It suddenly became apparent to me that all through life's journey, I had been continuously encountered with various incidents whose whole purpose, is to help me grow – that is, if I so choose.
Depending on how I interpret these occurrences, and what meanings I frame them with, gives definition to the value I gain each time.
I can either choose to agree with what is said in a hurtful instance, or disassociate from it all together.
Anything that happens immediately is cataloged in my mind as good, bad, or somewhere in between.
Once a thought comes to my mind, I always pair it with a corresponding feeling that is evoked from within.
I then proceed to attach a label to that emotion which matches the thought.
If you are confused, it’s a good thing!
The following is a true story which I believe will further clarify the aforementioned.
One evening, whilst, pouring my thoughts into my laptop in bed, my husband told me that I would have to drive my eighteen year old son, Tal, to school the next morning..
To be perfectly honest, the mere thought that I had no choice in the matter and would be forced to wake earlier than I had planned, made me feel a bit uncomfortable to say the least.
I was angry with Tal, for not showing me any consideration, he hadn't even bother to look for an alternate means of transportation, when he could've easily asked one of his friends for a ride to school..
Once again, I found myself thinking about myself and what was convenient for me.
All of a sudden, I stopped the flood of thoughts, obscuring my reality and said to myself: “Wait a moment Estee! There is an opportunity being presented to you!
A chance to be with your son. The child you admire and love so much...
You must take advantage of this opportunity to spend time with your son."
I fell into a serene sleep with much enthusiasm, anticipating the following day.
Early the next morning, while Tal and I were on our way to his school I turned to him and said, "What's new with you son?”
"Everything is fine", he answered abruptly.
"Good sweetie," I said lovingly., "Tell me, did you and your girlfriend settle your differences?”
A half-hearted smile showed up on my son’s face. He quietly said:" it's all good Mom. Do not worry about me. I can handle this..."
I snuck a quick peek at him through the rear-view mirror.
My heart was aching as I felt the distress in his tone of voice.
I had to do my best to pass a message to him that would possibly help him out.
I turned to him and said, "You know what son, one of the most important things I've learned in my life is that without an open line of communication, no relationship would ever stand a chance.
The ability to communicate effectively is a critical component in any relationship No matter what the situation you are in, or who you're involved with, it is important to always clarify what is on your mind; to express, in words, what you are thinking and feeling.
You know why Tal? Because invariably, the person you're dealing with, is completely oblivious.
He or she doesn’t have the faintest idea what’s on your mind or, how you feel.
The moment you become aware of this simple fact of life, you become more sensitive.
Then, and only then, can you truly begin to understand the person you’re dealing with.. You are not alone in the world son. You must become aware of it.”
“You know Tal," I continued, “When we were young, Dad and I argued countless times, but that had never prevented us from lasting as friends throughout it all.
The ability to communicate has always been there for us, and it is truly a gift!
It’s an incredible ability that we've cherished and kept close to our hearts.
“Have I ever told you about the time Dad and I were at the rabbinical court waiting for our pending divorce papers?”
My son looked at me, a bit startled and said, "No!?”
In a somewhat amused tone I went on, "Well, here's a story for you.
After constant feuding and much heartache, Dad and I had reached a decision to file for divorce.
We were very young and weren't really sure what exactly we wanted for ourselves, not to mention the things we expected to be given from one another.
The day we were at the rabbinical court, Dad and I stood before three stern looking Rabbis, dressed in black-clad.
One of the Rabbis looked at Dad and said, "Mr. Levinson, you are here to divorce your wife, yes?”
Dad looked at them a bit dazed, and wasn't able to speak. A tense silence descended upon the rabbinical court.
After what seemed like eternity, one of the Rabbis turned to me and asked, “Mrs. Levinson, do you want to divorce your husband?”
Amazingly, I was also speechless and couldn't even utter one single syllable.
The Rabbis glared at us. It appeared as though the expression on their faces became somewhat softer.
The Rabbis smiled under their thickly bearded faces, while glancing at each other.
The Rabbi in the middle turned toward us, with a smirk on his face, and said, "Hmm, Well, it doesn't appear to us, that you guys came here today with the intention of getting separated, yes? Common now, go home and make some babies..."
Tal laughed out loud. His outward giddiness was accompanied by an obvious relief.
It seemed the story had equally amused and unnerved him.
Dad and I returned home. We sat down in the living room, looked in each other’s eyes, and we talked.
We spoke about painful and happy things. We shed some tears, but we also laughed a whole lot.
Finally, we came to the conclusion that we weren't ready to let go because we truly loved one another.
And so, we decided to give our marriage another try; a fresh beginning to our life together.“
Tal, Honey” I continued, “It’s not to say that since then, we haven't had an occasional disagreement or even a nasty argument. But what I can certainly tell you from my past experience is that I have learned to open up, discuss, and forthrightly share with Dad whatever it is that bothers me.
And even if sometimes it's difficult for me to talk, I still make it a point to communicate. I write a letter and explain to Dad how I feel.
Yes, I'm the one who often initiates conversation, but that's okay, because I fully appreciate the value and importance of sharing feelings.
And by the way, doing that saves much undue stress to all who are involved.
I further learned this way, that if I truly desire something, I have the ability to manifest it.
Son, I want you to know; everything that you desire, anything that you genuinely interested in, if you focus on it you will achieve it – no doubt.
You just need to want it desperately enough!”
My son looked at me and didn't say a word. We arrived at school. Tal gently kissed me on my cheek, "I love you Mom.”
I replied with a smile, "I love you more, my love.”
The ride back home was accompanied by a most magical and euphoric feeling.
I felt gratified and fulfilled – I guess that’s what it feels like when one is completely immersed with love - a perfect balance between giving and receiving.
Later on that day in the early hours of the evening I answered my mobile phone.
On the other end of the line, I could hear Tal's voice. "Hey Mom, what's up, where are you?”
"At home", I replied, "What's going on sweetheart?”
"Mom," he said, "I wanted to tell you... What I feel... I love you Mom... And you're very important to me. I really appreciate you. And although I don't always say it, and even if at times I seem anxious and angry and I have all these unbearable mood swings, I want you to know that I still love you very much.
I'm sorry I don't say it enough. I know I need to do it more often."
My heart was abounding with bliss and tears began flooding my eyes and face. I was barely able to respond.
In a choked up voice, I said "Tal, you are my treasure! Thank you so much! Thank you for taking the time to call me and share how you feel.
This means the world to me and I appreciate it very much. I love you my darling boy. You are my life."
Tal whispered softly, "I love you too Mom... You know what Mom...May I ask you to please do something for me?”
“Of course! I’ll do anything for you my love!” I quickly replied.
Tal continued, “It's kind of awkward... It feels strange for me to say these things to Dad. Could you please tell him that I love him...?"
That is the ending of the story.
It is truly remarkable to me how a change of perception or choosing an alternate approach, can create new worlds in various circumstances.
In each passing moment there’s a veiled, magical moment waiting to be revealed.
A rare instant, which can slip away forever, if not for the transformation of thoughts and the meanings we immediately attach to them.
If I had allowed myself to wallow in feelings of anger and self-pity for having to wake up earlier than what I had planned and drive my son to school, I would've missed out on these enchanting, magnificent moments, sprinkled with experiences I will never, ever forget.