The Brown Sugar Incident and the Next Best Thing

Ever have one of those days? Or mornings? Or weeks? You know what I’m talking about - you have alot on your plate to juggle and one minor thing can throw you off course. Well, that’s what happened to me yesterday morning. We can call this "the Tuesday that felt like a Monday!"

I have a ton going on personally this week and cleared my schedule professionally, so I could show up grounded and calm for events that were happening. I made extra space (or so I thought) to help manage the unexpected, because let’s face it, life is always unexpected, no matter how well I think I plan or have things under control - HA! Well, yesterday morning was yet again another reminder that I am NOT in control and I ALWAYS have to remember to hand it over.

After a weekend filled with good activity - helping my daughter pack up her apartment for her move into DC, taking my youngest son to his last high school soccer tournament, errands with my other son before he goes back to Austin - I was ready to have a slower day yesterday. I took my son Jeremy to his wisdom tooth extraction and I needed to prep for a minor medical procedure scheduled for today before my youngest son, Matthew, graduates on Thursday. I had left my day wide open. It sounds easy enough...

However, when we got home yesterday morning from the wisdom tooth extraction, our dog Sadie had broken out of the gated kitchen area and got into a bag of brown sugar from one of my daughter’s boxes. Brown sugar was EVERYWHERE - in the grooves of the hardwood floor, in the couch, etc. Oh and by the way, brown sugar STICKS to everything!! The whole kitchen, living room and dining area needed a deep clean.

So I did THE NEXT BEST THING and cleaned up what I could.

As I felt the anger and frustration well up in my body - I did THE NEXT BEST THING and took a yoga class. It grounded me.

As I stepped off my mat after class, I felt the residue of the sticky brown sugar on my bare feet. I felt my body grip with frustration, so... Then I did The NEXT BEST THING - I took Sadie for a walk in the woods behind my house to calm her and me.

And as I sat down to do some work in my office, Sadie proceeded to puke all over the rug right next to me. Poor baby and also I did THE NEXT BEST THING, which was to clean it up and schedule a carpet cleaning.

And then she vomited again in the kitchen - her poor tummy. So I did THE NEXT BEST THING, which was to mop the kitchen floor. After mopping the kitchen floor and running to CVS three times, I did the NEXT BEST THING and I RESTED on my couch.

This is ALL we can do my friends - the NEXT BEST THING and REST.

Meanwhile, underneath the surface of all of these seemingly harmless events is a minefield of emotions for me. Because it’s not about the puke or the upended schedule - it’s really about all of the feels I’m having about my son’s graduation, my daughter’s big move, my other son moving back to Austin and my move at the end of the summer. The emotions - fear, anxiety, amazement, confusion, gratitude, isolation, excitement - can be intense, especially for someone like me. By “someone like me,” I mean a survivor of childhood trauma. Because despite all of the work I have done to heal, it’s days like this that can light a match of the fire of emotions and I can easily REACT rather than RESPOND.

And when life gets chaotic, like it is this week, it can take me back to old behaviors, patterns and beliefs. Thoughts that have me believing I am not enough or feelings that have me stuck in a spiral of frustration and anger. Then I REMEMBER - I need to MANAGE THE MOMENT and to DO THE NEXT BEST THING with kindness and gentleness and softness.

If I start going into the future, worry, fear and anxiety start to take over, which is not good for anyone, but especially me. Sprinkled on top of the tools and practices is a whole lotta faith that I’m NOT in charge, that I cannot do this alone and I am whole, just as I am.

Does this ever happen to you? You say or do something in the heat of the moment that you regret? And then wallow in shame, beat yourself up for being a “bad” friend, partner, parent, sibling, etc. only to have it happen again the following week or the next month? Do you wonder if this is a pattern that will never end?

I am here for you as a coach and mentor and guide. Do THE NEXT BEST THING - reach out to me. If there are behaviors, patterns and habits you want to change - call me. I’m here to remind you to be gentle, be soft and be kind to yourself. You are not alone in your grief, anger, anxiety, fear or whatever you might be experiencing and you do not need to do it alone. You are doing the best you can. And I LOVE YOU!

Corinne Coppola teaches women and families actionable practices that transform feelings of depletion, loneliness and anxiety to hopeful, energized and connected. By helping families slow down and learn new ways of relating to themselves and each other, Corinne helps her clients build greater resilience and wholeness to live their best life. Schedule a call to learn how she can help you.