I lost my wallet about a month ago. It had my credit cards, receipts, other sundries, and especially cash-$63. But guess what? My wallet came back to me: to my house, in fact! It was hand-delivered by a guy who’d driven to my house. He’d seen the address, I guess on my driver’s license, and returned my wallet. He is a good man, a very good man. He could have dropped it off at the Post Office, and still he’d be a good man in my eyes. But he went the extra mile, literally--probably before he went to his own job—and returned my wallet. And, by the way, the wallet had everything in it still, including my cash. Thinking through this experience, I was shocked at what rolled through my mind.
I was grateful—very grateful to this man, whom I didn’t even know, for what he did. It struck me how caring he was, too, that he thoughtfully drove to my house. I really wish I’d been there to meet him, to thank him personally. Don’t get the wrong idea, but my first thought was “Of course he brought it back!”(Positive thinking prevailed!) My head was in a good space, and my belief was spoken in that space. The night before, however, I was in a completely different space, a negative one: I was convinced I’d never see my wallet again, and even if I did it would be cleaned out. What? Yup. That’s where I went automatically, into that very convincing negative space, worst- case scenario. We all do that, so I know I’m not alone here. But WHY do we do that so easily—begin with negativity, and WHY must we continue to WORK on our positivity?!? Shouldn’t that be our regular space? In our shop, we teach and encourage positivity as much as possible. We spend a lot of time ourselves and with customers focusing on positive energy. “Positive thought brings positive outcomes.” (You’ve heard that before)
So when I told people about this “wallet event,” everyone was amazed and surprised. People called this good guy a “saint” or “Captain America.” I guess we don’t often experience such an act of kindness on a regular basis, so this story really sticks out to them. But wait…why should we NOT expect good acts, acts of kindness, done by good people? I know I would do the right thing and return the wallet; I know you would do the right thing, too. So why does it seem that human nature has us automatically jumping to the negative assumptions about people and events? Once we get over our initial action, we then begin working on the positive.
Incredibly we don’t have to work on the negative. It’s always there, waiting for us on a silver platter. Do we live in such a bad place; is our society that mean and untrustworthy? Kids don’t think so; they see the positive in everything. Ask an animal (if you speak to them). Ask someone who is dying. Kids, animals, and the dying don’t have to work at being positive. Why? Here’s the answer that resonated with me: Perspective. Let’s re-visit this idea: perspective is not about what is. Perspective is about how we see it. The reality is the same; our perceptions see it differently.
I am blessed to have the gift of communicating with animals. The other day I saw a truckload of pigs clearly headed to well…you know. I was afraid to tune into them fearing what I’d hear. Looking into their eyes, beautiful, thoughtful, intelligent eyes, it occurred to me I should consider becoming a vegetarian. Three different pigs “spoke” to me through their eyes and into my heart. “It doesn’t matter the life you are given, often full of tragedies, pain, fear, and heartache. It matters where your heart is. It matters how you see that life, and what you do with it. You are not the only one hurting, so it does matter that you make a difference. Don’t look at us with pity; instead see us with honor and love. Do the same with the people in your life. Moments of true, unconditional love and understanding make up for a lifetime of cruelty and oppression. We are free because we choose it in our hearts. We no longer fear because there’s no time left to fear, and we don’t want to waste the time we have left fearing the outcome. This is what you must learn to do.”
Warning: never speak disparagingly about pigs in my presence.
One last story about perspective. I was recently waiting in line at a grocery store, and an elderly man stepped in front of me in line. This was fine with me—he only had a newspaper and I had several items. The man suddenly moved out of line and said “Just a minute, I have to grab the other two newspapers I read.” No problem here. But then he said to me, “I read three papers a day because I have to keep up with all that’s going on in the world. And the world is one messed up place. I’m glad I’m at that age that I’ll probably die before it gets much worse.” WOW. WOW. Did he just say that? Why on earth would this man feel that way? It’s my belief that reading all those newspapers colors his perspective in a negative way. He can’t see the positive with his built-on armor of negativity. And yet, those pigs, off to slaughter…Wow. I mean, that we create our perspective has never been so clear.
So, back to the man who returned my wallet. I’m grateful to this guy. I appreciate he went out of his way to do an act of kindness. Now, as I remember this event, my perspective has changed. Common thinking would call this guy “outside the norm”…an unusually nice man, a random act of kindness. I say, with my new perspective, that he IS the Norm. It wasn’t random act of kindness. He chose to return my wallet! So instead of being shocked by a random act of kindness, we should be shocked & angry when a wallet doesn’t come back. Let’s get surprised when a bad deed is done rather than surprised when a good deed is done. Let’s not take kind deeds for granted, and continue to be consciously grateful for all the kindnesses given us. Change your perspective to positive. Work on it. Every day, see something positive in your world and make a note. Fill a notebook. Acknowledge all the positives in our world. There is goodness and kindness everywhere, there are good people who will help, volunteer, or share because they want to be part of a better world. Those add up, they help create the world we’re looking to inhabit! Be one of those people, whenever you can, and acknowledge goodness when you see it.
P.S. On those days when a positive outlook seems impossible, when negative stuff is coming at you from all angles, just find yourself a pig to talk to. They’ve got all the best answers. Until next time….Positive thinking brings positive results!