Don't think about cold water
I am staying at an historic hotel right now. I turned on the shower this morning and it was ice cold. I stood, naked, in the bathroom for a full 10 minutes, turning the knobs left and right and waiting, shivering, for the hot water to appear. It never did.
I weighed my options and decided taking an ice cold shower was preferable to getting re-dressed and dealing with the maintenance people. As I stepped under the showerhead, I heard an involuntary moan of despair come from somewhere -- oh, it was me. It was damn. cold. water.
You know how that fear of hypothermia causes you to breath faster and get a little panicky? I washed my hair as fast as I could, fantasizing that I was stuck in the Arctic and this was my only option for bathing. I thought about all the times I’ve been cold in my life, and couldn’t imagine that it had ever been worse than this. I was absolutely freezing -- blue lips, and all.
About ¾ of the way through my shower, my breath caught as I felt the tiniest hint of warmth on my back. Sure enough, the Arctic flow was thawing. Slowly but surely, the water turned luke, then warm, then scalding hot. Nothing has ever felt so wonderful. It was heavenly to turn my body around and around, letting the steaming water cover every square inch. In the span of a few minutes, I had gone from misery to elation.
I started thinking about how I could relay this story to my husband and my sister -- describing how cold it was, and how LONG it took for the hot water to appear. In my mind, I was drafting a complaint to the front desk about the cold water and wondering if everyone in the hotel was having such a terrible experience.
But then it hit me: the important part of the story wasn’t how cold and miserable I had been, but how wonderful and lucky and appreciative I am of the hot water I finally received. The contrast between the two extremes was so clear and so immediate and so stark.
I never would have appreciated that hot water if I hadn’t experienced the cold (really, really cold) water.
My life is perfect. I needed that lesson today. I needed to be reminded that every little detail of everything is an unbelievable blessing. I needed to see how lucky I am to have a bed, and hot water, and toothpaste, and hot coffee. Even at it’s very worst, my life is incredible...unbelievable...terrific!
Nothing is ever going to be absolutely perfect -- precisely the way you want it to be. There are always going to be times when you wish things were different, or things about your life that you’d love to change. But if you focus on those things, you’ll be constantly focused on the negative parts of your experience.
It feels so much better to focus on the incredible things you enjoy every day. It feels so good to think, “DAMN I’M LUCKY TO HAVE HOT WATER!!!!!!” rather than, “God, I can’t believe I had to freeze my ass off in the shower this morning.”
I’m going to give you the key to happiness, people. It is always true, for you and for me and for everyone in the world. Here it is:
What you focus on expands. You attract what you give your attention to. You get what you ask for.
So if your life isn’t exactly the way you’d want it to be right now, consider where you are putting your attention. Are you thinking about debt and imperfect body shape and disharmony in relationships? Are you thinking about things you don’t want? Are you thinking about cold water?
It’s really as simple as shifting your focus to all the wonderful things you do have. Money to buy groceries, or a strong body that helps you take care of your children, or any loving relationships you enjoy. Hot water, clean clothes, money in the bank, a bed to sleep in, a working car, a roof over your head, a beautiful sunrise, adorable puppies -- blessings are everywhere. Pay attention.