It was a blistering hot day as we waited for our turn on Teamboat Springs. I was excited by the idea that I would be hitting the cool water, and laughing at the “safe” speed down the water slide. No, no Summit Plummet for me! I like my sense of danger in manageable doses! As I stood there, I felt a little tickle on the back of my neck. A leaf? Maybe a butterfly? I reached up to swat it away. As I swatted, it stayed on my hand, and before I could blink, a kamikaze bee bomber stung me!! I let out a surprised scream, and then looked around for some cool water. I started to make jokes like, “Oh, I hope I won’t need a trip to the ER. Maybe I should slam some Benedryl before I look like Hitch… you know, the guy from that movie when the main character has an allergic reaction and his face swells up?” I wanted to make light of the pain, and focus again on the fun that was soon to be ours. However, the more I wanted to focus elsewhere, the more my throbbing finger would bring me right back to reliving the experience again. My body was definitely not wanting to play on Team Christine.
Remember a couple of weeks ago, I was going to work on the idea that I would create intentional bridges of thoughts and actions to the thoughts and activities that I wanted to have? It dawned on me that bridges are like habits. Habits that trigger productive attitudes and productive activities. My bridge to a happy, fun waterslide ride was to channel my emotional response from a bee sting into that place of anticipation and excitement. But how?
One hack that tends to work well for me is the gratitude game. It goes something like this: I look around me and I acknowledge everything that I can see, feel or think that I am grateful for. For example, I used this on Monday: I am really grateful that my hubby took the time off of work to be with us here now. I love how the sun makes the water glisten, and I am so grateful that I can see it. My mom, until recently, wasn’t even able to see that. I am so happy that my niece and nephew came to see us. I am grateful to see the love and support blossoming between my daughter and them. I love the connection I feel when the people around me are smiling. I am so grateful to see and to know that cool water is coming… By the time I exhausted my gratitude list, we were on the tube ride laughing and giggling and having “the best time ever.”
I turned a circumstance that wasn’t in my control, and that was pretty painful, into a gratitude fest with laughter and fun. What struck me most about this exercise was how much control I really did have over the quality of my experience.
So I sat down and made a list of my top 5 bridges. Here they are:
1. Daily Habits that promote energy, well-being, organization and efficiency – This is the framework that allows me to be at my best to meet the day’s challenges.
2. I list the 3 things that I want to have happen – this focuses my intention for the day.
4. I break up tasks into small action steps, so that I can use the momentum from one completion to carry me on to the next task.
5. I prize myself and others – prizing is different from praising as it focuses on the acknowledgement of qualities of being. For example, “You are the type of person who will stick to something until you master it” versus “Great job.” Prizing sticks with me longer, and gives me more motivation and energy to continue.
So, what about you? Can you create some bridges from where you are to where you want to be? That place may only be a bridge away.