Law of Attraction – Fate or Fluke?

The universe works in mysterious ways. Or does it?

An Effort to Evolve

I believe in the law of attraction. I honestly believe that our thoughts can, and do, pave the way to reality. This brings the term “jinx” into a whole new light, for me. I wrote an article called “Stuck” not so long ago, where, after the mere suggestive, sarcastic, comment about an elevator full of people becoming stuck, we were, in fact, stuck. In the elevator. Did my fear of being stuck in an elevator, coupled with the thought, verbalized, cause the scenario to unfold in the next fifteen minutes of horror? Maybe. Maybe not. It was, perhaps, all just a coincidence. But, I’ll tell you this; I was visiting the same firm a couple of weeks ago, and was waiting for the same elevator, when the same group of young auditors approached the foyer to board a downward elevator. They took one look at me, laughed, as graciously as possible, and opted for the stairs. We either all believe in the law of attraction, or suspect it exists, enough, to alter our actions!

An Effort to Evolve

In my recent relationship limbo, I have resorted, in part, to online dating applications to peruse dating and mating possibilities. I’ve met some very nice guys, some I find quite attractive, others, not so much. As it is very hard to tell much about a person, their nature, their spirit, their character, their personality, from a brief narrative and a couple of pictures, I tend to “like” more than I tell to “take a hike”. It is easy enough, so far as I’ve found, to kind of let them go, if need be, after a telling conversation or two. A few of those brief narratives and cheesy selfies have actually developed into promising friendships, great flirtations, and some level of attraction.

One such is a man I stumbled upon while across the continent. Being an online dating app neophyte, I didn’t understand that I was being presented only with men in my current and immediate proximity. I thought I was being shown men proximate to my “home” location, per my profile. We flirted, and continued to communicate via text, even after figuring out we lived a continent apart, and, well, he is pretty darned cute. Having just been evicted from a long distance relationship, it’s really not something I’m looking for, but what harm in a flirtatious, texting, friendship, right?

Enter the law of attraction. Maybe, I don’t know, or some really bizarre coincidence. You be the judge.

There are fifty states in this country. With my job, I could be assigned to any one of them, and so could any of my twelve team members, some of whom live on the other side of the continent, much closer to flirtatious, texting, friendship guy. Our assignments are made for us, without any requests being honored, without any suggestions being considered, without any of our input on any level, in any way, shape, or form. This particular flirtatious, texting friend resides in an extremely tiny state 2,300 miles away. Just how many customers, comprised of CPA firms almost exclusively, could we have in a state smaller than some counties I’ve lived in? Well, the answer, at least one, to which I’ve been assigned an “onsite” training. Oh, it gets better. In that tiny, tiny state, which tiny little town do you think I’ll be heading to? You guessed it; flirtatious, texting guy’s home town. Fate or fluke? I don’t know, I just don’t know. Is it the law of attraction?

An Effort to Evolve

Part of the heartbreak of my latest heartbreak is, actually, truthfully, I fell as much in love with his home state as I did him. Hopelessly, completely, totally. I am mourning the loss not just of a really good man, but also the separation from the beautiful, wild, and pristine region, the opportunities for adventure and sport, and the friendships now isolated in a state nearly three thousand miles away. I vow to visit the state, but know, it will be less likely without a connection or some compelling reason. Enter the law of attraction. My online dating profile mentions or suggests, in no way, my former connection to, my love for, or my desire to return to visit this particular state. And, I have been approached, unsolicited, by a number of men who a) live there part time, or, b) have lived there and still have family there and visit often. I’ve said nothing, I don’t even bring up the topic, it just presents itself, in response, to, maybe, my thoughts. The law of attraction. Spooky, kooky, cool.

For further consideration; the man I was married to for more than two decades had a very distrusting and negative outlook towards many things. One such distrust was of the United States Postal Service. He so feared that anything he mailed would be lost, that, in fact, almost everything he mailed was lost, or incorrectly delivered. This still haunts him to this day, recently, an incorrectly delivered piece of mail threw a wrench in a motion he attempted to file pertaining to our divorce proceedings. Some things never change. The law of attraction is one of them.

