Friday, March 8, 2013

Choosing Your Responses To Life's Little Hiccups.

I discovered something very interesting Thursday afternoon. I think I always knew it but it was so striking when it happened yesterday that I literally had to take a minute to shake it off.

I am Artistic Director of an acting group that meets on Tuesday evenings. We rent a studio space from a lady in her late fifties, I would guess, who was a working actress but I believe now focuses on teaching and coaching. On her website she seems like a very positive lovely lady. Yesterday however, I met someone quite different.

Apparently, when we used her studio TV to view our taped scene work, a button was pressed that turned on the auto input sensory. I am no tech whiz but this disabled the connection with the HDMI cable. Two days later, as she prepared for her 6pm class she could not figure out how to work her television and freaked out. She called demanding that we fix her television. I was just finishing with an audition when I got a call to go straighten things out.

I headed over and with all the charm I could muster I apologized if we messed anything up with the television and promised to fix it. She showed me the problem and started stressing that she had a class at 6pm and they pay her a lot of money and I need to fix her television. I searched every button trying to solve the problem. She left in a panic again telling me I need to fix this problem by 6pm! As it turned out I found the problem by simply going to the settings menu and turned the auto input sensor button off. I tried calling her to tell her the problem was solved. She didn't answer. I left a message. She called back as if she never listened to my message again screaming I needed to fix her television or buy her another. I told her I solved the problem and wanted to show her how to handle it herself should she find herself in this situation again.

Twenty five minutes later she arrived as her class was about to start. Her students were outside. I could hear her chatting away just as friendly as can be. She came in smiling and said, I know you are waiting be with you in a minute. I waited. She returned I said it was a simple fix and she and I were just not tech savvy so it took me time to find it. She smiled.  I walked her through it. As soon as it was done, she pointed at me and said, "I do not want you guys to use my television. period!"  I said "Sure. No problem. Sorry for the inconvenience." She said,  "If it doesn't work I will call you. God this was all so stressful."

I went home and I literally had to take a walk with my dog Rusty and consciously release all of the negative energy she vomited all over me as I was in her presence.

Granted, at some point in our using the television we MAY have pressed a button that caused the problem. I do not dispute this possibility. Nevertheless it was accidental. What I was taken aback by was how intensely hostile and negative this woman became in her choice of response. At the most, she lost some time preparing for class. Her class started on time and I received no phone calls so the problem was solved.   

The life lesson I learned? The energy we put out to the world affects those around you. I came to this woman with positivity and an attempt to be calming but she was on a negativity spiral and I see now that when you encounter folks like this, it helps to protect yourself and if it gets into you, shake that crap off quickly.

Moments before dealing with her, I was on an "acting high", feeling great about my audition. In moments, I felt sucked dry off all energy.  I hold no judgements of her and her right to feel what she feels when she thinks her income is being threatened but, man. It cannot be healthy responding to life's minor hiccups in that way.

It's times like this when I realize you are not a slave to your emotions, you choose your responses to life events. Best to choose wisely or you will suck the joy out of living.    

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