Chances are if you are a parent, you may have fallen into the annoying but satisfying family game of “Spotto” as you hit the roads, scoring points for yellow cars sighted. The problem I now have is that I find myself playing on my own driving with no passengers and no one keeping score; I have been completely conditioned to only see yellow cars …everywhere!

Who knew that this little trivial game could form a framework for me personally ? Early in 2022 lets just say I had an experience/circumstance that wiped out my “normal” coping abilities and capacity; challenging my faith, values, view on humans, and belief on how the world should spin? I felt completely shattered and found myself covered in the ashes of a handful of anxiety/panic attacks; a first for me. Often walking through the grocery store with sunglasses praying I wouldn’t see anyone, but weirdly also praying I would, and it would be the right person that had a message from above to tell me it was all going to be ok.

Everywhere I turned there was more and more evidence on top of what was happening personally behind the scenes that life was a plethora of pain, suffering and humans being jerks so what is the point to anything? Russia invading Ukraine, all my family catching Covid-19 and being out for the count, my son having some unexpected surgery, death of a friend and then my air fryer dying! I am confident that my response to the air frying death was a gross over reaction and not necessarily an insight into my coping skills because I can admit it would probably have positioned me in the “lame and dramatic” department.

Grief, stress and overwhelm changes us. Fact. It has a way of marking in the sand the before and after version of ourselves and sometimes we must work hard to not slip into the abyss of suffering. As a Counsellor I sit with humans daily reconciling, recalibrating, and restoring parts of their life so that they can rise again. It’s a privileged position. I often use the concept of FACTS vs FEELINGS, it can be tough to know the difference when life is dishing up a degustation of dirt!

Our feelings rule sovereign, and they have the power to alter our wellbeing even more if they are left with the microphone; FACTS can host hope like a best friend, bringing light and truth to the narrative from behind the veil – but we often need help clarifying them.

The only thing I know about “turning the ship” so to speak within the chapters of our lives that challenge us to the core, is to look for evidence of the alternative. Some people call this practising gratitude, others praise, many say mindful; but I like to dumb it down and call it SPOTTO; observing the micro until it becomes the macro.

Pain is attention seeking; when we are in it,  all we will see, hear and smell are its long lost cousins; sadness, injustice, and sorrow in every conversation across social media platforms, news articles, even the local barista will announce to you some friend of a friend’s horror story as they are frothing the milk…and by the end of each and every day the tally on top of your own tally is double and triple digits.  So, we start again the next day and the next…and soon we are not sure how it happened, but we have reached the destination of “what even is the point?”.

In my humble opinion there becomes a finite time to flip it – not too early, not too late with the very opposite of pain;  joy, happy, gladness, discipline, structure, delight even. I began watching clips of airport reunions, looking ONLY on social media pages that inspired me…lots of random acts of kindness content. I started to make small plans and goals that involved “looking forward” , I withdrew from the masses and just spent some time recouping, I didn’t answer my phone. I literally focussed only on the  yellow cars in front of me on the road which are actually NOT common and then naming something I was thankful for in that very moment of sighting – the sunshine, a full fridge of groceries, the coffee I was sipping, the texts and calls from people that love me, our medical/health system, my marriage, the petrol that I was able to afford, the new air fryer I got online, silence and space. And what do you know along with other supports in place my psyche started breathing again. The age old “one day at a time” often gets overused but is also underrated for its wealth in wisdom and pivotal role as an agent of change. 

Whether you have been dealt pain, or somehow created it through choices –  I want you to know that unknowingly  your attitude, environment, internal dialogue and what you are consuming from the world could be adding to the fuel and holding you hostage. We need to be protective of what is being inhaled and where it is “falling” and taking up residence in our life. This is not about “getting over it” but more – “getting along with it”.  Doing the best with what we have, to control the things we can amicably control and the wisdom to know the difference – a sacred lesson worth understanding.

As for me yellow is definitely the new black and spotto for the win!