What if, every time we plan and prepare something, it turns out exactly as we anticipated it? Isn't that our hope when we put our time and effort into it? And yet, often, it only hits some of the points. Sometimes the slightest discrepancies from our plan can get us into an unpleasant experience. We find ourselves complaining, being in a mood, missing any opportunity to get out of it, and creating an environment that drags everyone around us down.
I remember many moments when I found myself in such a situation. Why is that? I believe this is because, throughout our lives, we learn a thing or two about how to avoid any mishaps. We improved on how we approach certain situations like family gatherings or trips. We attempted to implement our lessons learned, planned and prepared even more and got ourselves deeper into a mood and away from finding solutions that could turn things around.
As I write this, I notice two different kinds of unexpected situations. One is something that happens outside our control, like a canceled trip due to a hurricane, volcano eruption, or other natural disasters. No matter how much we plan, we can't anticipate them. And the other one is things that we could expect. Yet, hope doesn't happen, for example, a canceled dinner, a dropped meal, forgetting something on our grocery list (I must've been hungry when I wrote this), or running late for work. I am sure other aspects can lead to unpleasant and unexpected moments. When the latter occurs, we might have a more challenging time accepting it because we might have had some involvement in it or believe that if only we could've made a difference in the outcome.
I'd love to look at both and how we can meet those unexpected moments and help ourselves move through them more easily and gracefully.
First, we focus on the "out-of-our-control" scenarios. When those happen, all we can do is surrender to the present moment. Maybe we find the rainbow or silver lining while practicing with the following:
Let your emotions be known to you. Notice your sadness, frustration, helplessness, and upset without judgment. It can feel overwhelming, and at the same time, if we can't give our strong emotions room, they might come back later in an unrelated situation when others don't understand the hurt we experienced.
Take note of what is happening within and around you. Observe what is really happening at this moment. Our thoughts can quickly take us on a ride when unexpected things happen. To not get caught up in them and find a moment of space. We can take a few minutes to assess the situation, without the what ifs, and take in what is truly happening.
Be curious and explorative. Moving into a different head and physical space can be very helpful to see what else is there. What opportunities do I now have that something isn't working out? We could focus on something that has been put on the back burner. It could be attending to the people around us in a new way, or we could rest for a moment and wait until an inspiring suggestion arises.
The above journey of moving through unexpected circumstances is also helpful for situations we had an impact on or felt we could've avoided. I want to add another option that will not only change that one experience but also support us in seeing the world with a different set of eyes, ears, and especially mind. I want to use an example I've been using.
I don't know when. It must've been in a conversation with someone where I realized that often we, who drive a car or even walk on the street, get frustrated and upset when someone pulls out of a street and get in front of us. What I started practicing was expecting that every vehicle would be pulling out onto a street, and every time the person didn't choose to, I thanked them, sometimes even with a wave. Some of them might wonder if I knew them ;).
When we find a way to change how we meet recurring moments that get us upset, with practice, we can create a new habit and implement ways that can help us move with more ease and grace through unexpected events.
Have you found yourself in an unexpected moment lately? Do you have difficulties getting out of the jam? Feel free to share in the comments below or connect with me directly if you want to share an experience ❤️.