Odds are that once you’re open to a new perspective there’s a pull to test it out.
As a small budget holder with a ‘tread lightly’ philosophy I played a game which eventually dictated all my consumer activities. I used applied focussing to my purchases, big time. This is how I did it:
I would set myself a random purchase goal (bizarrely, even if it was something I didn’t need, purely to test the principle). A red light bulb, for example. Or a fluted salmon pink lampshade. To begin with I would peruse the shops in my locality, noticing where lightbulbs were stocked, checking the retailers, prices, quality and variants. Familiarising myself with the subject. It sounds alarmingly obsessive and materialistic, but was actually a profound exercise in focussing. Because of my budget restrictions I couldn’t just purchase the first one I found. It had to be THE one. At the best price. The one I had envisioned, no cheating.
I became finely tuned until I developed a kind of intuition. Instead of a list of ‘things I need to get’ there was just the one. And it had my full attention. I learned to work on the assumption that it was there, waiting for me; a game of cat-and-mouse. I had to find where my prize had hidden itself. And I always found it (purchase wasn’t essential, only the discovery).
As an artist I’m trained to notice. I’d use this training to try poundstores, independent retailers, high street stores, charity shops and flea markets. My awareness of my environment grew. You could ask me where to buy a random article and I could respond with several likely candidates and a price range, just through peripheral consumer vision. It was an odd talent with a curious merit, taking me into realms of perceived value, consumer snobbery, navigation and expansive thinking. It was no minor activity.
As the game progressed I limited myself to charity shops. It became a game of ‘which one is it in?’. A pretty silver teapot, a Hornsea sugarbowl, or single electric blanket. I’d focus, visualise, go through the charity shops I knew in my head (there are a lot in my town) and make a selection; nominations of 3 or 4. And I’d visit them in turn for a week or fortnight.
You’ll think I’m bonkers (and I thought so too, at times), but it never failed. Random items in random stores at random times, but it never failed. The prize was always there, and at a knock-down price.
A dental receptionist once looked me in the eye and said ‘there’s always help’ when I balked at the price of treatment, handing me a form for subsidy. This stayed with me. The charity shop game was a protracted exercise in finding help. And it worked every time, even with my ridiculous budget.
Focussing on my desires made the unlikely possible, noticing expanded my knowledge and resources, and application made it happen. Every time. If you haven’t already, try it.
For those of you curious for different perspectives on what makes us tick, and who like to have a smile on your face…enjoy a few minutes to watch this speech by Tim Minchin.
I’ll share a story with you.
One rainy November afternoon I was walking along a high pavement, head down against the wind, back from work to my flat. I’m optimistic by nature, but this day I was troubled. Money was tighter than my comfort zone. Way tighter. And although I’m normally resourceful, this time there was no cash in my wallet and no food in the cupboard. It wasn’t looking good, and for the first time in my adult life I had to look outside myself for help. So I did. I reached to a place inside me I’d never visited before, and I asked for help. With all my heart.
I was approaching a descent of steps leading to a busy junction. As I took the first step down the noise from the road increased. It was semi-dark and the headlamps were illuminating the raindrops. I looked across and below to see how the traffic lights were placed. I saw the bustle and wind and rain, and something above, gracefully caught in the wind, dancing across the road towards me. It looped and dived, landing directly at my feet. It was a ten pound note.
I have no idea where it came from, although I looked. It was mine, and I was extremely thankful. It was the strangest, most beautiful gift. And a transformative moment in my life.
We all look for ways to make things better. Especially if they come with creedance. And especially when things aren’t going so well. Sometimes we need a lifeline.
Human beings are fabulous creatures, and when times get tough the bridges of hope, faith and determination become luminous and poignant. How do we know what works and what doesn’t, and what lies between? Where do the miracles lie? With our God, our Science, our Will or our Faith? Or is it in the interface?
This might make you smile.
It only takes little things.
Let those small things into your life 🙂
Believe it. Today is going to be great…if you want it to be, and if you let it.
Make it so. And enjoy it 🙂