Life has been exceptionally crazy lately, so what happened this weekend really shouldn’t be much of a surprise. After work on Friday I drove three hours to one of my favorite trial sites in Wildwood, on the Jersey shore. I checked into my room and before heading to bed I jumped on my computer to see what my dogs’ numbers were. I had two dogs entered in Open and Utility B–or so I thought. I searched my inboxes but couldn’t find a confirmation email. Oh boy, not good.  I then pulled up my credit card statements and looked for a charge to the Show Secretary. Nothing there either. But I had made the hotel reservation and was absolutely SURE I had sent in the entry. It was 9:30 pm and no way to check for sure other than to look at the catalog tomorrow. On the off chance I was entered I got up at 5 am and set up at the trial site. Warmed up my dogs. Trial started at 8:30. Catalogs were not released until 8:10. A quick check to confirm that …. I had not entered the trials. Ugh.

I packed everything back up and returned to the hotel. I went to check out and was told that I could leave, but they were not going to refund my money for that night. Double Ugh.

Right then and there I had a choice.  I could lament about things I couldn’t control. Things that were done and couldn’t be changed. I could be frustrated and disappointed about the trial. Think about the money and time wasted. I could argue with the hotel, complain, vent, etc…  OR…

I could choose, from that moment forward, to have a great day. The first thing I did was bundle up and take the dogs for a long walk on the beach. I reveled in their sheer joy. I smiled when eyes sparkling and tongues hanging out they charged and jumped on me. I grinned as I watched them chase waves and birds.  I released all of my frustrations and found peace in the beautiful designs in the sand, in the glorious sky, in the soothing sound of the ocean. I was grateful for my dogs and the never-ending lessons they teach me. No matter how far they ranged, when I called they came immediately, and I was grateful for the amazing bond we have. It was very cold. After all, it is January in New Jersey, but I was grateful that I had a heavy, warm winter coat and gloves. As I felt the cold stinging my face and making my eyes water, I was grateful that I was healthy, strong and able to walk effortlessly. When I turned around to head back the wind got increasingly stronger as storm clouds rolled in, reminding me that, just like life, the storm clouds would come…and then go. So would the frustrations of this morning. I held onto my hood (because I forgot a hat J) and leaned into the wind. Just like I choose to lean into the ups and downs of life. Knowing that the sun is always shining behind the clouds.

I remembered hearing somewhere that every challenge in life is there to teach us something. I knew the lesson was that I needed to streamline my life.  I was over extended. I spent some time coming up with ideas and plans that I could implement. One of my students was showing in Open A, so I headed to the site to support her. I found I wasn’t upset at all when I walked in. Making a conscious choice to turn lemons into lemonade had worked! I enjoyed watching her and cheering her on. When I returned to the hotel, the dogs and I had dinner and cuddled. It was a great day.

The next time life hands you lemons, take a walk on the beach…or in the woods, a park or down the street. Take a deep breath or two, then make a conscious decision to lean into the wind, count your blessings and let go. Peace is not far behind.