Last week’s post was about ‘Living the dream’. It was written at Heathrow airport whilst waiting for a flight to Dallas, where I was to be visiting with friends and family. I had a plan for the trip – things I wanted to do, including writing a number of blog posts and visiting with friends – together with things that needed to be done, like helping out with a garage sale, and other more mundane tasks.
Things didn’t turn out quite as expected.
I’ve heard it said that if you want to make God laugh you should tell her your plans. This was certainly true on this trip. Planning is very important, however it’s also important to be flexible and adaptable, and not to get disheartened or angry or resentful when things don’t turn out as planned.
The trip provided some wonderful experiences and some challenging experiences. This post discusses what I have learned from them.
I’m shooting from the hip today i.e. I’m writing and publishing this post in a few hours on the same day. The plan had been to write whilst away but that didn’t happen. I hope you enjoy it.
Shall we begin?
There were some real positives, some real positive energies, on the trip. However, the majority of the time was spent surrounded by negative energy. Circumstances didn’t allow escape from this negative energy – it had to be dealt with, it was part of the trip.
Confession time – I am not the most positive or happy person in the world. My default setting is negativity. However, I have learned that negativity doesn’t serve me. I’ve also learned how to be positive and how to find happiness in the moment. In essence I’ve learned to dismiss my first (negative) thought, and to go with the second (positive) thought. It’s a simple trick but it has helped me immensely.
It was therefore difficult when I found myself surrounded by negative energy on the trip. I’d forgotten how negative energy breeds negative energy, and how it can suck every ounce of positivity out of you, in a very short space of time. I became anxious, irritated, and resentful – states I did not wish to be in.
In everyday life I avoid negative people, energy vampires, as much as possible. I surround myself with positive, supportive, people. This works well. Positivity breeds positivity.
This tactic was not possible though given the particular circumstances of this trip. So this is what I did to get me through with some semblance of my positivity intact:
- ignored the first (negative) thought and listened to the (positive) second
- took short ‘positivity’ breaks, to recharge my batteries
- understood that I am not another person’s feelings
- took comfort in the phrase ‘this too shall pass’ i.e. that this would not last forever, the trip (and the negativity) would come to an end
- cultivated some compassion and understanding around why there was so much negativity in the air
It wasn’t easy, but I made it through.
Sometimes we simply have to deal with negativity and negative people around us. We can’t always extricate ourselves from these situations. This can be challenging, but also rewarding. It is a true test of our ability to keep our heads when all around are losing theirs.
I had the pleasure of meeting Megan Monique, who writes at ‘If I were a Rainbow’, whilst in Dallas. She is one awesome lady.
It’s a wonderful thing, the internet – especially when you get to meet like-minded people who you’ve interacted with online, face-to-face.
We met for coffee and chatted. That was all, and yet I left feeling really inspired.
It was nice to be in the company of some positive energy. It was great to be able to exchange ideas and experiences. And it was great (thank you Megan!) to be called out on a couple of things.
In particular, I found myself making excuses for why I haven’t (yet) written the e-book that I want to write. I found myself full of excuses about how hard it is to find time to write an e-book – when I have a full-on 9-5 office job and blog and sell stuff on eBay and have to live life. And that’s what they are – excuses. The conversation made me realise that I didn’t needed a whole clear week to write the book – it could be written in small manageable chunks. “Do what you can do with what you have available” was the advice. Spot on.
I was also inspired to look into web design, as another way of making some additional income (towards clearing my debts and building my own business), together with an idea in relation to organising an event (but that’s all I’m going to say on that right now…).
Inspiration, inspiration, inspiration!!
Churches, fast food, garage sales and consumerism
I couldn’t help but notice driving around Texas that two things predominate – fast food restaurants, and churches. They’re everywhere – alongside every highway, on every street.
Britain and the United States are very similar on many levels. We have fast food restaurants and we have churches. Not though, to the degree that I saw on my trip.
It made me think about consumerism – particularly fast food consumerism. We all know the dangers of eating too much fast food and yet, to the layman, that’s all you can buy in the U.S. We did visit the store, to buy food, but again I was shocked at the cost of vegetables. It appears to me that fast food is cheap and accessible, healthy food is not. There’s something wrong there.
In the film ‘Bowling for Columbine’ (which I watched whilst on the trip) Marilyn Manson said one thing that really resonated with me, and the experience I was having at the time. He said that the American people are kept in a state of perpetual fear, in order that they will consume (more).
Fear is a powerful emotion. The TV news channels are full of stories that invoke fear. I even came across a TV channel devoted to guns, and small arms. People watch TV – if the messages coming through this medium are all fear based, then it’s no surprise that people become fearful.
Many people don’t know how to deal with this fear, and so they consume. They consume fast food (to take the pain away), they consume guns, they consume home security systems, they consume clothes, they consume anything and everything in order to try to make themselves feel better.
It’s therefore no surprise that there are churches everywhere. With a message of believe in this, and go to church, or you’re going to hell – people are afraid, and churches prosper.
By way of clarification, I’m not anti-church or anti-religion, I’m simply saying that from what I’ve seen it’s no surprise that many people go to church simply because they are afraid – rather than because they want to grow spiritually.
One of the main tasks on the trip was to hold a garage sale – which we did. I must be honest it was weird selling someone else’s stuff but we did, and the garage sale was a success. One thing that bugged me though, and it’s something that’s bugged me from my eBay selling experiences, is that whatever is paid for an item ‘new’ the resale price is always significantly lower – even when the item still has tags on it and has never been used. It’s exactly like the value of a new car, which drops the minute you drive it off the lot.
This begs the question: “Why are we willing to pay so much for something brand new (from a store), whose value drops so dramatically the minute it’s purchased?”
Answers on a postcard…..
The trip to Texas had its ups and downs.
In amongst the negativity and the fear based consumerism, it re-confirmed my belief in a simple, spiritual, life.
It inspired me.