A few years ago I had to meet a client and the only space required that I parallel park. At some point in my life I must have forgotten how – one of those things that happens over time that you don’t know about and then one day, it suddenly becomes impossible to do.
I’ve been parallel parking all of my driving life, but one morning I was meeting a coaching client and had to find a spot on a busy street. There were two spaces and both looked plenty big enough to fit in. I tried the first one; I lined up and then hit the curb. After four attempts, I gave up and moved up the block to the other larger spot. Piece of cake! I lined up again, swung in, hit the curb again and again, and again. Did the curb get bigger? Was there something in the road? I was normally good at this, but not today. I noticed that there was an older man on a bicycle waiting for me to pull in, sitting on his bike looking somewhat amused. I just looked at him and started laughing at myself. Then he started laughing—with a big, wide, toothy grin and smiling eyes—the kind of moment when you just stop and share how funny life can be.
You never know how your little moments and challenges can make someone else happy, even if just for a minute.
What could have been an exercise in frustration or embarrassment instead turned into such a happy and perfect moment.
So, I asked myself, why did I so easily slip into joy instead of impatience or frustration? Lately, I had been making more of a conscious effort to do these three things:
- Take in things as they come—be accepting, not angry or impatient.
- Be aware of what is going on and find the goodness in it.
- Stop being so hard on myself (and others).
I think this was a moment when conscious awareness turned into unconscious response. I know that if we practice being more joyful, and less uptight and intense, good feelings just start to happen naturally. Our bond with each other is in our words and behaviors. They are totally contagious, so let’s make them be the very best we have. Laugh each day—it’s a very good way to “pass it forward.” Excerpt from “How to Soar with a Broken Wing – Finding Tiny Moments of Joy Everyday.”