It was Monday and Mondays were never good for George, the author writes as he introduces us to the main character in the story, The Energy Bus. We immediately discover that George is in conflict and that misfortune had been following George not just for a few weeks or months, but for several years like a dark rain cloud hovering over his life. In fact, George is on the verge of losing his job and his marriage until he meets Joy, the Bus Driver.
As we witness George’s learning on Joy’s Energy Bus, we are inspired as we realize that George and Joy live within all of us. Each day we have the power to make a choice as to what we choose to believe and the stories that we share with ourselves. We are encouraged by George’s story because we know that it’s also our story. We are all in search of peace, love, and Joy, but we struggle with how to find her.
Joy shows up in our lives in the stories that we tell ourselves in every moment we experience, each day. When George had to initially ride the bus, he definitely wasn’t expecting to meet Joy, but Joy can show up in the most unlikely places and times.
Many people go through life unhappy and discouraged because we tell ourselves things like “I know she doesn’t like me,” “bad things always happen to me,” Or “I will never be able to accomplish that.” Sound familiar? When we tell ourselves these negative stories about people or events in our lives, our mind is so focused on trying to solve the problem that your attention and energy are going nowhere, our bus is now stuck in the mud!
On the other hand, when we tell ourselves positive or encouraging stories, we move in and out of unpleasant situations faster, gaining new learning experiences and most importantly we are able to keep our bus moving in the right direction. Joy says, Everything happens for a reason. Every person we meet. Every event in our life. Every flat tire happens for a reason. Every problem has a gift for you. You can choose to see the curse or the gift.
So how do we change the stories we tell ourselves? Here are a few questions to ask yourself so that you bus keeps moving in a positive direction:
1. Is this a big problem or a little problem?
When faced with a challenging situation, first ask yourself- is this a big problem or little problem. If it involves someone else have the courage to talk to the person prior to telling yourself a negative story.
2. What are you grateful for?
Think of all the wonderful things that are happening in your life at this moment and give thanks. Keep a Grateful Journal and jot down daily thoughts of what you’re grateful for.
3. What Can I Learn from This Situation?
Every situation we’re faced with helps us to become our best selves. Thinking of what was learned helps us grow as we discover ourselves.
4. What can I do now to change this situation?
Instead of focusing on the problem, try thinking about what you can do now or next time to change the outcome.
5. What can I do for others?
Have you noticed that when you focus on yourself is when you become the most depressed? I believe it’s because we are all meant to serve others and not concentrate on ourselves. When you’re feeling negative, try giving someone a compliment or writing someone a nice note, you’ll be surprised at how uplifting it will be for you and the person you share it with.
The next time you’re in an unpleasant situation, stop and pose one of these questions to yourself. These simple inquiries will focus your thoughts on the positive and help you rediscover the beauty in people, events, and even yourself – and isn’t that what Joy is all about?