Saturday, 20 July 2013

Surprise! Surprise! And Being Happy!

Opportunity Knocks

     In this blog today I'm drawing together a couple of things I've written about over the last few weeks. Opportunities, coincidences, the meaning we attach to them and how we can frame them to make us feel great!

     I've been thinking about this subject a lot recently. Just doing this has made me more aware of the events in my life and how I look at them. I've always been a firm believer that nothing actually happens "to" us and that whatever meaning we derive from an event is purely the result of our own thinking.

Simple Pleasures

     At a seminar once (if you've read much of my stuff then you'll know that I'm a seminar junkie) I was told that some of the richest experiences we can have are free. There's no need to feel impoverished just because you don't have much money. In response to this I wrote down 50 things I enjoy doing that don't cost anything. Out of that list I was able to identify at least 10 or 15 that really make me feel great. Maybe 5 of them were entirely free: a walk in the park; singing a song, stuff like that! It's proof positive that we don't have to have money, or a lot of it anyway, to enrich our experience of life.

     One of the most pleasurable things I do on a daily basis is feed the cat who owns me. She has this cute way of telling me when she wants food. If I give her something other than what she wants then she'll also let me know. But once she gets the one she wants I can just sit and watch her eat for ages. 

     Then she drinks her milk with this little slurping noise that turns me upside down! The interaction is incredibly pleasing. It's a priceless and heart warming experience the value of which exceeds any monetary value I could equate to it. The affection she shows me at other times is spontaneous and free, though not without complicated feline strings attached. 

     Other times I may just stare at the mountains or go to the beach and watch the sea. Even a stroll in the fields amongst the cows or horses is an incredibly worthwhile experience. That's pleasure I can plan. It's a resource I can draw on whenever I want.

Tales of the Unexpected

     On the other hand there are times when we get little diversions we're not expecting. We can choose to feel slighted, hard done by or frustrated. Or we can take another angle and see them as bonuses. I travel quite a lot and this invariably leads to a variety of interesting situations. In a recent post I wrote about how waiting a long time in a queue can result in an upgrade. Just last week I started a journey to the States with a hop to the UK. I expected to fly on one of the standard Aer Lingus planes. Instead I wandered out to the tarmac to see a gorgeous little propeller driven plane!

     I heard a few people grumbling. This was going to be a bumpy flight; it would be cramped and uncomfortable; it would be slow. Any amount of evil, it seems, can be conjoured up by a simple little propeller aeroplane. I just thought "Cool! What an adventure!" It really appealed to my hopelessly romantic notions about travel in a bygone era. I thoroughly enjoyed the cramped flight to the UK and was thrilled by the sound of the engines and the peculiar type of flight you only get in such a plane.

Quality Questions

     So I've come full circle to that one all-important question: "What else could this mean?" I suppose you could also say "What's truly great about this?" or "I'm so lucky because..." Either way, thinking this way results in a much more resourceful state of mind. Instead of finding fault and languishing in the misery of a situation we find ways to enjoy whatever it is that's happening.

    As it turned out I had another short flight from Chicago to Flint in the USA in an even smaller plane. My enthusiastic hopes of more propeller travel became a reality above the fantastic vista of Lake Michigan.

    The wonderful people of Bay City where I arrived later that day is another whole story in itself and one that I'll be exploring here in the days to come. For now I just want you to know that something positive can be found in almost every situation. It's up to us to define what that may be. We can choose to enjoy it or we can choose to ignore it at our peril.