Have you ever planned something and then at the last minute, it fell through? I know. Silly question. It happens all the time, right? I said oh I’ll do interviews, that’ll be a nice thing to do for the December ‘Calms’. And last week I had a wonderful time with Diane Riis and was looking forward to my next guest this week. We couldn’t get Facebook to work for us! And so today I’m talking about handling setbacks because that’s exactly what happened.
It didn’t work out. I had to pivot to another plan fast. Because, over the last 10 months I’ve been talking about all the different ways you can handle stress, it came to me to tell you the story about how I dealt with this unexpected and stress-inducing occurrence.
So as I said, it didn’t work out because when I called her to do a dry run to get her on my Facebook Live so we could be seen together, we just couldn’t figure it out. It just didn’t work although we tried a million different things. Finally, totally frustrated, I said “Let me research this problem and I’ll get back to you.”
No luck! My research produced nada! At this point I could have thrown my hands in the air and given up but, because I’ve made a commitment to be here every week for you and to bring you what I believe is important and useful information, I had to find a quick solution. So, here are the steps I took:
1.The first thing that I did is something that people often skip over. A really important first step is to honor your feelings and not try to push them away. It’s not helpful to minimize it by saying, “It’s no big deal, I can handle that.” Of course you can, but you do yourself a disservice by avoiding the pain you’re feeling. The idea is to address it without reservations and without making light of it. Acknowledge how you feel.
So I felt my frustration. I was furious. I was angry. I was scared because I didn’t know what to do. And so I sat there with all that angst and just let it pour out of me before I did another thing. If you do this first step, it will change everything that follows because you are allowing yourself space to move through the process of correcting the problem. This shouldn’t take long. A few minutes of the ‘poor mes’ and the discomfort of feeling like a victim should spur you on to the next step.
2.Here’s another thing that probably most people don’t do. In a pinch, having a talisman for support can be powerful. It can be anything as long as it is readily available to use. It can be something to hold (in my case, a rock) or something to look at (a picture, for instance.) I know that sounds strange but there’s a lot to be said for having a physical thing you can focus on to bring you into the present moment.
When I’m frustrated, i grab my rock. I found it on the sand one day while beachcombing near my home in Sound Beach. I guess the white line caught my eye. As soon as I picked it up, I instantly felt a connection, a sense of peace and comfort. And it fit so perfectly in the palm of my hand. This ancient part of our planet grounded me. It seems like a lifeline to me when the going gets tough. And I hold on to it, and let all my emotions soak into its reassuring solidity.
We have big boulders here on the North Shore of Long Island on our beaches. And I truly believe that those megaliths can absorb energy and allow it to dissipate. It’s as if, as a little child, you ran to your mother because something upset you and you’d hold on to her and cry for help.
So I hold on to this stone and pour my heart ache into it and let it absorb my pain. Then, I feel my shoulders relax. I can let myself loosen up. Holding the stone lets me shift my perception and gain a greater perspective.
3.Then I do some conscious breathing—eyes closed, I breathe in and breathe out, allowing myself to be where I am and acknowledging it without judgment, because here’s another thing we tend to do, “How could I be so stupid? Why didn’t I realize…. how come I can’t figure this out?” Whatever it is, we like to waste time beating ourself up so that we cannot actually accomplish what we’re trying to do.
4.Lastly, my heartbeat slowing, I sit in the stillness, and calmly say, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how this is going to work out. But I trust.” This is a key element in my process of handling stress– to trust that there is a solution. I may not know what it is at this moment. But if I’m still enough, and if I’m open enough and willing enough– I will hear it. My Course in Miracles training taught me this, and it has never let me down. It’s about trusting the process of allowing my internal guidance (which is connected to the Source of wisdom) to inform me as to what I need to do in order to rectify whatever issue I’m experiencing. And it works, in all circumstances
This is the process that helps me get through all the blocks that arise that remove me from my Calm. I confront my upset, I grab my rock, I take a few conscious breaths and then I ask for help.
Now, let me get back to my story of a FB Live gone wrong. Springing to my feet, I dashed to my laptop and typed, “How do you get someone to join you on a Facebook Live.” No luck. And I went to Facebook support and typed in more questions. It didn’t work.
So, once again, the frustration came up. This is a point that I want to make very clearly–once you grab your rock, do your breathing and sit in stillness a bit, doesn’t mean the problem will be gone instantly. It might come back again and bite you in the behind once more. But because I took the time to do the process, It’s less emotionally invasive. The stress is much reduced. I wait a second and say to myself, “Let’s just take another look at this. Okay, so I called a couple of friends who thought it was a technical issue.
Realizing a quick fix wasn’t happening, I said “okay I’m just going to let this go,” and I called my friend who was going to be my guest and told her, “We’re going to hold off for this week. Are you available next week? and let’s hope by then things will have sorted themselves out.” She was fine with that.
And so the first part of my answer was to reschedule. Okay good! So the next question was what do I do instead? It’s Thursday! It’s tomorrow and I have to come up with an alternative plan! Should I write something? Should I do some more research? What should I do? (Grab rock, breathe, sit)
And what came to me was to do just what I’m doing right now, which is to tell you my story about how I handled this setback. It wasn’t the greatest tragedy in the world but this is how I would handle any situation in my life no matter what. And so I thought I would share it with you so you could see how you can move through the difficulties in your daily life in a more peaceful, calm and creative way.
I probably would have done all the things that I did without my process: the research, calling people, rescheduling. I would have done all that stuff. And eventually come up with some other plan, but because I took the time to connect with my inner wisdom that knows what i need to do, I accomplished it in less time and with more peace.
That’s the difference, but it’s a huge difference because it makes all the difference in the world between being frustrated about something and not being able to let it go or getting through it with such aggravation and tension and upset stomachs and nervousness and all of that. I don’t want that. You don’t want that. And so we can help ourselves. We have that ability right here, right now in this moment, in every situation.
Happy New Year! And remember,
Everything begins with a thought!
Peace and Love Always,
In my new book, Calm, Creative, Joyful: Lessons in Transforming Your Life, you will acquire abilities you didn’t know you had, to transform the thoughts that hurt so that your life becomes a play of endless opportunities for success and happiness.
Available on Amazon.
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