Recently while driving to work I happened to see the reflection of an egret in the very still waters of a small lake; the image that I saw was very elongated and made the egret appear larger than life. It was a beautiful sight and a great start to my day but it got me to thinking about how my perception affects my view of the world.
When I view the world as hostile and threatening I become wary and untrusting. If I think that a situation will result in discord or disagreement, chances are increased that it will turn out that way. Many of us comment “I hate calling customer service for (cable company, telephone, internet, etc) because I always lose my temper with their incompetence.” We are unconsciously setting the stage for the uncomfortability we experience in our lives.
A recent experience demonstrated just how insidious this can be felt in my life. I received notice of a certified letter waiting for me to pick up from the post office. My first thought was that it was from the management company for the apartment that I had recently vacated with my job change. I began to prepare myself for battle with that company since I “knew” they were going to try to make me pay an outrageous sum for moving out earlier than my lease would allow. I conjured up what the letter would say and plotted which attorney I would use to fight this battle. THEN I went to the post office to retrieve the letter which was indeed from the apartment management company; I waited until I was in my car to open the letter. I removed the contents of the envelope and unfolded the pages to read the dreaded accusations and demands for many hundreds of dollars but much to my amazement the contents were an accounting of the funds applied from my security deposit and a partial refund of about $400. I was shocked and a little embarrassed that I had allowed this to take up so much of my mental energy. The situation turned out much better than I had planned for in my head.
This reminder that my default setting is untrusting and adversarial was an eye opener. I admitted that I was operating in overload mode (in the course of less than six weeks I had been laid off from one job, secured a new job and moved to a new town) and that I had been neglecting taking good care of myself. I increased my meeting attendance; starting cooking more at home paying attention to my nutritional needs and spoke more with my sponsor. Paying attention to the little things and getting regular rest also played a part in the changes I found necessary.
My attitude is much improved; I find myself smiling as I am driving TO work!! I drive through a very pretty golf course community with lots of green space and water features so the morning commute is quite lovely. The morning sun is shining brightly in my face as I drive east toward the office, sometimes there is a mist rising from the water in those early morning hours I try to notice at least one item of beauty or nature to reset my mind to seeing the beauty that is present every day. When my attention is on my gratitude and appreciation for the gifts of my recovery negativity can hardly get a foothold. It is, after all, a matter of perspective.