How to have gratitude when things don’t go as planned

As I was being driven down the single-lane dirt road, 200 meters from the cabana where I’d be staying for 3 weeks in Todos Santos, Mexico, we were stopped by a palm tree.

The palm tree had fallen across a set of lines adjoining the homes in the area. We waited until it was cleared and arrived 20 minutes later to find out it was the internet cable. It was “down.”

I started to laugh (and cry at the same time). The owner of the cabana said, “Wow, this has rarely happened in the 3 years we’ve lived here.”

In my attention to detail in making sure I could work with clients and run my business from here, I made sure there was a working internet.

The owners took great care to let me know anything can happen here, but for the most part it’s fairly reliable while still being a third world country.

The quote that popped into my mind in that moment was, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him/her your plans.”

How funny is it that the cable was broken as I was coming in? Who knows when it will be back up, but for now I get to sit at an adorable café to write.

Lesson #2 came a week earlier. I had planned for weeks to meet up with some friends in Los Angeles for a day hike before heading to my sister’s in Joshua Tree for Thanksgiving.

We drove up into the rugged hills north of Malibu, and another unplanned situation unfolded – I started vomiting 10 minutes after leaving the car.

I said, “Oh, I must be car sick,” (I rarely get car sick).

I thought it would pass quickly and on we’d go.


I vomited twice more and decided to go back to the car while they hiked. That seemed like the best option because either continuing on or getting back in the car for the ride down didn’t sound appealing either.

That was the start of 4 hours of vomiting (about 40 times) and – I won’t go into detail – the other end too.

My body wanted something out of me – fast. Thank goodness there was an outhouse there (even though I didn’t always make it in time).

Talk about feeling undignified!

My friends returned from their hike, saw the state I was in and brought me to Urgent Care for some much needed IV fluids.

One friend, not sure how to care for me, called my mom, who drove 1.5 hours to come pick me up (there was no way I could drive myself).

So much for seeing friends and reconnecting. My body was asking for something much different.

Several years ago I would have been really angry, frustrated and mad at my body/self, Life, or anyone else I could blame for it not going the way I wanted it to (or the way I thought it should).

What unfolded in my mind and heart through all of this was really quite miraculous, and something I attribute to my daily meditation practice.

When I was sick, I was grateful to my body for doing what I knew it needed to do. I was grateful for the toilet that was there, and the car I could sit in for shelter.

When my friends returned from their hike, I felt like I had 4 angels surrounding me. They were so helpful and caring.

At Urgent Care, I was literally overcome by gratitude for the people caring for me. The nurses who put in the IV and the doctor who reassured me.

And grateful to my mom, who spent 3 hours in the car, round trip, to come get me, help me to the car, and take care of me when she brought me home.

How is it that we have so much care when we need it most? Isn’t it quite extraordinary?

I’ve spent so much of my life being utterly, and sometimes painfully, independent, that a situation like this can break the belief that I can do it all myself and actually let others help me (much like my new sensitivity to technology has done).

What I’m positive of is that the gratitude was a result of the gratitude practice I do every day in meditation – thanking my body for all that it does, people in my life, the sun rising, a new day, etc.

Gratitude can be created and wash over your entire life. I guarantee when you see life through the lens of gratitude, you’ll feel more happiness!

I also guarantee that if gratitude is a part of your psyche, you’ll weather the storms of life not going as you planned with a lot more peace.

How to:
• Spend 5 minutes a day in meditation. Finish with 3-5 things/people/situations you’re grateful for. Say them to yourself or write them down in your journal.

• Keep a gratitude journal next to your bed and write 3-5 things from the day you’re grateful for before going to sleep.

Thank you for reading this and being a part of my community dear friend!

Categories: Gratitude, Meditation & Mindfulness

About the Author: Angela Patnode

My passion, my calling, is for you to be totally you. Through private coaching, in-depth retreats, and online group coaching programs, I help you tap into your intuition and clarify your desires and vision, I guide you to take active steps toward making your desires a reality.

2 comments to “How to have gratitude when things don’t go as planned

  1. Chrysti M. Smith

    Your true story reminded me of getting food poisoning in archaeology field camp one summer. No toilet, all ejection was done al fresco! Then, it being the weekend and time to go home, I had to drive 30 miles out of the Tobacco Roots, stopping every few miles to evacuate. I arrived at the house of a friend near Virginia City, MT, and she took me in, gave me a bed and water, and I was saved. Thanks be to all of our angels who are eager to help us!

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. What a life, spewage and all! Next time it will be our turn to rescue someone.

    Best to you!

    1. Angela Patnode

      Great to hear your story Chrysti! It’s great to know I’m not alone in the experience! Although, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone!
      Glad you had help getting through it too. We can all use it in life! Love to you! Angela

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