Today has been an especially good day. I was grumpy all day.
I know this sounds weird, but I have learned that when there is a storm there may be chaos and struggle, but when the storm passes the sky is even more clear and beautiful.
I remember when I was in a tropical storm a few years ago.
The storm knocked over trees and there was a ton of flooding, but the day after the storm the sky was the bluest and clearest I have ever seen.
So when the outside looks like trouble, I hear inside my head, this too shall pass, and something good is on its way.
I now recognize that even the things I don't want turn out to be exactly what I need.
A patient came in last week with concerns about her sick husband.
She was crying and seemed to be lost in the "worst case scenario" thinking.
She told me how a visit to the doctor uncovered a life-threatening problem in her husband, but because they found it early the problem was likely to be resolved fully.
I understand her concern and I can't begin to imagine how scary it must be to go through such an experience.
My heart went out to her.
While we were talking all I could think of was how fortunate they were that the doctors found the problem before it killed him.
In the time of concern she found it hard to see the gift the same way I did.
I noticed she was focused on what she didn't want, namely a sick husband, and this was part of why she was struggling.
I was focusing on the fact she still had a husband and wasn't a widow.
I understand focusing on the negative very well.
When I was building the Wellness Center I experienced a lot of very valuable lessons.
I had to dig up the poolroom's floor three separate times.
Each time I had to pay for the work of tearing it up and putting it back down.
I had several situations like this throughout the construction, and there was a point when I started to expect bad things to happen.
Sure enough, the more I looked for problems, the more I found.
My focus became what could go wrong and the more I got stuck in that kind of thinking the more I noticed problems.
One day I was walking on the beach in Denmark and I remembered that every challenge in my life worked itself out.
I am not suggesting that every challenge worked out how I wanted it to or even how I expected it to, but without exception things worked out.
When this realization found me I was able to step back and find my peace again.
This realization opened me up to the possibility that instead of seeing the problems I could notice the solutions and opportunities.
This became my daily prayer: "Notice the opportunities every day."
When this prayer became part of my daily routine I began noticing how fortunate I was.
This lead to me feeling this incredible gratitude to have such a great place to go to work at.
This in turn led me to see the great people I was surrounded by and the incredible community I have become apart of.
The more I noticed the gifts every day brought, the more gifts came my way.
When difficult times came I noticed that instead of seeing problems I saw opportunities.
When my staff mentioned problems I heard myself saying things like, "this too shall pass," and "there are no problems, only situations."
As my attention went from how bad things are to how good things are I have experienced considerable challenges that have become gifts for me to open my heart more and more.
So when I say a grumpy day is a gift I understand now through experience that my willingness to see the benefit of a difficult situations opens me up to receive the gift that comes from these difficult events.
I want to be clear that as I am in the difficult situation. I am not doing cartwheels and jumping for joy.
What does happen is I recognize that there is something important in the event so even though I don't like it necessarily, I know it will help me.
As we start the new year, I would like to make sure we start on the right foot.
See if you can for just a minute notice what you focus on.
A lot of us plan our resolutions for the New Year around this time of the year. I have made countless resolutions that fizzled and left me feeling like a failure.
In years past I have set the goal of weight loss.
I notice that when the focus is on "how hard it is to lose weight," losing weight is in fact very difficult.
This year I am focusing on how important my health is period.
This works for those of you who are suffering with pain, whether it is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. Focus on wellness, and see if you can focus your attention of the gift your life situation has been it is what is driving you to feel good again.
When you are shopping notice that the food you put in the cart are supporting your health.
When you are eating look at the food you are eating, and the quantity you are eating.
When you feel the anger boil inside, see if you can stop yourself and just feel the emotion without acting on it wait for the anger to run its course before acting on it.
When the pain comes see what your body is trying to teach you and try listening to your body before your mind.
When you fall off the wagon (as we all do), instead of saying, "I am a failure I can't even stay on a healthy program," (notice that the focus is on problems) try cutting yourself some slack and just hop back on.
One day does not ruin your health.
In fact, most of us have eaten poorly for years and still have enjoyed better than average health.
When you go to your dentist and find out you have a cavity, even though you brush your teeth regularly, you don't go home and criticize yourself and say, "I can't do it," or "I'm never brushing my teeth again."
I actually get more motivation and brush my teeth and floss more frequently.
If you have pain and have been doing less and less notice that the focus is on what you can't do.
Better to focus on what you can do.
It's better to start immediately and focus on how important feeling good again is.
The focus works on whatever you hope to accomplish.
When you put your attention on what can go wrong it distorts your view and affects your decisions.
I have often written about how making a decision in a state of stress leads to more problems than the original one, and more work is required to deal with the new problems.
This leads to more poor choices and more problems and you keep finding more and more difficulties.
When you expect something positive to come from the situation you start to make wise choices because no problem is really a problem.
Problems become "situations" and the momentum shifts towards finding support and opportunity from the situation.
I do not wish any misfortune on anyone and believe that people have situations that I can't even begin to comprehend the pain that comes with them.
This is why I try to tell people in every way I can how grateful I am that they helped me when I needed it most.
I am simply hoping for an opportunity to help others the way I have been helped. This is what magnifies the beauty that is all around us.
Thanks for reading my columns.
Matthew Goodemote, a Gloversville native, owns Community Physical Therapy & Wellness. His Health & Wellness column will answer your questions and discuss topics that are relevant to your everyday way of life. If you would like to ask a question, e-mail Matthew at firstname.lastname@example.org.