Power of Choice: Be a Strategist not a Reactionist
Performance mind-set is really life mind-set. What we bring to the stage is how we live life, and for me, the more I understand myself and why I do what I do, not only will I better serve my art, but I will live life with more awareness and…that means more beauty. I seek to share myself transparently with the hope that by living my truth you may find what you are looking for and we may share this very wonderful experience.
At one point in my life, I was attending marriage counseling with my now ex-husband. The psychologist’s name was Del, and during one of our weekly sessions, we were talking about “reacting” and he looked at me straight in the eyes and said, “Tricia, 10 different people, 10 different reactions.” At that time… I remember thinking how great it would have been just to be married to one of the ten people that agreed with me. (I know.) And while divorce was inevitable for my situation, I have carried around Del’s phrase with me for years.
Why do his words resonate so deeply with me? It was a wake –up call, an astonishing awareness that I could choose a different reaction…not only in my current relationship…but in all relationships and circumstances. This type of choice was life changing.
I don’t know if you were like me, but I grew up thinking that I was responsible for people’s feelings. Through no fault of their own, my family and friends led me to believe that I MADE people feel happy, sad, angry, frustrated, teary, excited…and to add to that it was my responsibility to bring joy to others. Wow! I guess I was one powerful kiddo…but, how quickly the tables turned…because as I was conditioned in this belief, suddenly everyone else was responsible for my feelings; happiness, sadness, anger, fear and joy. Ohhh, my goodness, It was an insane cycle of power and weakness. And talk about endless conversations about how you and I were supposed to change so you and I could be happy. I lived in this exhausting pattern for years…
A + B = you hurt my feelings…or A +B = you make me so mad… or A + B = if you’re happy, I’m happy.
Stepping out of that belief shifted everything. I found myself saying, “So which of the 10 people do I choose to be now…who has the best response or reaction for this situation?” I saw it as a big response experiment. I slowly was able to become more of an observer in critical situations and make “better” choices for me and the others involved. It was like being in a “choose your own ending mystery” book, where I could pick a different dialogue, choose a different path, and contribute to a different result. It was fun! And to feel the weight of the every person’s feelings lifted from my shoulders was a priceless gift.
Am I perfect at this process? Absolutely not. Sometimes I still feel like a little child pointing fingers and falling into old conditioning. In fact, just last night I was sitting in a Radical Love gathering listen to Judith Orloff teach when she said something to the affect that it is a magical belief that we have the power to make others feel something. Her words stuck with me through the evening and into the morning… It was a gentle reminder for me to continue to look deeper at this belief and how it may be playing out in my life; to layer it over my days and release others and myself from the misplaced responsibility of false control and power. Living in a way that my highest thought, response, and reaction is also….as Judith says, “for the good of all.”
Thank you Del and thank you Judith.