We had a test last week. A test in practising what we said we would. We passed.
My wife called me on Thursday morning as I was about to get off the train and head into work. Her wallet was missing, presumed lost at a supermarket the night before. Her car needed refuelling. She had to drive our older son to school, our younger son to childcare and then go to work herself. Her car needed refuelling, echoed in my head. With no money, credit cards, IDs and about half an hour before the school bell, I felt her desperation. What was she going to do? Knowing all this, and feeling the unmistakable teary quiver in her voice, I was on the edge of giving in to fear and anger. Fear of what would happen if her credit cards got into wrong hands. Identity theft anyone? There was no cash in the wallet, thankfully. But the hassle of getting the IDs and cards re-issued? What if the Police stopped her and she didn’t have her Driver Licence? My mind was taking over in a bad way. I was stuck for what to say to her. The easiest way would have been to blame her for being careless about her belongings (after all, she lost her iPhone in a supermarket only six months ago) and say that I couldn’t do anything about it. I was one hour away. I had a busy day ahead of me. And no, I could not take a day off. What would that achieve anyhow?
Now, let me clarify. I have been raised witnessing my dad and mum giving in to anger, fear, expletives and blaming in situations like this. And I grew quite good at modelling it. When pushed by people or circumstances I would either lose my calm and let it out, or I would lose it and repress it. The latter would happen out of two reasons: either because I was afraid of what people around me would think if I lost my temper in front of them or because the issue was only indirectly affecting me. In this case, I would be annoyed ‘inside’ rather than expressing it for everyone else to see. For most of my life fear and indifference summed me up nicely. If this sounds like people you know, or even the majority of people you know, it’s still not an excuse to condone it. Being like everybody else is usually an excuse for where we are, and rarely the reason for where we want to be.
I recall the feeling of shame I felt when my wife saw me upset over a parking ticket not long after we got married. It was the first time I got upset in front of her. I think she realised then that the honeymoon period was over. I, on the other hand, realised that I had the same habits as my parents, and that I wasn’t in control of them at all times. In fact, I wasn’t in control at any time, it’s just that these habits would rear their heads only when something was wrong. Fair enough. As I said, most people are like that, right? Life is hard, except for the smooth sailing parts. We are doing the best we can. We are coping. And getting angry, yelling, and swearing are all parts of the process? Coping mechanisms, they say. Accepting these explanations for the way we are, the way we behave, the way we hurt others, and the way we hurt ourselves is what most people do. Find a sympathetic mind to confirm this for you, and you feel you are in control. Actually, you are not.
A few months earlier this year, after watching The Secret documentary based on Rhonda Byrne’s book by the same title, my wife and I felt inspired to learn more about the so called Law of Attraction. The Law states that what you think of you attract. We went on to read the book and its follow-up The Power. This led us to Jack Canfield’s book The Success Principles. Having read The Success Principles, we knew we had just been presented with a manual by which we would want to live the rest of our lives. The book is an aggregate of principles and techniques which had been proven to lead to successful outcomes in other people’s lives.
We made a conscious decision to make it a priority to work on attracting into our lives what we really wanted for ourselves. Rather than explaining away how we were and what was happening to us by excuses and external circumstances out of our control, we decided to focus on what we could control: our actions. We increasingly became aware of our responses to those circumstances arising from following our goals and life visions. It sounds good on paper. Practise it and you will find that there seem to be more obstacles than before you started. After a while, you realise that the more stuck you feel, the more progress you’ve made. Thankfully, life is full of beautiful presents we used to call problems to exercise these principles on. Have you ever noticed how often people when you call their name say, “What’s wrong?” We are wired to respond to everything by defining it as a problem and then trying to solve it.
So how did we go? What has all this to do with my wife’s lost wallet? I used to think that unless you’re a yogi, there is nothing effortless about changing your life. Attracting what you want into your life is not supposed to be effortless. It’s supposed to be hard work. That’s why we never set out to do it. That’s why we have excuses. We want it easy.
Once you accept yourself and your current position and then clearly define what you would like to become and where you would like to be, changing your responses to pleasant or unpleasant circumstances becomes a matter of changing your thinking. When your focus changes, your speaking and thinking language changes, your thoughts change, your beliefs change, your actions change, your habits change, your behaviour changes, and ultimately your reality changes. It is easy to see how indeed we ‘attract’ what we think.
I was on the phone to my wife that morning. All of a sudden, I believed everything was fine. I decided to believe that. I said to her that everything would be okay. She could borrow some money from a neighbour to refuel the car. I said to her I was confident that the wallet would be returned, since it was left at a supermarket in an upmarket area, mostly frequented by well-to-do seniors. I said that I loved her and believed that she would have a wonderful day ahead. I could feel the relief in her voice. As if by magic, the energy between us transformed into a loving exchange, wishing each other a great day and looking forward to seeing each other in the evening. I was happy and confident that everything was fine. I was thankful for the opportunity to be who I want to be. With my eyes wide open, I visualised my wife driving to work with a smile on her face.
That afternoon I got another call from my wife. She cried joyfully that her wallet had been found. She had a call from Police letting her know that her wallet had been turned in, intact. We both laughed. The wallet, “intact”; it sounded so insignificant compared to how we felt. We felt we were found. We were found in the belief that we can create our reality every time in every respect of our lives.
The worries of the morning that would have overwhelmed me a few months ago, inspired a sense of appreciation for the way we’ve become. And thinking about it, I realised that it has been effortless.