We Were Stuck on the Plane but Not Going Anywhere = Rich Material

 In Better Life, Negative emotions

Does your day provide opportunities for you to practice staying positive? I call this “Rich Material.”

I was in my seat, waiting for the plane to depart. There was some commotion at the back of the plane so I looked back. I noticed that one of the panels over a seat was hanging down. Several people, including the flight attendant, were trying to push it back into place, but it just wouldn’t stay.

Then the announcement came over the intercom. They had called an engineer to fix it, but he was over an hour drive away so we would have to wait. People started to grumble. We were already late. Couldn’t someone else fix it? Couldn’t they just put some tape on it or move people out of that seat and just leave it? It seemed that the safety policy wouldn’t allow any of these options.

I had to smile to myself. This was rich material! I found it fascinating that the current book on mindfulness that I was reading on the plane (I can’t remember the title) was using this exact example! “If your plane is delayed and you’re worried about catching your connecting flight, it’s normal to get frustrated and upset. But feeling angry won’t get you there any faster or change what happens. You have the choice to become the observer of your thoughts and emotions instead of the participant.” So I was staying calm by observing my instinctive reaction and the reaction of my fellow passengers.

Isn’t it interesting how we can make ourselves frustrated over things that are out of our control? Some people remained fairly calm and others were loudly complaining. We were stuck on the plane but not getting any closer to our destination.

An hour passed; then another 30 minutes. The complaining grew even worse. Finally, they let the engineer on the plane. He strode to the back and quickly fixed the panel with a piece of duct tape. Seriously?? We’d been waiting all this time for a qualified expert to apply some duct tape? Ah!! More rich material…

Keep an eye out this week for the rich material in your life. When you find it, smile and see if you can become the observer instead of the participant. This is a tool in Step 2. Practice, from “The Immunity to Negativity FormulaTM.”

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