Getting out of the Penalty Box: Time to Focus on what we CAN do

by Beverly Kievman Copen

Each day brings more news about what we can NOT do now.  It feels like “Chicken Little and the sky is falling”.  I believe we are at a crossroads now, and it is time to change our focus on what we cannot do, to what we actually can do.  I understand feeling that “my” life is out of control.  Let me explain why, and what I believe we can change.

In my mid 40’s in Atlanta, I was married for 10 years to a terrific broadcasting executive, Michael Kievman.  The last 3 of those years were when Diabetes took hold of his body, and he eventually lost both legs and then his life.  My own life as an entrepreneur began to disappear, and finally did.   A good friend, concerned about me, gave me an audio tape by Dr. Bill Self, that helped me re-gain some sense of perspective about life at that time.  Dr. Self explained:  When a hockey player commits a foul, he is penalized for an exact length of time – two minutes, for example – and sent into the penalty box.  From there he can watch the action going on, but he is out of the game until his penalty time is up.  Ironically, in the game of life we may not ever commit a foul, yet we find ourselves in the penalty box.  Dr. Self said: “Life has a way of putting us in the penalty box.  It is a human dilemma for each of us; it could be a business disappointment, a marriage failure, growing old, illness or a hundred things.  The question is, WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE OUT OF THE GAME?”

Our community, our country, our world is facing a watershed event. A watershed is a turning point, or historic moment.  What was, no longer seems to be.  With so much changing in our work world, our family life, our school world, we are witnessing a changing of how we do business or education from home. Out of this crisis, and in the midst of these incredible changes, we are especially noticing a new wave of generosity and kindness.  You and I actually now have the opportunity to be creative and explore new ways of interacting, of doing business, of creating new businesses. On our social media sites there are a growing amount of “posts” of ways individuals are reaching out to help others… to bring foods and supplies to those in need, or who cannot drive; to seniors who are afraid to go anywhere, to helping parents out who are juggling home schooling for their children while they are fighting to keep their business afloat.  While we definitely are missing the social interaction of our lives, and people may get lonely, many are coming up with specific ways to reach out to people they know, or neighbors that they may not know to simply say, “thinking of you, how are you doing?”  The Village Rotary Club is asking members to call, text or email other members or friends that they are thinking about.  The Sedona Village Partnership has had terrific support with donations for a fund raiser from businesses and from individuals for the new Sedona Village Learning Center, waiting for when the schools finally open again.

This is the philosophy that I created during those very difficult 3 years, 33 years ago.  I call it THE POWER OF CHOICE. Here it is.  I hope it will be meaningful to you and those you love.

Regardless of your position in life, your circumstances,
Or the challenges you are faced with every day,
You and I have the most important freedoms in the world!
We can see, feel, say, study, write, think or be…
Anything we choose.  It is ours for the taking.
Every day, in every situation,
You and I have choices and options.
We can choose to be negative, or we can choose to be positive.
We can choose to be angry, or we can choose to be peaceful.
We can choose to be resentful, or we can choose to be grateful
We can lash out and say, “Why me?”
Or, we can reach out and help someone else.
We must separate things that are within our control,
From those NOT in our control.
We need to LET GO of the ones NOT in our control
And take action on the ones that are.
The power of choice is in your attitude.
Life is too short, precarious and fragile.
That will turn around your Day, your Week, and your Life.
That is your choice, yours alone.

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