An Effort to Evolve

Whether fate or fluke, whether law of attraction or bizarre coincidence, there is a significant body of evidence, here, and in the findings of many very highly esteemed thinkers and authors, historical and contemporary, that our thoughts do, in fact, cause the “universe” to align in a certain way.

So, be careful what you think. When you consider just how negative our thoughts can be, on a regular basis, it becomes more clear why so many of us struggle with happiness, or success, or progress. But, this knowledge, or even suspicion, if you prefer, gives us considerable power, if we can become more mindful. If we know, or even suspect, that our thoughts can shape our reality, our future, our happiness, our success, our progress, then if we pay attention to our thoughts, groom our thoughts, might we have better outcomes? Seems a safe gamble, to me. Think happy thoughts and, whether the universe aligns, or not, we are, at least, thinking happier thoughts! What have we got to lose? Besides mail.

An Effort to Evolve

I have experienced, this, first hand, many times. It isn’t scientific, nor is it perfect. But, I have found, on many occasions, when I visualized a certain outcome, with passion and consistency, it often became reality; whether a cute guy I wanted to date in high school, or the ranch on the magical hilltop I dreamed of, they materialized. And, negative thoughts often paved the way for more negative outcomes; whether the cute guy in high school cheating on me or the inability to continue to afford the ranch on the magical hilltop after the husband stopped working and the concurrent real estate collapse. Thought and manifestation, positive or negative. The law is the law. Unlike the posted speed limit, the law of attraction is a law that can’t be broken, best to heed the law, live life as a law-abiding citizen, be mindful and deliberate in your thoughts and what they may attract, and be awarded for your lawfulness! What have you got to lose? Besides mail.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

To echo the lyrics of Bobby McFerrin’s song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. How true this is.

Let me ask you this very logical question; what benefit does worry have? Worry has never, ever in the history of the world, in the history of mankind, changed anything. The act of worrying has never secured a positive outcome. Even if we worried about something, and things turned out to be alright, it was not the act of worrying that caused things to be okay. Worry solves nothing and serves no constructive purpose. Let’s look at worry in more depth.

Worry is a very strong emotion, an emotion with a great deal of negativity surrounding it. Worry, if you think about it, is your belief that something dreadful is going to happen. Am I right? You have a fair degree of certainty that something dreadful has happened, or is going to happen. Worry is stress of one of the worst degrees. Worry can cause intense anxiety, it can cause you to feel symptoms of physical ailments that don’t exist, it can cause you to lose sleep, lose focus and concentration on tasks at hand and to feel impatient and irritable. Worry is awful! I know, I’m a natural worrier. But, I make a concerted effort to overcome worry in a number of ways. I will share.

Let’s examine a couple more aspects of the negativity of worry and it’s impact on you and on others close to you. If you subscribe to the “law of attraction”, which I do, at least to some degree, then the act of worrying could actually attract the very thing you are worried about. That’s where those “I knew it” moments come from! You worry about something, it happens, and you exclaim, “I knew it!” Ever had an “I knew it” moment?

The law of attraction is based on a belief that we attract what we think through energy. Our thoughts are energetic and become manifestations when energy responds to like energy; positive to positive and negative to negative. With knowledge, practice and application, we do have some degree of control over our thoughts and their results. The law of attraction has been believed and employed by many, many wildly successful and influential people for centuries. Rhonda Byrne’s book “The Secret” is a guided reference to a vast collection of works of many authors and experts about the law of attraction. It is a fascinating read, and whether you buy into the philosophy, wholly or partially, I think there is definitely something to it and I apply a lot of the principles and concepts to my own life. I have had some pretty drastic results, not what I expected, initially, but what I really wanted, ultimately.

So, as worry goes, with the law of attraction; when we worry, we are focusing a great deal of very negative energy on a set of circumstances we don’t want to happen. According to the law of attraction, that in itself could cause that which we are worried about to manifest. I told you so!

