Several years ago, I was in the middle of a Zoom workshop when suddenly my phone sounded a loud alarm. Totally engaged in the workshop, I hadn’t noticed the change in the weather and suddenly, we were under a tornado warning. With polite “sorry, I have to seek shelter” comment in the chat, I shut down the laptop and went downstairs. Ironically, the workshop was about steps to take in dealing with flaming curveballs.
You know all about flaming curveballs, right? You’ve made all these plans, you’ve married the right guy, you’ve landed the perfect job, you’ve bought the perfect house, you have the perfect 2.5 children and it hits – the unexpected, the unwanted and yet the undeniable. Every human being has experienced these, despite evidence to the contrary on social media where everything is “hunky dory” as my dad used to say. And more likely than not, if you take the time to look outside yourself, the flaming curveball isn’t just aimed squarely at you, it is taking others out with it, making sure the devastation is widespread.
It’s easy to bring the focus all on yourself, all about how the curveball has affected just you. The truth is, the ripple effect can be huge, changing the direction of many lives. Our reaction may be anger, sadness, disappointment, grief or all of the above, but like it or not, eventually, the curveball is going to head your way and our job is to figure out what’s next. I tend to react slowly and hold it in until the emotions, whatever they are, explode. I can be raging against the world or turn into a big puddle but it’s important to know that however we react, it’s ok – we’re human and it’s part of the process.
You see, I believe that curveballs come along when it is time for change. When we HAVE to change. When something or someone, God, nature, the universe has been giving you hints that you’ve been ignoring. Maybe you’ve been thinking about it, but the “what ifs” creep in and you don’t make the change. Maybe your mind and heart are literally telling you it’s time to make a change and you keep fighting and fighting it until one day, WHOOSH! The flaming curveball shows up to give you no choice. Now, some of us who are stubborn might continue to fight against it, thinking we’re stronger and we should keep fighting to show others just how tough we are. I think our culture encourages that because, after all, we don’t want to be a loser or quitter.
But what if we just took a ride on that curveball to see where it took us? I’m not saying it wouldn’t be challenging or even scary to hang on, but there could be adventure and lesson learning along the way. I can name several massive curveballs in my life that at the time were seemingly devastating, but with time and hindsight, I can see the lessons to be learned and the lives changed for the better, and not just mine. Not my idea of perfect necessarily, but in a way you may never have considered.
It really hit tonight as I was watching the evening news. Every story was about flaming curveballs. Conflicts, death, extreme weather, derailments, explosions. No wonder everyone is stressed out – who knows what may come next and is it coming for me? I hate to break it to you, but the curveballs will come. They may be tiny or huge, but they will come. The question is, how do we ride them out?
I’ll be honest in that I’m one of those stubborn people who wants to push through things to make them work. I’m comfortable with my way of doing things and I don’t like change. However, I also look back on my life when I chose to make the change before the curveball hit and watched things fall into place, truly ah ha moments. Are we listening to our hearts, minds and bodies and being proactive? Or is it going to take another flaming curveball to make us change?