Friday, 15 May 2015

Winning The Lottery

Something in the air this week made me think about wishing and hoping for something better than what we’ve got…

A few months ago, I read somewhere (in a pop-up ad, I think) about the amazing successes to be gained from being mindful and concentrating on the thing one wants, so I followed the link and it made for interesting reading.
I tried it for a week.   

I wouldn’t usually go in for these things, but I thought it would be an interesting experiment, and was open-minded about how it might turn out.  I’m a fortunate person, and want for very little, so I had to think about what I might be able to get myself from the process.  I quickly dismissed most material possessions.  I’d quite like a Gretsch guitar, but I’ve already got a guitar, so it seemed a bit pointless to wish for a different one.  I really wanted some peanut butter, but they sell that in most of my local shops, so it seemed even more daft.

I’m blessed in my personal life to know wonderful people, and to feel love for, and of, those around me.  I’ve never had a clear idea of what success might constitute in any particular artistic endeavour, other than seeing a project through to completion and being reasonably happy with the result. 
I’m not an ambitious person, in any conventional sense.  And I’ve never really wished for things material or abstract, what with being an adult and all.

I didn’t think it realistic to envision world peace, an end to capitalism, or the arms trade, or patriarchy or sectarianism or oppression or Channel 4 or tabloid newspapers or Bob Geldof or Jamie Oliver or Radio 5 or square plates or Twitter or British indiepop bands.  Those things, it seems, if they could ever be eliminated, would take a collective decision, probably some collective action. 
And would involve sooo many others; what can I, as one person do?  I wondered. 
And I wanted to take the thing seriously enough to make it worthwhile.

So, in the end, I envisioned myself winning tens of thousands of pounds and then went to buy a scratch card.  As instructed by a website, I had focussed on the thing I wanted (tens of thousands of pounds), pictured myself getting it (scraping off the panels on a scratch card) and did this every day for a week.

I concentrated on my breathing and tried to feel relaxed and positive.  The thing about trying to relax is that it really helped me to focus on the fact that I was not relaxed.  And I kept remembering that I’d left a light on in the other room, or that I really needed to remember to turn the oven off at eight o’clock.  But I tried, and I did end up breathing very deeply, so that was a success of sorts, according to the guide I read.

I was advised to repeat this process for “a good amount of time”.  I had no idea what this might be, so decided to keep it simple and did it for a week.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t a particularly good week, and don’t know if it counted as a “good amount of time”.  I wasn’t sure if it was the amount or the time itself that was supposed to be good.  After the fifth day in a row of following the instructions, they’d started to feel arbitrary, a bit one-size-fits-all.  But I grimly persevered, probably due to stoicism and a lack of alternatives.  (Where, and how, else was I supposed to get tens of thousands of pounds?)

Anyway, at the Working Class Pleasures Counter of the supermarket (you know, the one that sells lottery tickets, scratch cards and tobacco), I asked for a scratch card.  The woman asked which one I would like, and glancing at the display I could see there were many.  It was Valentine’s Day, and, although I don’t usually go in for these things, I was feeling the weight of the romance of my experiment with visualisation, so I chose a Valentine’s Day themed card, with panels in the shape of hearts (not real hearts, of course, the woman bending over kind).

Just as I handed over a £5 note to the harassed-looking woman behind the counter, one of her colleagues arrived to complain loudly about someone else who was also working in the shop.  Looking over her shoulder to deal with this, (making all the right “Tchoh! The cheek!” and “Oooh, I know, it’s terrible” noises), the woman serving me had limited capability for our interaction.

She handed me my chosen card and £9 and didn’t have time to even glance at me, which meant she didn’t see my puzzled expression.  Apparently, she thought I’d given her a £10 note, even as she handed me back my own £5 and some coins. 
The website I’d looked at had encouraged me to “Watch for signs telling you how to get what you want, and especially, take any actions you are inspired to take.”  What was this, if not a sign, I wondered?
I was inspired to thank her and take the £9 change. 

So, I won £4 on the lottery.  Not the randomised, 14000000-1 shot of the lottery draw, or even the 50000-1 shot of finding a winning card and tens of thousands of pounds.  I won the rather more likely scenario of harassed worker in low-paid job making a mistake. 
I don’t know the odds on that, but it’s probably a lot less than 50000-1.

Maybe it’s like God, and moves in mysterious ways.  Anyway, I won the lottery, using positive visualisation.

Next, I might try using it to make people buy my albums and read my blog.

I don’t know why I thought of that anecdote.  As I say, it just seemed that there was something in the air this week that made me think about wishing and hoping for things…

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