Namaste, Universe. Staying Positive Amongst Life’s Lemons
Posted on November 18, 2014
One after another, the traffic lights flashed an inviting shade of green. Have you ever had one of those days? No traffic. No stop-and-go. Blazing ahead in unrestrained liberation, you capitulate to the thought that you and the universe suddenly understand each other. You are in sync. On this morning, with the whisper of “Happy Friday,” the mystical hand of the cosmos guided me along the asphalt towards the corporate world. Ah, if every day could be like this, right? Namaste, universe.
Unfortunately, my mornings usually consist of the stark opposite. Bumper-to-bumper traffic, fresh coffee stains on new winter coats, yellow lights which scream you just missed me, better luck next time. Maintaining a positive outlook is easy with a “green lights” kind of day. But what about the days when you become a target of life’s slingshot of lemons? Well, you’ve heard the phrase: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Counter bitterness with sweetness, adversity with optimism. Yet, sometimes, we immediately hightail ourselves to Negative-Ville when things plunge sour. We slam on the horn in impulse. We get down on ourselves. We dwell and we do it well. So how do we handle ourselves when things go wrong? When we face setbacks, how do we maintain positivity?
Perspective, perspective. There are bigger fish to fry.
It was a rainy Wednesday morning and, with hazard lights flashing, I was positioned on the shoulder of southbound Route 287 with a flat tire. I forgot my umbrella. I was late to work. As the showers soaked my hair and my spirit, I concluded, head bowed in defeat, “Well, this is it. The worst day of my life.” My blood pressure rose to unprecedented levels. My insides cringed in joint agony. But if an overhead camera had zoomed out of my location on that highway, in that state, in that country, I would be noted as a small dot on the western hemisphere of a giant world. Both I and my problems, physically and metaphorically, were but a small part of the world. It is easy for us to lose track of where we are and what we have in times of turmoil. Instead of focusing on the positive elements of our lives, we dwell on the negative. Perhaps in that flat tire moment, we can take a breath and a step back. Gain perspective. Examine our everyday annoyances under the lenses of the grand scheme of things. Maybe then those little annoyances will reveal themselves to be, well, just that.
Just because you have a horn, doesn’t mean you have to use it.
Sure, we may be equipped with the tools which allow us to overreact. Our cars do have horns, don’t they? But just because you have a horn, doesn’t mean you have to use it. When faced with a stressful situation, maybe we can ask ourselves: will my actions produce a positive or negative result, or will it accomplish nothing at all? If the answer is anything but positive, perhaps we can save our innate capability to overreact for when it serves a purpose. When that discourteous driver cuts you off the road, will whaling your horn for a continuous fifteen minutes and spewing expletives change the fact that they cut you off? (I’m looking at you, brother) No, the action accomplishes nothing at all. So, lay off the horn. Save that rashly worded text message with angry face emoticon as a draft for yourself. Breathe.
Control versus letting it go.
Too often we dwell on issues that we cannot control: the weather on your wedding day, the loss of a job, etc. This is correlative to an outdoor wall-mounted lantern shining bright during the sunlight hours. In other words, it’s a waste. No matter how much energy you exert in panicking or worrying, it is a lost cause if you cannot control the outcome. Instead of dwelling on things we cannot control, we should transport that energy and utilize it towards a positive result.
The bottom line.
Trust me. When I frantically circle my house at 7 a.m. searching for my car keys which, ultimately, I find in the side pocket of my unnecessarily large pocketbook, a spot I searched to begin with, these positivity tips are not what come to mind. Maybe it takes practice. Maybe it’s a work in progress … but I think it’s worth a whirl, don’t you think? So, when life launches those lemons in your direction, press the pause button. Dust yourself off. Rise up from under, make pink lemonade and confuse the hell out of everyone as they wonder how you did it.