The eagle has landed!
Prez and I have touched down in Ucluelet for another summer of fishing, fishing, fishing, fishing…and writing. Between Nelson and the edge of the earth, however, we were lucky to spend time with friends and family including my two nephews, Sean and Scott.
It was my time with my nephews that prompted this Coconut Chronicle. As the official “Cool Aunt”, I want to use my powers for good, to pass along to these young men some of the lessons and advice that have helped me over the years. I don’t, however, want to be one of those annoying old people that tells them how to live their lives. I slip in a nugget of wisdom when and where I can but this got me thinking about all the people who have changed my life for the better with a few simple words.
Some of these may sound trite but they all came at a time when I needed to hear them.
What you resist will come to you. ~ Todd “Marley” Beem
Time and again this one has come true for me. The harder I run from something, the more likely it is to find me. What this has taught me is to remain open to all possibilities and to understand that life is unpredictable. Control, for the most part, is an illusion.
What’s the difference between a reason and an excuse? ~ Sensei Frank Clayton
I learned many important life lessons from my karate sensei over the nine years I studied with him but this little kōan is the one that made the biggest impact. Sensei Clayton never answered the question for me and every time I volunteered an answer he would simply shrug in a way that said, “Maybe but maybe not.” When the answer did finally come to me—like the proverbial lightening strike out of the blue—I understood that his goal was never to hear my answer but merely to make me keep searching for it.
Every time you point a finger, three more are pointing back at you.
No one walks all over you without your permission. ~ Al-Anon
I only attended two Al-Anon meetings in the brief period between my announcement to my alcoholic first husband that I was leaving him and the day I actually left, but that’s all I needed. Al-Anon did not save my marriage or reconcile me with my spouse’s addiction but they did force me to take responsibility for my own happiness and well-being. These two gems were a much-needed kick in the ass and took me from helpless victim to self-reliant strong woman almost overnight.
You can have anything you want but you can’t have everything you want. ~ Steve Ferguson
These words came at a time when I really was trying to have it all. They took awhile to sink in but when I finally came to terms with them they freed me from a lot of frustration. Prez and I have made some bold and atypical life choices, which have meant that we now miss out on some of the comforts and luxuries others enjoy. It’s easy to forget how fortunate we are, with our gypsy ways, so it helps to remember that every choice comes with a sacrifice.
A good reputation follows you around, a bad one catches up with you. ~ Joe Steiner
My former boyfriend was instrumental in helping me piece my life back together after my divorce. I’d been living a pretty wild life, which is not unexpected for someone in their early twenties, but I wanted to move forward and was having a hard time being taken seriously. When I finally “got it” and realized that all my actions (no matter how small) had far-reaching consequences, I also discovered that I had the power to change the world’s perception of me.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. ~ Robert Marrington
My dad had a list of familiar sayings I could always depend on him to rattle off. He probably thought I didn’t listen, and for a lot of years that was true. But this one stuck and the older I get the more I appreciate its simple wisdom.
There are a lot of people in the world…be patient. ~ My arnis instructor
I wish I could remember this fellow’s name. Arnis is a Filipino martial art that focuses on stick and knife fighting and my instructor had come from the mean streets of Manila where arnis wasn’t a sport but a necessary skill. He was a surprisingly gentle man, considering his upbringing, and after every class we would have five minutes of deep breathing and meditation. Sometimes he would end with words of advice. These were my favourite and I call on them often.
There’s no such thing as a stressful situation only a stressful reaction. ~Fred Perron
When I first met my future husband, I was amazed at his positivity. We’d been together only a few months when he received the news that his life’s dream—the house and boat in Baja that he had worked so hard to buy—had burned to the ground. He had not yet purchased insurance, so he had lost everything. His reaction? “Well, we’ll go take a look and decide if we want to rebuild.” His ability to control his internal life inspired me and, ever since, I have aspired to do the same.
When you are late, you tell people, “I am more important than you”. ~ Marny Eng’s mom
This much-needed slap in the face was not directed at me but probably should have been. Fellow stunt woman Marny Eng and I were chatting with the hair and make-up people on set one night and somehow we ended up talking about lateness. She shared what her mother had to say about the subject and—as someone who used to be chronically late—I have never forgotten it.
Honey, if you’re not on somebody’s shit list you’re no damned good. ~ Erin Moir
Another smart mom. My author friend Rita is never lacking a strong opinion and I’m sure that comes in part from her feisty and determined mother, Erin. The gist of this statement is that if you want to create change, you’re going to piss people off. The alternative is that you go through life never causing a stir but you never make any lasting contribution to the world either. At least, that is my interpretation and, as someone who struggles with a deep-seated desire to be loved and accepted, I need this statement and the sense of “permission” it gives me.
If you want a happy relationship, find someone who accepts your flaws … then you accept theirs. ~ Roy Walker
It’s the last part of this statement that is the most important, and the most difficult. I am married to an alpha male with a STRONG personality, and sometimes that can be a challenge. I don’t think we need to unquestionably put up with every flaw in our partners but often what we perceive as flaws are really just “differences”. I also know that I am far from perfect and I can’t expect my spouse to put up with my glitches if I can’t do the same in return.
Do you have any favourite words of wisdom that helped make your life better? Leave a comment!