How To Turn Adversity Into Adventure

by Melody Fletcher on May 24, 2011

Let’s face it. Sometimes things are going to go wrong. You’ll hit traffic, some overstressed barista is going to be rude to you, the kids are going to throw a tantrum. Shit happens. And I know you’ve heard this before, but it really is all about how we handle it. That’s such a nice thought, isn’t it? We love to imagine ourselves being all Zen and cool when chaos breaks out all around us. Car breaks down? No problem. We dial AAA with a slight smile on our lips, and let the passing cars lull us into a meditative stupor while waiting for the tow truck. House on fire? Not an issue. We grab a kid in each harm, the purse with our teeth, essential belongings with our toes and calmly but quickly get everyone to safety. Zombie attack? No big whoop. We flick our perfectly blow dried hair with our perfectly manicured hand, and expertly swing our Samurai sword (which just by the way is the best choice of weapon in a Zombie attack because it never runs out of ammunition, you’ll thank me for this later), while our heart never skips a beat. Yep, we can handle anything. In our fantasy life, that is. In real life, of course, something as small as being late for a meeting can turn us into a stressed out, cursing, wild eyed, manic mess, who will mow down anyone or anything that gets in its way. It’s just harder to actually practice these spiritual techniques in real life…

But that’s really just because we have a lot more practice freaking out than we do keeping our cool. Also, no one ever taught us how to actually go about staying all Zen. When we try to stay calm under pressure, most of us will do so by suppressing our actual reaction. We’re still boiling inside, but we’re trying our best not to show it. We insist “I’m fine” through clenched teeth, except we’re not, really. The idea isn’t to suppress your reaction but to change it altogether. If you merely suppress your emotions, you haven’t changed a thing except maybe made those around you a little more comfortable (unless they’re at all sensitive to energy, in which case they’ll still feel your distress). By changing your reaction to the event, you can avoid the negative feelings altogether, so that you have nothing to suppress. You won’t just be pretending to be Zen, you’ll actually be feeling that way.

Define the Actual Consequences

In order to change your reaction or how you feel about a stressful moment, you have to change your perception of the event and its consequences. You’re late for an important meeting and you’re freaking out. Why? Sure, sure, it’s bad. Obviously, horrible things are going to happen. Or are they? What exactly is the worst that can happen if you’re running late? Maybe the boss will give you a look. Perhaps your coworkers will make a remark. You’re not on the playground anymore. You can handle it. Often, we don’t actually think through the consequences of what we perceive to be a major disturbance to our day. We just react to the idea of it being bad.

I’ll give you an embarrassing example from my own life. A few years ago, I was flying from Barcelona to London late one evening in order to appear as a witness in a court case the next day (this was work related, I wasn’t in trouble or anything). I’d never been a witness, much less had any familiarity with the British judicial system, so I was a bit nervous. Due to a last minute flight, I had to fly via Rome. The airline had made a mistake and hadn’t given me enough time to make my connecting flight, so I got stranded in Rome at around 1 a.m. I was supposed to be in court at 9 the next morning. Now, none of this was my fault, and there was nothing I could do. I’d like to say that I handled myself like a professional, sighed elegantly and made the best of the situation. But I didn’t. I had a complete and total meltdown. I got so stressed out that I actually broke out in tears. Not just stoic one tear either, no, I was a sobbing mess. I did finally make it to London on the first flight out the next morning and arrived at court around 3 p.m. And you know what? It was fine. The judge was charming (and a little flirty), the procedure was quite informal (no wigs or anything), and my part took about an hour. No one cared that I was late, they’d simply switched a few bits around in the schedule and it was all good.

If I’d stopped and thought things through, I wouldn’t have reacted the way I did. But all I could think of was that I had to be in court, court is serious, and not showing up to court when they say you have to, is bad. My train of thought never made it further than that before melting down. I’ve realized since that just asking myself “what’s truly the worst that could happen?” makes me think things through logically, and keeps my mind from going into arbitrary Boogieman territory.

When bad things happen in response to your limiting beliefs

Since everything in your reality is there in response to your vibration, it’s quite possible that the bad events are there in response to some limiting belief you hold. You believe that servers are rude, so you get bad service. But even if that’s the case, and it will be at times, your railing against what’s happening now is not only going to make you feel worse in this moment, it’s also going to get you more of the same in the future. You see, your manifestations (your reality) are a result of your vibration, which is a result of the thoughts you think. But because of the time buffer, the manifestations you’re getting now are actually the result of yesterday’s vibration. And the energy you’re offering now will create your future reality. You can’t change the events that are happening now, just let the manifestations take their toll. But you can change how you react to them, and therefore change what you’ll be attracting in the future (which could be just a few minutes from now).

Don’t automatically assume it’s a bad thing

While some bad things come into your life in response to limiting beliefs you’re holding on to, often the unplanned is part of a manifestation which is actually wanted. You just have to be willing to see it that way. Your car breaking down could lead you to meeting the man of your dreams. Being late could put you in the path of that perfect opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Don’t automatically assume the worst: that this inconvenience is there to punish you in some way. Instead of asking “why me?!?!?”, try asking “where is this leading me?” By staying open to the possibility that you’re actually being led to something amazing, you won’t miss it when it happens.

