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Happiness is Contagious In Trying Times

April 9, 2020

Thursday Thoughts, Uplifting Wisdom For Women During the Coronavirus Crisis

Rushing out the door as the western skies darkened; I threw my bike on my car heading out to grab a quick early morning bike ride before the clouds opened up. The sky was too threatening to think I’d run into anyone on the bike trail. Speeding as though my life depended on it, I drove 3 miles to the less-than-popular Erie Canal dirt trail in a tiny hamlet near my house. Trying to stay sane during the Coronavirus crisis and shelter-in-place orders, meant getting outside to exercise during unpopular hours or even in unpopular conditions, so I could feel the rush of endomorphins to boost my mood.

With my favorite music in my ear, I popped on my bike just as it started to rain. I could have given up that moment since I was still dry but I didn’t want to. Radar had indicated moderate rain was in the area. My optimistic view of life made me take the risk to bike anyway. Not quite ¼ mile into the bike ride, another solo woman ran towards me, getting soaked as I was. We smiled and waved and went on our way. Every bike peddle forward was met by heavier rain and accumulating mud puddles. The 45-degree air instantly cooled and refreshed my face.

As I biked, I glanced over at the beautiful canal to my right with ducks taking flight off the water or landing on it. Little lime green buds on bushes and small trees seemed to illuminate my way. I smelled the earthy mud beneath my bike. I felt the rain on my exposed hands. Plink, plop, plink, plop, heavier rain dropped on the still canal waters and my back. It all felt really healthy. I knew there was no Coronavirus lurking around this trail hoping to infect my compromised immune system, just beauty, nature, and my love for fitness.

The trail ended at the 3-mile mark just as the rain was picking up. I could have turned around to leave but decided to be tenacious and keep riding. I was already soaked so what were another 3 miles going to do to me except make me feel even better. I leaned into the elements and in doing so gave myself an extended morning gift. Finally turning around at the end of the trail, I turned off my music so I could listen to the lovely songbirds in the bushes on my way back. I also wanted to pray for the protection, safety, and health of my sons in New York City, my husband, family, and my company’s members. I also wanted to thank God for living in a part of the United States that isn’t faced with fires, drought, tornadoes, and massive hail storms.

If there’s anything I’ve done more now than any other time in my life is to pray daily for the ones I love, the people who don’t have people to pray for them, and an end to the health crisis. My prayers always contain gratitude for the small blessings of the day, no matter how minute they seem. Every night, instead of falling asleep stressed about what will happen tomorrow, I drift off to sleep grateful for every single moment of my day and the people in my life. The news makes it easy to worry but we don’t have to live in a state of anxiety. We control our minds.

I’d encourage you when you are feeling overwhelmed about the pandemic to go out in rainy elements to learn the lesson that negative experiences can be turned into positive ones with our decisions to feel and see them that way. We have control over how we think, what we do, who we love, and our outlook on surviving difficulties in life. Just think about the visual I painted for you today – the woman happily running in the rain, ducks quacking on the water, songbirds filling the damp air with music, buds bursting forward, and even me with mud sprayed up my back and legs from joyfully riding my bike in the rain. Happiness is contagious. Try it and pass it on, now more than ever before because everyday matters.

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