Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wanna make me mad?

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

“People rarely succeed unless they enjoy what they are doing.”  -  Dale Carnegie

“It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes life worth living.”   -  Oliver Wendell Holmes

      I was working on a story on shipbuilding, and was given a contact at a local company that builds boats.  I called the woman at the company and we agreed to meet at 8:00 the next morning.  I arrived a half hour early to get some sunrise photos, and as I was taking some photos of the harbor and the outside of the building, an older man walked out of the shop and approached me.   “Who might you be?” he inquired.  I explained that I was working on a story on ship building, told him who I had the appointment with and gave him one of my cards.  Given his comportment, I asked him “Are you one of the names on the sign?” and pointed to the business’s sign post.  “You might say that” he harrumphed, handed me back my business card and stalked off.   Later the woman appeared and we spent a couple of hours together touring the operation.  She later asked me if her dad had been rude to me – I hadn’t known she was one of the owner’s daughters.  I replied “no” and she glanced at me skeptically.  But it was let go there - nothing more was said on the topic.

     I got to thinking about it later – you could definitely say the man was rude to me.  But I was totally unaware of it at the time – it took reflecting back on it later to see that I could have felt slighted.  And had I engaged in his negativity with him, where would that have gone?  At a minimum I would have talked bad about him to his daughter - at worst I would have gotten in his face and not had to worry about an article on modern ship building.

     But I had taken the time to pray and meditate that morning and was enthusiastic about the sunrise and the prospect of writing about another topic I know little about.  It wasn’t until hours later when I reflected back on the encounter that I realized I could have been offended if I had chosen to be.

     Once we mature enough to start living in reality, we come to accept things as they are.  Fully accepting each moment and what it brings is the only path to awareness and serenity.  But this is just the first step out of negativity – there are a couple more steps to take and they come with many benefits.

     When we choose to accept things and make the conscious decision that we are going to get engaged and enjoy them we find a whole new level of being – enthusiasm.  The root of the word itself is “en theos” – meaning “in the spirit.”  It is defined as an intense level of enjoyment, so we can look at it as building upon the base we have established by learning to live in the moment.  And one thing is for sure – when we are enthusiastic we are firmly rooted in this current moment.  So what does it take to have enthusiasm?

     For me the basic component is gratitude.  I mean gratitude in the sense of a state of being – not just thankfulness.  For me it happens when I am intuitively connected with God, fully aware of my path and of the mindset that the world I find myself in isn’t just grounds for enjoyment, it is an amazing and fascinating thing.  It is the mindset that drives me to show up for life, knowing that if I am following the path God will provide me with much richer experiences than I can cook up on my own.  And for me this brings about the additional state of curiosity – I want to see and experience as much of this incredible life that I can.

     There is a big side effect to taking the actions necessary to reach this state of mind.  My negativity doesn’t just seem to subside – it seems to vanish.  And, most incredibly, the negativity of those around me vanishes as well.  Well, I say their negativity vanishes – either it vanishes or they vanish.  It seems a person who is stubbornly clinging to their negativity cannot stand to be in the presence of one who is “in the spirit.” 

     And so I feel empathy for the man.  For whatever reason, at that moment on that day he was entirely missing life and the opportunities each moment presents. He could not see the blaze of color in the sky that was welcoming the morning sun.  He could not see the man in front of him who was willing to connect and be a true friend for life.  He could not see anything – he was blinded by whatever part of his ego had determined that he needed to be afraid today.  So I can say a little prayer that he finds the experiences necessary to bring him to the point of letting go of it all and move on.   And I can hope that one day he too realizes that enthusiasm is the best antidote to negativity – in all its forms.

Today may I engage.

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Have a great day !!


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