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Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella… On Staying Positive

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Rainy Days with Lots of Smiles

Rainy Days with Lots of Smiles

Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella‘, what an epic song!  (check out this slightly hilarious ‘music video‘ of Betty Clooney singing this song while hanging out fake wash, in maybe  the early or mid 1950’s?). We sang it in our girls acapella choir group when I was going to Hackettstown High School in New Jersey.  Our chorus director, Mr. Witte, may he ever rest in peace, was the most amazing musician and no matter who or what he had singing, he could always make us sound awesome.  I can still hear how we sounded back then… (sniffle sniffle).

Anyway, I somehow caught myself singing this one yesterday…

You ever get an email from somewhere, someone or something that just sends your head into a tailspin?  Well, it happened to me!  (Ok, it’s happened to me more than once, and I’m sure to you too).  I won’t bore you with the details, because the topic is irrelevant.  But, the FEELING is universal.  The message made feel like, ‘OMG!  Did I do something wrong?  What did I do?  Oh no!  How can I fix this?’  You know that feeling?  I think this feeling even has a specific location in the body, it sort of sits somewhere in-between your stomach and your throat!  Your head goes into a fog and all thoughts are consumed by ‘Why did this person say this?  What are they talking about?’.  Sometimes, you rationally think to yourself, ‘Oh, look at my crazy head, going nuts again‘.  But, all rationality goes out the window and you somehow feel yourself sinking into a pit of pea soup mind barf.  I totally made that term up, but you know what I mean?!

The morning that this happened, I had already been up since about 3:00am, being tag teamed by the girls until about 5:00am, after which, we all got out of bed and made an early start to the markets.  I usually like to do my morning yoga, breathing and meditation, that I do everyday, BEFORE heading out of the house.  But, since it was so early and nobody showed any signs of wanting to go back to bed, mamma’s meditation ‘medication’, was not on the menu for breakfast, so we all ran out the door.  It was while we were driving to the market (unmeditated), that I read the message that sent my head spinning.

I’ll also add that it was pouring rain that morning.  Goldie was grumpy because she was now ready to go back to bed and Margo was talking A.MILE.A.MINUTE.!  Margo is going through the pinnacle of asking the question ‘WHY?’.  A very trying period of time in a parent’s journey, and even more trying if your mind is pre-occupied elsewhere, trying to figure out what you have done wrong.  I asked Art if I had done something wrong… he said, ‘No, relax, everything you’re doing is fine‘.  I asked a trusted friend if I had done something… she also told me that I had done nothing…  But still, oh, that silly mind!  Reeling and stewing!

Anyway, we got through the markets, unpacked, ate food, and finally got the girls to sleep for a nap at the same time.  And, then (insert angels singing), it was finally time for me to sit and do my meditation session.  I cannot explain, in any amount of words, the gratitude I have for having found meditation and a way to quiet the mind.  Of course, at first, my mind was still stewing, but as I sat and breathed… my mind started chilling out… then I sat.. and sat… and sat… and then!  AHHHH… that’s better.  When I opened my eyes after half and hour or forty five minutes or so of sitting there doing my meditation practice, my brain and spirit felt squeaky clean.  Then, I could look at the whole situation with new eyes.

The whole incident reminded me of what I already know, that opinions coming from anyone (including coming from me) are only opinions and may or may not hold and truth… as opinions are always changing anyways!  Duh!  Silly me!  I know that, why did I forget?!  Of course, I’m not saying that you should never listen to people’s opinions… but it was a reminder to always take them with a grain of salt.  It’s easy to forget positive affirmations when you’re tired or stressed.  You can’t exactly tell your head, ‘Now now head, stop being so silly… stop worrying…’  It doesn’t really work that way, unfortunately.  I say this after meditating, from techniques I learned in the Art of Living Course, every day for the past eleven years.  You need to ‘do’ something, to stop this chatty mind of ours.  In the case of meditation, that ‘doing something’, is actually doing ‘nothing’… isn’t that funny… Something to help you smile from the inside (metaphorically speaking, I’m not saying you need to plaster a smile on your actual face 24/7).  But, something to keep you happy on the inside.  For me, meditation is my umbrella. What do you do to keep your mind in check!  Sing, pray, meditate, yoga, exercise, sleep?  I would say anything is better than nothing and it’s all worth while to keep that smile inside 🙂

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