Feeling lucky today? If so, why? If not, why? Believe it or not, your current situation or circumstances don’t matter. It is your perception that determines whether or not you are fortunate, charmed, blessed, or indeed lucky. This idea became crystal clear to me the other day when a seemingly unfortunate experience left me counting my lucky stars.
My son called me from his girlfriend’s house. He began with the bone-chilling opener, “Mom? I’m okay, but…”
I took a breath and waited for the inevitable bad news. What followed wasn’t terribly reassuring, “I may need some stitches.”
After another cleansing breath, I said calmly, “I’m on my way.”
When I arrived at the house, his tearful girlfriend stood next to her father who informed me that the blood-spattered ice pack covering my son’s left eye was preventing swelling from an accidental blow to the face with a golf club. The girlfriend whimpered and sniffed piteously. Wow… I hugged her instantly and reassured her that Simon is a tough cookie, accidents happen, and it’s a good thing she didn’t hit his teeth! (His braces came off just that morning.) Lucky strike number one.
Later that day when I made the obligatory calls to family and friends to chronicle the ensuing trips to the ER and state of my son, I received a barrage of well intentioned expressions of sympathy: “How awful.” “That’s a nightmare.” “What terrible LUCK!”
The exception was the reaction from my one dear friend, a mindful sister and kindred spirit, “Wow. How lucky!”
“It could have been so much worse…” The next morning I took a meditative walk around the block and pondered this. As often, she was completely right. I replayed the then-harrowing events as they unfolded the day before and managed to see a silver glimmer illuminating the outline of each passing cloud. According to my personal belief system, we are often powerless over external events and the actions of others. Our magic lies in our ability to shape our perception. We create our reality with our minds and that is how we become lucky.
I am reminded of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. The basic premise is that the mere belief that something “is” will send a vibe into the universe that turns your idea into a reality. I loved the book when I read it years ago and took the message literally. I remember sitting on my back porch with eyes clenched tightly, envisioning magical laser beams of intention shooting out of my forehead into the cosmos so that I might wake up the next morning with dreams of fame, fortune, love, and beauty plopped onto my front porch wrapped in a red bow.
Now I still believe in setting intentions and that the energy you emit is what is returned, however, I also know that there is a beautiful, unpredictable, randomness to reality. Our bodies are squishy, aging blobs of flesh that can tear and bones that can snap and every day we step outside there is the real possibility of injury or a return to the cycle of life in death. We can take steps to stay safe and prevent tragedy, but honestly… shit happens. When I “pray” it is not for any specific outcome, but for an understanding of how my reality can be seen as beneficial and purposeful.
When you-know-what hits the fan and splatters the walls, so to speak, we can either blame an invisible force and call ourselves “unlucky”, or we can consciously change the lens through which we perceive such crappy situations in our lives. Accidents and mistakes can provide incredibly valuable lessons. Through them we can experience profound gratitude for what good remains or what other things didn’t happen.
So back to the day of my son’s encounter with a rogue golf club. Was our family unlucky or fortunate? Let’s break it down:
My son’s girlfriend swung a metal golf club over her shoulder and hit my son who was standing behind her, in the face. He was stunned, but did not lose consciousness. I wasn’t there, but was coincidentally a block away at the park and got to him quickly. We had to check in to the hospital during a pandemic, but the ER was empty and we were immediately checked in and seen by a doctor. He suffered deep lacerations on his eyelid and cheek requiring stitches from a plastic surgeon, but his eye is completely intact and sustained no damage to the lens (or otherwise, as confirmed later by an ophthalmologist).
When I took him home later, he vomited and felt woozy requiring a trip back to the hospital which is approximately just two miles from our home. The ER was again empty, as were the roads to get there. He was diagnosed with a concussion and told to rest easy for a few days, but CT scans showed no bleeding on his brain or damage to his skull. Both he and the girlfriend learned a valuable lesson about golf safety should they ever play again! My poor boy received a mountain of fresh baked cookies from the girl’s mom, a new pair of Ray Bans from his aunt to protect the eye from sun, and an extension on some end-of-year schoolwork.
Lucky duck! Now see if you can’t count your blessings.
Originally published at http://themindfullibrarian.org on June 12, 2020.