Last week had some ups and downs. But what week doesn’t? If every week is smooth sailing and you never have to deal with difficult people then congratulations and how is that deserted island working out for you?
When I’m faced with the downs and attempting to pull myself up out of the snake pit, I try and do three things.
- Escape into a book. There is no way I can go right to bed after I’ve had a hard day or difficult conversations. My mind is racing with the things I should have said or over analyzing the things I did say. When my mind is racing I allow myself to shut off the part of my brain that could easily run down the rabbit hole. Instead, I let a book take over and do all the thinking for me.
- Focus on the ups. Life isn’t always bright and sunny but that doesn’t mean I can’t find something good to focus on. Sometimes it’s right in front of me. Sometimes they are presented right to me and sometimes I have to make an effort and search. Most of the time they are right under my nose.
- Let it go. No, I’m not humming the tune. (Thanks for nothing, Frozen with your catchy tunes that bore into our heads and turn a regular phrase into a cliche.) But seriously, I have to let it go. After I rant and pound my fists and gnash my teeth, I realize that I can’t make decisions for other adults. As badly as I would want someone to take my advice or to make a good choice, ultimately it’s not up to me, it’s up to them. I can’t control how others react and respond to the world around them but I can control how I react. I can either be a big, fat, whiny baby or I can choose joy.
Last week I had two opportunities to choose joy and focus on the good things instead of the hard, uncomfortable things.
First, I had the opportunity to take the boys to see a solar powered airplane. Yes, that’s right, an airplane completely powered by the sun. The Solar Impulse 2 is on an around the world journey and happened to be on a stop-over in Tulsa. They are at the mercy of the weather so they were cooling their heels in an airplane hangar at Tulsa International until it was safe to take off. We had the privilege of a private tour from the Solar Impulse team member who handles social media. Marie was a young woman from France and as precious as could be. She patiently answered all of our questions and didn’t seem too confused when Harry spent most of the time walking in circles around us. She even seemed interested in Addison’s inquiries as to why they don’t also use wind power and how the pilot relives himself when he is flying solo for multiple days and can’t leave his seat. (I had the same question regarding bathroom habits. Think space shuttle technology)
The best part about this little adventure…I could see the wheels turning and inspiration taking place in their little minds. A solar powered airplane may never be a way we get from point A to point B, but it inspires us in our daily lives and how we use technology to make the world better. A chance to focus on the good things was practically hitting me over the head. This time I’m glad I took it rather than taking the easy way out and staying home for the night. Don’t get me wrong, I love staying home and sometimes a quiet night at home is what we need. But I also want to take advantage of opportunities that come my way and choose joy and inspiration.
In this case, a chance to focus on the good things was practically hitting me over the head. This time I’m glad I took it rather than taking the easy way out and staying home for the night. Don’t get me wrong, I love staying home and sometimes a quiet night at home is what we need. But I also want to take advantage of opportunities that come my way and choose joy and inspiration.
The next opportunity I had was later in the week. Addison’s 5th-grade class was doing its annual egg drop contest. They are asked to build a contraption that will protect an egg being thrown off the roof of the school. This type of thing is right up in Addison’s wheel house so I was happy to provide the supplies: a box from the post office, stuffing, punch balloons, hula-hoop and a trash bag . He came up with the design based on the movie The Marian. A box covered in balloons with a parachute that would hopefully bounce around upon impact.
I really wanted to step in and help him make this but I kept out of it and let him do the assembling. My only contribution was to blow up the balloons and tie them.
The next day the teachers took all the egg drop contraptions to the roof and tossed them off. The kids get kind of crazy but I love this tradition. It’s a great way to keep their minds working when everyone wants to just quit school and it’s an excellent time filler when the days seem to last forever.
It was so much fun to watch all of the kids get excited about their inventions and seeing if their egg made it. I could feel the joy from such a simple pleasure as tossing stuff off of a building.
The point is that choosing joy and inspiration is all around us. We can go out of our way, like driving all the way to Tulsa to spend 45 minutes looking at a plane, or we can simply see the world through our child’s eyes. We can’t control how other people react to the world but we can control our own reactions.
Will we be active participants and choose joy and inspiration or close our eyes to the beauty around us and wonder why we are so miserable?