“Now that you’re starting from scratch, you can think of  a lot of possibilities- what you can do, what you can be- something better, bolder, something more attuned to who you really are.”

That’s how the long conversation began with my brother.  Thomas Edison had a life-changing experience once and he was so grateful for it.

When he saw his factory burning down, Edison was all the more excited that he called his son and wife to witness the fire destroying all of his hard work. They felt pity for him but he felt relief.

Puzzled, the son asked him why he feels that way and his response knocked them down. “Don’t you see it?! Now I can start again! All the mistakes are gone. I can start with a clean slate!”

The attitude! Right? As Lenny Kravitz said, “ It ain’t over till it’s over”.  When life hits you hard, you hit back too, but, harder!  That’s the beauty of starting from scratch.  Think of it as life handing you a clean plate and on it, you can put all the delicious stuff your mouth can crave for- sumptuous, exquisite and delightful meal, literally everything your hands can grab, everything you ask for, everything you can imagine!  Fantastic isn’t it?!

Years ago, I was lucky to go to college in a city far away from my home.  Soon as I entered the gates, my heart actually exclaimed “This is great! I can start anew. I can start fresh. I can reinvent myself and create a new me!” That’s a lot to take in for a young mind, but girl, that was freedom!!

Stick to what’s familiar, and you’ll get so used to it that you forget to grow.  What happens then? You’ll miss the chance of discovering and rediscovering yourself.  You’ll miss your possibilities, your highest potential, and the best version of you.

So why do people stay stuck? Fear. For one, we don’t want to be judged by peers for being different than everybody else, for changing and shaking things up not a bit, but big time.  We also don’t want to labor hard or harder in any case. We want a pain-free, struggle-free existence.  Well I say, you’re welcome to do anything you want to do. It’s entirely up to you.

When life kicks your butt it’s actually good. As when lightning strikes, your body jolts up and you’re finally more alert, more alive. We’re all sleeping beauties you know, we need someone or something to wake us up, to give us clearer vision and wonder-woman-courage- to feel invincible again!

Uproot yourself and fly- far away so you cover more grounds, the world is a much bigger place than you imagine.

It all boils down to perspective- how you see things and how you see through them,  and your attitude. You don’t ask  “Why?”, “Why Me” anymore. Instead, you ask, “What now?”

A.H. Wilson said it right about Edison’s experience that fateful day, “Well, the next thing to do, is to dive right in and rebuild”!

Eight o’clock in the evening, last day of the workweek, and I’m still stuck at my desk typing away numbers, while the office cleaner does his evening vacuum routine, dusting off tables and chairs of people he doesn’t even know. Not that I know them more, not quite, but I sure was halfway imagining them celebrating the weekend with families & loved ones at home or wherever social places they can find.  The green monster started to creep in. I was envious. I struggled to fight back the tears not just because I wanted to be brave and keep fighting, but partly because my sobbing wouldn’t really blend well with the sound of the vacuum cleaner that still rings behind.

You see even with crying, I seem to find the perfect place and time to do it. The very first minute when I learned my dad passed away, I didn’t break down right there and then. I held it up for four hours. In between, I had a shower, had my meal, had my morning devotion, went to work, waited till my boss was free that morning, went to his office and asked for an emergency leave, and finally burst into tears – right in my boss’ office.  Maybe because finally saying out loud, “I need to go home to bury my father”, finally felt too real and painful to muster.  Back to the current scenario, I broke down right after I closed the door upon reaching home.  That’s when I finally accepted that it’s alright to cry ‘coz even strong people do.

When people look up to you or seek your help whenever their strength fails, you start to think either of two things:

I’m stronger than them

I have to be strong for them.

Such thought or decision will not last very long. We pass through a season, one after the other. You will start to doubt yourself at one point, and this is where I am right now.

