We just completed three weeks of workshops in the South of France at Les Labadous, our home away from home. The workshops were, as always, incredibly effective and many a breakthrough was witnessed.
For this message, however, I want to talk a little about how my perception chooses my experience. This is, of course, a well known concept and one we teach consistently. Circumstances have nothing to do with my experience, my choice does.
Charlie and I took a few days between workshops and drove to the Mediterranean Coast
with an intention of exploring a workshop venue for a future workshop. On the way we bought a perfect round of ripe Coulummier, a rich, soft cheese comparable to a Brie or a Camembert but with, perhaps, a stronger scent and taste.
It was a hot day as we drove towards the sea, the cheese was in the back of the car noticeably ripening. Finally hunger and the beautiful smell of the cheese moved us to pull up by the side of the road, tear off a piece of baguette and a nice chunk of the Coulummiers and expressed how fortunate we were to be there in the silence of the hot French country side and how we loved the taste of this magnificent cheese.
A few hours later we arrived in Ceret where we were to spend the night. We unloaded the groceries including the cheese and then decided to head into the old part of the town for dinner. After our relaxed meal on a terrace on the town square we returned to our home for the night and noticed that the house keeper had been at the house; the garbage had been put outside and there were a few other signs.
What stood out most, however, was a terrible stench and my first thought was: “How incredibly rude, for this person to come into the house and use the bathroom stinking up the place.” We opened windows and hoped the smell would dissipate a little into the hot summer evening. It did not.
Then it occurred to me, the ‘offending’ smell originated from the leftover half a round of a previously celebrated piece of Coulummiers and not from any ill-mannered bathroom activity at all.
The same smell we loved for hours had suddenly become offensive. By means of a simple, erroneous, interpretation I had managed to turn a delight into an insult and an offense.
What ‘Setting the Goal’ teaches me over and over is that the reverse is not only possible, but necessary. My day to day experience is solely the result of my choices never the circumstance. “Thank you” to a fantastic piece of cheese!
Memorable comment from one of the workshops in France:At one point in one of the workshops in France I asked the group if any of them had ever kicked an addiction to a substance. Several people raised their hands. One woman volunteered that the substance she had successfully withdrawn from was cigarettes. I asked her how she had managed to quit. Her reply? “I read your book.” She shared that by the time she had finished reading the book she was done with the self hatred that drove her addiction. Cool.
Learn more about the workshops in the South of France
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