bones and other injury because I allowed my limbs to simply go limp. But in that slip second before impact I certainly had no time to give great thought to making that choice.


It has been said that sometimes the best response to give to some circumstances is no response at all. If I had braced my legs or arms for the impact who knows- I may have broken both arms and legs. Maybe even my neck. Who knows? But I am grateful that I chose, in that fraction of a second, between realization that an impact was about to occur and the impact, to simply allow it to happen. If however, in that moment, I had seen an out, an action I could have taken to have prevented the accident from happening at all, certainly I would have taken an action of avoidance. In this case I am certain I would have, even if it had brought injury to myself, for I had also noted that in this van that I collided with there were small children, a baby.


When close call or accidents take place, of any type, and we survive, we can always go back and second guess with a lot of “what ifs”. Though there may be something to be learned from such an exercise, such as how to be better prepared for such in the future, I never allow myself to live in the past, wondering how my life would have been had the incident never had occurred to begin with.  It wasn’t fair. I liked my Lexus. Why me? What if I had left for my destination just a little earlier or a minute, just a minute later? And I could ponder all these “what ifs”. I cannot change what already had happened so I choose to only dwell on it long enough to see what I can learn from it


The world is full of “Yes you can!” books, seminars and motivational materials. And as you lead your lives thinking about all the “Yes you can” ways of thinking. Keep that balance. Remember that it isn’t all about YOU and the outcome for YOU. We share this planet with over 7 billion other humans and countless other life forms. Out outcomes should be less selfish and more selfless. Each and every time you enjoy the climate controlled house you live in and car you drive, each time you have the luxury of choosing what you want to eat for dinner and what shoes you will wear today remember there are millions who do not have that luxury. Millions would simply like to have a pair of shoes- any brand,  any color, any type. Millions would love to have a full meal, no matter where it came from, no matter how tasty it is or what kind of presentation the dish made. Millions would love to have a floor under their bare feet, no concern about the color or style of carpet or tile, just something other than dirt. Yes you can! But in all the sweetness of our lives and positive thinking no amount of such positive thinking will feed those millions  or put shoes on their feet. However, “yes we can” with a lot of sacrifice and selfless actions can make a difference. And there is no better therapy than selfless acts. There is no quicker way to a “Yes I can!” attitude that focusing on others. There is nothing better for one’s self esteem than having helped someone less fortunate than YOU. There is no quicker way to feel better about who you are and your circumstances in life than to focus on those who have way less. There is way more than enough food and clothing for everyone on this planet. But it is all separated by boundaries and cultures. So the “Yes I can” leads to “yes I can do what?” What thing can I do to improve things for someone else? What can I do to bring a better situation for  many and not just “I”. I have noticed that those who expend their lives focused on others instead of themselves tend to live longer, healthier more productive and happy lives. Their utopia came from seeing a smile on someone else’s face- toothless no more. Yes you can- by allowing, not controlling. By caring, not in words alone. By being self-less, focused on the needs of others instead of where the journey is going to take you. Yes you can be happy and feel great. Plan your journey to benefit others and you will never be disappointed with where your journey takes you. For you will spend less time looking in the mirror and more time looking at others. 


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