I was running with one of my close friends the other day, listening to her story. I listen to a lot of stories when I run with her, because she’s a better runner than I am and I’m generally just gasping for breath, especially now that I’m (slowly) coming back from injury.

She was telling me about the recent serendipitous happening in her life. The “chance” meeting of just the person she needed to meet, for so many reasons, at a random moment in a random parking lot.

“The universe really provides, doesn’t it?” she asked. I nodded, as much as I could as I tried to catch my breath.

“You’re always looking for it,” I managed to puff out.

“Huh?”

I had to wait a few minutes before I could puff out more. “You’re so good at looking for the good and appreciating things and being open to possibilities,” I wheezed. Pause for breath. “And I think that makes you more open for the good stuff, for noticing the good stuff.”

She smiled. How does she smile while she’s running?

“But what do you do when you’re faced with the not good stuff?” she asked. “The really not good stuff. What do you do?”

I smiled to myself, amazed at how much I was holding a conversation during a run, and told her what I’ve learned. What works for me.

“When I’m faced with the really &*%#@ stuff, I’ve learned to find something else to think about, or another way to look at it. I’ve learned that I can’t pretend it’s not there, I may even had to admit how &*%#@ it is, but after that, I think about my son, or my daughter. I look at the trees against the blue sky. I find something soothing, easing, joyful to lift my spirits up. And I feel better.”

Needless to say, this lengthy monologue was panted over a space of time (and a length of the bike trail we were running on). And my friend offered encouraging noises during each lull in my ability to talk. And agreed.

That is what I do. That is what works for me. I’m guessing it can sound at least somewhat Pollyanna-ish, but it works for me. I’ve learned to acknowledge when it’s tough, so that I’m not wasting energy trying to ignore how hard things may feel for me in the moment, and then I find the things that are working, that are lovely, and focus on them.

Perhaps this makes it possible for more serendipitous things to happen to me. Perhaps it makes me more aware of them. Or perhaps it’s all in my head and there’s nothing really special happening at all. Either way, I feel better when I admit, accept, and look for something better. For me, it seems to attract more good stuff.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!