I have always had a silly (or some might say stupid) sense of humor. I can find the funny in just about any situation, especially if it is a challenging circumstance in my life—it’s how I get through them.
When something not pleasing is happening, a good question to ask is, what’s the gift in this? I can usually find the gift after the fact. But during a difficult situation, the question I ask in the moment is, where’s the humor in this?
When my dad was sick and going through a long process of dying, my brother and I had a whole repertoire of nonsensical things we would say every time we conversed, garnered from the very unpleasant experience of watching our father go through one ugly health crisis after another. Most of our conversations would just be ridiculous banter, with a couple of minutes of discussing next actions thrown in.
For me, I think for both of us, it had to be that way. Seeing the situation for exactly what it was, was far too overwhelming and sad. Something had to shift.
What shifted? Our perspective.
There are two ways to view any challenging circumstance. The first, and unfortunately more common, is with worry and fear.
The second is to see what is good about the situation (i.e. the gift). Or, if you are not far enough away from it to find the gift, you can still find the humor.
How does laughing to the point of tears about the cling peach that flew out of your father’s mouth, just missing your sister-in-law, change the situation?
We don’t have control over the situation—it is what it is. What we do have control over is our reaction to the circumstances before us.
My brother and I could have been totally engulfed in fear and sadness that our dad’s health was so poor, and that even getting food into his mouth was challenging. Believe me, the sadness was there. But being able to lighten things up with laughter changed our perspective in that moment from one of fear, to one of lightness and love.
Keeping up that dance, continually shifting our perspective with each new challenge, got us though the difficulty of our father’s long illness, and thankfully peaceful passing.
This past January, I returned home from warm and sunny Mexico to a cold and snowy New England winter. There was a snow storm the day before we flew home causing many cancellations. The next day we arrived at the airport to find it chaotic, and packed with people trying to get flights they missed the day before.
We could have panicked and worried about our flight getting out, and been angry that the airport was such a mess. Instead we kept up our travel mantra, “Everything always works out for us!” recounted and laughed about the fun we had on our trip, and marveled at the number of man buns we saw, and then buns in general, causing me to change my hairstyle and adopt the high on the head bun as a way of life. (Silly or stupid? You decide.)
We walked by one long line after another until we got to our Icelandair charter flight—we walked right up to the front only waiting for a couple of people ahead of us. We had been able to upgrade to first class for a cost on the flight down so we asked about upgrading again when we got to the counter. “Sure!” he said and went about changing the seats. The attendant handed us our tickets saying, “We normally charge for the upgrade, but today there is no charge.”
We had time to shop, scoring some cool chicken pot holders, get a snack, and boarded just slightly later than scheduled, making up the time during the flight.
I could go on to tell you how smoothly immigration, etc. went back in Boston, but I think the point has been made. The situation was the situation—a chaotic, crowded airport. There was no way to change that in the moment. Our power came from what we did have control over—our reaction to the circumstance.
I am not dismissing the fact that there are often sad, difficult, or worrisome situations going on in our lives, and in the world. It is important to acknowledge these feelings when they come up.
But since we are vibrational beings, we are creating our future from our thoughts and feelings in the present moment.
So instead of getting stuck in the worry or sadness, the better option is to note the feeling, and then see how you can shift your perspective. Take your inner fool out to play—hopefully you won’t need a rogue cling peach to help you!
P.S. My birthday is April 1st—go figure!
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