I must admit i've been been out of the country for 6 weeks. That's right, i left... I went to Guatemala from December 31st to February 10th. Oh, I left for several reasons. First of all, because i figured it might get real ugly between the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009. Second of all, I wanted to take a Spanish emersion class and give myself enough time to really begin to understand the language. Third of all, it's just too darn cold in Michigan in January to warrant hanging around!
Truthfully, I leave every year in January. As the song says, "It's too damn cold..." For me, it's the best time to get away.
This year I really loved my life in Guatemala. Meeting new friends from around the world every day. Studying spanish. Taking yoga. Climbing volcanoes. Hiking to villages. Going to marketplaces. Reading books. Learning the culture. Turning off technology. Giving myself a well deserved break and the permission to just "life around"... Wow! How energizing! How invigorating! How wonderful!
So, when I arrived back in the country and my feet hit the ground running in the Atlanta airport, I was bombarded by the media for the first time in 6 weeks. I just couldn't believe it. I just could not believe how "negative" the news in this country had become. Wow! Could life in this country have really gotten that bad that quickly? I wondered?
So, then I started to get back into my real estate business and my life in the neighborhoods. I must admit, re-entering can be a real challenging process. I mean, come on, going from waking up with yoga overlooking one of the most breathtaking views of Lake Atitlan and the San Pedro Volano, to solving clients real estate problems, phone calls, emails, meetings, closings. You choose...
Then, I began to notice how angry people have gotten too. And negative! There really has been a mood swing here, folks. And believe me, I was beginning to feel it in my body too. All of the sudden my shoulders were beginning to make the long journey from where they typically live, on my back, to their new home, up around my neck. Ouch! Then, I was beginning to notice and feel something I hadn't felt in weeks. Stress. Yuk! But the strange thing was, it wasn't my stress. I didn't really have any stress yet. I mean I was just on vacation for 6 weeks. So, it must be somebody elses stress. It had to be.
That was it! I called the worlds best Chiropractor and Kinesiologist, Dr George Coroneous. I went in for a 6AM adjustment. When I got there I said, "George, i have been happy as a clam for the last six weeks, probably because I haven't listened to the news. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss." That's when George said the most amazing thing. He said, "Amy, I was watching the History Channel the other night and they were talking about the last Great Depression and how the entire world, except for one country, was affected by the downturn in the US economy. Do you know which country was not affected by the last Great Depression?" Having just been in Guatemala, I said, "Guatemala?" "Nope, he said. It was Italy! Do you know why Italy was not affected by the Great Depression? Because Mussolini would not let the citizens of Italy read the newspapers, read magazines, or listen to the news. So, nobody changed their habits. They kept on growing. They kept on creating. Making wine. Making cars. Making love. They were completely unaffected."
So, turn off the news. Listen to beautiful music. Grow your mind. Take care of your body. Learn and expand while the rest of the world is contracting. But just remember this, if you are not making the news...the news is making you!
Check out this story which was on the TV, on MLive, and featured in the Grand Rapids Press last Saturday. It says it all...