Calm and Collected versus Frazzled and Furious

file0001609195249Yesterday, I was late to a morning meeting. I had planned to be late from the beginning so when I got in the car knowing the meeting was just starting across town, I wasn’t anxious. I wasn’t rushing, I wasn’t passing people at a million miles an hour. I was just driving. At a regular speed and knowing that I would get there, safely, whenever I arrived.

Counter that feeling with dozens of other times I’ve been driving somewhere and I was  late but hadn’t planned to be late. I can always feel the anxiety building in my body as I curse the red light, tapping my fingers on the steering wheel willing the light to change faster. I catch myself watching the clock slowly move forward and sensing my dread of being late.

So what was the difference in knowing I was going to be late and accepting it versus running late without expecting to and feeling anxious about it. Honestly, the only difference was my mind-set and my thoughts. In both cases, I would inevitably arrive late. But yesterday, when this was always the plan, I walked in calm and assured and whenever I haven’t planned to be late, I walk in feeling anxious and irritable. The only other time I clearly remember being late to an event and still being calm was several years ago, soon after my father died, when I followed a funeral processional to a meeting. I remember being acutely aware of my thoughts that time too.

This simple “aha” for me yesterday made me realize that the next time I am running late unexpectedly I have the power to choose how the experience will feel in my body and I’d like it to feel calm and collected rather than frazzled and anxious.  I suppose I realize now that I always have the ability and power to make it so!


Even if you can’t chaperone the trip, you can still load the bus.

This week, my son left for a two-day 6th grade overnight outdoor school trip. Originally, I had thought I would chaperone the event, but then some work related opportunities came up and I wasn’t able to commit to chaperoning. However, the teacher mentioned that she could use some help the morning the kids were leaving to load the luggage on the bus. I volunteered to help out.

Sometimes there will be opportunities to volunteer that just don’t work for us. We have other commitments, we have responsibilities we can’t move or change or perhaps we just aren’t interested to help out with what’s being asked of us. Don’t let that stop you from offering to help in whatever way you can. Certainly, chaperoning a two-day over night trip with 60 6th graders was an entirely different commitment than helping to load the bus, however, for this particular opportunity that was all I could do.

Even if you can’t run the auction, lead the fall fundraiser or chaperone the field trip, know that there are a plethora of other volunteer jobs you probably can do to help out. Don’t be afraid to volunteer yourself. Ask the teacher or volunteer coordinator what other ways you might be able to help or suggest something you can do. It’s always so refreshing when someone is willing and able to pitch in even if they can’t chaperone the entire trip.

I’ll be heading back this afternoon to help unload the bus!