When I was around three or four years old, I had a “course correction” from my mom.
It had rained a bit and there were little tiny frogs hopping all over the place in my yard. For some reason, keep in mind I was no more than four, I was trying to step on them. I guess my mom noticed me stomping out in the yard and she came over and asked me what I was doing. Naturally, I told her that I was trying to step on the little frogs. Then my mom asked me, “How would you like it if a big frog came over and stomped on you?”
As you might imagine, a four-year-old can have a vivid imagination. I remember instantly seeing in my mind a huge frog coming down the street to stomp on me. It was very similar to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man coming down the streets of New York in Ghostbusters.
My frog was years before the Stay Puft Man but anyway, it was a vivid scene in my head and it made an impression. So much so that I’ve never stepped on another frog and I can still vividly recall that killer frog hopping over the trees to come stomp on me forty years later.
There are a number of ways my mom could have corrected me from trying to squash tiny frogs.
She could have scolded me, she could have spanked me, sprayed me with a water bottle or anything really. But instead, she did something that was brilliant, she stopped me with a question.
She interrupted my current way of thinking and my current actions with a question so jarring it stopped not only what I was doing at the moment but altered what I would forever not do in the future.
If you missed what I’m saying, she changed my paradigm and altered my trajectory by asking me a simple question. Not just any question mind you, but a question that caused me to examine what I was doing by putting me in the shoes, or position, of another. She offered me a different vantage point. Not through force, but through invitation.
And it worked.
I think many of us as adults could really use some good questions to invite us to change our paradigms. We often get stuck in certain trains of thought, we are often “programmed” or force-fed “news” and opinions about how we are to think, and we get lost in the forest because we cannot see past this tree that just won’t move out of our way.
Unfortunately, unlike when my mom noticed me stomping frogs, many of us don’t have someone who can ask us a life-altering questions because almost everyone gets lost in “their own world.” For now, we may be our best resources for good course correcting questions. But again, if we are in our rut or consumed by our current method of operations, we may not even know to ask ourselves any questions at all.
So, having said that. I’ll give this a shot to get you moving in the right direction. Bear in mind that some of these won’t necessarily apply to you. I don’t know what you need but I do know I don’t ever want to step on frogs again…
Are you happy?
- If not, is it because of someone else?
- If so, does it seem right that someone else should have all that power to determine your happiness?
- If you are not happy, why not?
- Is it a choice?
- If so, why haven’t you chosen to be happy?
Do you feel good?
- Does your body feel good when it moves?
- If not, have you done anything to change that?
- If so, is it working?
- How long have you been doing it?
- Have you given it a fair chance?
- Have you given it any thought as to whether or not it’s yielding what you want?
- Does your mind feel good when it thinks?
- Do you think about lovely, beautiful thoughts?
- Do you ponder negative, dark things?
- Do you smile often?
- If not, how come?
- Do you not have anything in your life worth smiling over?
- If not, how come?
Do you honestly think? I mean to ask, do you exercise your freedom to think and enjoy the gift of thinking?
- If not, do you let other people tell you what to think?
- Do you accept the common ways of the world as things that are “just the way it is.”
- Do you believe or parrot the thoughts fed to you from others?
- Do you think every person who drives is rush hour traffic is really a jerk who intentionally cut you off on purpose?
- Were they really trying to disrespect you?
- You know what “they” say.
- But wait, who are “they”?
- Why does their opinion matter?
- When did they convene to pass unquestionable judgment on all issues pertaining to how life should be?
- Do you want to let strangers tell you how things should be without really considering the matters for yourself?
- Do these matters involve your happiness, freedom, health, future or anything pertaining to you at all?
Wait, this one is more like mom’s question about the frogs:
How would you like it if someone treated you the way you treated your spouse/partner?
- Do you think the silent treatment will make the situation better?
- Does yelling invite your point of view or try to force it?
- Does unconditional love really mean unconditional on the condition that your spouse does exactly what you expect and want them to do?
- Do you really think your spouse wants to harm or hurt you on purpose?
- Is it possible they see things differently but with good reason or maybe they simply don’t have all the information that you have?
- What is your goal or desired outcome from this relationship?
- Are you headed in that direction?
What if everyone you interacted with wasn’t trying to cause you harm at all, but they were simply doing the best they could do in the situation given the paradigm they were seeing and living through?
What if everyone is just so blinded by their circumstances that they can’t see the lives and hearts of others? What if they don’t mean to be jerks?
Really, who starts out the day thinking, “Today I’m going to be a complete Jack-Mule! This is going to be the greatest most miserable day for everyone!” I’m willing to think that no one wants to be mean and miserable. Yes, some people are good at it, but perhaps they’ve never had someone ask them the right questions to snap them out of their paradigm.
If you’re still reading this, this article has everything to do with movement and restoring your ability to live your life well. Questions, course corrections, invoking thought, considering the well being of another, smiling – it’s all movement. It all moves you and the world around you, for the better or not.
We were indeed all made to move and made to live in strength throughout our lives. But that design is not an independent, solitary design. It’s an interwoven design that affects the entire world. The better you move and think, the better we all move and think. The happier you are, the happier we all are. If it hurts your heart when a cherished loved one is hurting, you understand this. You also know how a loving smile and gentle hug can lift someone who’s hurting. That is the effect of the design.
We are all connected. We are all meant to live in and enjoy strength, not just our own, but each others’ as well.