This past weekend, I was extremely fortunate to host a Buddhist author that I have been following for a few years.  He came to town and did a couple talks that were well attended by a great group of people who were excited to have him here.  And since he stayed with me, I got to talk to him quite a bit.  It was amazing!  He brought a very peaceful vibe with him and I felt better just being around him.  I was inspired and challenged, to say the least.  Coming back to work on Monday was quite a shock for both me and my wife.  We discussed it at length and finally decided that the best description we could think of at this time was that this man took us through the wardrobe to Narnia for 3 days.  And then we had to come back through to the “normal world”.  And now we are trying to function in the normal world after having an amazing experience in Narnia, so to speak.  Yeah. The last few of days have been a challenge.

As wonderful as the whole experience was, experiences come and go.  It’s what we practice on a consistent basis that makes up who we are and where our life is headed.  That’s what I’m telling myself when I think, “I miss Narnia!” LOL  I had a pretty intense mental and emotional struggle Monday morning.  Shortly after getting out of bed, I noticed that my thoughts were all pretty negative.  After feeling heavy and sad for a while, I remembered something that was said this weekend.  You can’t life a positive life with a negative attitude.  This is not always easy to do, people.  As someone who has struggled with severe depression in the past, I know that.  But, on the flip side, since I did go through a few years of depression, I can spot its tactics pretty quickly.  So, at some point during that morning, I physically shook myself and told myself that I’ve got to stop this right now.  So I just started thinking of things to say to myself.  Instead of being bummed that the author had to go back to his home, I started being thankful that he came in the first place.  Instead of allowing the thoughts of, “I don’t know what to do with this stirring inside me?”, I started just saying that I do know what to do with it.  Even if it’s not clear right now, why not say that I know, anyway?  And anything else I could think of to be thankful for.  Pretty soon, that heaviness started to lift off.  I can’t say that I came into work doing cartwheels, but it was with a much better mindset than I had early this morning.

Just a few things that I came away with from this weekend.

Gratitude.  Man.  That’s a huge one.  Even on our worst days, being able to think of something that we are grateful for can make a huge difference.

Non-judgement.  For example.  A red light is just a red light.  It’s not good or bad, it just is.  When I can see situations just as they are, without labeling or judging them one way or another, it really cuts down on frustration and similar feelings. And it can also mean seeing things from another person’s perspective.  Other people’s perspective on reality is just as valid as my own.  Or this could be said as, the opposite of what I know is also true to someone else.  He used this example; right now, in your city, someone is rescuing a dog.  But somewhere else in the world, a person just had a dog for lunch.  And we need to learn to be ok with that.  J  Our opinions and beliefs tend to change depending on time, place, and circumstance. And since we all experience life differently, there are multiple theories on what’s best, what’s moral, what’s right, and what’s wrong.  This doesn’t mean we tolerate what is harmful, but often with this mindset, we can see more clearly how we should respond.

Humor.  If I can laugh at myself a little more, I think that’s a good thing.  Like when I get mad at someone in traffic.  I could laugh and say to myself, “Look at you, all mad and everything.  LOL  Maybe that person just has to pee?” 🙂

A positive attitude.  As self-help cheesy as it may sound, it really does help to be positive rather than negative.  For example, if I have a goal to stop drinking, it certainly won’t help me to think or say, “I’ll never be able to stop drinking!”  Even after another failed attempt to not drink.  “I can do this.  I can stop drinking.  I control me, not alcohol.  I chose a healthier way to live.”  Those kinds of things add up and can make a big difference.

There was so much more, but I’ll leave it at that.  Shorter is often better.

As for the overall experience, I’m still processing much of it.  Today, this is how I’m looking at it.  Using the example of Narnia, I can take what I learned there, and apply it here in the normal world.  I believe that will help me to be a person who can bring that same peaceful vibe into other people’s lives and help them have a taste of Narnia as well.  It’s not that we try to escape life by having experiences, but when we do have an experience like I had this weekend, it’s about bringing that peace and joy and compassion into our everyday lives.