Stuff Happens: Do Something Useful With It

You know those days that go sideways so fast your mind gets stuck in a loop of, “What the heck just happened?”

I had one of them last summer.

One minute I was on my bike, pedaling along the greenway on a beautiful Sunday morning. And then I was on the ground.

First I was just startled.

Then, as I tried to get up, I realized something not-very-good had happened to my right shoulder.

It was fractured.

Your day (or life) doesn’t always go as planned.

That was definitely not what I had in mind for my day, or for my summer!  But it’s what I got.  And what I also got was an amped-up opportunity to seriously walk my talk.

The tools I use with my clients and in my “normal” life work.  They work to support you when times are tough, they work to support change, and they work to help you be your best self.

And boy, did I need them now!

Choose your experience by choosing your mindset. As I wheeled my bike back to the road, what went round and round in my head was, “Ugh, this really sucks.”

I had a half-day client workshop to deliver the next morning, and I was leaving on vacation a few weeks later.

Sitting on a rock waiting for my husband to bike home and get the car, I groused and grumbled to myself … for about five minutes.

Then I started laughing.

The program I was teaching in the morning?  Mindset Matters.  The universe does like a good joke!

Assuming I was fine to lead the program (which I was), dragging “this sucks” energy into the room wasn’t a great idea.

By the time I left Urgent Care with a diagnosis and sling, I’d chosen the perspective of this could have been so much worse … it’s just inconvenient.  And indeed, “inconvenient” is all it turned out to be.

But if I’d hung onto my original “this sucks” attitude, that’s how it would have played out.

Same facts … different mindset … different experience.

Where is your opportunity to adopt a mindset that will better serve you?

Practice gratitude. Study after study shows gratitude boosts happiness. And it’s no surprise.

When you appreciate what’s good in your life, the good in your life grows. (The same holds true for focusing on the bad.)

I had much to be grateful for.

I hadn’t hit my head or knocked out a tooth, I wasn’t in pain (nothing short of a miracle!) and I was able to sleep well. I have amazing friends who pitched in to help, and my husband Warren learned how to blow-dry my hair :-).  (I’m not sure how grateful he is for that, but I’m very grateful to him!)

What are you grateful for?

When your body talks, listen.  Your body knows what it wants and needs.

After the fracture, I temporarily promoted my right arm to CEO and committed to faithfully following its orders.

For the first few weeks it only had a few words:  Don’t. Move. Me.

Then it became more verbose.

“I don’t care if you planned a 45-minute walk. I’m tired, so take me home. Now!”

I didn’t always like what I heard, but I listened and obeyed.

And when this newly-promoted CEO got on my nerves, I re-upped on my mindset and practiced some gratitude.

What do you do when your body talks?

Consistent practice creates change. I know that. You know that. And if I ever wanted serious proof of how quickly we can change, it came when I learned to eat with my left hand.

Day one I looked – and felt – like a toddler using a fork for the first time.

On day ten a friend at dinner commented, “Luckily you’re a leftie.” Hah!

Obviously I was highly motivated to stick with the program – I wanted to eat. But there’s no question that with consistent and persistent practice we can all create new habits.

What new thought or behavior pattern has been on your list for a while?

Deep, conscious breathing helps you stay present and grounded. At six weeks, my bone was healed. Yay!

And I was presented with another opportunity: a frozen shoulder. Ouch!

I’ve discovered that pain is quite an interesting place to practice mindfulness and breathing.  It helps. A lot.

Where can you benefit from being more present and grounded?

Stuff happens. Don’t waste the opportunity to do something useful with it.

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass … it’s about learning to dance in the rain.~ Vivian Greene


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