I recently attended a friend’s memorial.

In a room filled with so much love, I understood the choice I had in that moment. Not that I have a choice about grief. That feels like it’s lying in wait to come racing to the surface anytime I have a random thought that makes me think of him.

I had the choice, though, to focus on the love, the memories, and how he was such an incredible person, or let my mind wander to graduations and weddings when his absence will be felt deeply.

They’re both sad, but one is tinged with joy and the other with devastation.

Maybe sadness always comes from love. I loved someone who is gone, or gone from my life anyway. I loved how I felt or who I was in an experience that is now over.

Does every negative emotion have an opposing one that it’s tied to, perhaps one that can be chosen instead?

When I’m afraid, isn’t it because I have a desire to feel a certain way? Like when I feel afraid of failure, that has to be because I know, or can imagine based on past experiences, how wonderful success would feel.

Anger is focus on how things aren’t they way I want them. So I must also have the option, in that moment, to shift my gaze to things that already are the way I want them

Instead of feeling regret and guilt for an impatient moment with my husband or sons, could I think about a time I felt pride or gratitude for a patient moment? It makes me feel better but is also a helluva more powerful motivator for next time.

Instead of worrying about the terrible things that could happen in the future, could I think about the wonderful things that might unfold? Or better yet, just try to stay in the present moment instead of being held hostage to the past with guilt or prisoner to the future with anxiety.

What if for a day, just one, we noticed when we were feeling an unpleasant emotion and walked ourselves hand over hand along that rope to the opposite side?

We sure would feel better and I want that for all of us.

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