“Today I’m thankful for the challenges I’ve faced in my life. No, really. I’m grateful for the really tough stuff, the deep dark crapola I’ve waded through because it has made me stronger, wiser and more tenacious. Each time I’m offered a challenge I’m given the opportunity to learn grace, to practice patience and to see things in a new way. I no longer see the reason to label a challenge, trouble or annoyance as such. How can I when I don’t know what the ultimate lesson or outcome will be? Today, and going forward, I will not rush to label events in my life as good or bad. They simply are. They do not need a label that I can then use as an excuse to bemoan my circumstances. I refuse. I am stronger and wiser and for that reason I will take a deep breath when things don’t work out as planned. In that breath I will slow down, move into the moment and see the opportunity to experience something unexpected in my day differently. I’ll smile at how deftly I choose my mood and maneuver in and around obstacles. Today, I am ready and willing to face the unknown and I won’t label anything.”
As many of you know I formulate fragrances. The other day I had a small amber bottle in the sink waiting to be washed. Somehow it slipped into the garbage disposal unnoticed. Unsuspecting, I turn on the disposal to a horrendous crushing and grinding of glass shrieking up from the drain. I quickly turned the disposal off. Now, let’s step back for a little background. In my younger years, this would have prompted a litany of expletives out of my mouth, a complete reversal of my mood to the downside, and a playing of an old familiar tape in my head – “Now what? It’s always something. This is going to cost me. Great! This just makes my day.” Sound familiar? Because we like to play the tape in our heads over and over in order to relive a painful moment repeatedly (how morbid is that?), back then it could take a while to get my mood back to good.
Now a big believer in monitoring the tapes I play in my mind, I stopped and took a deep breath and carefully chose my next thought. I thought “This is an invitation to come into the now, try to use it as a meditative time.” So, checking to make sure the disposal was indeed turned in the off position, I proceeded to feel deep into the drain to the cool, wet surface where the chards of glass lay and began picking them out carefully one by one. I’d examine each one as I delivered them to the counter’s surface and would smile as I pulled up the really big fish. I explored the jagged terrain of this unseen cavern with interest – trained on going with the experience rather than against it. It turned into a little fishing-spelunking expedition with the added danger and challenge of going slow enough to not slice up my fingers. Fully aware of my thoughts and mood, I felt a real satisfaction in being in full control of my mind, rolling with the event and turning it into an enjoyable meditative experience of the now.
This is a small, not-so-terrible example, but I hope it gives you a procedure that you can apply and practice as the winds of change blow in your life.