Look for the hidden adventure

Don’t try to figure out, in the moment, if what’s happening to you is in response to a negative vibration or part of a bigger, positive plan. That won’t work. This isn’t the time to go digging through your psyche; you can do that later when things have calmed down. Instead, just ask yourself one question: “Where’s the adventure in all this?” Look for the positive, the ways in which this could be helpful to you, or just plain fun. Expect it to lead you someplace great. Shifting your focus towards positive expectation is much easier than trying to suppress negative emotion. It does take a bit of practice, but it’ll definitely get easier with time. Also, it just feels so much better.

Here’s a less embarrassing example (after all, I have to redeem myself): One winter evening, I was in Germany with my mom and we were driving down the street. The temperatures were way sub-zero (around -20 Celsius), there was snow and ice everywhere and our tire picked that moment to go flat. It was late enough that the chances of finding an open garage were slim and the idea of changing a tire in that kind of cold (or any weather actually) was less than appealing. One could’ve excused a break out of non-spiritual cursing. But in that moment, I miraculously realized that I had a choice. I could get all stressed out about it, hate every second of the experience and spend the rest of the night bitching about how horrible it was, or I could suck it up and try to change my perspective. And I did (see? Less embarrassing).

I didn’t suppress my emotions by looking at the situation and telling myself “I don’t care. It’s not so bad. I can handle this”, and clenching my teeth. I chose to look at the whole event in a different way. We were still warm and cozy in the car. I liked that. I focused on that. The car itself was still running. I focused on that too. The snow was pretty. I focused on that. It was close to Christmas. I love Christmas. I focused on that. I just kept finding things I liked and things I was grateful for to focus on and refused to allow my thoughts to stray to “Ack! The tire!!! What are we going to do about the tire?!” I just wouldn’t go there. This all happened in a matter of minutes.

Then, we saw a gas station. The garage was closed, but there just happened to be an attendant still there who let us pull in. He offered to fix the tire. We waited in the gas station, still warm and cozy. When he was done, he refused to charge us but just wished us a “Merry Christmas”. I kept looking for the good and the good just kept coming. My mom and I were so delighted with this man, we decided to run to a large grocery store that was still open and get him some brandy chocolates as a gift. We hoped he’d still be there when we got back and he was. The smile on his face was tremendous and I think we made his night. What could’ve been a yucky, stressful pre-holiday event turned into a lovely experience. We got to meet this wonderful, generous man. We have an awesome story to tell, instead of a negative one to bitch about. The whole thing was a minor inconvenience that turned out to be so worth it. I leaned a real lesson that night.

You can’t control everything that happens in your life, not in the moment anyway. Once a manifestation is underway, you kind of have to let it play out. But by not assuming that every unplanned experience is going to be a bad one, but rather by looking for the adventure of it, by asking “what wonderful experience is this going to lead me to?”, you’re putting yourself into a place of positive expectation and that’s a mighty high vibration. Stay there, and your reality must change to match it, sometimes within a few minutes. How you react to each event in your life is entirely your choice. You just have to remember to exercise it.

Have you ever had a bad experience turn into an adventure? Share your thoughts with the rest of us!

{ 14 comments }

Kim May 25, 2011 at 01:36

Wow Melody….

I so love the way this universe works. I’m reading your article after being stranded in my car because my battery died…I kid you not…this just happened! I decided to take my lunch at the park today and read my new book on nutrition. As you know I am interested in releasing extra weight. Anyway, I left the door ajar to get more air and it drained my battery. I almost panicked becasue I thought I didn’t have my cell phone and was afraid I would have to approach a stranger to use theirs. Well, I did have my phone (with one bar left) and was able to call my husband to give me a boost. I decided to take the opportunity to continue to read my book and relax. My hour lunch turned into a two hour lunch in gorgeous 80 degree weather…poor me :) !

I later analyzed this and surmised that I am headed on the right path for nutrition but am afraid of such a radical change in diet towards 90% raw or nutrient dense foods (rather than the chocolate, grains and carbs I’m used to). So this was a message for me to take my time and not to be afraid to reach out to someone for a small boost to support me on this path.

Thanks,

Kim

Melody Fletcher May 25, 2011 at 15:03

Ha! I love these synchronicities! Congratulations on keeping up your vibration and staying in a good mood. Wasn’t that so much more fun? And once you know that you can do this, it gets easier and easier with each event until you can’t remember the last time you actually lost your cool. :) Thanks so much for the valuable comment!

Huge hugs,

Melody

Justin | Mazzastick May 25, 2011 at 04:25

Hi Melody,
I got into personal development to help me transform my own reactions. I am able to hide my feelings but sensitives can pick it up like you said. I once thought that everyone could feel other people’s feelings. I later found out that few of us could.

Circumstances don’t matter, only state of being matters is what I have learned. I believe that Ram Dass had a quote about people believing that they are enlightened. He said something like,”if you believe that you are enlightened than spend a week with your parents.”

I wrote a new post but my rss to comluv is not working for some reason.