Let’s examine another negative aspect of worry, aside from making you feel shitty and then making bad shit happen, worry is in the future. We are concentrating on something that hasn’t yet happened. To be truly happy in life, we need to live in the present; life and happiness are right now. When we focus on the future, we miss the moment, the only moment we truly have control over. Now. Living in the future causes people to suffer from anxiety. Living in the past or focusing on events or your past life, can cause depression. Living in the now, the present, the only moment in which you really ARE living is the one true, key to happiness. Eckhart Tolle illustrates this clearly and completely in his excellent book, “The Power of Now”. Another practical application of living in the present is the book “You Can Be Happy No Matter What” by Richard Carlson and Wayne Dyer.

Being humans, we have a tendency to worry. It is not as easy as it sounds to just flick a switch and stop worrying. Some of us worry far more than others. I’ve tended towards that end of the scale. After years of letting worry control my health, my attitude, and my lifestyle, I decided to find a way to end it. Because of worry, the related anxiety and stress, I have been a terrible insomniac for most of my life. Because of worry, and probably some dietary factors as well, I have suffered from heartburn and headaches and all sorts of annoyances. After reading several self-improvement books by authors like Brian Tracy and Anthony Robbins, after reading “The Secret” and “The Power of Now”, I have reshaped the way I think and the way I react to situations that would normally cause me to worry. It has completely changed my life. Every single aspect of my life. I no longer suffer from insomnia. I used to have to rely on medications to even fall asleep. I took more Tylenol PM than I care to admit, I swallowed the maximum does of Benadryl before bedtime in hopes of getting any sleep at all. I also relied heavily on Melatonin for relief from insomnia. Let’s forget for a moment the long-term health implications with a steady diet of Tylenol and Benadryl, how about the short term affects. Do you have any idea what its like to hold a full time job, raise two very socially active kids and a completely full volunteer life on a many, many years with only few hours of sleep each night and the groggy after affects of Tylenol PM, Benadryl and melatonin? Not easy. I once had a very wise healthy practitioner strongly advise me, after I told him of my need for sleep aids, that my long term health depended on me getting to the root of the problem, the cause of the insomnia, rather than trying to just treat the symptom with pollutants to my body (Tylenol PM, Benadryl and melatonin). I finally found the key, mostly locked in Jillian Michaels’ book “Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body!” If you could only read one book, that would be the one I’d recommend, believe it or not. Since reshaping my thought processes, deliberately listening to my “self-speak”, and banning worry from my mind, I sleep, unaided, without any kind of medication or supplement. I haven’t had heartburn in years and the headaches I used to have at least weekly, I have, maybe, once a year. I am far more energetic, active and far healthier than I have ever been in my life.

I am an honest soul. I do still worry, from time to time, and needlessly. It has accomplished nothing positive. The other day, I was worried about the love of my life. We live very far apart and survive between visits by texting and talking on the phone. Regularly. I’ve been clear, for my benefit and his, that I have no “expectation” that we text or talk throughout the day, at night, or even every day. We usually do, though, so that is the pattern. Over the weekend, we both had a busy day and we were both in geographical areas where texting was not real successful. That evening, I was home, waiting for some type of communication, because, again, that’s our pattern. Not an expectation, just a comfortable pattern. I went to bed, finally, without a hearing from him. I sent my usual, “good night, Love” text. At six the next morning, there was no reply. I seem to be especially susceptible to worry in the wee hours of the morning and so that evil emotion crept in. My thoughts centered around the fact that he lives alone, in a remote area, and does things like build garages, single handedly. Of course the story he’d recently shared with me of a friend finding three grizzly bears in his garage probably didn’t help matters much. Later that day, when we talked, and he was, obviously alright, I realized how pointless my worry was. Even if he had fallen off the roof while sweeping snow off of it, what good was my worrying from 3,000 miles away going to do? You see what I say? Worry solves nothing.

