I have had no fully functioning television since February. Strange, one may think given I work in TV. But, in fact, most of the children’s content I watch is online and on my laptop. What I have really missed however, (particularly with my poor health this year), is being able to lie down on a comfy sofa, and just press a button, watch a drama and, yes, distract. From the day’s challenges, the pain, the real world – a bit of escapism dare I say it. Now I won’t bore you with the over 50 calls with Sky and multiple engineer visits (suffice to say with my consumer journalist hat on if you have Sky Q and a BT Broadband it appears there is an incompatibility issue they are covering up), but I will say it has got me thinking about how not getting or having what we want affects us.
This week I decided to reflect on all the times I was getting hurt/angry/frustrated/anxious or down right upset. Almost all of them were in reaction to something I wanted and hadn’t got. A doctor to call. A prescription to be written. A TV to work. My house to sell. My Mum to feel better. The builders to stop banging. A car to let me pass by. The list goes on, and this was just in 24 hours! Big or small, not getting what we want can impact us negatively. But when I looked at my very long list, much of my distress was being caused by the way I reacted to these things. Could I manage them better I wondered? Now, if you don’t’ have food on your table, a roof over your head, freedom and safety that is different. But a working TV I pondered? Not to say I don’t want to sort this, and not to say with my “Watchdog” hat on I feel a responsibility to get to the bottom of it. But, which bits of my journey could I take control of and lessen the negativity?
Over the past months I have had so many emotions connected to this extremely frustrating and ongoing interaction with Sky. To the point where just the mention of “Sky” felt like a poison pill. But, much like with my illness, where does acceptance come in? Surely, it is important to take action so we are in control of our own lives and destinations, and not passive onlookers of injustice and more? But then perhaps it is not about the action or inaction, it is about the attachment or detachment from a specific outcome or how we get there. It is about removing ourselves from the drama. About ‘responding’ not ‘reacting’?. Acceptance of a situation is different from condoning or not taking action. I can accept the TV doesn’t work, keep calm, read a book, believe that the corporates are in the wrong, and still take further steps to resolve (with a large chunk of chocolate cake to hand!).
My reflections made me realise first and foremost so much upset is in fact at its foundation our reactions to not getting what we want. And for me then somehow getting involved in the drama of that. So, when I said to myself, who needs a TV anyway, how many hours do I waste a week? And then tried to let go of any outcome with Sky and BT, it felt better. It was an attitude, a detachment, a distancing that I know I have talked about before. One that comes for me if I meditate regularly, take time out, try not to ‘react’ but instead to ‘respond’.
“No turkeys at Christmas” was the headline I heard this week here in the UK. I wonder if my recent reflections or the space I am currently in fuelled my internal response, which was, ‘what mix of funky foods could we have on the 25th as an alternative Christmas dinner? No more worrying about when to put the bird in the oven, phew!’. And my relief today when I finally decided to take my house off the market and acknowledge I am fortunate to have a home at all. And, yes, I want to be fully well, but no longer ‘battling’ the system, fighting the pain, but calmly holding for the GP surgery to pick up for an hour and getting on with emails meantime, instead of angrily bubbling inside. (I kindly remarked when the receptionist picked up I had been waiting an hour and asked was there any way around this; FYI the answer was no!).
So my conclusion this week is that much of my upset is being caused by my reactions. And yes I am human, and yes it is OK and normal to feel these mix of emotions to the bigger things that cause distress. But how many are small and may offer me a better alternative path? Who is to say an Italian festive pasta with tiramisu and prosecco wouldn’t make a good Christmas day?! For those bigger life things like health, not getting involved in the drama and finding ‘space’ for calm, and a balanced response can only be of benefit.
So Hubbers, these are my rather rambly ponderings this week. Here in the UK I hope you are enjoying some of our autumnal sunshine this weekend, before the climes cool. And to everyone around the world, I wish you all a very healthy and happy week.