I had one of those weeks. You know, like every time you get a firm grip on the handle, the ground slips out from under you? Yeah, that kind of week.
The week filled with frustrations: The perfectly overfilled Starbucks coffee that drips not only on the sweater I am wearing, but also the sweater that is waiting patiently for me at my desk. The coffee machine that decides it needs a day off. The handcrafted salad that chose to jump from my hands and scatter all over the floor, leaving me no time to make another lunch. The half eaten perfect green apple that rolled off my desk and onto the germ infested classroom floor. The perfect morning to write at Starbucks, only to be interrupted by a charging cord that apparently was not in the mood to do its’ job…
Yeah, that kind of a week.
Luckily I am a Life Coach, right? Well, on most days that does help, but this week every one of those events sent me in a downward spiral, until eventually I even shed some tears. Yep, crying. Sometimes I can cry over spilled milk too when I feel like I can’t keep it all together.
If only we could put everything in a box. Like when packing up for a big move. Put it all in a box, tape it up and mark it with a label! And just like that it would be all neatly tucked away, out of sight and not bothering us at all. If only we could do that with EVERYTHING! Imagine how our perspectives would change.
Imagine if we knew that it actually served a purpose and could be put away at any time? Would you feel less resentful when it came your way? Would you be more willing to lean into it until it passed?
Well here is a new perspective to try on: “Life is giving you exactly what you need practice in.”
At first glance you may scoff at this notion, but when you let it sink in for a few moments, thinking deeply about the things you most complain about, you can see where this makes perfect sense.
Is your universe driving you crazy? Things not going as planned? Feeling short circuited because everyone wants to throw a wrench in your schedule? Perhaps patience is what you most need to practice. Perhaps acceptance is something you struggle with as well. Perhaps this perspective will help you to welcome the challenges that come your way.
The next part is putting it away. This is the real challenge!
While we can’t actually put it in a box, the visualization of “putting it away” can really help. It’s not about attempting to put it out of your mind, but actually trying to reframe it. Same picture, new frame. Lets take my visit to Starbucks. I feel excited beyond words, having been gifted an extra few morning hours to sit and write. I am so excited I can almost taste the first sip of vanilla latte warming my throat as my fingers prepare for the tapping on the keys. I am so excited I can feel my heart beating in a hurried pattern.
I open my MacBook and notice the low battery. Feeling relieved that I had my charger, I pack up all that I have laid on the table, feel disappointed to leave my favorite seat in the corner and move to a less desirable table that has an outlet. I begin to settle myself again, noticing my excited energy turning on its side and plug-in. Once. Twice. Three times a charm. Or no! Since it seems my charger is not working. My heart begins to pound in a ferocious way as I see the battery icon turn red. I take several deep breaths, and even when I remember I also have packed my iPad, I don’t feel comforted.
I sit back in my chair and see that I have wasted 20 minutes and I can hear whispers telling me to just go home. Multiple voices begin to chime in, whining about the situation and suddenly feel like I am fighting back tears. Which is often when I criticize my dramatic behavior, blaming it on hormones, losing my mom to cancer and whatever else I can get my hands on.
But then I attempt to find a box. Not a real one, but one that can hold all my irrational feelings for the moment. I put my ear buds in, hit play on Anita Baker and inhale again. This time I unplug the non-charging cord, exhale deeply and move to a more private and comfortable seat by the window. I place my feet on the coffee table in front of me, pull out my iPad, click open my WordPress app and stare out the window. I picture myself with more patience and understanding of the world around me and of myself. I envision all the little things that went awry this week and place them into my invisible box. As I picture taping it up, I allow myself the time needed to heal over the loss of my mom and acknowledge how fortunate I really am, in spite of the story I want to tell about my dark and gloomy days. I put a label on the box: Patience.
I place my hands gently on my iPad keyboard as the kind young man across from me (who must have seen my struggles) mentions there is an outlet right next to my comfy chair. I begin to tell my “story” but my optimism takes over and I give it one more try. And you know what? It worked! This outlet actually worked. Nothing was broken. Except maybe my heart recovering from many frustrations of the week. But I had already put those in a box, sealed it up with tape, and secured it with a label…so I let the computer charge and my iPad and I carried on.
Maybe all that happens in life IS just what we need practice in. Carry on.