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February 23, 2012

When Life Throws You A Curve Ball

IStock_0accidentSmallThese past two weeks have been a bit crazy.  While I was in LA giving a workshop, my sister, who also happened to be in LA at the time, was in a car accident.  She was hit by a drunk driver and sustained several injuries, including a broken nose and fractured cheekbones.  Due to her injuries, flying was not an option, so we ended up going on a road trip from Los Angeles, California to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  Needless to say it was a bit of a curve ball in both our plans.

Here are some of the things I learned—and am still learning -- from this experience.  I hope you find them helpful. 
When life throws you a curveball:
1.    Do the right thing—not the easiest thing.  I know that if the tables were turned, I would be hoping to God that the people in my life would do whatever was necessary for me to be okay.  The reality is that curve balls don’t come at the most opportune time.  It’s our job to notice they’re there, get our priorities straight and do the right thing.  The world will have to wait.
2.    Know that some things will have to be dropped.  Sometimes you have to forego some things or push them aside and you have to let go of the guilt that comes with that.  Allow yourself the space to be where you truly need to be—you can catch up to the world later; they don’t need you now.
3.    Give with a good spirit.  If you are going to help someone, then truly help.  Do not be resentful and act as though they owe you anything.  They don’t.  Remember that if the tables were turned, you would want the same.

4.    Let go of the guilt.  If you’re feeling guilty that the other person is hurt or sick or (fill in the blank) instead of you—let that go.  It doesn’t serve you or them.  There will be another time when you’re in the more difficult position.  Be thankful that you can help in this moment on this day for this person.
5.     Know that things happen for a reason.  I’m a firm believer that things in life happen often with a guided hand.  Trust that there’s a purpose in the experience even if it doesn’t seem clear right now.  Often something good comes out of life’s tragedies.  Be open enough to take the positives in; they usually help soften the blow.
6.     Look for the humor.  Laughter has a way of taking the sting away even in the most difficult of times.  Don’t be afraid to laugh; sometimes it’s the best medicine.
7.    Be thankful.  When you take time away from your life to help another person in theirs, remember to thank the people who are making that possible for you.  As you take care of someone else, you create a hole in your life that others have to fill—thank them for making it possible for you to be where you need to be.

On behalf of #7 above, I want to thank my husband and children for giving me the time and space I needed to be present for my sister.  I’m thankful for my niece and other sister for helping with the cross-country drive—the laughs, stories, driving and company.  I’m also thankful that my sister is alive and is healing and hope the healing is sooner, not later, and 100%.  And finally, I thank all of my clients and blog readers for understanding my absence over the past two weeks.  I’m glad to be back .

Challenge: If life throws you a curve ball, slow it down.  Re-think your priorities, follow the lessons from above and do what you need to do.  Trust that world can wait while you take care of what and whom you have to.  Let go of the guilt, resentment, anger etc., and just relax into it.  You may be surprised at the gifts you receive form the experience.


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Thank you so much for this information. You really find out who your friends are when lif e throw you a curve.

“Be thankful”, yes, you should be thankful that even with her injuries, your sister still managed to survive the accident. Drunk driving is one of the most common causes of road accidents. A stricter law and a heavier penalty should be implemented regarding DUI. Did you resort to a legal case or just an amicable settlement?

Dear Ruth: Sorry about the curve ball and nice job with how you're handling it. That makes all the difference! I hope it works out well in the end.
Warm Regards-Lisa

I was just thrown a curveball.
I'd planned for something(for myself) for 2 years and a crisis happened.But as you said - there is a reason for everything. I also believe in doing the right thing. So although I was disappointed- I also know there is something to be gained -even if the experience is not the one you'd planned for, I believe in good Karma too!

This was a very well-written, well-timed article for my life. I found out last night that my mom has stage 2b breast cancer and is having a double mastectomy next Friday. Today I have been trying to figure out how I am going to be there for her since I live 2 hours away and am a full-time working mother of 2 children. On the otherhand, my brother died 10 years ago and I am her only living child. It is a tough choice to leave my responsibilities here to be there for her but I do want to be there for her. My thought right now is to call her tonight and tell her I will be there for her as much as possible and to ask her what she would prefer. Does she want to see our whole family this weekend before the surgery since she won't feel good for awhile? Does she want me there the day of the surgery?
Any advice from anyone who has been through a similar situation would be very helpful.

Dear Sharon: I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. Your ideas are spot on. Leave the decision up to your mother and make sure she answers honestly and thinks about what's best for her. You're doing a very loving thing that I truly believe will benefit both you and your mother.
I hope and pray that your mother gets through this with the best possible results.
Warm Regards,

I love my family!!
Thanks for being there and getting me home! You are all such a precious gift and I thank God for you all!!

I'm so glad we never ran out of gas. LOL

Hey sis #2:-). Right back at you! So glad you're home safe and okay.
Love you, Lisa

What a great post, Lisa! Thank you so much for sharing. Wishing Kim a speedy recovery, too. I had a very scary illness this summer and was out of commission for over 2 months. I had very, very similar lessons to come out of it. And the thing that I noticed most in the end - when people asked me how I felt (meaning physically) - my answer was "loved and cared about." Being able to take in the genuine love and support without guilt was an important lesson.

Dear Kay: Thank you. I'm so glad your feeling better and came through your illness healthy! Glad you had such great support; it truly can make all the difference.
Warm regards,

If I had a sister, I would hope she would be just like YOU! Your experience defines true sisterhood, thank you so much for sharing! Hope your sister's recovery is speedy and complete! Sounds like it got off to a great start - love and laughter being the greatest healers :)

Dear Karolyn: Thank you for your kind words.
Warm Regards-Lisa

I hear ya sister! I have been honored that you also took care of me during a difficult time and when I look back on it, I remember the love and laughter instead of the pain.

Still missing story time!!

Hey sis:-) It was my pleasure. So glad we had the laughs to soften the journey!
Love ya!

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