No matter how much we aim to perfect our daily lives, there is no way to avoid all collisions and blockages. We absolutely can do our part to get out of our own way and put as much positivity out into the world as possible. Still, there will be bumps along the way; some will be big ones. What I’ve learned is, these bumps are our reminder that we must keep going. They are the tests we must pass and sometimes, in complete darkness of where our path will lead next.

Someone I’m close to as made some wrong turns lately. Misjudgment or the lack of thinking before acting, but nonetheless, the consequences are upon us. Their actions have impacted our family and there is no way to change what has happened. This is the way I choose to look at these circumstances:

  • No one has died
  • Our kids are healthy
  • There are many, many things to be grateful for, still
  • This too shall pass

What choice do we have?

Well, we can choose misery, fear, doubt, regret, resentment, all of which will only poison the good within us and around us. Or we can choose gratitude. A great mentor and life coach of mine, Aly Canavan has said to me on several occasions that everything we do in life is out of fear or love. Which emotion will you allow to reign? Choose wisely.

Letting go and living in gratitude is really the only true path to freedom.

Perception is everything. Each situation that presents itself is an opportunity for growth. Our reactions and response patterns, drive our experiences. Say you get pulled over for speeding. Your specific response pattern may include racing heartbeat, panic, adrenaline pumping fear. You may be angry at yourself, and the negative thought patterns take over. You could be defensive to the law enforcement officer that pulled you over. You drive the rest of the way home with a traffic violation, fine and an anxious attitude. You walk in to tell your spouse, and everything continues to crumble. But does it have to?

Picture the same scenario, but you breathe deeply and calmly as you pull over to the side of the road. Yes, it is not ideal for this to happen, and it can be stress-inducing, but you do have the “mind over matter” power within you to govern your response. Breathing is everything. It calms the nervous system and allows you to operate from a more conscious place. You greet the officer with an even, respectful tone and offer admittance for your error in judgement. You make eye contact and offer a sincere apology. You own your role in the situation. You allow no space for a victim mentality. The officer returns to his car and does one of two things. He decides to forego the violation and give you a warning instead or he gives you a ticket anyways. Regardless, you handled the situation with a calm presence. The result is, you take the circumstances, and you deal with them head on. You own your part in the events as they unfold, and you do so with an even temper. When you get home, you address your family in the same consistent, calm manner. What this does is allow for continuity of everything that is good and minimalizes impact of the particular situation.

Take a seemingly negative event and turn it into something positive. Use this experience, whatever it is, to take stock. What are you grateful for? In this instance, there was no injury to anyone involved, you got home safely and the fine, although perhaps not ideal, can be dealt with and paid. You look around and count your blessings. You have a warm, dry home that houses your family and provides shelter. You have your health and a loving spouse. Whatever your “wins” are, take them in and celebrate them. The current circumstances may not be ideal, but they are certainly not the end of greatness, and nothing is. People all around us have immense burdens of disease, death, job loss, real tragedies. And I’m certain, we’ve all met someone that even in the midst of serious, life-impacting changes, they rise up. We all have the power to find the positivity in any situation, as our lives are made up of so many bumps and turns and yes even dead ends. How many times along your path have you stumbled and yet, days, months, years later, you realize that very moment of apparent misstep became the impetuous of change?

I look back on nearly 50 years of living and am flooded by memories of twists, turns, hurts and heartache. Not one of them halted my life. None of the issues I faced, the relationships lost or the chapters that ended, brought me to a worse place. Every single one of those trials and tribulations after all, brought me HERE! I have a wonderful life and yes, I have challenges, but none that I can’t and haven’t overcome and wow, the experiences I’ve had along the way. I wouldn’t change any of it because each set of circumstances, opened me up to new opportunities, to growth, to exactly the places I’m meant to be.

Where will you go, next?