I’d just had…a rough week. We’d just moved. I was sick with the gazillionth cold that year. We ran the washer for the first time and something criss-crossed somewhere and a sewer line backed up (ew!). Then the dishwasher wasn’t properly settled into the cabinetry and literally “fell” forward when I tried to load it.

As my mind ruminated on the things that seemed to be going wrong one after the others–yet another thing needing repair, why wasn’t this taken care of?, I bet something else is going to go wrong, next–I felt white hot pissed off anger coursing through my veins.

I tried to breathe and access the body and noticed that I was suddenly feeling really, really run-down and far more sick than I had felt when waking up.

It was this little reminder that ANGER IS TOXIC

Now, I don’t believe that it’s healthy for people to just repeat affirmations trying not to feel their anger or frustration or sadness or whatever negative emotion comes up. Anything that we cannot sit with will run us. But it really, really hit me how when I carry around anger and frustration, this stuff is just toxic sludge. 

So as I hopped into my car and drove to grab a cup of coffee, I played my theme song–the song that is my ring tone, the song that is my life’s theme song–“Golden” by Jill Scott.

I played it twice.

I felt immensely better (and less sick).

A Simple Shift

Slowly, things improved. I ran into my friend Laurie Wagner at Peet’s. We caught up on friends. I was invited to a trunk show she was co-hosting. By the time I left Peet’s, my thought process had completely shifted.

And this is the point: it was a simple shift.

When I started with the conscious choice to do one small thing–playing a song that lifted my spirits–that was enough to start digging me out of the hole of ugh that had begun. And when I made yet another conscious choice to take some time to connect with another human being, that was another piece.

Technically, nothing had changed–the dishwasher wasn’t fixed and I still had the cold and still felt tired from the move–but I wasn’t feeling particularly frustrated by any of it, anymore.

It’s when we make a simple shift that we see how possible change really is. I appreciate that I didn’t get completely caught in the rabbit hole of fear, negativity, or feeling like life was nothing but a series of challenges. Even if I hadn’t run into a friend, listening to a song that lifted my spirits was entirely free.

Where do you get stuck thinking that the only way you can be happy is to completely overhaul your life? Sometimes, a simple shift is all it takes.

You may also like:

Sitting with my stuff vs. wallowing
What to do when you feel confused
What’s your kryptonite?