I feel disappointed. We have been planning for the Happiness 101 skydive for months and it was cancelled today due to high winds. In her book, Positivity, Barbara Fredrickson stresses the importance of being GENUINELY happy. This means acknowledging how you really feel, not just glossing it over with a plastic smile. In fact, she offers research that proves that denying your true feelings can have profound detrimental effects on both the mind and the body. With the hope of making the jump a wonderful, festive experience, I had burned new CDs, packed a stereo, many chairs, two tables, the giant happy bubble, food and something to wash it down. Mother nature had other ideas. So, yes, I, the Happy Therapist felt disappointed. I sat with it. Soon, the feeling passed and opened up space in my heart and I began to ask myself why the cancellation might not only not be a bad thing, but might be a good thing. I was surprised how many reasons there were and how swiftly they came:
#1 Because some non-students had filled the 10am slot, we were scattered between the 9am and the 10am slot. Postponing would allow us to properly unite.
#2 Even being spread over the 9am and 10am slots, there were still more people who wanted to jump. They were told to come on down and Skydive Utah would do their best to squeeze everybody in. A reboot means that we will be able to get everyone into a legitimate slot.
#3 I know at least two people who had last minute conflicts arise and would not have been able to go today. Hopefully they will be able to come to the next jump.
#4 My friend should be able to come. I have recently made a good friend. He had a scheduling conflict and would not have been able to join us today. I hope he will come to cheer me on next time.
#5 Some people had a bit of trouble finding Skydive Utah. Because they drove there this morning, they now know exactly where it is for next time.
#6 Because of the aforementioned way the slots were being filled, I did not have a definitive head count. There was more than a couple of people who were going with the “hope they can squeeze me in” plan. This way, we will have a clear number of how many will be jumping. Because of the experience this morning, I know for sure we have at least seven people jumping and I believe we will end up with a total of ten.
#7 Logistics. Before this morning, I was not sure exactly where I was going to set up the canopy and where I would plug the stereo in. Phil, at Skydive Utah, was very hospitable, showed me around a little more (than I had seen before) and said he would lend us a 100 foot extension cord if needed to play our Happy music. I felt better and more assured of the layout when I left.
#8 I have said many times that the students are frequently my teachers. I was able to see in action how well the teachings of Happiness 101 have taken root by how the students responded to the news that we would not be jumping. When Phil told one student, she smiled cheerfully and said “It’s not your fault. You can’t control mother nature”. She was so gracious. Another student didn’t bat an eye before replying “Well at least I got in a beautiful drive”. Their positive reactions helped me to get over my own disappointment more quickly and inspired me to practice what I preach.
#9 I have learned a lot in organizing this event. I am glad I will have the opportunity to put what I have learned into practice, which I am sure will make the event run more smoothly and be more fun for everyone.
#10 Because the jump was postponed, we now have the luxury of comparing schedules to see if we can find a date and time that will work for everyone. What a blessing!
Speaking of which, if you plan on jumping, please E-mail me. Maybe that’s another good thing about being postponed – maybe it opened an opportunity for YOU to come with us.
~Frank Clayton, Licensed Professional Counselor