Quieting the Peanut Gallery

 Back when my children were young, to try and save myself some embarrassment whenever we dined at friends’ homes, I taught them they could use one of two answers if asked if they liked the food: “Yes! Thanks for cooking!” or “It’s interesting. Thanks for cooking!”  Blurting out “It’s horrible!” wasn’t helpful or kind. A meal is a gift, not a place to inject negative opinions. 

 Well, it’s been an “interesting” week for me.  Like anyone else who is coping with the human condition 100% of the time, I can handle most stresses if they come at me one by one.  But when stress comes slapping in from every angle, it’s time to stop and regroup before I reach the breakdown point. That’s the “interesting” meal the Universe cooked up for me this week. Family, work, health, and tax day…one big, simmering pot of chaos. 

 When I logged online, I found a nastier-than-usual dose of comments from the Peanut Gallery called Facebook. I’m not going to share the details of what I regularly receive, but it goes way beyond, “This is devil’s work!” But alas, it’s Facebook, and lots of people spew their hate in 30 seconds and move on. Then there’s the Peanut Gallery called my Inbox: I’m amazed when people take the time to email me nasty comments or even “helpful” suggestions that aren’t helpful at all. All of this adds up to a lot of chatter in my head. Not the dead people this time—just me, The Peanut Gallery of Mollie, chiding myself and sinking deeper into the problem instead of the solution. 

 I was so stressed out I couldn’t sleep—which is one trouble I never have. Being a traveler, I’ve learned to sleep wherever I am. I gave in at 3 a.m. and decided to have a cup of tea. As I sat there sipping, I tried to dream up logical answers for each situation, and I just couldn’t. So instead I prayed and asked for angelic help, for Spirit, for God, for my dead brother—-anything, anyone who could show me the path to serenity.

 The angels didn’t manifest. There was no sudden miracle. Geez, I couldn’t even get my brother to make a light to flicker to show his presence. I felt lost, except for one small thought that popped into my head. 

 The chaos would keep cranking up until I changed course. 

 I knew it was true. Change is the only way out of an issue. Either the issue changes, or you change yourself. 

 I realized my work schedule needed a major overhaul—and how disappointing that would be for some people. I realized that my injured back needs to be babied for the next few weeks. Lots of inconvenience there! The other situations lay outside of me. I could only change my reaction to them. 

 I gave thanks to the stress for showing me the areas I need to work on. I also gave thanks to the Universe, or God, for giving me this lesson in a compassionate way. I’m in a challenging situation that I can’t transform quickly. But even on a lousy day there is always a “best case scenario” that can happen within the framework that exists. I crawled back into bed and got up two hours later, still exhausted and with a migraine. That’s when grace started unfurling on my behalf, and I saw the best case scenario playing out right before my eyes. 

 During an early morning work meeting, I was encouraged to stay strong and reminded that, “It’s darkest before the dawn.” 

 A good friend with whom I haven’t spoken in months sent me this text out of the blue: “Don’t worry. It will all be all right.”  You’ve got to be kidding! His Soul was picking up my spiritual SOS. Trusting his intuition, he responded to my energetic plea for help. 

 And while the troublesome situations sat and simmered unchanged, I checked out of life for three hours to receive the gift of a massage and water therapy for my back at a beautiful spa. The gift was given by someone who loves me and wants me to be able to work pain-free. I protested when it was offered, thinking it was just too much to accept. But then I realized it was the Universe conspiring to help me. As I relaxed into the hot water, I told the Peanut Gallery of Mollie it had two choices: shut up or give thanks. So, for the next three hours, I silently expressed gratitude for everything and focused on my trusty affirmation of many years, “ I am healthy, happy, whole, well, loved and abundant.” 

 In the massage room there was a small card waiting for me with a picture of a flowing stream and a quote. 

 “Hardships often prepare people for an extraordinary destiny.”  --C.S. Lewis

 “Go with the flow,” I thought, looking at the picture of the stream.  That’s when I thought of you. The thousands of people who look to me to be a light seen from the depths of their grief. The extraordinary, everyday people I meet who are living through the hell of loss, and who can’t change a damn thing about their situations. 

 I walked out of the spa feeling much better. Nothing had actually changed. I still have schedule, family, health and tax-day stresses to confront. But now I’m sure I can handle them, especially knowing that I have coworkers, friends, strangers and even a Higher Power willing to encourage, comfort and inspire me along the way. 

 Perhaps you need to give your Peanut Gallery an ultimatum, too. Taking a break, even a few hours, from situations you cannot change and infusing your being with gratitude can help get you through the day more peacefully. Prayers are often answered by our friends. Accept the Divine’s response to your requests through the people directed into your life. Just say “Yes!” And don’t forget to add a heartfelt “Thank you!” 

©Mollie Morning Star 2015  Short excerpts of this article may be shared on the internet provided a live link back to this original source is used. Reproduction in print is prohibited.