I met a beautiful woman this weekend… with the most amazing software. Let’s call her codename: ‘Pandora’.
Instantly, I fell in love… with her mind. That week she’d lost her dearly beloved Grandmother. They were very close to one another. And, as life seems to do, the week had added more burdens – with the latest being a friend reversing into her car, thereby smashing in the door panels.
I was at the party where this had happened. She kept smiling – genuinely smiling – and said the words that captured my heart and mind, “You know what?” she said, “Compared with what’s happened this week, this really doesn’t matter… we’ll sort it out.”
This is so advanced compared with my old software algorithms! It’s like a whole new order of Operating System – with far more beneficial applications and features than my old setup. My former software ran procedures like this:
Event: adverse circumstance =
• Belief: “bad things always come in threes!”
• Confession: “god, that’s typical, as if I hadn’t had enough to deal with this week!”
• Belief: “this is clearly evidence that god hates us all!”
I’ve deliberately used an exclamation mark at the end of these three outbursts, but in essence they are more like ‘excremation marks!’ This thinking is shit! Aside from the more obvious theological fallacies, my old way of thinking has a terrible physical and behavioural impact. I promise you, thinking like that only makes the situation worse, not more bearable. (I assume the positive intention for my old negative kind of thinking was to help make it easier for me to cope with tough times).
There is clearly a better way, and what I loved most about Pandora’s confession (reminder: “Compared with what’s happened this week, this really doesn’t matter…”) was that it was absolutely true!
Truth is one of the best foundations to build one’s life upon (alongside ‘kindness’ and ‘respect’). You don’t have to keep spinning excuses when you’re living in the truth. Pandora was right – compared with losing one’s beloved grandmother, a damaged car is an easy fix. She closed the loop – the endless loop of negativity that one gets stuck in if you keep meditating on how ‘typical’ or ‘bad’ the situation is.
Pandora had gone further though (and here’s where the application of this kind of thinking really kicks in)… she moved on to suggest possible solutions that didn’t result in the young driver losing their non-claims bonus or suffering from higher premiums. There are so many things I love about this: firstly, a proactive, action-focus; secondly, a solutions-focus; thirdly, thinking of others even when the ‘injury’ is to one’s self. Here is ‘software’ that mirrors the real world – a world in which we are in a dynamic ecological relationship with all other elements. This stretches beyond even being in a relationship with all other living creatures – we are even connected to the physical resources that make life on Earth sustainable. This is Next Generation, mature software, and I’ve installed the upgrade already.
Of course, not all of my old programmes and applications are compatible with the new Operating System. I confess, I’m emotionally attached to some of my old programmes – they’ve been with me for a long time, and they’ve served me well enough in my state-of-ignorance that there is a better way to think. But, they’ve got to go – they will not be supported under the new Operating System. I recognise that I’m likely to run a dual-boot system for awhile, until I am completely familiar with the new system – but the upgrade is irreversible.
Would you like to upgrade too?
This is an upgrade, folks, not an update. The upgrade procedure is fun – it’s more like a game than a chore. Want to know more? Well, I’ve called it “The Reframe Game.” It involves finding:
• A better comparison… or,
• An alternative meaning… or,
• An alternative perspective.
A friend of my father has just lost his licence to drive (through ill health, not for any nefarious reason!) In an instant, his perception of ‘liberty’ has transformed. It is too easy for him to think, “this is the beginning of the end…” (he’s very advanced in years and has been very ill for a long time.) Whilst he must install his own Operating System upgrade, I can, nevertheless, feel for him. The Reframe Game would then find value for him in the apparently negative circumstance. For example:
• I can really get value from my bus pass and other benefits granted to pensioners;
• I can save the money, time, and stress associated with the cost of running a motor vehicle;
• This is a golden opportunity to spend more time with my sons, and work interdependently with them – I need them, and I know they need me for other reasons;
• Compared to losing another aspect of my health, this is a minor setback;
• If it was truly too dangerous for my licence to be renewed, I may be avoiding a serious incident this way, where not only me, but someone else may have been injured or killed.
Serious stuff, I know, but let’s face it, when you mature, you realise that ‘life’ is not ‘fair’ – and that ‘justice’ and ‘good-luck’ are as much within our own power to influence as any imaginary force that is directing our destiny. (For those readers with strong religious beliefs, I can only speak accurately for the Judeo-Christian tradition, which claims that ‘truth’ and ‘justice’ fall in the streets for the lack of prayer and action from god’s own followers. Gird up the loins of your mind people! And what a wonderful turn-of-phrase that is!!!)
In the legend of Pandora’s Box, Pandora’s curiosity unleashes all manner of suffering on the world. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandora’s_box
Pandora tried in vain to close the lid of the jar (not a box in the original legend), but it was too late, all the evils of the world had escaped. At the bottom of the jar, however, lay one last aspect, the Spirit of Hope, which the Greeks call ‘Elpis’.
OS Elpis. The Operating System upgrade that I am recommending is, in essence, ‘Hope’ – the realisation that the game is not over, there is hope…
The end of it is the new beginning…
My Pandora stayed true. She stayed true to herself, and true to a realistic re-appraisal of the situation and events. I am inspired by her… inspired to pro-active action. I hope you are too.