Have you ever had ‘one of those days’, where one thing after another seems to go pear-shaped on you? By the end of it, you’re wearing a collage of the things you had to eat and drink, you have a bigger pile of work than when you started, and you just want to go sit in a dark corner and pray for a do-over.
The truth is, we’ve all had those days, and sometimes it feels like those days string together into weeks and months of struggling. It reminds me of a quote by Pema Chödrön,
Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.
Every day we’re surrounded by opportunities to learn and grow. It may be as simple as that spilled coffee reminding you to slow down or as profound as someone saying the right thing at the right time and it changes the trajectory of your life. Teachers are around us all the time; some come into our lives for a moment and some for a lifetime. It’s up to us to be open and aware enough to receive the gift of the lessons they bring.
At the same time, we’re teachers for those around us. The things we say and do can have a profound impact on someone, often much more than we realize. Harsh words may shut someone down from contributing, while supportive and constructive feedback will have the opposite effect. The extra moment you spend with a loved one can be just what they need when they’re having a difficult day.
Slowing down in our lives has never been more difficult, particularly when speeding up is the answer many choose when things get difficult. When we slow down, we not only see what is happening around us, but we more intentionally create our lives. We shift from reacting to circumstances to planting seeds that will support the lives we will have tomorrow. We become receptive and adept students, learning the lessons the teachers in our lives bring. We become considerate teachers who are aware of our own behaviors and the impact we have on the people around us.
So, the next time you are having ‘one of those days’, take a moment to consider – what does today have to teach me? What messages, intentional or not, did I put out there today? The answers just might surprise you.