Last Thursday, I was to board a red-eye flight for Miami to attend a retreat that I had been looking forward to all summer. This retreat was limited to 10 women and would involve an intense mastermind focus on the businesses that each attendee was creating or growing. Above and beyond the deep-dive attention to help take my own business to the next level was the opportunity to spend time with a dear friend, whom I admire and respect tremendously. The previous 3 weeks had been hectic and non-stop with trade shows, taking my daughter to college, and my attendance at a stellar conference for women in the pet industry. Despite running on fumes, I was excited in anticipation of the weekend in Miami.
At risk of re-living a level of anxiety I don’t wish to recreate, I will spare you the details that led up to me missing the flight….the one and only flight that would have put me in Miami in time to walk into the hotel, change clothes, and be present for the 9am start of the event. As you can imagine, I was devastated…truly crushed. I contacted the airlines and worked to do everything in my power to find a flight out. I tried to stay calm inside, because that is what I am “supposed to do”, but I could feel the angst boiling. Jon was desperately doing everything in his power to get through the traffic to get me to the gate. The moment I realized there was no way possible I would get into the airport on time, I felt a volcanic urge to erupt. To avoid having Jon feel I was mad at him, I turned to inform him that my pending outburst was not directed at him and then I exploded. The anger and disappointment suddenly turned into a major meltdown complete with screams, stomping the floor of the front seat, and tons and tons of tears. Having just celebrated my 50t h birthday I was now behaving like a two year old. Logically, my brain knew there was nothing I could do. My inner voice was trying to talk me off the ledge, reminding me of all the dedicated time I spend each day working on my mindset to ensure a positive attitude. The other side of my brain didn’t care and gave me permission to cry and own the anger and frustration I felt in that moment. By the time I got home, I was exhausted. Jon was tired too but remained a patient saint. Empathizing with the sadness I felt, he allowed me to “let it all out” and just left me alone.
The next morning, I awoke with the same feelings but this time I would not allow those emotions to rule my day. I found it interesting that one could experience such extremes of emotions. It is amazing how one can go from moments of elation one day to despair the next was interesting to me. I made the choice to turn disappointment into something more productive and beneficial. My dogs must have sensed I was not “myself” because they sat quietly with me while I just sat in a chair, looking off at nothing, trying to find my way back out of the black hole I had fallen into the night before. I did not want to talk with or see anyone. I just wanted to be alone with my dogs.
I decided to get the two “pups” in the car and drive over to a place we frequent for walks. Guaranteed solitude, I could lose myself in BOLO and Henry, breathe in some great saltwater air, and get some exercise, too. I was determined to align my physiological state with a positive mindset. It is one thing to tell yourself, “It’s all good – don’t be upset over things out of your control” but it’s hard to truly “own” that sentiment when elements of tension and anger continue to flow through your bloodstream.
BOLO is incredibly comical. It took only a couple of minutes for my smile to return as I watched her take off after a ground squirrel. Her excitement and joy as she looked my way was contagious and, as Henry walked along next to me, I immediately felt my mood and mind relax.
BOLO chased that squirrel into its hole in the ground. I stood and watched as she began to dig vigorously to reach that poor creature. Don’t worry, she never did get it, but I found a lesson in her behavior. BOLO kept digging for that squirrel and when it became apparent that no amount of digging would result in its capture, she just happily trotted away, showing no signs of disappointment. She eagerly started looking for another adventure to chase. All morning I had been searching for a way to “dig deep” to regain a sense of joy, exude a positive outlook, and re-energize myself so that I could enjoy the full day ahead. Watching BOLO explore her world with such zest and watching Henry as he “smiled” and stopped momentarily to allow the ocean breeze to blow in his face, I instantly found the answer. I was given a gift of time. Instead of having another jam-packed weekend, I now had 3 full days to catch up on rest, complete some unfinished tasks, and spend time with some friends. I ended up having a fantastic day and enjoyed the remainder of the weekend, giving me the opportunity to start the week rejuvenated and in a much better place.
Dogs are the best medicine and the best teachers. Some people choose to meditate in solitude. My form of meditation is spending quiet, alone-time with BOLO and Henry. My mind is cleared, my mood is lifted, I become incredibly mindful of the space I am in at that moment, and my sense of gratitude for things in my life becomes heightened. Dog is Good.
Things happen in the course of the day that will generate a range of emotional responses. You only have control over how you choose to respond and sometimes you truly have to work to generate a response that will serve you and others around you positively.
It’s OK to experience anger and allow yourself the opportunity to have a minor meltdown- but it’s not OK to displace that anger and frustration towards others. Crying, or even screaming out loud, helps to get rid of some of the toxins built up from the negative energy flowing through your body but are poisonous to others.
Once you own the anger and negative emotions, let them go. That is a choice. Those emotions will do nothing but wreak havoc for the remainder of the day. It is incredibly unfair to impose on others the behaviors that result from those feelings.
Sit or walk with your dogs. Focus on all things good, and remind yourself that every day is a gift…don’t waste it being angry.