There was nothing wrong that day. It was very ordinary.
I was in the middle of my usual early morning ritual -- walking my dog.
I've turned it into my daily prayer, my daily meditation.
If I feel my mind is too busy I start my "good mornings". Good morning tree, good morning rock, good morning school gates, good morning valley, good morning fallen leaves, good morning birds.
By then the thoughts are gone and I'm quiet. Sometimes though, the thoughts come flooding back.
On this particular morning I was in a pretty serene state when suddenly I remembered the lump I felt on my son's leg the night before. Immediately I'd called for an appointment with the doctor. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before.
The dog was circling around me, blissfully frolicking in the early morning freedom, the beautiful day that was unfolding.
I thought about the story I'd read the week before, the mother who's son had been terribly injured in a car accident and had nursed him until his death two years later.
And I began the downward spiral of thoughts that Brene Brown talks about in her amazing work on shame and vulnerability. Thinking the very worst of what could be for my son, predicting terrible disease and an outcome that I can't even bring myself to write.
It was powerfully real in my mind though, spectacular pictures of the worst possible scenario. Brene Brown writes about how we practice predicting disaster and heartbreak in the ridiculous and mistaken belief that if we think the painful situation through, it will be easier for us, if it ever really happens.
In reality, when bad things happen, no amount of 'practice' or previous prediction helps in coping with the real situation. What this 'practice' does do, is prevent us from ever feeling joy or happiness in the moment. It steals away the peace and contentment that we can feel at any time.
On that perfect morning, with everything in place, great weather, companionship and an interesting day ahead, I began to feel sick.
I had a crippling pain in my stomach, I felt nauseous and dizzy.
I realized that the story I was allowing myself to imagine in my mind, was making me sick. And there was not an ounce of truth in it.
It's amazing how we steal away the perfect moment, our own well being, our peace of mind.
So, here's what I did (and what you can do when it happens to you).
1. Stop moving. Stand still. Take in a deep breath.
2. Focus on the place in your body that feels your stress and breathe into it (for me it was my stomach, I infused the pain with my in-breath and it eased)
3.Stretch up to reach the sky and look to a point far away, slowly breathe out, release.
4. Smile - yes, just smile and begin to tell the story of this moment. It is beautiful, it is perfect.
So are you. And so is the situation, whatever the outcome.
I have come to see that there are no mistakes.
My path will lead me exactly where I need to go. And I can handle it.
You can too.
The story you tell will create your reality, in every moment, no matter the circumstances.
We can't control what happens around us, but we can choose the story that gives us strength, hope and empowerment. That's the story I choose.