We are Our Own Experience
The other day, I was at the beach. I was sitting in the sun, but if I looked north, it was very dark, and I could see a storm blowing in. The wind was whipping my hair and filling my jacket with air. I was alone. But in the water, there were seven kite surfers in the water, having the time of their lives – hanging on to their kites, pointing their boards out toward the ocean, going out quite a way, running with the wind. Then, in the next moment, they were shifting direction to come back to the shore just as fast. I could have watched them for hours. Part of me wanted to get out there and do it too! But I am only a wake boat surfer, and I have not done it in quite some time. I was not about to venture out there!
Just being in the elements with the changing weather, high winds blowing, the sound of surf roaring was an adventure in and of itself. I love the weather. There I was, sitting on the rock, watching. Taking in the wind. The weather blowing in. Just a short time later, the sun was gone, and it dropped a few degrees as the storm approached. I bundled up even more.
I realized that I was creating my own experience sitting on the rock. Watching. Enjoying the elements. And the kite surfers are creating their own experience out there. Wild with the wind.
Yet we were on the same beach - doing our own thing.
In a different scenario, I had a client (now retired) who was a mother of an adult son and daughter. Both raised by the same mother, in the same house. One thought she was an awesome mother, and the other, not so much! How does that happen? How do we experience the same thing and have such different views and perspectives?
We are our own experience:
by our choice of thoughts
by our choice of actions
by the choice of “records” we continue to play in our life, both externally and internally.
If you are your own experience and I am my own experience, and we have full power to create that which we want, we get to decide! You can ask yourself:
What kind of experiences am I creating today?
Do I like the experiences I am creating?
Do I like the tone of my experiences?
Am I being who I want to be in my experiences?
What is the internal experience I am creating in my own mind?
What is the external experience I am creating outside of my own mind where others get to interact with me?
What intention will I embrace in this experience?
Years ago, when my daughter started going back and forth between her two parents’ homes after we separated, she struggled, like most kids do. As her mom, I decided I wanted to ensure that at our house it was the place where love lived. I got a sign that said: ‘this is where love lives.” But I knew that that was not enough. It was about what our home felt like. So, she (age 7) and I sat down and created a poster (inspired by a book called Fill a Bucket Today with lots of online exercises).
We identified (for us) what love looks like in our home:
Listening to each other
Reading books together
Working together on projects
Hugs + kisses
What love sounds like in our home:
Saying I love you!
Be respective consistently.
And what love feels like in our home:
And when we did that, we were both clear that we each had a part in making our home filled with love. That exercise was a game-changer for both of us. We were committed to creating a home filled with love. And when we slipped up, we quickly found a way to return to the “happy, loving home” we intended to create and be responsible for creating. Bottom-line, we can create our experience. And, if we don’t like that experience, it is only us who can change it going forward.
Yes, tough and difficult life challenges come but it is how we choose to be with the experiences that creates the tone of our life. We get to choose the face we bring and the words we bring. We get to choose the attitude we bring.
Some people go thought life feel very much the victims of their circumstances, and complain and live a small existence. Others have tough things happen to them and look for the opportunity, the lessons, and silver-linings. The choice in how we go about life – every nuance – is up to us.
If we don’t like some aspect of our life, what can we do to change it? The possibilities are endless unless you’ve decided you are a victim of the situation. Then we see very few options.
In the face of challenge, always look for the greatest of lessons, use the lesson to become wiser in thought and action. It is then that we become grateful for the challenge. And we create our environment to be extraordinary, no matter what, if that is what we choose.