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Do-overs in life live only in the world of Hollywood. Yes, there are times we wish we could take back an action or something we said. But there is no power living in the past. There is no possibility of wishful thinking about a thing that’s already done.

Setting an Intention

Indeed, the power lies in seeing the day ahead as one full of opportunity to make choices that align with our values and our priorities. When we first open our eyes, whether it is to glorious sun spilling in through the windows or the gentle patter of rain – or even a storm, what lies ahead is ours to create. Even when we have responsibilities such as work or parenting or caring for a loved one, as we start the day, we can set an intention for the way we want to show up. Will we see our responsibilities as a burden or as a way to serve others and express our values? Or, will we consciously choose to take joy from the fact we have the wherewithal to be of service?

Moment by moment

Some days, we begin with a spring in our step and the most fabulous intentions. And, then, life happens. A flat tire. A sick child. An unexpected bill. An angry co-worker or boss. It is in these moments that our ability to stay present and grounded is tested. These are the real opportunities to measure how aware we’ve become.

What does that look like?

I was driving yesterday in a part of town I’m not familiar with and ended up on a very steep side street. Fearful that my car would roll back, as I came to the cross street, I pulled up far enough to get my front wheels over the edge where the hill flattened out. While the cross street lane I nosed into was very wide and I was, in no way, interfering with traffic, though I didn’t realize it at that moment, it seems I startled a driver. He made this known by pulling up to me at a stoplight, lowering his window, and cursing me out…repeatedly.

Years ago, I would have responded, hurtling anger back at him. Instead, before responding in any way, I put myself in his shoes and realized all he most likely saw was the nose of a car entering the intersection from nowhere and without any certainty it would stop. This would trigger fear and a feeling of being out of control in most of us. It was my action that generated his reaction, so I waved gently at him and said I was sorry.

The past is not the present

When we take life moment by moment, instead of lumping it all together and ascribing meaning to a current situation by layering on the past, we can respond with compassion and, if necessary, take responsibility. I could have carried that man’s anger with me on into my day. I chose differently. By recognizing my role in the situation and owning it, I could let it go and drive on without bringing the experience with me in a way that would negatively impact the rest of my day.

We don’t have to wait for a new day to tap into the power of keeping a positive mindset and staying grounded when life’s situations happen. Each moment is a chance to decide to show up in a way that gives us, and those around us, the best experience possible. Now, that is incredibly powerful!

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