Underwater dreams…

 “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”-Plato

 It has been an interesting couple of weeks in southeastern Wisconsin and throughout neighboring states as we face record flooding. Despite the sandbags, many dreams cannot be saved and residents watch helplessly as homes of friends, neighbors, and town residents are ruined by rain-some washed away completely. Towns are under water. Roads are not drivable. Shelters are open. The regular routines of a month ago have been replaced by questions, disbelief, sadness and fear.

I live on a hill so I have been lucky so far. Our only damage has been a half-dozen trees, eight fifteen to thirty-feet, that have fallen; one on our septic and one on our barn. My assistant who lives about five miles away is watching carefully. The home two houses down is submerged in six feet of water. The town he lives in is closed and he cannot make the short drive to my home or the office. More rain is forecasted and the flood warning is in effect through next Thursday. F.E.M.A. officials came Thursday and were unable to leave when more tornadoes surface and the airport closed.

In the midst of chaos everyone tries to function as normally as possible. The other day I signed on to customer service. Accessing the internet has not been easy via satellite connection. There were several tickets I had not been able to answer in our goal of one business day. What amazed me were the insults I received from several people since they had not heard back in 24 hours. One threatened to contact a lawyer; another the Better Business Bureau. The emails were harsh as if they assumed I must be at a salon or golfing versus addressing their concerns.

While I can understand being frustrated by lack of response within a posted time, I cannot understand the need to assume the worst and go into battle mode. This concept ties into one of my favorite Good Mornings.

I once listened to a speaker who shared a story I will never forget. He was at a restaurant working on a speech. He had hoped to have some quiet time to reflect and prepare. Shortly after he arrived, a family was seated about three tables away. The children were behaving badly. They were stomping forks and knives on the table, pulling at each other, and making a general ruckus. The speaker couldn’t understand how this father could let his children behave like that…or why he would take such misbehaving children out in public.

He tried to be patient, but after twenty minutes of the noise, he asked his waitress to ask the family to quiet down if possible. The father then stood up and walked over to the speaker. The next words changed the speaker’s outlook forever.

“I am sorry, sir,” he said in a kind, sincere, and sad voice. “The children just lost their mother two days ago, and I just haven’t been able to get them to settle down since. I thought getting a good meal in them would help.” He and the speaker went on to exchange a few lines and parted on good terms. Of course, the speaker wasn’t “wrong” for wanting his private time to prepare and reflect. Nor was the father “wrong” for taking his children out for a meal. But, we often think in terms of “right and wrong,” when in reality every story has different angles-sometimes many different angles. Looking at these angles is great exercise for the mind.

 Your Turn: We all have habitual tendencies which allow us to believe something about a given situation, whether it is right or not. Try to stop worrying about right and wrong. Instead, exercise your mind and come up with as many reasons for different situations as you can-explore all the angles.

 Today’s Affirmation:I do not concern myself with right and wrong. I do concern myself with understanding.


Underwater dreams… — 15 Comments

  1. thank you for this share!
    I am so sorry for the harsh & insensative words that were fired off to. This blew my mind! For every person that is out there with such anger & agression, just remember how many, many more of us there are who are simply greatful for you do give! I think you are amazing. You have created a wonderful thing which offers inspiration, hope and courage to MANY. You have a very big heart and I thank you for your service!
    I am also sooo sorry for the hardship and pain of everone affected by this devastating disaster. I will keep all of you in my prayers.
    With great respect,

  2. Brooke, our thoughts and prayers are with you and the people there involved in the flooding and destruction. Hoping there is an end in sight to this devastation of property. Bettye

  3. prayers to all of flood victims
    and Brook thanks all that u do for us.

    Stay safe and keep us posted.

    We(or most us)understand the delay at this time.Linda GA

  4. Thank you for saying more about what is happening to you personally in this flooding. This reminds me of the John Godfrey Saxe poem, The Blind Men and The Elephant, a Hindu Fable. Each blind man described the part of the elephant he was touching – a wall, a snake, a tree – and each of course were correct, but they didn’t have the full picture. One of my favorite authors, Linda Kavelin Popov, reminds us to Get Curious, Not Furious, when things happen that are contrary to our desires. I think our anger sometimes comes from a fear of being taken advantage of. We think that we will be run over unless we stomp and shout, perhaps? I loved your Plato quote about kindness. Thanks for this morning’s aha moment, Brook!

  5. Brooke,

    I know what you mean, sometimes we only see things from our own eyes, and it can change everything if you look through the eyes of others… so sorry to hear about what is happening in your state, I was there last September, and thought it was such a beautiful area, and the people were very nice! You are in our thoughts, and hope the rain will go away, and you will see some rainbows!

    Best Wishes –

  6. ”Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”-Plato

    Thank you for this “Good Morning” although it is now afternoon as I read this. Thank you for sharing what is going on with you. This quote is something I try to rememeber everyday. So much is going on in my own life and so many around me. “Our” own stuff seems to fog our minds as to what someone else may be going through at the same time. I truly try to remember that IT COULD BE WORSE! We never know what is happening with someone else. Personally, I have lost my home and moved about 1300 miles in search of a ‘better’ life. After 6months, I may lose a job I have had (with the same company) after 14 years, in a couple of months. I am trying to keep my head above water, and some days are easier than others. Customers gripe that they can’t use their coupons, sales aren’t good enough… like I have control of this. Family members have a hard time with their broken relationships and fears of being alone. But it could all be worse… they could lose all possesions, a job, their health, a life, but they don’t see past their noses. Friends I have made here don’t realize they still have options and options are good. Thank you again for today’s reminder and stay safe.

