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On the morning of January 26, 2015, the day Blizzard Colbie (would allegedly) hit, I reviewed my regular list of “to do” things-dog to vet, bank, grocery store. There were a few additional storm related items; cancel dental appointment, reschedule a few clients, pick up some snow melt. I “prepare” in a medium way-I don’t stock up for snowpocalypse but I make sure I have gas in the car and a working flashlight. I figure I have a warm place to stay, some soup and so, I am good to go. I simply hunker down and see it as a staycation.

However, I have a concern; two years ago in 40 inches of snow, my elderly dog  stepped off the deck and sunk like a stone, and for a few panicked minutes scared us both. Now two years older, more frail and less sure footed, the predicted 2-3 feet of snow will propose a challenge when he has to go out. I flash a moment of regret-this dog is so smart, I probably could have trained him to use the toilet, but there is no time now to shop for a doggy potty. I settle on shoveling a small path and using snow melt. I have a long leash on hand if needed.

And that is what is cluttering my brain as I sit to meditate. I finally can de-clutter and focus on my breathing. I settle in and soon an eerie silence and a sudden need for a sweater enters my consciousness. It takes a little time for my brain to compute this information.

My ancient boiler is not working! my eyes pop open! As I watch the thermostat plummet, it only takes a nano-second for my meditation brain to be stomped to smithereens by my crazed brain. I grab for the phone-absolutely sure that no one is available and I am looking at relocating (where?) or buying an electric blanket (where?). As I dial the oil company, I feel my anxiety rising. My neatly planned day is now thrown in crisis mode and there is little time. My crazed brain starts problem solving (that is what I like to call it…) Can I get someone out here to fix this? Can they fix it? Do I need to cancel my clients to wait for the repairmen? Should I start packing? Then, on the fourth ring, they pick up. My voice is not even recognizable to myself. I am “mindful” enough to know I sound like Minnie Mouse on speed.

We are on our way, they say. I push for a time line. We are on our way, they repeat. Very patiently like talking to a child having a tantrum in the grocery store.

I really cannot be faulted here for not believing that “on our way” doesn’t mean, “See ya in the spring”. We’ve all had that experience. And so while I wait, I poke buttons on the thermostat as if I am looking for the magic combination to crack a safe.

Twenty minutes later, a workman pulls into my driveway. Twenty minutes! Right on time! I recognize the knowing look on his face. He has been through this before. He is part repairman and part therapist. As I bring him down to the basement, I pepper him with questions. I cannot seem to stop babbling. Finally, I remove myself from the premises in a flutter of embarrassment- “mindful” enough to know how crazy I sound.

Twenty eight minutes later and he is done. The heat is on! I get ready for work and my day proceeds without another hitch…Until later when I found a dead mouse under a couch cushion, but that’s another blog.

Here’s what I learned –once again- the thing that at one moment seems like the worst luck EVER, sometimes turns into the best luck ever if we are just patient. What if I had left for the office earlier and come home that evening to a cold house, a dead boiler, snow already accumulating and a semi-frozen dog? Or the boiler could have conked out the following day in the middle of the storm! Or…well, see? It could have been SO much worse.

Don’t get me wrong here. Is not true that every crisis could be so much worse, but it is true a LOT of the time. If we train ourselves to see our “good luck” then our general sense of well-being improves, we cultivate gratitude and life feels easier. It is simply ( though not so easy to do!) a matter of tweaking our perspective. Without realizing it, we can fall into a negative thinking pattern- “Can you believe my boiler conked out at the worst possible time” mode?  But it is much, MUCH easier when we get to “What great timing that was” mode.

 

© 2015 Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADC is a psychotherapist in private practice in Farmington, CT since 1986.She is the author of the award winning From Ex-Wife to Exceptional Life: A Woman’s Journey through Divorce now available in Kindle format for $9.99 as well as in paperback.

3 Comments

  1. denise tucker on the 02. Feb, 2015 remarked #

    Yep, easier said than done!

  2. Sandy on the 02. Feb, 2015 remarked #

    Thank you, Donna, for once again reminding me of the words of a friend: it’s all about priorities and perspectives. Your words echo so true and as I navigate through life’s challenges, projecting gratitude and finding the positives in (perceived) negative situations brings a sense of peace. Thank you for your encouraging words…..as always.

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