Are You Reactive or Responsive?

A flight attendant colleague of mine asked me to write about avoiding negative energy from some of her customers. Her request reminded me of how different it is to “respond” to a situation instead of “reacting” to it. I began to think about how much energy we give to people and situations that challenge us.

Staying positive and upbeat around people who are constantly complaining can be difficult at best. Often we are just doing our job and people act as if we are trying to take their first born, e.g., when flight attendants have to repeatedly remind people to turn off electronic devices or stay seated when it’s too turbulent for even the crew to be up out of their jumpseats.

Part of the issue is allowing others to have their own experience while we are having ours. A passenger on an aircraft might be totally wigged out because the flight attendant doesn’t have complimentary pillows and blankets. Fine. That’s their experience. But does it have to be the same experience for the flight attendant? It can be, if s/he chooses to take responsibility for the upset.

The Universe reflects back to us that which we need to address in our own lives. If I take a deep breath and step back from uncomfortable or annoying situations (in spite of my initial human reaction to someone who is being plain ugly to me!), I usually find that Spirit is nudging me in a direction of acceptance, understanding or to just slow down. We often do not want to identify with the “Nellie Negatives” in our lives, but if we are honest we may be able to see some of the same attitude in us, just in some other circumstance.

The other issue is how much power we are giving that other person or situation. If we give others the power to “make us upset” then we have only ourselves to thank for the experience. The Universe does not require us to be victims or martyrs. However … and here’s the “Truth you love to hate”… if we choose to play the part of a victim or the martyr then the Universe (which only says “Yes!” through the Law of Cause and Effect) is obliged to provide the circumstance for us to play our part.

If we react to uncomfortable and annoying situations we will perpetuate the energy. It will feed on our upset and grow, just like oxygen feeds a fire. On the other hand, if we respond appropriately to our experience and in line with who we are then we can be at peace with what may have previously thrown us off course.

If someone chooses to be miserable and doesn’t want to change, let them be. S/he can only affect us if we let it. We do not need the approval of others to be happy. Of course, conversely, if you are a flight attendant dealing with a customer who is uncooperative, s/he can gently be informed that they need your approval to stay on board!

The people in your life who insist on being ugly, negative or nasty around you can be gently, but firmly, informed that they can take their attitude out of your space. After all, you’ve suffered long enough with crap like that. Aren’t you ready to try something else?!? The Universe awaits your command – order up something or someone you want, not something or someone that will make your life miserable! Life is too long to be lived in misery.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,


Affected or Effective?

Those of you who are old enough will remember the peace slogan, “What if they had a war and nobody came?” The same is true of anything negative, like what we continue to hear about our economy. What would happen if we all just decided not to participate in the recession, or whatever economists choose to call it this week?

People of all political persuasions were stunned at the results of the elections last Tuesday. Some were elated. A few were humbled. Several said they were terrified. In spite of the polls and predictions, few people expected an outcome that could affect our lives in the next two, four or six years in ways we began to immediately hear about in the media. The Patriot-News here in Harrisburg is filled this morning with stories on how a change in state government will affect our taxes, and how we as a country should prepare for a two-year-long period of uncertainty because of the gridlock predicted in Congress.

It’s easy to run from the problem – we’ve all done it and I’m no exception – or just ignore it, decide to be a victim of it, or become depressed because of the seemingly hopelessness of the situation. I’ve run from jobs, only to find the same boss. I’ve fled relationships and ended up with the same issues. I’m still trying to figure out why I’m on my third Catholic husband when that religion is not a part of my spiritual path! I’m guessing it has something with acceptance of others or flashbacks to that past life I led as a cloistered monk in the eight century … but I digress – sorry, ADHD moment.

We can’t always change our circumstances, but we can change how we think about what is presented to us. Will you be “affected” by the change in the political climate, or be the “effective” change you feel is necessary? The media helps us all become well-versed in what is wrong with our society and our planet. We know what we don’t like, but often have difficulty in articulating what it is we really want. Understanding our needs, wants and desires help us to plot a course that will get us to our destination. Use the recent change in local and national politics to review the ideals for which you stand. Then, take action that is in harmony with the life you want to live.

Change around us can give us the courage to forge ahead or provide the excuse for pulling back. You probably know people who blame their financial woes on which party is in power. Yet there are plenty of people who, year after year, are still happy, have not lost everything and do not seem to be so affected. The latter have found the answer: It’s a choice to be at the affect of our circumstances or to be the effective force of change in our lives. Which will you choose?

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,