There are things that happen to us during the day, inconveniences, and annoyances that can really throw us off course and when these things happen what you do next is really crucial and will determine whether your energy is drained or generated. Let me share one of these moments with you.
Three of my kids take music lessons at the university near us. It’s absolutely wonderful and their teachers are beyond excellent. But being at the university we get to navigate university parking twice a week.
We caught this very lucky break as we found a parking lot that is right in front of the music department and it’s only $1 to park there for an hour. Love it.
On the very rare occasion though this parking lot is full and we’re forced to park in the boonies and pay $6…like last week. We pulled up to the parking lot and it looked full but we decided to wait because people are always coming and going. So we idled behind this old corvette that was in front of us hoping, waiting for someone to leave.
I noticed this student walking towards the corvette on crutches and I realized this car in front of me wasn’t waiting for a spot at all but was here to pick up this girl. Which was good news for me because it meant that I had next dibs on any cars leaving, right? Then as I thought that one car did start to leave only I couldn’t get around the corvette as the girl on crutches wasn’t in the car yet so I started to put my blinker on antsy for that spot as lesson time is nearing very close
another student in a small red car whips RIGHT INTO MY SPOT! The spot that I’ve been diligently and patiently waiting for! I even had my blinker on! Gah!
My youngest daughter was floored. She’s very black and white in her thinking and that in her book WAS WRONG. She kept saying things like, “She can’t do that! We’ve been waiting! We were here first!”
So corvette and crutches leave and by now I really need to be inside the music department so we pull out of that parking lot and head for the boonies and the $6 parking lot. Still my youngest is complaining about this parking lot incident. I told her, “Honey, it’s okay. It’s not that big of a deal and I don’t want to waste anymore energy thinking about it.” But she wasn’t there yet. She ranted about it and what an injustice it was that we have to pay more and walk farther when we were the rightful ones to that spot as we were there first and waiting.
As we walked I told her again that it wasn’t a big deal and it wasn’t “our spot”. I told her to notice what a gorgeous day it was and how good it feels to get to walk farther in this beautiful weather on a meticulously groomed campus.
99% of the time we get that good spot.
99% of the time we only have to pay $1.
99% of the time we only have to walk 2 minutes to the music department.
So that means that
1% of the time we get to experience variety by parking in the other lot.
1% of the time we pay $6 to what I’d like to think is helping the campus out.
1% of the time we get to enjoy walking a bit farther and seeing this beautiful campus and the unique sculptures on the premises.
1% of the time we get to walk by those notification boards and get in a quick read of what’s coming up on campus – like an outdoor theater performance coming up in a few weeks. Fun, right?
Even then with my insight and telling her how parking farther today was really okay and actually kind of cool she wasn’t buying it. She was so focused on the wrongness of that experience and as we neared the music department she spied that red car in that prime parking spot and she fumed. She sighed heavily and glared at the car as if silently scolding it.
But what I found interesting was that by the time we got to the music department I was feeling good, grateful for the walk, weather, and had more energy while my little one was crabby, frustrated, and complaining that she had to carry her instrument “all this way” (good thing it’s a flute and not a tuba).
Was it an inconvenience? Sure.
Was I expecting it? No.
Did the other car do it maliciously or out of spite? No, she probably didn’t even see us. Even if she did, did it have to ruin my day, my hour, or even a few minutes? No.
Because any energy I spent thinking/complaining (even silently) about this parking lot incident was energy that I couldn’t use on exploring the beauty of the day, noticing how lovely the weather was, feeling how good it felt to stretch my legs and walk a little ways.
What do you spend your energy on? How much do you miss because you’re focused on an inconvenience? You get to choose every moment what kind of a person you want to be. You get to decide how you want to feel about that circumstance.
You hold the power.
You direct the energy flow.
You decide what kind of a day you have (no matter the circumstances).
How do you want to feel?
What do you want to focus your energy on?
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