It’s so easy to get thrown off course, rattled and shaken—this is about getting back on track and beneath the deeper meaning to unleash true healing
How easily do you allow yourself to be derailed?
You know those days when everything seemingly starts out one way, but suddenly veers off and goes another? Today was one of those days for me. I awoke to a beautiful, blue-skied, sunny June day…birds were chirping, I felt rested, the air coming through my windows was fresh and cool. Picture perfect. I slipped out of bed as the rest of the house, including the pup, slumbered away as I grabbed a cup of coffee and headed to my desk. Quiet time. Writing time. Favorite time.
And even though I know some have a love/hate experience of Mondays, it still felt expansive and full of possibility to me—and I was welcoming it in. Within an hour or so, the rest of the residents stirred and we scurried about getting our morning routines complete; walk and feed the dog, clean up the dishes from the night before (yes, I do that sometimes), throw in some laundry, breakfast, tidy up and optimistically set off to seize the day.
Today, however, was a little more special. The no-longer-resident-teenager who is currently home for the summer from college—and who had secured a very plum Wall Street internship—was starting today.
It felt like the first day of school and I was definitely ready to take some pictures. The night before he actually consulted me on which suit, dress shirt and tie he should wear (be still my momma heart) …even though it was still only virtual.
Sadly, the pandemic squashed his summer plans of renting an apartment with friends and working in person. Now, he would be working from our dining room table. But we all just got onboard and improvised as we have all grown so accustomed to.
But suddenly, little things went awry. For starters, a small panic ensued when his laptop automatically started updating and rebooting, alerting him to the fact that it wouldn’t be done for 29 minutes which would subsequently make him late for “work” on the first day. Darn tech…but hey, it is mercury retrograde. We scrambled to get him logged in with a different computer. I had agreed to share my office with my son so I had to find another space to take my Zoom exercise class. I opted for the front porch and started to get set up with my yoga mat and laptop. Within moments of class starting I realized I couldn’t see the screen with the glare from the outdoors AND my neighbors were simultaneously having a massive tree removed with a team of workers and the ensuing cacophony. The heat. The noise. The disruption. Damn.
First world problems. Doesn’t seem like such a big deal, right? But don’t do that to yourself…this is the pattern that needs to be interrupted. We have to allow the discomfort, no matter the size…otherwise it will infiltrate everything. No one said you had to take up permanent residency there.
So, I scrambled to grab my mat and move inside, trying to rearrange the dining room chairs as quickly as possible to get back in line with class and catch up — trying to find a solution. Sweating from the heat and the frustration and lack of space to maneuver my long limbs…I almost gave up and turned the computer off. Literally seconds and one click of a button from doing it.
Yet, I stuck it out. Sweated my buns off and made do. But even with that checked off my list, I was still caught up in the energy of derailment…and it seemed to follow me…as I picked up a take-out salad that was soggy and wilted from too much dressing, after I cut my finger trying to open a box, after I was following my puppy in heat around the house for the 3rd week and after I began to feel my snappy irritated self, rising up. And oh boy, when that happens run for cover!
Suddenly the picture-perfect day faded into the background of my memory. Give it back I wanted to scream! I was irritated that I was displaced from my personal space upstairs (even though I had offered it), I was irritated that the house was too small and that in 1904 when it was built they didn’t put central AC, and that it was almost 90 degrees already that morning. I think you see where this was leading. Our frustrations aren’t linear or necessarily rational…nonetheless, they are real to us in that moment. But it was too beautiful of a day to squander upon annoyances. Nope. Wasn’t letting it happen.
There is no magic wand, but the key is to break the cycle of whatever is underfoot in any moment. First step: witness yourself. Can you do something to change the circumstances? If you can’t, change how you respond to it. Declare that you are stepping out of the chaos and letting the hot air out of the balloon. Literally the simplest shift can move the energy.
Here are a few of my favorite go-to’s:
Close your eyes.
Sit on the porch swing and daydream.
Go for a walk.
Tussle with your dog on the floor.
Ask for a hug.
Lie in the grass.
Make a cup of tea.
Smell the flowers.
Make your own list.
Keep it simple. Your list needn’t be overcomplicated or over-thought out — and truthfully it’s best if it’s not. Otherwise we have a tendency to bypass and overlook what we are experiencing. Here’s the thing: you can be derailed, but that doesn’t mean your day needs to be hijacked along with it. Life presents daily twists and turns. Simply nurture yourself when you hit the bumps in the road, no matter how mundane they may feel. When we ignore the little things, they compound into bigger outbursts and more moves of consequence. Besides they are the breadcrumbs leading us to see the things we are being guided to see. Frustration is a tricky liar that wants to suck you in, making you believe that everything has gone to hell in a handbasket. But don’t listen because it hasn’t and is only a different decision away. And ponder this for a moment: what if the irritation is actually working for you, protecting you or guiding you to something better?
Again, we may not be able to change the immediate circumstances at any given point, but we can choose our response and path of interaction. This understanding of self will always serve you.
Sometimes when I need to shake things up, I literally just get up and go for a short walk in town. I may just walk around the block or pop in and grab an iced coffee to-go. Whatever it is, it helps move the mood. I may unexpectedly bump into a friend or witness something I had never noticed before. Suddenly, things around you shift in response too. As I was walking home I noticed these glorious flowers picture above, their buds weighing their stems down hanging over the sweet picket fence, almost past their prime. I might’ve missed them had I marched on by in a huff. Instead, I stopped and took them in. I dug into my bag and reached for my phone to capture a picture to share with you.
None of the circumstances outlined in this blog were of any real consequence, but together they created a recipe for a bad day had I not rerouted. So what if you get derailed. So what if not every day or moment starts out with rainbows and unicorns. All is not lost. You are human, walking this human experience. All you need to do is pivot. These days I trust what is unfolding is happening for me, not working against me — even when I’m not getting my way. So how about re-scripting that derailment with a little flexibility, humor and curiosity — and cutting yourself some slack?
What if we simply ask our frustration, what are you trying to reveal to me in this moment?
See what pops up for you. And always make time to stop and smell the flowers, dear ones.
Let me know if this resonates for you and what your go-to’s are for shifting and maneuvering frustration in the comments below — the place we connect and remind each other that we are not alone in this life journey. xo