In fact, it kind of pisses me off when people worry needlessly about me. First, it is like a vote of no confidence. If you’re worried about me, then you must not think I’m capable of (fill in whatever I am doing that worries you). Second, from a law of attraction standpoint, please, please, please, do not attract any negative energy towards me with your senseless worry. I’m busy channeling all the positive energy I can and you and your crazy worry is deflecting part of it! Stop!

What is the progression of worry? Worry is a simple, negative emotion. You are fretting, for no fruitful purpose, over the possibility that something you don’t want to happen will happen. Worry is the seedling of fear. Worry, like a weed, will grow into fear, an even stronger negative emotion, drawing even more negative energy towards it. Fear, left unchecked, becomes paralysis, a paralyzing fear almost guarantees that something negative will indeed manifest, if not what your were initially worried about, probably something far worse.

I was married to a man who worried about many things, in fact, I would classify him as paranoid and his worry was for things way beyond his control. He was a man of many worries and no action. His worry completely controlled him. Every spare moment was spent on the Internet reading every bit of news about that which he worried, confirming, in his mind, that his worries were well founded. Yet his activity did nothing to actually negate this threat, he just fretted and made a lot of pointless noise about his fears. Through this preoccupation, he became extremely detached from his family and from his ability to earn a meaningful living. And addicted to the Internet. Soon, he became worried whether he’d be able to continue to pay the mortgages because he wasn’t earning the money he once did. His own business had languished and died, his relationship with me and his children had languished and died, and his attempt at his “dream” career in real estate finance died before it even had time to languish. His worries became fears, his fears became paralyzing. As a result, all the real estate was lost, his family was lost, his career was lost, as he looked on in complete and total paralysis, unable to tear his attention away from the screen of foreboding and doom.

If worry is a natural emotion for us, then, what are we to do? We need to listen to ourselves think, we need to identify our own worried thoughts and replace them with thoughts and words that are more positive. It takes a concerted effort, a diligent, concerted effort, to become well practiced at this. Obviously. I’ve been making a diligent, concerted effort and I still, occasionally succumb to worry. And I feel the fool for so doing.

What do we replace worry with? Hope comes to mind. Hope is a good word, a positive emotion. I often think of friends who have fought breast cancer when I think of hope, the pink ribbon, and “fighting for the cause”. Mother Teresa understood the law of attraction and has been quoted as saying, “I will never attend an anti-war rally. If you have a peace rally, invite me.” Fighting requires a great deal of negative energy, so fighting against war, Mother Teresa surmised, would actually attract more war. A pro-peace rally, though, would be applying positive energy to that which is desired, peace. It is as simple as rephrasing our intention. So, with Mother Teresa in mind, if you want to overcome the devastation and pain and loss of breast cancer, attend a pro-cure rally and don’t participate in any “cancer fighting” activities!

To me hope still contains some worry. Think of how the word “hope” is used in sentences. “I sure hope so”, “I hope for the best”, “my hopes and prayers are with you”. While these are positive, to me, they still suggest some doubt, some worry. Don’t lose hope, no, never, but consider an upgrade in emotion. Perhaps “faith”.

Faith is a stronger version of hope. I have faith that the good thing I want to happen will, and the bad thing I don’t want to happen, won’t. Faith is a positive emotion and entire religions have been built upon it, it is strong, I think sturdier than hope. But even faith has sort of a “we’ll wait and see” connotation to it. For as many that have faith in religion, there are those who don’t, and they don’t seem the least bit worried about their stance. I have met people with the strongest faith imaginable, and I have caught them in a moment of wondering. Faith is good, but faith waits to be seen.

