We are exceptionally lucky and impossibly fortunate.
Consider the facts of our existence:
- We live on a spinning ball of dirt cobbled-together from bits and pieces of debris traveling around the sun at about 67,000 miles an hour
- Our little ball of dirt orbits a sun that has another few billion years of life left in it before it explodes
- The entire solar system careens through the galaxy at 490,000 miles an hour
- The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are approaching each other at 70 miles per second and will eventually merge with one another
If all of that seems way too big and way too much, then you’ve gotten the point. We are here on this Earth, in this incarnation of ourselves, and with these sets of circumstances by a mixture of choice and complete happenstance. What we do have control over is what choices we make and how we react to the things that happen around us.
We have a choice to wake up in the morning and appreciate a great number of things. That we had a bed to sleep in, that there’s a roof over our heads, that there’s likely fresh food in your kitchen, and that the air is still breathable. We have the choice to be grateful and we have the benefit of being able to remember. We can reflect on what has happened and make conscious decisions to make changes where we see fit and to begin anew, as if nothing happened at all. We can choose to smile, to be compassionate, and to consider the circumstances.
Just yesterday while I was getting coffee and the barista was visibly upset. She looked like she was on her last few ounces of willpower before she would snap at the next person that was going to give her trouble. I considered the possibilities of what brought her here to this moment, to all the forces and constants that may have shaped her, and instead of casting judgement on her for being rather rude to a couple of people ahead of me, I did the opposite.
I strode up confidently, with a gentle smile on my face and spoke with calm and warmth. I enunciated very carefully the things that might have been confusing to her, knowing that sometimes I have a tendency to mumble or otherwise make things unintelligible. And most of all: I said “please” and “thank you” and smiled from the heart. I could see her shoulders relax a bit as she took my order and breathed. I visibly improved her day, if even for just that one moment.
We all have the opportunity to start over. Every action, every breath, every choice is an opportunity. We have the chance to do some good in the world even if it’s simply a kind word, a smile, or a knowing nod or wave. Just because you can’t donate time or money to charitable causes doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference in somebody’s life somewhere.
Be magnanimous and amazing. Because we all are.