Stormy Weather

I have a confession to make.  I went against everything I wrote in yesterday’s post this morning.  All those nice words about how I expect a positive outcome and I’m not so pessimistic anymore and I don’t let me fears control me – straight down the drain!  I really learned that, although I may have come a long way in this regard, I still have a long way to go.

Here is how it happened.  I was asked to take the Notary Public exam for work.  It would be helpful to have another Notary at the office and two of us were asked if we would do this.  My coworker and I agreed and decided we would take the test today.  The test began at 9:30 this morning.  The website very clearly states that anyone who is late will not be allowed to take the test.  So, I planned to arrive early.  My coworker and I were given one check that included the fee for both of us, so we discussed arriving at the same time.  I asked her if I could get a ride back to work with her after the exam.  That way, John could drop me off and go on to his job and my coworker would give me a ride to work.

The test center is about 15 minutes from our house.  It snowed in the night, so we left early to give ourselves extra time.  As soon as we turned onto a main road, I knew we were in trouble.  There was so much traffic and it was just crawling along.  We joined the line and began the stop-and-go trip to the test center.  After twenty minutes, we had gone only five or six blocks.

This is where I should have used my positive thinking.  If I had followed my own blog post from yesterday, this is where I should have created positive energy and imagined that everything would be okay.  Instead, I began to panic and my fears overwhelmed me.  I knew I would not get to the test center before 9:30.  I imagined my poor coworker waiting, unable to take her test because I had the check containing her payment.  I worried that she would be upset.  John kept reassuring me that I might still make it, but the longer we drove, the more negative an outcome I imagined.

Nine-thirty came and went and we were still nowhere near the test center.  The roads were terrible and the traffic was barely moving.  I really became quite melodramatic, visualizing (and voicing) every unfortunate outcome I could imagine.  I did the exact opposite of everything I claimed in yesterday’s post.

Guess what happened?  When I arrived at the test center (at 10:00), the proctors let me go right in and take the test.  My coworker was already in the room, hard at work on her test.  I was very stressed and upset, but I took the test.  As I completed it, I was sure I had failed.  When I finished, I filled out the paperwork and gave the proctor the check that paid for my exam and my coworker’s.  I left the room and found my coworker waiting for me.  We rode back to work and, while we traveled, she told me that everyone had arrived late for the test, including the proctors.

The thing I feared has come upon me.  I was late for the exam.  I worked myself into a stressed, upset state of mind by imagining bad endings to the story.  My pessimistic thinking did not help me in this situation at all.  I don’t know how I did on the exam – I will receive my results in a couple of weeks – but I am certain that I would have done better if I had been in a calm, positive state of mind.  I had to laugh at myself when I thought about how soon after writing my post I had failed to live out my own words.

I learned a valuable lesson today.  I see clearly that I could have handled the situation in a way that would have been more beneficial for me.  I don’t have to imagine negative outcomes.  I can hope for and anticipate positive outcomes.  I did not have control over the weather, but I certainly had control over how I let it affect me.  I feel a little foolish admitting all of this, but I might as well come clean.  I think this experience will help me to remember, the next time, not to let pessimism and negative thinking take over.

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10 thoughts on “Stormy Weather

  1. Ahhhh, humility… what a great Teacher! Sounds like you are having big awarenesses about your thought patterns! I really honor your aspiring towards a new way of being with yourself!

    • It’s amazing how detached I was able to be from my own melodrama. I was watching myself and deciding that I don’t want to think or act that way any more. it’s like I was growing right before my own eyes. Does that make sense?

      • Yes, there are so many teachings about this; being the compassionate self-witness, the “I” watching the “me”. Meditation is a wonderful practice in just noticing, noticing, not judging. For me, daily meditation helps me to “click in” to the Witness Self more quickly when I need it the most. In fact, it’s almost like second nature now. I can almost always feel my Wise, Essential Sheri (or the Divine within, it’s all the same in my book) standing beside the human-living-life-Sheri and gently saying, “Notice. Breath. How is that drama serving you? Do you want to choose something else? Either way, you are Loved!”

  2. Belinda,

    When I was in the Navy, being late for your watch was a punishable offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. I was trained to be at my assigned watch 15 minutes early to receive the orders from the person being relieving from their duty. Although it has been 41 years since my last watch on an aircraft carrier, I still carry that philosphy with me for any scheduled appointment.

    When circumstances beyond my control occur (like storms or traffic jams), my positive thing is something like this: “What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen to me if I am late? Am I going to the brig (military jail), am I going to lose a stripe (demotion in rank and pay), do I have to go to the captain’s mast (military trial onboard ship), will the ship sink and 5000 people drown because I am late (consequence of my lateness)? Because the answer today is no, I relax and let God be God.

    Enjoyed your blog.

    • Hi Deacon Tom and thanks for the nice comment. Our training does force us into certain behaviors. But you are right, asking ourselves the right questions can change our perspective. Thanks and God bless.

  3. Don’t get upset with me but I actually laughed at loud at one point (the part before you thought your stress may have caused you to do poorly on the exam). I laughed at the part when you said you got melodramatic. How funny you are! You are way too hard on yourself and yes, I guess being an optimist helps. Trouble is optimism sometimes results in failure too (this much I know from my own experiences). I guess the best thing is to remember the human condition is fraught with emotions and stresses and yet, somehow we get through them! This will be a funny story for you to share in a couple of years – heck, what am I saying — in a couple of weeks!

    • I’m glad you laughed. I was laughing at myself. John says I actually handled it much better than I would have a year ago – when i would have been yelling at him and/or crying about being late. I guess some growth is better than none. And laughing at myself is the best reaction. Peace.

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