If hope isn’t strong enough, and faith isn’t strong enough, what do we replace worry with? Certainty. Absolute, complete and total certainty. There is nothing more certain than certainty. When a worry creeps into your mind, bash it! Rephrase your worry, replace it by saying out loud, as many times as necessary, “I am certain that (state the desired result here). By banishing your worry and replacing it with certainty, you are sending such a positive bolt of energy out into the universe that good could only manifest from it. At the very least, you have waylaid your worry, you have stemmed the flow of negativity and your strength can only do good, for you and for those you care for. You are demonstrating confidence in those you care for by declaring your certainty in their endeavors, whatever they may be. By declaring what you wish for with certainty, you are increasing your own confidence, your own strength and whatever manifests, as a result, is surely something you desire. Perhaps not what you specifically intended, but I promise, something you desire.

I invite you to practice exchanging your worries for happiness; promote that which is positive, deny that which is negative, live only in the present, take good care of yourself and I guarantee, you’ll have no worries and you will have an abundance of happiness! I am certain!

Don’t worry, be happy!

Like the Vine

Consider the grapevine of the wine-producing sort. When you drive past a vineyard in a wine region, you usually notice the neat, straight rows. The vines are sometimes trellised so they stretch out along a wire, others are not, growing unsupported, depending on the variety. Vineyards always appear neat, tidy, geometrical, pristine. Sometimes you see many people in the vineyards tending to the care of the vines. It would seem that the vines needs are looked after in every respect; the soil, water, nutrients, there are fans and heaters and sprinklers and all sorts of things to keep the vines warm when it is too cold and cool when it is too warm. Many measures are taken, depending on the practices of each vintner, against pests, from tiny bugs, to birds, to deer, to passing, hungry motorists. They actually record the temperature in the different vineyards many times throughout each and every day to calculate out necessary information for optimal care of the vines. At first blush, it seems that vines are pampered much like star athletes. Some varieties of grapes come from vines that require many years of establishment before ever producing a single piece of fruit. Consider the investment involved.

I had the good fortune to take a walking tour through a vineyard this past weekend as part of a special “Earth Day” event. As we strolled along, viewing different “blocks” of vineyards, our tour guide described many of the different practices used in growing vines that produce wine grapes. I was at Hess Winery in the Mt. Veeder district of the Napa Valley, a series of steep hills with harsher soil conditions and cooler weather conditions than other wine districts in this famous region. Because Mt. Veeder is cooler than other districts, and because the soil is composed mostly of limestone, with a thin layer of topsoil over it, the vines here are in a constant “struggle”. Only certain varieties can even endure this district’s climate. And this, it was explained to us, is good. Vines that struggle will produce better fruit than those that do not. Whether a vine has to struggle to derive nutrients from the soil or to overcome a streak of unusually warm weather, the results are usually for the better, ultimately. Struggle, to a degree, is good, if you’re a grapevine.

An Effort to Evolve

I began to contemplate this some after about my third tasting, of six, following the vineyard walk. I’m glad I decided to taste wine after the walk and not before! As I thought about the vines and their struggles, I translated that to people and their struggles. Are we not very similar to grapevines? People who struggle usually grow in ways that are both unexpected and beneficial, in the long run.

It is unreasonable to expect that every growing year, for a grapevine, will be perfect. There are likely to be conditions that will cause the vine to stress out a bit and to struggle. It could be a late season frost, or an early, warmer than usual spring, a cooler fall, a colder winter, too much rain, or too little rain. No two years are ever going to be exactly alike in any wine district, in any wine region. This explains the distinct differences in wines between regions and years, or vintages.

It is also unreasonable to expect that life is always going to be a cakewalk for us. We are all going to struggle with something at some point in time. If you haven’t, brace yourself. I know, I know, I know; I’m the “positive mental attitude” and “law of attraction” preacher. And I am here to tell you, that my life was as perfect as I could imagine and going my way, 100%, for a very long time. It was pretty easy to be positive. Occasionally, I would look over my shoulder, though, because I couldn’t believe how well things were going, for so long. Not perfect, of course, I was making compromises, but things were really, really good, overall. And, even while practicing and preaching PMA and the law of attraction and even visualization, my entire world collapsed. Talk about struggle.

