My family and I went to Bear Lake, Utah last summer and had a wonderful time staying in condos at the Bear Lake KOA Kampground. Before we left we made reservations for this summer. It sounded like tons of fun but whenever I thought about it, I would say to myself, “You better not go.” We rented a boat last summer and it made me nervous (one of the grandkids fell out!) and I worried that someone would get hurt. So I figured I was just being silly, and we really should go back. Well, the thought of not going came into my mind EVERY DAY for the past few months. I finally decided that if we go, and something bad happens, I will never forgive myself for ignoring these promptings. So I called all the kids and told them about my thoughts and feelings and they were very supportive and we cancelled the trip to Bear Lake. I’ll probably never know what might have happened if we had gone, but I do feel much better. And now we have plans to go to Reid Ranch for a couple of days in August. Which, of course, is more expensive! But I’m looking forward to spending time with my family without worrying about doing the right thing. Sometimes doing the right thing is hard because I don’t want to disappoint others, or act like I know what I’m doing. Life is a mystery.
Last week I went to a resilience conference and led a workshop called Stress Management on the Go. I do love to teach other people about how to manage stress. It’s fun. In addition, I always learn something at the conferences where I present. One of the keynote speakers quoted Viktor Frankl
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
I was very surprised to hear the quote because it applied to what happened to me on the train coming to the conference. I was studying t he conference agenda and wasn’t paying close attention when my stop was announced. I realized I needed to get up fast and get out the door before I missed the stop. I hurried to the door of the train and pushed the OPEN button. A man was leaning against the door, with his feet firmly planted right in the zone that is labeled: DO NOT STAND HERE. The door opened about 12 inches and then it closed. He and I both could not understand why it closed without letting me through. By the time I figured out it was because he was standing in the NO STAND zone, it was too late. The train moved forward and I missed the stop. I sat down and my mind started de-briefing. I got mad at the standing man and I got mad at myself for not figuring it out sooner. I began to strategize my choices: Lash out at him for making me miss my stop; tell him nicely to not stand there because people could not open the door; suppress my anger and pretend all is well; complain to the person next to me, etc. I had a choice to make. After I weighed all my options, I decided to “just let it go.” And honestly, that felt fine. I truly did let it go. Then at the conference, when I heard the Frankl quote, I realized that between the stressor (missing my stop) and the response (choosing to let it go), I experienced “growth and freedom.” It was great. Instead of responding immediately and letting my reflexes take over, I paused and weighed my options and really forgave the standing man, and continued with a positive attitude and had a great day, wishing him well. So my bottom line learning was that we always have a choice about how we respond to stressors. Take a breath before we respond. It feels good to be the captain of our own ship.
Here are a couple of other awesome Viktor Frankl quotes:
Last week my oldest grandson turned 21. To celebrate his entry into official adulthood we drank root beer, drank sparkling cider from champagne glasses, played poker and card games with foil wrapped chocolate coins, rolled some dice, and played beer pong with water. I had to keep reminding everyone that I don’t believe in gambling or drinking. But who says Mormons can’t have non-alcoholic fun? It was a blast.
Yay! I received my blue sash in Tai Chi last night. That means I get to wear the black uniform instead of the white one that makes me look like a snowman. Black is so slimming! After the blue sash review, I went to dinner with the wonderful friends I have made at my tai chi class. We commented on how much we were really hooked on tai chi, but also on how it’s even better because we feel like a family. Whenever I arrive everyone says hi (sorta like “NORM!” on Cheers, if you remember that long ago show), and there is no judgment. We all come from different backgrounds and it doesn’t matter. I am so glad I have discovered this wonderful place to exercise, meditate, and feel loved.