There’s a belief that when something comes across our personal radar at least three times, then that something is probably worth exploring or giving deeper attention.
Most recently for me, that three-peat thing is the rather unexciting weather occurrence, fog.
It first showed up metaphorically when a client shared that she felt as though she was living in a fog.
Next, it appeared physically while I was out on a run. I was inspired to stop along my path to capture this beautiful scene:
And the third occurrence was my noticing the very literal bumper sticker pictured below at the most ironic time—immediately after concluding a blissful time at the beach with a very stressful phone call.
My stress dissipated and was soon replaced with a chuckle when I realized that this sighting was a “power of three” moment.
I started to ponder what bigger messages fog might have to offer as my family was preparing to start this new school year, which certainly feels shrouded in fog.
So, when I played with the thought, “how to get out of fog,” two ideas instantly emerged: gratitude and breath.
With the start of school in the background of all this ruminating about fog, it wasn’t long before my thoughts linked gratitude and breath with “A-B-C’s and 1-2-3’s”—two very clear strategies for getting out of a fog-laden state:
A-B-C’s = Recite your “Alphabet of Gratitude”
For example, silently say to yourself, “A—I am grateful for airplanes; B—I am grateful for babies; C—I am grateful for chocolate;” and so on, through Z. It’s always interesting to see what this alphabet yields.
[NOTES for this exercise: if the “fog” you’re experiencing is so thick that it is difficult to think of 26 things you’re grateful for, just do a few. It will still help lessen the fog. Conversely, if you complete the whole alphabet with gratitudes, your mind may continue to think of more even after “Z.” This is powerful because science has shown that gratitude practices actually rewire the brain.]
1-2-3’s = Practice “Inhale for 1,2,3, Exhale on 4”
Simply count “1, 2, 3” as you take three short inhales, then as you count “4”, take a long, S-L-O-W exhale.
This easy breathing pattern can help relax the nervous system, which is integral to starting the escape from a proverbial fog.
And if you want to integrate the two strategies, you can always include, “I am grateful for my breath” for the letter B!
Although my preferred view on fog is how to get out of it, I am feeling pretty grateful that it showed up repeatedly this summer and helped me focus on ways to find joy and breathe easier.
This is education that clearly comes with experience more than academic study, or more precisely, with a hat-trick of experiences.
Yet another bumper sticker sums it all up perfectly:
If you’ve experienced a “Power of Three” moment, please share with me! I love hearing about what emerges from ‘that which repeats.’