When I pick up my son from school, I walk by a car with a bumper sticker that says, “if it can go well, it will.” It’s a nice reminder to let go and let things happening, remembering that everything always works out okay. But sometimes I still fight it, especially when things don’t seem to go my way.
Like the other day. I was stuck on a project so I decided to make myself a snack. I toasted some bread, and spread some peanut butter on top. I reached for a banana to slice and make myself a nice pb&b, but knocked the jar over, landing it right in the peanut butter. I righted it and went back for my banana, but this time I managed to knock the bread right off the counter. I caught it right before it hit the floor, then it fell out of my hand and landed on the kitchen rug, peanut butter side down. “Hm,” I thought, looking down at my failed snack, “I think maybe I shouldn’t be making a snack when I am not hungry.”
Last week I was on the phone with a client who told me that he would have no problem with his goal of not eating any more ginger snaps because his dog had eaten all of them. He came home from work and all that was left was a few scraps of the box and a guilty dog. “Wow,” I said. “Sounds like the universe did you a favor.” He laughed and agreed.
It was then that a different idea occurred to me. Maybe the universe wasn’t working against us, after all. Maybe it was working for us, like a guardian angel protecting us from our stupid ideas.
My friend and his workout buddy headed to the gym one morning, only to find that every machine they usually use was being repaired, reupholstered, or being used by someone else. They had to change their plan and use different equipment. As a result, they found some new exercises they liked better and felt like they had a better workout than they expected. It seemed like their guardian angel was hard at work, too.
All of these blessings disguised as annoyances reminded me of one of my favorite songs, “You Got It,” by Roy Orbison. Whenever I hear it, I crank it up and sing along because it feels like a love song from the universe to us:
“I’m glad to give my love to you.
I’m glad you feel the way I do.
Anything you want, you got it.
Anything you need you got it.
Anything at all, you got it, baby.”
Call it what you want – the universe, a guardian angel, that inner voice, a higher power – but pay attention to those times when it gently turns you away from a choice that can sabotage your health and back to the straight and narrow. It may seem like an annoyance, an obstacle, or like things just not going your way, but sometimes the best course to a healthier path isn’t knocking down the obstacles, but honoring them. The trick is in knowing the difference.
Luckily, that’s pretty easy. That tricky little angel on your shoulder isn’t trying to thwart you, but pave the road for your success. Let it do its job! Knock down the obstacles that block you from progress, and obey the ones that keep you on the right path, even if a detour looks appealing.
If the Girl Scouts are out of your favorite cookies, don’t settle for less. Make a donation and consider it a gift. When your favorite television show didn’t get recorded by the DVR, don’t turn on Netflix. Head outside for a walk. When there’s a 45-minute wait to get into your favorite restaurant, don’t have a seat at the bar. Go somewhere that offers a healthier meal on your schedule. When we listen to these nudges the first time, oh, the rewards are so incredible.
Anything you want, you got it. Anything you need, you got it. Anything at all, you got it. If you’re letting it all work out.