“I can’t believe that just happened!”
It’s that moment. Something has just gone awry. Wrong. Pear shaped. Blew up real good. Whatever plan you had in that instant is no more, now a mess (often literally) in front of you. Broken, spilled, deleted, wrecked, goofed, faux-pas, plans shifted, expected occurrence didn’t happen, things cancelled, people stranded… Or maybe it just started raining. “I can’t believe this is happening!”
If you’re anything like me, that phrase has escaped your lips more than a few times throughout your life.* Or, perhaps, more than a few times in a week. It does seem inconceivable, doesn’t it? Everything smashed in an instant. How could this be? And isn’t this deeply personal too?
Lately, though, I’ve taken adding – after a moment and a few breaths – a follow-up statement: “Well, I might as well believe it ‘cuz… there’s nothing not to believe. That just did happen.”
It is a statement to return myself to mindfulness, and to be deeply (and honestly) present with what’s so.
“OK. Crud. Not what I wanted. Clearly. Yet, here we are. OK. What’s next?”
It’s an interrupt statement that keeps the downward spiral from taking hold of me. Prevents me from being completely thrown. It grants me freedom and peace, even, and especially, when things have gone asunder. It cracks open the doorway to possibility.
It allows new options to come forth: clean the mess, change the clothes, make the required phone calls, enlist another’s aid, fix what broke, reschedule things, change the plans, choose a new path, do something different… above all it grants me choice and a chance to get things (and myself) back on track. Maybe not singing and dancing the whole way, but for sure with a quicker return to signing and dancing than where the “can’t believe” frustration spiral would’ve taken me.
There’s no pretending or sugar coating. Nor is there catastrophizing. Just being clear, present, and creating in a way that leaves me, at the end of the day, without frustration, upset, or disempowerment.
And along the way I get to enjoy the rest of my day.
* My current favourite variation is “I’m sorry, but physics do not work that way!”