Elevating a new titanium plate in my right foot last month, I tried to find an image to counter my frustration at yet another setback. That’s when I remembered Whack-a-Mole. Yes! That’s it.
You know: the arcade game where you try to hit fuzzy yellow creatures as they pop up faster and faster in front of you? If you whack enough of them, you get a prize. I doubt that I’ve ever won a prize because my arm gets too tense to be effective.
Well, I’m playing life-sized Whack-a-Mole. You know what that is: You dribble coffee on your shirt while driving to work. Then the printer runs out of ink. Replacing it makes you late for a meeting. As you’re buying gas on the way home, you realize you left your credit card at the restaurant where you had lunch. When you finally curl up with the remote and chill, you hear the dog barf on the rug behind you. Yeah, you know what I mean.
My sons are good at whacking fuzzy yellow creatures. They advise me to keep my arm loose and stay focused. Don’t worry about the ones you miss, just keep going. When the music stops, don’t beat up on yourself–laugh.
Here’s my translation for life-sized Whack-a-Mole.
- Stay loose, not tense. Because tension and frustration distract, slow us down and make us inflexible; take a breath, shake out your arms and let the feelings drip off your fingers like water. Be intense but not tense. It’s easier to deal with beady-eyed moles if you’re loose.
- Stay focused. Don’t worry about future moles or fret about past ones, focus on bringing your best to the ones in front of you. You’ll have a chance to whack future moles soon enough.
- Laugh. Laugh at yourself. Laugh at the absurdity of life and its endless supply of fuzzy yellow moles. Laugh at the perspective that sees only moles and not the bigger context. Let laughter loosen your tension, then pick up the mallet and go at it again.
- Most importantly, pause each night to think give thanks for five things. Gratitude shifts your mind from the moles you faced to a bigger picture. It lets you set down the mallet for a time. Remembering the goodness that exists in the midst of moles puts the creatures to sleep for the night and lets you look at the stars, instead.
I’m still playing Whack-a-Mole with health issues but maybe, just maybe, I can move to a different set of moles soon. And, no matter what each day brings, I do pause at some time, picture fuzzy creatures with black beady eyes around me and I laugh. It’s just Whack-a-Mole. Stay loose, Barbara, stay focused, and give thanks.