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Positivity Practices Are Not About Pretending. They’re About Possibility

When I learned the day before my flight to Nepal that I had a tear in the retina of my right eye, I remained optimistic that I would be able to make the trip. I wrote about how my regular daily practices were helping me cope with the situation. I focused on the positives in the situation despite the lousy circumstances. As it turned out, I was not able to go. A lot of time, energy and money gone to waste.

From my vantage point now, a week after I was to leave and certain I won’t be going, the value of my daily practices –  meditation and yoga, cooking and eating whole foods, getting lots of sleep and engaging in movement activities – has been reinforced.

Accept What Is

The primary benefit from these practices has been the ability to accept the situation and look forward versus being stuck in ‘woe-is-me’. I want to emphasize that I am not saying I’m ok with what has happened. I am not pretending everything is fine. It’s not. I am sad and disappointed that I am not in Nepal right now. But I can’t change the circumstances. My eye needed to be repaired and now needs to heal. Focusing on what ‘can’t be’ drains my energy. I want my energy to go to healing. I need to ‘be’ with what is. Be ok in the unknowns.

Since all this started I was in a holding pattern in the midst of a lot of unknowns until the third laser treatment when I determined I was definitely not going to Nepal.

Finding Possibility

The objective of life seems to be about navigating the unknown. We want to know. We want to be sure. We want everything to happen according to plans. Yet, every so often, we receive the proverbial curve ball and we don’t know what to do when upheaval arrives. That’s where I was…wanting to know. Wanting to go on my trip. The way I was able to accept the unknowns was by changing the questions I was asking myself.

For example, I can’t run or do an impact sport. Running is my go-to for grounding myself, processing life and clearing my head. So many challenges and no running?  What am I to do? How will I manage? How will I cope? How will I train for my March trail marathon? These were the initial questions I was asking. Or rather fretting about and these questions feed the fret. Not a helpful strategy. I switched to these questions:

What can I do? What options do I have within the restrictions? What’s possible?

Here’s what I came up with:

  • I can take our dog Zoey for long walks and practice taking short quick steps. I’ve been trying to increase my cadence in running so I’m practicing doing this while walking.
  • With all the snow that arrived over the last week, I can practice lifting my knees.
  • I can walk the nearby hills and be intentional in engaging my glutes and having good form.
  • I have lots of time for strength training which was on my priority list for this winter anyway.
  • I can use yoga to continue to strengthen and maintain flexibility.
  • I haven’t taken a couple weeks off running in a very long time. My hope is that by being intentional in my training while not running will mean that my legs are fresh and ready to go when I get the ok to run again.
  • I can ride my bike on the trainer. I’m not a fan of riding indoors on a trainer but since I can’t run I’m more motivated to get on my bike! And cycling is good for running!

Taking a positive approach does not mean ignoring my feelings. The contrary actually. I’m present to my feelings because my daily practices keep me in the moment and in a good frame of mind even if sad or angry or disappointed. I am able to accept my feelings, be compassionate with myself and then carry on choosing my actions with intention.

I have to say that this experience with my torn retina has taught me a lot. Truthfully, I was surprised that I was able to cope as well as I did. I’ve learned just how much these practices make a difference. I can choose my attitude even in a tough situation and find possibility. Find more-in-me in new and surprising ways. 

And now, time to get on my yoga mat and then work on tidying the storeroom in the basement. Another benefit of my current situation – extra time to get some long overdue chores done!

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We’ll move into possibility together!

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