I remember having a conversation inside the lift with one of the building janitor. I found out he worked for 12 hours every day for six days. I realized then that that’s the amount of time I put in every single day too. The only difference is that I crunch numbers and he scrubs floors.  We both do an honest job, we try to be the best at it. If we trade places, would I be as good as him too? I don’t know. Perhaps. All I know and believe is, we get to be equipped to do the things we get to do, and we get better through the years.

One of my virtual coaches shared this exercise one day. He said, start to use the words “get to”, instead of “have to”.

“I get to work every day”  vs  “I have to work every day”

“I get to prepare my meals”  vs  “I have to prepare my meals”

“I get know and meet people”  vs  “I have to know and meet people”

‘I get to serve a ministry”  vs  “I have to serve a ministry”

See the contrast? A different mindset. A different way of looking at things.

Today is the weekend and tomorrow is another day on the battlefield. Surely it wouldn’t be easy because we didn’t choose the easy path. We chose this since we believe we’re made for something more, and we know that victory can only be as rewarding as the sacrifices made behind it.

Yes, there will be days when we’d feel like we’re at the end of the rope, but the consolation is, like everything else, it’s temporary.  As when we take laps in a pool, we breathe in, we breathe out, we swim, but we should take the time to bask in the sun too, and enjoy our favorite poolside drink. Be it a lemonade, a smoothie or a float, it’s worthy to remind ourselves to be grateful enough.  We’re still blessed as “We get to taste it”!

Have you ever started a day with disappointments?  You’ve perfectly planned out everything, moving every possible obstacle out of the way just so you can guarantee a smooth-sailing journey towards accomplishing your goal, then it happened. You arrived one hour late, you got the wrong schedule, and just when you’re trying to save yourself from having a bad day, you drive 16 miles to a rescue venue and then, boom! You can’t find a parking spot. So you turn your car around and drive home for another 20 miles.

You feel like a total failure, a pathetic loser. You sink deep into frustration, then to anger, and then finally to hopelessness. At this point, all the negative thoughts parade in your brain like a bunch of cheering squad, clapping, jumping and shouting “hurray” knowing they have conquered your day.

I know, it’s exhausting. But hey, enough already.  We can’t wallow in these feelings for the rest of the day, worse for the rest of the year.  So granted things started off wrong, let’s just make good of whatever is left.

Blow off some steam.  Get some fresh air. Instead of heading back to your place with a grumpy face,  why not stop over somewhere just to take your mind off from what just happened.  See something different, hear something different, that way you direct your focus to something nice, beautiful, relaxing or even peaceful.  I know nature is the best remedy, and so is simply saying hello (and mean it) to people you pass by.

Someone wise told me if you can’t drive negative thoughts away from camping in your brain and make bonfires, replace them. How? Simply plant new thoughts. And that’s exactly what you can do when you look around. You will see something good. When you quite all the noise, you will hear something good.

Sometimes, our brains can be devious. They can trick us in many different ways, but if it’s already attacking the better part of you, fight back. That’s what will power is for. You resolve to find what’s good, what’s working and slowly you beckon gratefulness back.

Get some perspective. As what Tuesdays with Morrie once taught me, “Don’t let go too soon, but don’t hang on too long”.  Even successful investors know when to cut losses, so we should too. Well, each case is unique, so you’ll get that wisdom from a lifelong experience. But I believe, that if you seek for answers deep down, you will know when it’s the right time to let go.

For a petty experience like the one I had today, I just thought of writing about it.  It didn’t seem petty at first because I felt a thousand needles poking into my brain and my heart. Oh how I love my heart, so I’m guarding it with a thousand more soldiers so the enemy can’t invade.

Talking about it now gives me clarity.  Maybe you can try it too. It’s true what they say that when you take a problem or an issue out and put it on a table, you can see it for what it is. Isolate it and you’ll know it’s completely unattached to you.  Break the connection. You were never the problem. You just made up your mind that you were.

Selecta had it right when it flashed that message on the tv screen not so long ago.  Love yourself. Do that, and you’ll be happier.