Melody Fletcher May 25, 2011 at 15:09

Oh yeah, I remember feeling things as a child and teenager that no one else seemed to feel. I was kind of the opposite: I thought no one picked up on this stuff but me and that I was the only freak. So glad to have found out I was wrong. :)

I love that! I always use my family to “test” how far I’ve come. No one can trigger your limiting beliefs like your family. That’s so true.

No worries. Here you go:
Justin | Mazzastick invites you to read… Do You Have Difficulty Charging Money For Your Services

rob white May 25, 2011 at 14:46

That’s a powerful story, Melody. The greatest courage in the world is to look directly at an adversity with the intention of righting it – no excuses, no harsh judgment, no blame, no shame. When our intention is right, the beautiful YOU that now appears unreal and uncomfortable will become solid and reliable. Trust in that and we will continually be empowered! When in hell – seek to create heaven – it offers an exquisite opportunity to experience our selves as the supreme beings we are in the world.

Melody Fletcher May 25, 2011 at 15:10

Absolutely Rob. Ultimately, it’s all about having the courage to be who we really are. Thanks so much for the comment.

Hugs,
Melody

Daniel M. Wood May 25, 2011 at 15:07

Much of our reaction comes from not thinking things through.
I realize that I don’t always think through the consequences and why I really avoid things. Often it is a useless waste of energy.

By calming down and thinking things through we will see what happens.

Melody Fletcher May 25, 2011 at 15:13

The monsters under the bed are always much less scary once we pull them out into the light of day, in my experience. Thanks so much for stopping by Daniel!

Hugs,
Melody

Kimya May 26, 2011 at 16:36

Sure.. these are much of explain about adversity.
i have a different to think about these. i think not “turn into” but “after”. So, i believe after some adversity you’ll get a adventure for your life.. :) thx

Melody Fletcher May 26, 2011 at 20:18

Hi Kimya,

Absolutely, adversity can lead to massive growth. In fact, many of us don’t allow ourselves to move forward without sort of forcing ourselves to, by creating a really painful situation. But it is possible to shift in the moment and not experience a potentially bad situation as stressful.

Thanks so much for the comment.

Hugs,
Melody

Kat July 12, 2012 at 14:37

Reading this post made me feel sooooooo goooooood! This helps for all situations. It eases anxiety, helping to eliminate it. I read a book about anxiety disorder, and negativity is the main culprit, the beating up of oneself and just bad self talk and outlook. It is no wonder the body reacts the way it does. But this attitude you describe here so well, relieves all that and this perspective is actually life-giving, rather than life-taking or even -stealing, and it makes things go smoothly. So cool!

“You can’t change the events that are happening now, just let the manifestations take their toll”. So, it is all up to us and when the universe “sees” that we are actually part of the flow, it acts accordingly, right?

Melody Fletcher July 12, 2012 at 19:14

The Universe will always bring you whatever matches your vibration. If you have a negative manifestation, there’s a bit of momentum behind that. So, you may not be able to stop it instantly. You kind of have to let it just play out. But you can decide NOW to change how you feel and to not add to the negative energy. And as it peters out quickly, your reality will swiftly change to match your new vibration. Whatever you are doing with your vibration right now is determining your future. So what if right now sucks. Do you want ti to suck tomorrow, too, or would you rather have a happy day instead? :)

Huge hugs,
Melody
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Alice September 15, 2012 at 03:21

When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don’t want your damn lemons! What am I supposed to do with these??? I demand to see life’s manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Alice lemons! Do you know who I am? I’m the lady who’s gonna burn your house down! With the lemons! I’m gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that burns your house down!

Kudos for those who know where that’s from. :-) It’s my thoughts exactly.

I know I’ve actually had a tonne of these experiences, the latest one I can remember is the fact I’m running late all the time.
I was running late for class and instead of getting the 8am train that would get me into the city at 9am, I’d always miss that and somehow end up 40-60mins late.

On the later train I end up being shoved in next to this girl, studying something else starting an hour later, who became a good friends for a while!
I would never have met her on the 8am train.

It’s like life was like, need a friend huh!??? Fine! We heard ya! Even if we have to make you trip over your laces until you are delayed and in a crowded train where you’ll have no choice but to pull you finger out and TALK to someone damn it Alice! We’ll get them right next to you!

She was awesome! I think she moved though when the course finished.

So yeah I have a few cool moments like that, but mostly even when looking for the silver lining bad things end up making me face palm as generally I get myself into a mess and think “why did I say or do that..? ” (I am very foolish in real life, blurting out red herrings and all sorts of things you wish you never said)and no good thinking stops those manifestations, they are done!
Next thing you know it you’re fired or just missed something very important by like 30 seconds running for the train again, oh and you have a friend, but now you get zero on the test for the tardiness. :-)

Melody Fletcher September 16, 2012 at 21:00

Ah, but it’s the “why did I say or do that??” that turns you toward the dark side again. Stop that whole beating up on yourself. What’s done is done. Focus on your now and on creating a better future by feeling good now. You cannot change the past, so there’s no benefit at all in beating up on yourself for it.

Go towards the light Alice. :P

Huge hugs!
Melody
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