I was having a rough evening. Usually, my Clogging classes cheer me up, but that day… I must have been super off. I had just finished teaching a peewee Clogging class in Bath County, Virginia. I had a two-hour break until my next class, and normally I would sit in the studio and work on my laptop until it was time to teach again. However that day, for whatever reason, I just couldn’t get any momentum going. First, my computer wouldn’t connect to the wifi. Then, once it did connect, it would lose connection. “Fine,” I thought. “I’ll just work on something that doesn’t require internet.” Ever try working on something when you don’t have internet? It’s hard… Things you think you wouldn’t need internet for, you do. Sad, but true.
Finally, after I had become considerably disgusted, I thought “Forget it…. I’ll go down to the coffee shop and get some coffee.” So, trying to recharge myself, I hopped in my car, laptop in hand, and tried to boost my attitude as I pictured myself happily sitting in the coffee shop enjoying my java while cheerfully and diligently working on my computer. I drove downtown to find the coffee shop closed. Like, gone. Like, not even there anymore.
Even further disgusted, I turned around and headed to a local convenient store. (I was fading and needed coffee anyway. I was GOING to find coffee!) Got there. No coffee brewed…. “Of course,” I thought. I looked over and saw a French Vanilla cappuccino. On my low carbs, low sugars diet, a cappuccino was definitely not the best choice, but at this point, I didn’t care. So I got one.
By this time, I had given up on being productive and getting any work done. I just wanted a place to relax, chill out, and be alone a little before my next class. So I turned north out of the parking lot looking for a nice, little, shady pull-off. Do you think there was a pull-off anywhere in the next two miles? Heck no.
Feeling a bit hopeless, I turned around. However… I remembered seeing a little, hidden road that looked interesting. “No….,” I thought to myself. “You’re liable to go down that road, and it will end up being someone’s driveway.” But I didn’t care. THAT would top off my evening. Might as well go for it… So I found the road and turned down it. At first, I saw a couple houses, then a large, what looked like, storage barn. I kept going, waiting to turn a corner and see someone staring at me from their front porch wondering why this idiot intruder was leisurely driving into their front yard. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised.
This little, twisty-turny road ended up leading me through a beautiful part of the forest where the asphalt path before me paralleled and almost danced with a bubbling stream. I passed a hawk sitting next to the road. Just sitting. So I stopped and talked to him for a second or two.
I drove on looking up at the trees. I rolled down my car window and listened to the forest sounds… birds chirping, the stream rolling, leaves rustling in the light breeze. I smelled the fresh, moist air. Gosh, it felt good. (I think there is something to that “forest bathing” technique I’ve been hearing about.)
I glided along the path until the road intersected with another. I actually knew the road it intersected with and had driven that road many times, so I decided to turn around and explore this new-found path from a different direction.
As I was cruising along, I saw a pull-off next to the river, one I had passed earlier. Of course, this little excursion had inspired me, so I pulled over, took out my laptop, and began to write. (This post to be exact. Imagine that!)
I started out that evening with not much pep at all and things hadn’t been shaping up for anything better. But because I was having a crappy day and decided to snap myself out of it, I had this little adventure. Because I forced action against my sour afternoon, I found myself sitting in my car, laptop carefully balanced on my arm rest and gear shift, windows down, and listening to the sounds of river water tumbling over rocks. My fingers gleefully clicked away on my keyboard. In the midst of a blah-day, inspiration found me. (Or I found it?)
It’s hard to snap yourself out of it though. When things suck (much more than just having a blah-day), its sometimes easier just to stay mucked down in despair. And honestly, sometimes, you need to. Just stay down there for a little while and wallow, lay in bed, binge watch Netflix, and skip a couple days of getting a shower. Take a weekend to just be lazy. Whatever you need to do. Sometimes, we just need that. I’ve been there.
But also know that when things get gloomy, you might have to deal out a little tough love to yourself. What was I going to do that afternoon? Just sit in the studio and wait for my next class feeling dreary? I could have. I would’ve sit there and wallowed and sank lower, which wouldn’t have done myself any favors. You have to be your own best friend, your own advocate. In other words, you have to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. The secret to positive thinking is positive DOING! You have to take control and turn your own day around. No one else is likely to do it for you. Visualize positivity. Look for positivity. I guarantee you it’s not hard to find if you want it bad enough.
So I challenge you: The next time you’re feeling down, turn your mindset around. Think positively! Even if you’re so depressed you can’t get off the couch. Harness the power you have to do or think something positive – read a book, write a poem, or just turn on a good, uplifting movie. If you’re not quite that low but still need a boost, FIND ONE! Take 20 minutes to read a book, dig in your flower garden, take a quick walk. Positive visualization (and action!) can go a LONG way! You have the power to 180 your attitude whenever you want. All you have to do is make that decision, set your mind to it, and DO IT!