Did you know you’re in school?

I’m not talking about the school where people give you information, test you on it to make sure you listened, and you get to graduate if you have a good memory.

I’m talking about the real school we’re all in, whether we’re conscious of it or not – the school of life. In this school, instead of following the curriculum you’re given, you get to choose the curriculum you want. You get to decide what you want to experience and how you want to experience it.

Thing is, if you’re not aware you’re in that school, you never graduate. You stay stuck in grade school because you don’t know you’re not here to simply listen and follow directives, you’re here to create, uplift, love, spread the joy of being alive, and remember who you really are.

Each and every day, you get to create how your day will flow and how you’ll live it. Whatever happens, whatever someone does or says to you, you get to choose how you experience it. You choose how you react to the events and to the people in your life. You may not be aware that you’re choosing how you react, but you do choose it.

The reason you may not be aware you’re choosing is because we’ve been programmed to be victims:  bad things happen to us; we get stuck with a disease; people do things to us; life is hard; stress is a part of life; growing old sucks, etc.

We’re conditioned to think this way by society, school, religion, etc.

Let’s shift this victim mentality to a creator mentality. Instead of thinking that bad things happen to you, view what happens without judging it as a bad thing. View it objectively and see if there is something to learn from it or look for the beneficial aspects.

Say for example you lost your job. Instead of complaining about it to everyone and to get stressed out, you can examine the situation objectively. You don’t have this one job anymore. There are other jobs out there that might be a better fit for you. It’s an opportunity to meet new people and experience a new environment. There’s a better job waiting for you. Things happen for a reason. Maybe you were tired of this job and you couldn’t bring yourself to leave it. Now’s your chance.

When you have a disease, your body is telling you something in your lifestyle has to change. It’s telling you the environment you’re putting it in isn’t conducive to health. The body is doing its best to keep you going – it’s always healing and adapting. But if you continually put it in an environment that’s unhealthy, it will communicate first with symptoms, then with disease if you don’t listen to it and make some changes. Health involves more than eating well and being active. It’s also about your relationships, having a purpose, believing in something greater than yourself, getting outside for natural light, meditation, sleeping, and naps. You can’t say you’re healthy if you’re neglecting one of these essential elements. Health involves all aspects of life.

When someone criticizes you or judges you, instead of taking it personally, know that they are suffering. People who judge and criticize others, judge and criticize themselves unconsciously. They try to control, convince and change others. A fulfilled, healthy, happy, empowered, and confident person wouldn’t criticize or judge another person. They would show them love, respect and compassion.

When you catch yourself thinking life is hard and stressful, stop and take a breath. Remember you’re creating your experience of what’s happening in your life. You get to choose how to view what’s happening. If you don’t like the choices you’ve made so far, you get to make different choices.

I’ll give you a personal example. I wasn’t happy in my job anymore, I wanted to be within walking distance from nature paths and the river, and I wanted to lessen my financial burden. So I made new choices:  I quit my job, sold my house, and rented a house near the beach and nature. These decisions weren’t easy. The fear of the unknown is a big hurdle, and the house didn’t sell right away. It took patience, courage and faith. But it was well worth it. I’m now living my purpose – uplifting and inspiring people – and I’m joyful and fulfilled, empowered and in love with life.

And about the growing old part, it’s another one of society’s programming. I’m turning 60 this October and I feel better than in my twenties. I’m healthier, happier, physically stronger and in better shape from year to year, more spontaneous, resilient, fulfilled, independent, empowered, and more adventurous than ever before.

If you give your body the love, care, attention, and movement it needs, it’ll keep going strong. If you take care of your relationships, have a purpose, believe in something greater than yourself, get outside for natural light, meditate, get sufficient sleep and naps, keep improving your mind and body, and live life with an adventurous spirit, you’ll be having so much fun that you won’t have time to notice the years are going by.

So if you don’t like where you’re at, make new choices to create the life you want.

Remember, you’re in the school of life and you get to choose the curriculum you want.

Sylvie Grégoire