Guilderland, NY – The other day, one of our students was explaining how someday they hope to have their own taekwondo school. They prefaced the conversation by explaining that they weren’t “sure what twists and turns their life would take, but…” This made me think, again, about the beauty of the mystery of life, the time continuum and how you just never ever know what can happen next. This time, however, my focus was on the causes of the choices we make.
As soon as our conversation concluded, I immediately thought about how the choices we make that change the direction of our lives are caused by two opposing yin and yang forces: negative people, situations or environments and positive opportunities for change. In the case of this student, as is true for many local seniors, not the least of whom is my own son, it is positive energy and opportunity presented by college acceptance.
Here are some examples of how positive and negative energy causes decisions for change. I moved to Turkey with my wife because it was a tremendously positive and exciting opportunity. Living and working there was beyond awesome, but after 7 years, negative changes in some policies of the school at which we worked combined with a positive opportunity in Westchester caused our return to the U.S. The Westchester adventure soon presented a number of negative people and places that brought us here to Guilderland and allowed me to have the conversation that caused me to write this article. This last move in direction and location was caused purely by negative environments and negative people. It came upon us without any new opportunity. We simply decided to move and then just made the opportunity happen.
Recognizing positive opportunity and working diligently to verify it is easy. We must work very hard to learn to recognize negativity because it is not always apparent. I am certainly no expert, but I guess that the difficulty in recognizing negativity is what really lies at the crux of the dilemma for people in codependent situations or abusive relationships.
We must not delay in acting to remove the negativity or remove ourselves from the negative environment. Remaining will wear us down and cause us to act in ways that we do not expect and are uncharacteristic for us. I look at all of the changes the positive and negative yin and yang forces have brought to my life in the same way. Despite the discomfort caused by negative experiences, I value them the same. This is because I am where I am and who I am as a result of all of them. I have also learned a lot from each experience to help make better decisions as I move forward.
There are many times I feel like I waited too long, but I say this hesitantly because again, perhaps the waiting in those cases is what gave me what I have now. So, in the end again, I must cherish it in entirety and keep moving. We live, we learn, and if we can deny negativity a breeding ground, the world will be a better place. Despite what some people think, I’m pretty sure that’s why we are here.