Some days you wake up and your computer decides to not work.  A snow storm hits and your flight is canceled or the sanitation department neglects to plow your street. Your internet goes down for three days. There are millions of things each day that are literally out of our control.

A good way to handle situations like these is to know that something positive will come as a result – the saying ‘there are no problems, only opportunities’ is a good mantra to lean on. Being snowed in allows us to catch up on sleep, spend more time with ourselves and/or our family and clean our apartment; having to live unplugged and actually pick up the phone can be refreshing, or the hard drive being replaced solves other mysterious problems the computer was having!

Our goal is to use our time and energy in ways that suit us best when we have the freedom and choice to do so. And when we don’t have that option, it’s about making the best of it because the things we do have control over are our reactions, thoughts, words and deeds in whatever situation we find ourselves in that may or may not be to our liking. Unfortunately in extreme cases where people don’t or are unable to control them, other influences can easily penetrate, and in a worst case scenario can lead to devastating effects like we recently saw in Tucson, the lessons of which we have yet to fully understand.

Over the break I read a book about Nelson Mandela who spent 27 years in prison, and whose tiny cell I saw with my own eyes when I visited Robben Island.  Talk about having a controlled and measured response! Being incarcerated as a famous political prisoner, he could not change his circumstances, but could decide how he maneuvered within them. By doing so he sharpened his character, perceptions and strategy so that when he was freed and went on to govern and unite the country, he was more than prepared to do so, and did it in a spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness to boot!

One way to take control of your life is by asking for help. Because we live in our heads so much, having an unbiased, supportive person to talk to about where you’re at can give you a fresh perspective and new ideas so that you can respond more effectively to whatever’s happening around you – and it signals to the Universe that you are ready to make changes for the better so it can do its part, too.  Id’ love to be that person, but if not you can always get a hit song like Janet Jackson did back in the day and rock it out…