For quite a while, as my world completely shattered all around me, only my immediate family and my closest, closest friends knew what was happening. For everyone else, it was business as usual. Yes, I was struggling, but because I was so positive, because I believed in the law of attraction, I knew I would grow tremendously from the struggles I endured. Only occasionally did my faith waiver, only rarely did I despair, and only in private, and only for a moment. Then I set myself straight, and just went on.

As more and more of my friends and acquaintances became aware of the turmoil that had occurred, the struggles endured, by me and my kids, teenagers at the time, the more often I heard “I don’t know how you just keep going”. I didn’t know how to NOT keep going. I was driven, my kids were driven. It was just a struggle and we were going to get through it. As more and more friends found out about our situation, and looked on in awe, I realized that we had become invincible because of our struggle. We had always been tough, stoic, strong, stubborn even, the three of us. What we endured in the past several years, to some, would be a nightmare beyond fathom. Ok, it was. We lost everything. But all the while, we went about our work, school, myriad volunteer activities, we never had an excuse, we never quit, we showed up for everything, worked hard, and we excelled at everything we endeavored, we smiled, joked, laughed, lived. And we grew; better, I think, than if everything had gone perfectly as they had all those years prior. My son became an Eagle Scout, my daughter held a state office in the California International Order of Rainbow for Girls and I took on a new job that required learning pubic speaking and also required an enormous amount of travel, two things I never considered an ability prior to this “struggle”.

Our story is not unique. I’m sure, in light of the past several years of economic turmoil, you can think of a family, perhaps displaced from their home or from their jobs, who through those struggles actually found a new lease on life. Perhaps a more suitable lifestyle, perhaps the rare chance to start over with a career, to finally do something they only ever dreamed of doing. The vine bore better fruit as a result of the struggle. Of course, there are those who just sat there in despair, being the victim, languishing and desperate. Those grapes became bitter fruit because they did not respond to the struggle in an appropriate fashion.

I guarantee that no successful person in the history of the world ever made it to success without some significant struggle along the way. It is not possible to truly succeed without having struggled. The greater the success, I promise, the greater the struggle.

Do not be afraid when you are met with a situation you must struggle against; health, money, relationships. Just remember the vines, growing on the steep, limestone hillside in the Mt. Veeder district of the Napa Valley, remember that occasionally they struggle beyond just their difficult rooting in the rocky soil, in a climate cooler than the rest of the valley, where there is far less water. As a result, the fruit becomes sweeter, and the wine is divine! You will be, too. Learn to use struggle as a catalyst for growth and you will succeed, like the vine.

I’ve Got Swagger

I’ve got swagger.

I wasn’t wearing anything particularly special, jeans a tee shirt and a cardigan. My jeans had glitter on the back pockets, but all my jeans have glitter on the back pockets. As I walked through Target to get a box of Ziploc bags and some Airborne, though, I could hear heads turn. People smiled. A child pointed. I was hoping I didn’t have toilet paper hanging out from the back of my pants. I checked. I didn’t.

Truthfully, I get this quite a bit. I’m not a super model, I’m not even a un-super model. I’m really quite ordinary looking, I have prominent and somewhat asymmetric features. But, I’ve got swagger. I’m not obnoxious, I don’t deliberately try to attract attention to myself, other than just smiling at people when they look up long enough to make eye contact with me. I do seek to make eye contact with people as I pass. I find people fascinating, firstly, and I like to be friendly, secondly.

I’ve got swagger. It’s just an attitude. I do try to look complete in my appearance, but I’m not outlandish or garish, except maybe for the glitter on my back pocket. I do have a confident attitude and I do seek to make eye contact with people, then I smile. I’m pretty sure people can sense the smile before it appears. People look at me because they somehow know I will smile at them. It brightens my day, and I hope I brighten someone else’s day along the way.

I think one’s attitude is contagious to others. I know it, I don’t just suspect it. I know it. I’ve even conducted evil experiments to prove my point. I have.

