This month, we celebrate Thanksgiving. Many won’t be able to spend it together because of the virus. Some will fight it, some will over look it. But that frustration, that sadness is just a bit of a reminder of some of the very little things we take for granted, and so often forget to appreciate. In the end though, you have control of your destiny. Not by the circumstances, but by the attitude you have to create the life you have always wanted.
And I mean... it’s 2020. Nearly this entire year has been full of unexpected twists, turns, ups, downs, everything but feeling solid on the feet we’re standing on for quite literally everyone, myself included. Comfort as an ever-evolving society, jeopardized. We have all been tested financially, through our relationships with friends, families, and just everyone and everything around us. However, one thing 2020 has given us is some time to ourselves (albeit in a bit of a forceful way), and some much needed time to reflect. We’ve all reacted differently to this level of trauma, which has been even more difficult on everyone when trying to communicate our common shared feelings of hopelessness, distress, discomfort, and fear.
When we are forced into doing something we don’t like, consciously or subconsciously we fight back with some resistance. That resistance is our fight to find control of the situation, when sometimes (well most of time), we never had much control of the situation to begin with. It’s our mindset, our actions we are left with. These are only responses to the greater energy of the world. For example, COVID.
These times are difficult when you’re both in the fight and feeling the resistance. It feels impossible to get out of. I compare it a lot to drowning: You may know you’re in a kiddy pool, but when you're taking in water and trying to breathe, it’s tough to see the full picture and that there’s actually an easier (or even seemingly obvious) way out. But it’s also then when you see how much control you really had and [still] have. I, myself, have definitely learned that again this year.
At the beginning of March, I lost my 15-year career as a traveling roadie with Zac Brown and Dave Matthews; the music entertainment industry completely evaporated. I had invested everything I had already into that mission, decisions made from 15 years of a career that’s never let me down, even in the most difficult times with my mom’s and my wife, Brianna’s respective illnesses and passings.
I panicked. I started to lose things. First, my morale and my career, both of which gave me worth and purpose. Then my financial comfort (in not having to stress about my next meal, or the roof over my head). It was hard to even function, let alone think. But it’s interesting that sometimes, it’s these greater experiences that reveal our true and greatest internal and external assets: the things we actually are most grateful for, yet things we often overlook or take for granted. So, I began to devote my attention to the Choose Your Attitude mission. Heck, I had already invested all I have in it! But still, I (the founder!) temporarily found myself numb to the power and beauty of Choose Your Attitude.
When I began to combat through my mental journey, and confusion of the situation, I began to work more and more on Choose Your Attitude. And well, work on my attitude. As I put the effort in, again, just like the book, it began to open up doors, create opportunity, help me clearly understand direction in things I felt completely lost in. I was focusing my control in areas I could actually control: My attitude. It was creating a life for me, things felt like they were a little bit better then the reality of a low I initially felt.
After literally losing everything, the only thing I had left was my attitude. At times, it wasn’t the best (and I admit, I still struggle), but the battle doesn’t feel as extreme anymore. The things that actually meant something, like our perspective, and our conscious way of approaching things became more obvious… and thus, the complications became less extreme.
While it shouldn’t take a pandemic to remind us what we’re truly grateful for, it’s better late than never (and these past 8 months have really put things into perspective, right?). And there’s a balance between maintaining hope and gratitude while also allowing ourselves to feel our feelings - to listen to ourselves and recognize that we’re going through something hard, but also to challenge ourselves. Teach ourselves, Learn to recognize the fight, but to resist a little less. And acknowledge and adapt more. Like grief, there’s a level of acceptance here that can help pull us out of the fog, because when the little things are all you have, you start to appreciate them much more. Practice gratitude - and challenge yourself to not just say you will, but to really do it! I promise that with that practice, you’ll begin to gain a real picture of yourself, your life, and your heart will feel lighter, even when the heavy times come.
Choose Your Attitude, Create Your Life