You know what I am talking about. You’re doing your thing, minding your own business as they say, and then all of a sudden—WHAM—life spits on you with a giant metaphorical loogie. Yes—ew!!

Well, I actually had this happen today, only my experience wasn’t with a metaphorical loogie… Nope, mine was real.

Here’s What Happened

I was walking home from the gym, watching the sunrise over the buildings in downtown Santa Monica, and I came upon a man standing by the bus stop.

This is not uncommon, as most mornings there are quite a few people up and moving about—the sidewalk cleaners, people getting on or off the buses headed to work, others headed to Starbucks for their morning cup of java, and also usually several homeless people (sad, but true).

As I walked past, the man stumbled a little bit and sort of mumbled/yelled something in my direction. Which again, was not really that uncommon… I suppose after living in a biggish city for the past several years, I’ve become slightly numb to these sorts of things.

I continued on my way, deep in thought... organizing my to-do list in my head for the day, and suddenly I heard the guy-spitting-a-loogie sound (you know that sound) followed by a stream of spit spray flying over my head.

  • First reaction: Really? Did that just happen?
  • Second reaction: Continue walking and spin my Accel bag around to the front of my body (I was wearing it like a messenger bag, across by back) and sure enough… a giant glob of spit was sitting on the top of the bag.
  • Third reaction: Imagine running back to the guy, getting in his face, and yelling, “WHY DID YOU JUST SPIT ON ME?”
  • Forth reaction: Victim mode sinking in… I can’t believe he just spit on me!
  • Fifth reaction: Okay, how did I create this in my life?
  • Sixth reaction: Alright. Deep breath. Keep walking. Why did this just happen? Let’s think for a moment.

Here's where I actually began to choose my reaction... which I'll talk more about in a bit.

Talking Myself To A Better Feeling Place

I really think that man was either mentally challenged or maybe even under the influence of some kind of drug because I did get a funny feeling about him now that I think about it.

Maybe he was hallucinating and maybe he thought I caused him to stumble somehow, so that was his way of releasing his anger.

Maybe he’s had some things happen in his life that have caused him great pain, so I can understand how he might be used to showing his anger in that sort of way.

At least I’m on my way home to take a shower. At least I wasn’t on my way to some sort of event or something, where I wouldn’t have the opportunity to wash myself from head to toe.

At least it’s just spit and I can just wash it off. I mean, how different really is this spit glob than swimming in the ocean, which probably has a lot more than spit in it?

Thank goodness for my own awareness... that I know that I have the ability to step above things like this.

I can choose how I react.

I can choose not to let something bother me that is, in the grand scheme of things, fairly irrelevant. Sure I could go back and get angry, but what would that do? How would that serve me?

It sure wouldn’t make me feel better! Maybe for a split second, but then I would end up just stoking the flames of my own anger.

Two angry people don’t equal happiness.

I really do appreciate my life. I really do appreciate that I don’t have to let someone else’s anger ruin my day, even if it was directed toward me for whatever reason.

So in a weird and twisted way, I am actually glad that guy spit on me because he gave me the opportunity to realize how much I’ve grown and how in-tune I am with my ability to choose how I react versus just reacting.

This was actually the perfect way for me to start my day.

Spit… It Happens

We all have things like this happen at different times in our lives and we always always always have the opportunity to choose how we react to it.

So how does this change your perspective about when:

You get to work and as soon as you start your to-do list that you have all planned out for your day, your boss drops a high-priority assignment on you that is due by the end of the day.

How can you see this in a positive light?

You are on your way to the gym and you get into a minor car accident. Nothing severe, but you missed your workout and have to deal with getting your car fixed.

How could you see this as being exactly the perfect place for you to be right in this moment? Is there anything that you can appreciate about this scenario?

Life is a mirror. 

It has a way of showing us a reflection of exactly who we are. Every experience is a learning opportunity, a chance to see behaviors and ways of thinking that we may want to improve.

I felt anger, but I moved through the anger to understanding and a sense of peace with the guy fairly quickly. I didn't even need to speak with him to do this, it happened all within me... within a matter of minutes.

This would not have been the case in the past. In the past, I would have ruminated over it and gotten stuck in “victim-mode” for hours. It probably would have ruined my whole day.

I would have come home, complained to my husband, and then it might have even ruined his day too.

This kind of behavior and these kinds of thoughts are self-sabotaging because they keep you out of your power.

When you let yourself move through anger, to emotions that are more loving and understanding, you open yourself up to the gifts that situations like this actually can be.

How does this story help you to realize how you react when you get hit with a flyby loogie?