I was a Girl Scout leader for forever, from the time my daughter was six until she was seventeen. I was the Girl Scout leader that took all the girls at school who wanted to join. Other troops had waiting lists, I know, we’d been on one for over a year when I decided to become a leader. I didn’t believe it was the Girl Scout way to deny a girl the chance to belong because I only wanted to deal with eight girls of precisely the same age. I had several age levels and a whole bunch of girls, sometimes upwards of 25. We had so much fun.

I conducted my evil experiment at a Girl Scout outing at a very popular annual festival held at local apple ranches. I broke the girls up into small groups and assigned them an “attitude”. Some girls were to act rude, grumpy and sullen as they walked through the crowds. Another group was asked to act cheerful, helpful, friendly as they walked through the crowds. Then they switched roles and repeated the experiment. I had them come back and talk about how people reacted to them. As expected, the sullen girls got glares and impatient glances as they passed other people. The happy girls got smiles and good tidings from passersby.

I repeated this experiment at the mall with another youth group with similar results. To be expected. So why is it that so many of us choose to walk through the world with blank expressions, or worse yet, unpleasant expressions? As I’ve been trying to explain to my mom all week long, you really can influence how good or bad you feel by how you think. So, why choose to think dreary thoughts and have a dreary day, and worse yet, make everyone around you feel a bit dreary too? No matter what you feel like inside, putting a pleasant expression on, and acting outwardly cheerful will actually positively affect your mood, and the mood of those around you. Now, instead of feeling grumpy and being surrounded by grumpy people, you feel pretty good and everyone around you is smiling and saying “good morning”. And suddenly, you feel pretty good.

I took my experiment one step further one day. I’d been reading about the power of suggestion, the law of attraction and how our thoughts are “magnetic”. My daughter and I were parking at our favorite mall for an afternoon of our favorite pastime. Shopping. And people watching. We decided we would walk through the mall with an air of importance, a confident attitude, thinking we were famous celebrities. We didn’t ACT like we were famous, we didn’t speak differently or walk differently, we just thought differently. It was amazing! People actually stopped, turned and watched us pass. We weren’t dressed differently, we didn’t do anything to cause that sort of reaction other than think “I’m a celebrity”. Try it some time. It’s a trip!

So, if you want a little swagger, all you have to do is walk, look into all those faces you usually try to avoid, and smile whether they smile at you or not. Practice this, and soon, you’ll have swagger. And a happier outlook. And, best of all, your smile may totally make someone else’s day.

Garbage In – Garbage Out

I’m talking trash.

I generally try to surround myself with positive people. However, this is not always an option, and, at times, I struggle with how to deal with people who are less than positive, less than optimistic, less than happy. And what to do when some of these folks are close to you presents even more of a dilemma.

Today I tried explaining to someone that by focussing on the negative, the bad, the undesirable, we are actually attracting the negative, the bad, the undesirable into our lives. Whether you subscribe to the law of attraction, or not, think about it. If all you think about, or worse yet, talk about, is the horrible things you heard on the news, the pain throughout your body, the poor state of your finances, your lack of energy, what are you experiencing? Horrible things, pain, poor finances, lack of energy. What you think, is what you experience. It is that simple. If you dwell on something in your mind, it is what you experience.

Have you ever awakened in the middle of the night and heard your heart beating? And why is it in the middle of the night our anxieties are most acute? You think, “is it normal to be hearing my heart beat?”. Anxiety rises, heart beats faster. “My heart rate is accelerated!” Anxiety rises, heart beats faster. “Am I having chest pains?”, now focussing on possibly having pain in your chest, and you honestly can’t tell if you’re having pain in your chest, or not! Anxiety rises. You think you’re dying of a heart attack! It is totally normal to awaken and hear your own heart beat, but we can easily convince ourselves that something, potentially, is wrong. We lose sleep, and feel like hell the next day, confirming our suspicion that we aren’t quite right, when, in fact, we are perfectly fine.