  7. Hi Brook,
    I am so sorry you are going through this! I will be praying for all of you until this is over so please keep us posted. I personally think you are an amazing woman. You have been through so many things since you start cylc, now this. I pray Rose is okay also. I wonder how many others doing MTM were effected in the flood. My heart goes out to you. May the son shine done on you. 🙂
    God Bless you!

  8. Brooke,

    You are in my prayers along with the people in the flood areas, I can not even imagen; I have heard others storys of people in and trying to travel through the flood areas and it is not good. From what a read you are a very strong person and you will come through even stronger. Again Thank-You for everything you do for the site and each of us.

    Blessing sent your way,

    Michelle G -MN

  9. #7 Pat S; Florida — I used to console myself with “things could always be worse.” I even told a friend that after her husband lost his job and they had to move several hundred miles away from her family. I mean, I was a firm believer in that sentiment and told people that ALL the time!!

    Then, just shortly after my friend had to move, my husband had a major heart attack at 49. He recovered, but I realized then that I was focusing on NEGATIVE things. “It’s not so bad, things could be worse!” That’s when I decided to try to focus on positive things — My husband’s physical health was much improved after the heart surgery; My daughter was born shortly after that at 3 months premature and got awesome care at the hospital; The police were finally starting to pay attention to my 15 year old step-son and forcing him to face up to the crimes he had committed.

    There was a LOT of negative stuff going on in my life and I would have drowned if I had kept my gaze towards what else could have gone wrong. Instead I tried to look at the positives in my life and focus on them — especially my two incredible little girls.

    My “positive outlook” was severely tested shortly after that when my husband completed suicide. But now, a year and a half later, I feel that I’m finally able to look forward again. And whenever someone cuts me off in traffic, I remember that morning driving home after I found my husband and remind myself that I truly have no idea what that person behind the wheel is dealing with at that particular moment.

    So, Pat, what I guess I’m trying to say is don’t focus too much on what else could go wrong and that things could get worse. Even if it seems like a positive thought in a roundabout way, it’s not!! Look instead to the truly postive things that are going on in your life right now, even if they be insignificant to other people. Just focus on the things that make you smile. 🙂

    Sheridan in OK

  10. Brook,
    I am so sorry that people can vent such hate toward another human being.
    So many people now days are ‘me, me,me’ (like the seagulls in Nemo saying ‘mine,mine,mine”) and never stop to think of others much less pick up a phone or send an email to someone they haven’t heard from in awhile, just to touch base. That one simple act of reaching out means so much to others. And I am afraid I am guilty at times, in my busy life, to stop and think of someone else other than me. Thank you for the reminder that we should all stop and think, ‘what is the other person going through?” We all need to live by the Golden Rule.
    I hope you get some apologies from those who didn’t stop and think!!!

  11. I wanted to respond to Minda’s post #11. You know I was thinking about this a lot and I think what Kara said in #4 is really true. I think when we don’t hear from someone we fear not being heard and perhaps attempt to speak more loudly or become controversial versus a kind inquiry. I think we get concerned that unless we “stand out” we may not be heard. I know I used to be guilty of getting really aggressive when I felt “shorted.” But then I switched and started approaching everything with “You know… I really need some help on something…” when inquiring on purchases/service. You know what happened? My results and service were so much better! Beyond A+. I started sending in “great representative” letters to companies versus complaints.

    I think when we don’t feel heard we sometimes assume our words have little affect but I encourage everyone to remember, especially via email, how much words mean. I think they are even more important via email where tone goes such a long way. No matter who you are your words have power and they are one thing you have total control over– and those words become a reflection of your life and character.

    I know for me I have learned two things about email…that I use across all my emails.
    1. Always re-read and ask, how would I feel to receive this?
    2. When upset – give myself a 24 hour cool off period. A good night’s sleep changes perspective.
    3. If I do not receive a response or feel forgotten – “ask instead of assume.”

    Now as my husband will tell you–I was not always this good 🙂 I learned by experience and seeing the opposites of these ways caused more drama and delay than good. Itt wasn’t until my late twenties that I began looking for every way I could to trade drama for joy.

    p.s. Thank you to all who post comments–I do read them all (as I have to approve each one to avoid the blog being filled with SPAM. And it is always my favorite part of the day. YOUR WORDS DO MATTER!)

  12. I am so sorry to hear that you are affected by all the flooding. I enjoyed the good morning today as I do everyday. There is always something that we can learn from in any given situation. We need to make more positives out of the negatives and it is hard to do today in the society that we live in but we need to be strong and believe.

    Thank you.

  13. Sorry about both the horrible flooding and the thoughtlessness of some individuals. But thank you for the reminder that we should not jump to conclusions when others don’t respond the way we would like. We never know what the other person is going through. And we all could use that reminder on a regular basis.

    Thanks. And best wishes to you and your staff.

  14. Brooke –
    You’re going through so much right now. All I want to say is “You are AMAZING!”
    Hang in there!

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