My feeling is that we get to write our own story. So what story are you writing right now?
A few years ago I was driving with my wife. We’d been staying with some friends at their weekender in the country, and were making our way home. We were about 2 hours into a 4 hour drive (unusual for me, that’s far too long in the car) and it was pretty late. There was no one else on the road.
Anyway, the highway ends up winding into a small town. My wife and I were yabbering away, and I wasn’t paying close attention to my speed. I’d instinctively dropped down to about 70kph, but we were in a 60 zone.
Speeding Camera. Scared the poop out of me. Almost ran off the road.
I looked at my speed. Yep, I was speeding. Bugger. They got me.
My wife starts to tell me off. “Shouldn’t be so careless… always drive too fast… did you really need 650 horse-power… was nothing wrong with the old Toyota…”
That’s ok. It’s just what happens when my wife gets startled or nervous. Best relationship advice my father ever gave me: “Don’t take personal attacks personally.”
I was peaking out as well. That old feeling of being busted. Like that time I was caught by Mr Baker carving “colourful language” into one of the school benches. A sharp mixture of guilt and fear.
But then I took stock of the situation. Nothing I could do now. What’s done is done. Just keep on driving. So on we went.
My wife started to mull over the ramifications. “There’ll be a fine to pay. You’ll lose points. Could lose your license. How many points is a speeding fine these days? You don’t have that many left… Not since your high-school reunion… Depends on how fast you were going, doesn’t it… Were you more than 10k over?”
I started to join her in those thoughts, but then I pulled myself up. I’m not sure exactly why. It’s like I didn’t like the ‘taste’ of those thoughts.
For one, I couldn’t see any point. What’s done is done. I’ll find out how many points I’ve lost when the fine comes in the mail. And there wasn’t anything to prepare. It wasn’t time to get on the phone to the lawyer just yet. And worst case scenario is that I lose a bit of cash and have to catch a tram to work for a while.
Whatever happens, I’m sure I’ll deal with it. And there’ll be lots of time to deal with it after the universe reveals its hand.
So for one, it was just a waste of mental energy. Unless I’m going to translate some of that thought into action, I’m just spinning my wheels. For the moment, there’s nothing to do but wait.
Secondly, I didn’t like the ‘flavour’ of those thoughts. It was a mixture of fear and guilt and dread for bad things to come. I don’t need that in my life. I don’t need that in my head.
So for those two reasons, I decided not to give it any energy. “We’ll deal with it when it comes,” I said. “Besides, we might be right.”
“What do you mean, ‘we might be right’? You saw the flash.”
“Yeah, but stranger things have happened. We’ll see what happens, but I think we might be right.”
And then I stopped and held a mental picture of things just working out. I remembered that my life is full of pleasant surprises, and I felt the feeling of being pleasantly surprised that everything had just worked out, leaving me with nothing but a tall-tale for a blog.
So what happened?
A little while later I get a letter. Turns out that particular speed camera had been recently decommissioned, but was running in ‘warning’ mode. There was no fine, no loss of points. Just a warning to “be more careful in the future.”
I was pleasantly surprised.
I’m remembering this story because I lost my wallet this week. As soon as I realised I’d lost it, I didn’t go into panic mode… I just kept telling myself it’ll show up somewhere. But I did start thinking, “Damn. What an inconvenience. I’ll have to cancel my credit cards. Then I’ll have to get a new license? What other cards did I have? I’ll have to print that family pic up again.”
But then I pulled myself up. I didn’t know that it was gone yet. There’s a few scenarios available to me where I just get my wallet back, no worries.
So I saw that scenario playing out in my head. I get my wallet back with everything in it. I am pleasantly surprised.
Long story short, the next day I ring around some likely places. Turns out someone had handed it in to the local café. Nothing missing.
I was pleasantly surprised. I took out a fifty and dropped it in the tips jar.
I don’t know exactly how this works, but this kind of stuff happens to me a bit. My wife reckons I’ve got angels on my shoulder. Personally, I don’t think it’s that spiritual. It’s just an attitude I have towards things.
I tell you where this also works out really well… and you can test it yourself to see whether you are in tune… Finding car spots. I’ve got this attitude that I can find a car spot pretty much outside of the front of any place that I’m going to.
Doesn’t happen 100% of the time. But you’ll be surprised how often it does. It’s more than just positive thinking. The trick to it is not only accepting that this is the way it is, but when you get it (or you get what you want), you have to be grateful as well. That’d the trick to all this.
Once I’ve defused the scenario in my head by reminding myself that whatever happens I’ll just deal with it, I switch out the feeling of worry, with a feeling of being pleasantly surprised at some point in the future.
And I am pleasantly surprised at how often I find myself pleasantly surprised…
Remember, when it happens, show gratitude or else it’s unlikely to happen again.
It’s a good psychic practice anyways. Fretting about the future is a waste of time (though there’s a distinction here between fretting and genuine preparation and planning.)
But I do think the world genuinely responds to the things you put out there. Specifically, to the thoughts and feelings that you carry. How else do you think we create our reality? By accident? I don’t think so. This shit works.
And if that’s true, then we need to be very careful about the thoughts and feelings we’re allocating precious floor space to.
Less fear, more eager anticipation of the pleasant surprises to come.
Worth doing anyway, right?
I don’t like the alternative.
This sort of stuff ever happen to you? Tell me a story.