Thorns or Roses

“The whole world may be choked by thorns but I am wrapped in roses.
The whole world may lie in ruins but my heart sings ecstatically”  Rumi.

I wonder if, like me, you often feel the World appears “choked by thorns” or “lies in ruin”.

With bad news and fake news seemingly dominant in the world’s mainstream media, it can be all too easy to become equally choked and succumb to the thorns. For some, you might even become another thorn that spikes all that you come into contact with – unintentionally or unconsciously of course.

When we are hurting, feel depressed, surrounded by doom and gloom and people who push what is wrong and negative, it can be easy to get wrapped up in that kind of world.

About 2 years ago, I decided that I wanted to limit my attraction to the thorns in the World, partly because many of the very big thorns are out with my control to immediately change and partly because by having too much of my mind focused on or distracted by what is “bad”, I felt disempowered, sad and at times, angered and bewildered by the destructive behaviour of those who choose thorns.

The TV, social media, printed press and daily conversation seemed to me to be captivated by what is wrong and who’s to blame versus what is good and personal accountability.

So I decided to –

  • Remove myself from the constantly available news.
  • Choose the conversations I engaged in and my mindset and language in those conversations. (I have not been 100% successful but I am certainly trying)
  • Actively look for good news and what is positive in the World (and not just cute cat videos).

As a result, while my heart is not constantly “singing ecstatically”, I feel I’ve taken back control of where I choose to focus, what I choose to come into my life and how and when I choose to engage.

I’ve decided that if I choose to engage, it must be to

  • Learn to understand more.
  • Contribute in a positive way.
  • Dispel untruths – when I’m certain (yes I know, who is the judge of certain – that’s a question to be pondered further and not now)

One specific thing I did.

When travelling for work, especially in the USA, I stay in Sheraton Hotels and I’m lucky enough to be a Platinum member. This gives me access to a lounge with breakfast, snacks, drinks etc. The downside is that CNN is constantly on. The impact of this is that as I have my breakfast in the lounge, I would start my day exposed to the news 99% of which was not what I would call positive!

So if I was the only person in the lounge and occasionally, if there were others (depending on the volume of the TV), I would ask for the TV to be turned off or at last turned on mute. This request was met by one of 3 responses.

  • No we can’t – “it’s part of our brand to have the TV on, it’s what our customers want”
  • Why? – to which I would explain I didn’t want my day to start with so much negativity – oh and I’m a customer too (politely of course)
  • OK if no one else minds – most people didn’t (interesting in itself)

Since then,

  • I never watch the news in full – I check the headlines on the BBC website a couple of times a day.
  • I don’t engage in the topical Brexit or Them v Us political conversations.
  • I rarely get into spiralling blame game or the world is going to pot conversations that go nowhere.
  • I avoid gossipy type conversations and especially if a person being discussed is not present to share their point of view – I’m not perfect at this but am better at catching myself.

The World we live in has many, big challenges that need big, long lasting solutions.

The bad news is that too many people, attached to their ego, are afraid to take a stand to do the right thing.

The good news is that there are many, many, many people all around the World, who are rarely seen or heard, selflessly and determinedly making significant small and big daily differences or working to solve these big challenges.

I choose to focus my energy on the good news and look for more roses, whilst not being blind or ignorant to the serious challenges and thorns in our World. I trust that in doing so my heart will sing more often than not.

What will you choose, thorns or roses?

And if you are one of the many, many people involved in doing good and spreading positive news, ideas and thinking, please do share. If you know of good news, please share; in the sharing and highlighting of good news we create a different energy for more people.

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