We had a few days with bad storms and I hate storms. It’s not the rain or wind that’s scary, it’s the lightening. Growing up in the Caribbean, I never liked the thunder and lightening and would always cover my head to drown out the sounds. When I moved to the US, I still had a fear of storms (who am I kidding…that fear never left), but when there is a tornado watch my anxiety goes from 0 to 100 in 1 second! However, I’ve been learning how to manage my weather related anxiety and during these last storms I was pretty proud of myself for being more calm than usual and on one night, I even left the blinds up to watch the storm roll in. That is progress!
On one of the stormy nights, I was feeling the anxiety increase despite my calming techniques. So, I decided to do some chores as a distraction. Then I thought…meh…I would just make life easier and load up the dishwasher so I could lie on the couch and watch a movie or something instead. Even though the thought of watching a movie while the dishwasher did its work seemed easier, more convenient, and relaxing, the anxiety level did not decrease. I decided to go forward with my idea to load up the dishwasher and just as I was about to press the button to start, the power went out.
Instead of immediately getting annoyed and upset by this (thanks to years of meditation and mindfulness), I smiled and said out loud, “okay universe, I’m listening…what are you telling me?” I grabbed the flashlight and made a lamp in the kitchen, opened the dishwasher, and hand washed each item one by one. I hummed a few of my favorite songs and focused on the water on my hands, the soap, the dim light, the pouring rain and the howling wind. I found comfort in what was less convenient.
By the time I was finished with all the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen, I noticed that my body felt better – I was less anxious. While it would have been easier and more convenient for the dishwasher to clean the dishes, that was not necessarily the best thing for me. Because I decided to hand wash the dishes, it became a soothing practice which eventually calmed me down.
So, sometimes what is convenient and easy may not be what is best for us. The next time things don’t go as planned for you, think about the impact of the change in plans. What can you learn from the change? How can you find joy and peace in what is not convenient?
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” [Rumi]