We plan, God laughs. So someone told me years ago. The longer it lingers the more I agree. Regardless of your take on the idea of God, I think you get the point.

You’ve been there right? You are heading down a carefully-planned out path, people are doing what they are supposed to. Life is good. You feel in control.

Then something happens. Someone dies, someone lies, or the pink slip gets handed to you this time.

The new plan? Survive, put the pieces back together, think about what it all means, and try not to panic.

What also happens is we start to imagine the future and the future looks bad. This bad-feeling-ugly-future shows up as if our minds are on auto-pilot, as if we are programmed to think the worst. Are we irresponsible if we don’t anticipate all the awful possibilities?

I recently experienced this first-hand. I was thinking about what a bit of news meant for my life. From my initial perspective the future was bleak. It involved more work, less money, not living where I eventually want to live. (Even though I’d be hard pressed to tell you where that is right now but it suited my foot-stamping-put-out-and-pouting little girl to include that.) Doom and gloom was everywhere and it felt real.

Then I took my Monday morning, post feral cat feeding beach break. (I feed 3 feral cat colonies on Monday morning and the last one is a mere half a mile from the ocean -- I now include a 30-minute feeties-in-the-water-connect-with-the-sea visit in my self-care routine each week.) Standing with my feet in the cool, crazy swirling waves, I breathed in and out and consciously said, “I release all of that thinking at least for now.” Then I heard it, the word “now.” Where was I living when thinking about how my life was going to s*ck?

The future.

How much sense does that make?

I’ll let you answer that.

What was stopping me from writing a different story about what was next, or writing no story at all? Since I have no proof or guarantee that what I was thinking will come to pass, and since none of it felt good at all, nor gave me anything to look forward to, what was the point?

Carolyn Myss, Ph.D says “Every thought is a prayer and every thought creates. Every emotion is a prayer and every emotion creates.” If every thought creates -- and this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this I’m sure -- then what was I creating? If every emotion creates, and I am using my brain to conjure up things that produce negative emotion, what am I creating? More negative emotion, right? What I want to create is a delicious life including to love and be loved, to feel good, and to do good work. So what purpose does imagining anything less serve?

Do you like amusement park rides? I do -- the scarier and bigger the better. It dawned on me that these unknown times, these times when there is no way to plan because too many things are not yet known or emotions are high are like being on line heading for a new ride. Scary to be sure, but man will it be fun to experience! And though the anticipation -- like the line to get on the ride -- seems endless, the ride itself is over very quickly.

Then you walk away with a great story, a feeling of having survived this wild and crazy thing that could have killed you... but didn’t.

You may argue that the rug being pulled out from under our oh-so-perfect-life’s feet is not at all like choosing to go on a ride. Why not? Life’s one guarantee is change, yes? Plan yourself into a dither, but you know the real outcome is unknown. What if we could look at the unknown scary parts as a ride we find ourselves in line for?

There is no meaning in anything that happens except the meaning we give it. As always, we choose. Damn, not again with the choice stuff. Yup, ‘fraid so. Stew and stay down and miss the beautiful possibility of now or see if your life hasn’t already shown you over and over that things usually work out. That even if something in the past was awful, scary, hard, and ugly, you made it through.

If you can try on “every thought creates”, then the next step is to ask yourself, “can I choose thoughts that create a story of the future that is rich with the experiences I most want, even in the moments that feel most out of control?”

Author's Bio: 

Gregory Anne Cox is a certified life coach, weight loss coach and lifestyle consultant for midlife women—and the men they love. Her myth busting, butt kicking information and coaching style means results for her clients—the look and feel better than ever at midlife. Stop over at http://MidlifeWithAVengeance.com
for more information. You can reach Gregory directly at Gregory@MidlifeWithAVengeance.com.