Letting Go Project Day Sixteen ~ The gift of plan B

Two nights ago my ten-year-old took the letting go project a quite literally and “Let go” of his lunch and dinner all over our bedroom – and I mean all over our bedroom.  It was one of this those half-asleep-can’t-find-the-bowl-but-I-can-hit-the-bed-floor-and-walls kind of letting go.  This happened at about 10pm, just as my husband and I were getting ready for bed.

“Not getting what you want can be a wonderful stroke of luck” – The Dalai Lama

Now, there are obviously many frustrating aspects to this kind of situation.  To add fuel to the fire, Christian had been complaining about a headache and stomach ache for a few days, but we thought he was crying wolf over his anxiety about his new school (more on letting go of anxiety tomorrow).  So I was frustrated about the mess, and fighting a voice in my head that was saying “you’re a bad parent, you should have known he was really sick.”  At this point I had a choice in how to react.  This was obviously not the way I planned on spending my evening.

Here’s today’s letting go exercise:  The gift of plan B:

1.  When something unexpectedly unpleasant comes up, watch your phyiscal reaction.  Is there a tightening in your stomach or sholders?  Are you hands clenched?  Especially watch what the breath is doing.  Take deep even breaths (even if you have to do so with a lavendar-scented tissue over your nose).

2.  Ask the magic question, “what is the best thing to do in this moment,” and a follow up question, “how can I use this situation to show compassion?”

3. What is the gift of plan B?  Look for the gift in the situation.  There is always a gift in plan B.  The Dalai Lama has been quoted as saying “Remember that not getting what you want can be a wonderful stroke of luck.”  In my case, the gift came the next day when I was able to take a sick day with my son.  We hung out, I pampered him, and we took a nap.  He’s ten.  The days when he will let me cuddle with him are drawing to and end, and he’s my youngest.

This was a small detour in the grand scheme of things, but maybe you can look back at a bigger detour you had to take, and see the gifts that were hidden along the road.

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

Taking plan B can be especially difficult for teens and young adults.  Check out our free worksheet on mindfulness for teens, mindfulness for college freshman, and mindfulness for a broken heart.

Parents can benefit from our worksheets that support mindful parenting.

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