I am creating a picture with words on my computer. Parts of what I create I want in the foreground. Others I want to “Send to the back”.
I press a button.
If only life were so simple. If only all it took to keep the important things in the foreground of my life were to press a button.
Maybe it is!
What’s in the foreground of your life?
For me, some of the big ticket items in my foreground are my family and spending time with those I love, (especially my grandson as I am doing right now), continually strengthening and deepening my marriage, being actively creative, sharing kindness and inspiring others to do the same, and savouring the ‘little moments’ of life through time in nature and time alone are all foreground focuses.
The stuff. The little things that irritate me, world politics, cars, sports’ scores, drama — all of these are background things.
When I view the things that fill my life, and my days, through the perspective of what’s in the foreground versus background, I can see where my values lie, and where I am living true to my values.
It’s so easy to get off track. To put my focus on things that deplete me, rather than those that fill me up and inspire me to live fully in the moment.
Yesterday, as I was checking my bag in at the Air Canada desk, the automatic luggage checker-iner conveyors stopped. The attendant informed the lines of people waiting at the various machines that they’d be back on shortly.
There was lots of grumbling.
The woman in front of me turned around, looked at me, gave a heavy sigh and said, “Just like Air Canada to have systems that don’t work.”
I smiled at her and said, “Oh I’ve flown other airlines. I think it’s the conveyor system technology. I’ve often encountered problems.”
The woman was adamant. “No. It’s Air Canada,” she insisted. “You know their motto right?” And she went on to repeat a not very complimentary statement about the company. “They’re only happy when their customers are unhappy.”
Just then, the attendant came and directed us to the desks on the other side of the aisle where Air Canada staff were waiting to check-in business class flyers.
I was grateful.
I might have said something I’d regret to the woman in front of me if we hadn’t moved right then.
See, we have old stories that have lived long past their due date. Like the story that Air Canada only wants to make its customers unhappy.
I definitely didn’t experience that yesterday. In fact, yesterday, when I went to get my baggage tag and realized my husband had forgotten to pay for my bag when he booked my flight, the attendant stopped to help me as the machine wasn’t accepting credit cards at that moment (it was a minor glitch that could have cost me lots of time). “I don’t want to have to make you go all the way through the check-in line,” she told me. “Come with me to the desk at customer service and I’ll process it there.”
She made my life easier and me much happier with her good service.
We all have stories that don’t work in our lives because their expiry date is long past. Yet, often, we hold those stories in the foreground in the belief that their ‘truth’ is our truth today.
I used to have a story about my birth that caused me pain every time I told it, even though I pretended it was funny when I did. I had to stop telling that story by reframing it to something more loving to ease the ache that story created in my heart.
It was an act of kindness to myself, something I value greatly along with creating joy and sharing love. Sharing that story didn’t create any of that in my life, yet, there I was holding it in the foreground, reminding myself every day of a deeply seated inner ‘trauma belief’ that was formed in childhood — not because it was true, but rather, because I didn’t understand the story my parents told about my arrival on this earth. (My father lost a case of beer and $20 when I was born because I wasn’t a boy and my mother wanted me to be born on the day of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, not 9th.)
Somewhere in my past, I created an internal translation of that story to mean I was a disappointment and wasn’t wanted in my family.
And I know, in the here and now and the beauty of today, that isn’t true, never was.
It is up to me to recognize whether the stories I tell on myself are creating joy, kindness, love in my life, or not. and when they’re not, to recognize that the story isn’t working for me anymore — it’s past its expiry date and needs to be reframed.
And while it may take more than just pressing a button to send it to the background, it’s worth the effort.
Because, when I fill my foreground with what matters most to me in my life, my world is filled with wonder and beauty and Love.