This type of thought pattern is common, it is how the “untrained” mind naturally functions. The key to being positive, to being happy, to being content, to evolving into a productive, fulfilled person is to train our minds. Much easier said than done, and, in my humble opinion, it is a job never 100% done. Like doing cartwheels, you may be really good at it, though never perfect. And if you don’t practice all the time, you’re going to lose the skill. Thinking positively is just like doing cartwheels. Practice. Practice. Practice. And never stop. You may get close to perfect, but never quite.

The trash we allow our minds to dwell on is compromising our physical, mental and emotional health, and so, our quality of life, even our longevity. Take the trash out.

In my conversation today, about not focussing on the horrible, the pain, the poor finances, lack of energy, etc., part of my message was what you allow into your mind is usually what comes out. If you fill your mind with garbage; horrible news, that is all you have to think about. If you fill your mind with productive reading material, that, in turn, is what drives your thought processes. If you begin your day not with a mental list of your ailments, your aches, your pains, your poor situation but with affirmations of what you want to experience instead, and with gratitude for the positive things your already have in your life, your whole mindset shifts to those more positive drivers. Garbage in, garbage out.

This is an exercise I do each and every morning. Well, most mornings. And I really want to do it every single morning. And if I don’t, I usually have a more difficult time remaining in a super positive frame of mind. But, honestly, while this may be a starting point, it takes constant “policing” of our thoughts to keep them from nose diving back into the negative during the course of the day. I spent a full year actively re-training my mind to focus on the positive, and still, now and then, I have to give myself a pep talk.

During the course of losing my dream of living on a ranch in the country to foreclosure, during the course of losing the house in town, shortly thereafter, to a short sale, then leaving my husband after a lonely marriage of twenty some years, and getting my kids through the last years of high school and off to college reasonably unscathed during the midst of all this turmoil, in all the trials of moving multiple times, trying to discover who I really was, trying to reclaim my health and fitness, trying to build a life for myself and provide emotional and financial support to my family, all the while trying to progress in my career, I have, somehow, kept quite upbeat and positive. I consider myself a modern marvel!

I read highly nutritive material. I always have on my Kindle, a book I am reading that fosters a positive mental attitude, the law of attraction, developing good relationships, or something along those lines. Yes, I have fun reads, too, novels by Candace Bushnell or Sohpie Kinsella. And always a classic, my favorite being Jane Austen. But I really try to put into my mind only positive matter, so that what come out is positive in kind.

I, personally, believe in the law of attraction. I’ve read The Secret, I’ve listened to it in audio, I’ve watched the movie. And, to me, it a lot of it makes sense. I usually glean out of all the material I read, the snippets I think will work best, and sort of craft my own “philosophy”. But I do believe in the law of attraction, that energy attracts like energy. Positive thoughts are positive energy, and in kind, attract positive results. No, you can’t just think “I want a million dollars” and it magically appears. I’ve tried that. Doesn’t work. But, in thinking reasonable and positive thoughts, I have been able to progress considerably in becoming more financially stable, and, financially independent; mostly by focussing on budgeting and living within my means. But, where a few years ago, I thought retirement was never a possibility for me, I see now, I may, at some point, be able to retire. This, I am certain, is because I am focussing on positive thoughts in this area, and through those positive thoughts I have found positive solutions and have achieved positive results.

I read another book, Relax, Focus, Succeed by Karl W. Palachuk. This was a man who suffered incredibly from pain due to a very real medical condition. Through training his mind diligently, he learned to override the thought processes of focussing on the pain, and now lives a far more pain free and active, fulfilling life. His material is definitely worth a read.

So, in my conversation today, I am hoping I made some sort of impact, because I care a great deal about this person. And while there may be fear of the horrible things heard on the news, true pain, dwindling savings and a resulting lack of energy (probably from depression over the other items), I am hoping that a concerted effort at altering thought processes will provide relief, and, better quality of life.

I challenge you to really, deeply examine your thoughts. What are you allowing into your mind that influences your thoughts, and what are the results manifested in your life? Take the garbage out and keep sweeping up, I’m certain you’ll see a positive difference if you are diligent. Why do you think they call it being down in the dumps?