Sh*t Goes Wrong, a Lot. That’s actually OK, and Here’s Why.

Rather than training my beloved Indonesian Martial Arts today, I'm flat on my back with a systemic infection. This forces some necessary wisdom that might help you you improve your day.

"Resting" includes painting rocks with my daughter as the sun soars overhead.

Most of, I want to be in kung fu class right now, not flat on my back with a systemic infection from a wisdom tooth extraction gone bad.

23 minutes into the warmup, my thighs should be quaking through horse to bow-and-arrow stance and a mad grin should be slipping into my face. I should taste the triumph in my mouth, feel the blisters on my feet twinge when I pivot. I should glance up and see my reflection in the studio mirror, sexless in white gi & belt, and feel the world fall into place around me.

Instead, I’m laying on my couch reading book after book — “Popular Witchcraft”, by Jack Fritsch, “Kaibyo: The Supernatural Cats of Japan”, by Zack Davisson, and “Bird by Bird” by the ever-graceful Anne Lamott. I’m sipping coffee and rinsing the hole where I had a tooth two weeks ago with a dilution of hydrogen peroxide. I’m cuddling with my six year old who has a stuffed bunny named Bouncing Berry.

It’s hard when things don’t go my way.

I’m a control freak, like so many of us. I want to structure my world, make it fit, make it ok. And I’m pretty good at it, but I have to get up at 5 am to do it, and I occasionally have panic attacks when somebody requests something simple from me, like would I print out a label for them or something like that.

Leo Babauta writes,

“So in the midst of tiredness, busyness, chaos … I try to remember to let go, continually.

When things are messy or disorderly, not the way I like them, I try to let go of the way I think things should be. Then I try to see the situation with fresh eyes, understanding that there will always be chaos and mess, and that this too can be loved.

I see that I’m stressed and holding onto the way I want things to be, and so I tell myself I know nothing. And I let go. Then something else comes up and tightness comes up in my body, and I notice this and try to let go. I breathe, smile, and open up.

And by letting go of what I know, I’m opening myself up to what’s in front of me. This unfolding moment of unexpectedness.

And it is truly magnificent.”

This is what I get to do with a modern-day fairy, when I’m not too busy with work and everything else. Pretty cool.

Here is my practice for this Saturday when I would rather be training:

  • Breathe. Which hurts my jaw and radiates pain through ear and lymph nodes. The pain reminds me of this body, this gift I move around in.
  • Read the massive stack of partially-finished books I carry around. Jot down what interests me. See if it helps me re-envision anything for the fantasy novel I’m writing. Grow my perspective in the way that always works: by considering other people’s thoughts.
  • Accept this situation. The only way I can kick this infection I’ve been pushing off for two weeks is by resting. I’m sinking into this rest and letting it fill me up with peacefulness. This afternoon, I’ll have a long bath with nothing but my personal thoughts to distract me. In such a busy life, starting Arise Mighty plus everything else, this is rare and necessary.

How are you letting go and living today?

Like this piece? Follow me on Medium to hear more musings on the how-to of success, or click over to Arise Mighty and learn more about practical tools of badassery.

Originally published at

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