How to Make All the Difference in Your Life
Live in the present moment
Life sometimes leads us to a fork in the road, a choice. Which road shall we take? When this happens, some of us recall that poem by Robert Frost – ‘The Road Not Taken’ – which ends with the memorable lines:
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
A close reading of the poem will dispel the widespread belief that Frost was inferring that if you take the road less traveled you’ll have a more exciting, distinctive, and productive life. In fact, he states early in the poem that both roads were ‘really about the same’. It’s only the stories we tell ourselves and others in retrospect about the choice we made that make that choice seem the right one (or the wrong one) – the one that made all the difference.
Anyway, that’s enough poetry analysis for one day. What I’m addressing here is that we can dramatize the choices we’ve made and make them appear right or wrong, when, really, they were just steps along the way that didn’t change the deeper outcome of our life very much.
Bear with me before your mind leaps in with examples of choices you’ve made that you believe did dramatically change your unfolding.
A Story About Evergreen
Rob and I bought this property we call Evergreen almost on a whim, twenty years ago. Rob and our oldest son, who was sixteen at the time, were on a bike trip, riding with a group from Pemberton to Albany. They rested for a day in the town of Denmark, and while walking the streets Rob spotted an advertisement taped to the window of a second-hand shop.
We’d talked about the need to move from Perth and to have a bit of land to accommodate our five children. So, when he got back home, he told me what he’d seen taped to the window. We planned a two-day trip to look at the property as well as others for sale in the area, but once we’d seen this place and knew we could afford it, we looked no further. Within four months we had moved in.
Now, I could tell a portentous story about this, saying that buying this place made all the difference to our lives, including our children’s, and that if we hadn’t bought it our lives would’ve been less exciting, distinctive, and productive. But there were other places for sale. If we’d taken the time to look at them, we may have chosen differently. We may have named other possible places Blue Lagoon or Skyview or Tall Trees or Snake Pit, depending on what it was like. But we and our children still would’ve lived, overall, in a similar manner to how we’ve lived at this place we call Evergreen.
This isn’t negating the power inherent in choice and chance, which can coalesce into something meaningful. My point is that ‘something meaningful’ can happen in many ways, not just in the way it did.
It's not where we live, who we live with, or what we do for a living that makes all the difference. It’s how we live that makes all the difference.
Live in the Present
If you want to make all the difference in your life, here is a suggestion.
Whatever situation you find yourself in, wherever you are, whoever you are with, whatever you are doing, be present.
When you are present, when your mind is uncluttered by old and repetitive thoughts, when you are open to universal consciousness rather than your own limited viewpoint, each moment is a spacious, clear window to meaningful possibilities.
Then there is a certainty that your next thought, action, or words will make all the difference.
With love, Marlane