What can I Learn From this?

October 6th, 2014      Email this article to a friend Email this article to a friend

After a four hour training session I walked over to my car, and tried starting it. *clunk*. Nothing. I thought maybe the battery was flat. While walking back to where the meeting was, I started to feel a bit stressed about it, but decided to go with it for now.

The person who had organized the meeting was very helpful, and together we tried jumper cables, and tried to find somebody to have a look at it. All to no avail. Car was as dead as a doornail. I now had to either join the AA, or get it towed to my mechanic. Towing was cheaper, so I chose that option.

We were in training to ask powerful questions, so I laughingly said “what’s good about this?”, and I couldn’t come up with anything good. “At least it’s not raining” I was thinking.

I had to wait quite a long time for the tow truck which gave me plenty of time to get nervous about the trip. You see I have motion sickness, and anxiety, so imagine a tow truck moving forward and backward all the time, in a tight compartment (claustrophobia), in rush hour traffic. Not good (well for me anyway).

On my anxiety checklist it says “plan ahead”, so I went to the pharmacy and bought some motion sickness pills, and some stuff to help with my anxiety. I’m glad I did, because my perception of what the trip was going to be like, was spot on, except for the traffic, which was okay. With my car behind us, it certainly was moving about quite a bit. It’s about the worse you can do to me; small space (feeling trapped), and something that causes motion sickness and causes anxiety. Planes are even worse for me.

I started to think “I’m going to get sick, I’m going to get sick” when I become aware of what I was talking myself into. I asked myself the following question: “what three ways of being do I need to be?”. That question refers to things like courageous, loving, etc. I chose “calm, courageous, and patient”. That became my new mantra. My attitude changed, and I felt much calmer after that. I had responded to the situation consciously.

At some later point I was waiting in a bus stop going home, when it started to rain. I was now confined to the bus stop, and I said to myself: “I give up, what can I learn from all this?”. Within three minutes a car came by with something written on the side. I couldn’t read it yet, but when it got close it said “ATTITUDE”. 🙂

Now, in the meeting, there was a significant discussion about attitude, and how “attitude is everything”. I only heard some of it at the time, but didn’t really hear what it was about.

Now I was really interested in what it meant, so I asked the person who had helped me before, and she gave me this reply:
“Basically just use the awareness that our thoughts have UNLIMITED POWER. Eg. We could both have got stressed about your car situation… you appeared to take it in your stride (not sure of the inward process); I chose to enjoy the opportunity to support you and was grateful I had a perfect gap in appointments to do so… HOW WE THINK CHANGES THE EXPERIENCE.”

And it’s true; how we think changes the experience.

This article is of course not about attitude alone, but also about asking yourself the questions “What can I learn from this?”, “What’s good about this?”. If you do that, you’re far more likely to find some good in a seemingly bad situation. I say seemingly, because in the long-term these situations tend to turn into good stories again anyway.

“It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed.”
― Ram Dass

It taught me several other things as well:

  • New material for writing an article 🙂
  • I got to know the training person a lot better.
  • There is still kindness in the world
  • I need to do much more work on my anxiety/stress management
  • I could have taken a taxi, rather than two late night irregular buses. I got home around 9 pm. Doh!
  • I need a better phone, or a list of important phone numbers at least
  • Becoming aware in the middle of a situation, and responding rather than reacting, works
  • That car driving by, that was no coincidence

The bill was interesting… 🙁
(New battery, but they also found a leak in the exhaust pipe)

So I thought I’d write down my story for you to enjoy, in the hope that it will have a happy end after all. 😉

Posted in Miscellaneous

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