Stephen K, if you have a "learning attitude" with a calm mind in both so-called positive and in so-called negative, then you can easily learn from anything and improve well in the Eightfold Path. I used "so-called", because some times what we perceive is not the reality. It's like a person can smile to us, it may be with a sincere thought or perhaps a deceptive thought.
Sometimes people shun the negative so much they become escapists or like castrated animals, which is not conducive because world -- including monasteries -- always has both. They say arahants can live happily anywhere because they are unshaken in so-called positive and also in so-called negative.
May you fare well on the Path!
I'll restart my yearlong meditation retreat on 15th June 2014, hence will not be here.
"Bhikkhus, there are these three things that shine when exposed, not when concealed. What three? (1) The moon. (2) The sun. (3) The Dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Tathagata."
- Anguttara Nikaya, 3.131, Paticchanna Sutta
"Silence is the language of God; all else is poor translation."