Am I consciously choosing to surround myself with people who support my vision and who are playing the game of life at the same level I am taking it on? The truthful answer to this is ~ not in every moment.
Each day, people we know and people we don’t know infiltrate our lives. They all come bearing different levels of energy. Learning to master our own responses to the energy of others helps us to access more freedom in how we experience those who come in and out of our lives.
If someone is having a tough day, I can choose to smile knowing that it may or may not shift things for him or her. But if I smile I know I have done my part to contribute some higher energy to the moment. I have chosen my response instead of taking on their lower energy.
If I am having a tough day, I can recognize how I respond to this impacts others then choose how to best work through my own stuff so I don’t contribute to more garbage being out there in the world.
On my flight yesterday from Los Angeles to Chicago, I had the opportunity to experiment thanks to the personnel of United Airlines. From my first interaction stepping up to the curbside check-in, I was met with nothing but low energy, unhelpful employees and misinformation. My fellow passengers also noticed the same across the board.
I watched myself throughout the process as I began, at times, to get frustrated with the long, slow lines and then make a different choice. I did well up until the point where I hit the ladies room and encountered yet another line. A cleaning lady, who literally shoved a woman out of a stall as she was entering, just to sweep the floor compounded the situation.
“Is there anything you don’t have to stand in line for around here?” I asked out loud. I had spent over an hour getting from the curb to the gate by this point. But as my voice echoed in the bathroom to no one in particular, I felt how it contributed to the epidemic of disconnection.
My energy went up and down for the next half hour. The food court was cluttered with people, trash and dirty tables. The waiting areas were overstuffed with fliers, many of them frustrated by the process and feeling very under-served. Please, thank you, may I help you, I’m sorry I wish there was something I could do all seemed to have left the building. I kept adjusting my responses, recognizing that getting dragged into a funk wasn’t going to improve the experience.
Instead, I started speaking to my fellow passengers. I joked with them about the “pay $79.00 more so you can open your laptop fully” sign. I chatted with a large guy who chose to stand most of the flight because he, too, was stuck in a middle seat. Like survivors, we bonded together and became a bit of a tribe…it was us against them as the flight attendants snarled at passengers trying to make it down the six inch aisle to the bathroom, avoided any form of eye contact and or any facial expression that resembled a smile.
I began to feel some compassion for flight attendants. How difficult must it be to come to work every day in this environment? How stuck are some of them feeling in their job?
The flying experience was a real opportunity to practice what I coach and to really experience that how we respond truly does make a difference in our own lives and in the lives of others.