Same city – Different outlook – Totally different experiences

Peace and quiet in the middle of the hustle and bussle

It’s day 12 since I started my 30-day “happy no matter what challenge” – and I’ve decided to write an update because it was earlier today that I noticed something was different in my life.  While writing this, I’m mindful that my progress report might disappointment some.  For those of you who were expecting to read that I’ve found it easier to find parking spots, nope, the Law of Attraction has yet to solve that for me.  In fact, I just come from spending 30 minutes feeling very frustrated while looking for a place to leave my car for all of 5 minutes so I could grab some lunch.  In that regards, I can’t say that I’ve been better at keeping my cool when those small things get in my way.  As far as becoming a billionaire, I feel that I’m getting close, but I haven’t had a call from a rich relative to let me know that I’ll be getting a big chunk in advance.

So if it’s not the small stuff that I’m attracting and it’s not the big stuff either, then what is it that I’ve noticed is different in my life?  By minding my feelings and aiming to feel happy even if it means tickling myself in public, I’ve noticed a significant shift in my outlook on things.  That may sound minor in comparison to what you were expecting me to attract – convenience and instant wealth.  But based on the experiences that I’ve had in the last few days, that is no small thing for me. 

Let me explain.

Last week, while I was in Hong Kong (HK), I had the benefit of meeting someone who clearly needs to, as Lynn Grabhorn says in her book Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting, “open the valve” to let some happy in.  One night, while sitting outside of my hotel room so that I could work without waking up my husband, a very chatty neighbor approached me.  I let him interrupt because I was curious as to what the universe would bring to my door-step at that time of the night. (you can relax because I’m not a murder-mystery writer so you don’t have to worry about my safety)

The universe brought me a very important life lesson.  My neighbor, a pearl farmer from Seychelles (East Africa), was in HK attending the jewellery exhibition that was taking place in town.  Soon after we met, he went on to speak his mind about how he thought that HK was one of the most rotten places on earth.  He complained about the pollution, the frivolity of the people, the traffic and on and on and on he went.  I let him go on because I found his rant quite amuzing.  Like an anthropologist doing an ethnography on an indigenous tribe in Africa, there I was, doing a study on the power of perspective (on an African just as well).  Clearly, my neighbor and I were experiencing the same exact city.  Yet he was spending most of his free time cooped up in his hotel room, looking to avoid what he saw as overcrowded, polluted and noisy city streets, while I was busy seeing, tasting, and feeling new things.

Of course there was traffic and pollution and noise 24/7, but there was also a world of experiences to be lived.  On most mornings before work, I went for a walk through Victoria Park where I watched locals practice their daily Tai-Chi ritual, while others danced Abba (with a straight face) and others swam laps. I experienced new and unusual flavors at one of the city’s oldest vegetarian restaurants – which happened to be just 3 blocks away from my hotel (Tung Fong Siu Kee Yuen at 111 Wan Chai Road).  If you’re a vegan – like me – or a vegetarian and you’ve been to HK, you would know that such a spot would feel like an oasis in the midst of all the dead ducks, pig’s body parts and who knows what that are hanging from almost every other restaurant window.  On the week-end, I met a friendly local who drove me around the art galleries and antique shops on Upper Lascar Row – in a hip convertible mini-cooper.  And the greatest highlight of all was spending a morning meditating at the Chi Lin Nunnery.  Founded in the 1930s, this monastery was built in the Tang Dynasty style.  It’s all made out of wood and no nails where used in its construction.  The energy in this quiet place – which happens to be in a busy neighborhood – is both intense and calming – like nothing I’d experienced before. 

It’s questionable and hard to prove whether I attracted these experiences into my life.  But I can say that I did not go looking for any of this, because like my neighbor, I did not know that all this existed in HK.  Like him, I too could’ve stayed locked up in my hotel room during my free time.  But I found that somehow, these flavors, sights and sounds flowed into my life – quite effortlessly.

Now that I’m back in Sydney, feeling energized and fulfilled from my trip, I plan to do exactly what I’ve been doing – feeeling happy no matter what.  

Stay tuned.

3 thoughts on “Same city – Different outlook – Totally different experiences

  1. Silvana, I’d like to share this story with you…

    There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.

    “Well,” she said, “I think I’ll braid my hair today.” So she did and she had a wonderful day.

    The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.

    “Hmmm, ” she said, “I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today.” So she did and she had a grand day.

    The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.

    “Well,” she said, “Today I’m going to wear my hair in a pony tail.” So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

    The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn’t a single hair on her head.

    “YEAH!” she exclaimed, “I don’t have to fix my hair today!”

    Attitude and Perception are everything.



  2. One of the most awesome experiences I have ever had in my life was sneaking onto the rooftop of Victoria Peak and looking down on the skyscrapers at night as if I were able to fly. I love HK for that reason (and the Dim Sum, of course!)

    So great that you’re blogging and from what I can see you’re already finding your voice. Love the “strategic job hopper” tag as well – we should all fit this category. I’m looking forward to reading lots more here and being able to stay connect through your blog and mine now that we don’t live a simple 10 minute bus ride away from one another anymore!

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