Anger?

amazing-736875_1280

Someone I follow on twitter, posted a quote from the Dalai Lama. The quote was “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” The person on twitter said, “This quote makes me furious.” Interesting.

I should say that the person I follow on twitter, is involved in politics and I think that informs his attitude. I’ve seen another quote around political circles, that says, “If you’re not angry, you aren’t paying attention.” The assumption is that the only sane response to some conditions is anger. I get why people feel that way, but I must respectfully disagree.

For me, this is about emotional perspective. Abraham Hicks talks about viewing our emotions on an emotional scale. It’s a scale measuring emotions from those that feel terrible to those that feel wonderful. At the lower end of this scale are emotions like despair, depression, feelings of worthlessness. At the top of the scale are emotions like joy, love, ecstasy. Abraham encourages us to work our way up the emotional scale to the happier emotions, to achieve what we want with our lives.

Abraham also talks about anger as being a huge emotional improvement over powerlessness. I think that’s why so many people rely on anger to fuel their political activism. It’s an affirmation that we are not in fact, powerless, even though we may feel that way in the face of larger political realities that distress us.

The problem I have with anger is that I don’t want to get stuck there. I want to feel better than that. I find it’s not a very effective state of mind when compared to joy. Joy is where I find clarity and creative solutions.

Anger has allowed me to take action to change circumstances in my life that I don’t like, but acting from anger is messy and ultimately unsatisfying. Anger is a good indicator for me of the need for change, but not a good place for me to launch action. If I lead myself up that emotional scale further, I will more easily generate results that I like.

I don’t hear much about working for societal change from a place of joy or love, but I do have role models for that. One role model for this joy-based activism is Thich Naht Hahn. He is a Vietnamese Monk who came of age during the Vietnam War. His advocacy of reconciliation got him ostracized by both sides in the war, but he has inspired millions with his loving view of the world. Martin Luther King, Jr. also inspired us with love. More recently, Barack Obama’s vision of hope, catapulted him to national prominence and drove his historic presidency.

Law of Attraction teachers point to a danger of staying too long in unpleasant states of mind like anger. Anger keeps our focus more on what we don’t want than on what we do want. The theory of law of attraction is that our focus brings us more of what we’re focusing on. If we focus on what we’re angry about, we bring more of it into our lives. That’s not usually the effect we’re hoping for.

Of course, I have to start wherever I am. If I’m angry, it’s not going to change the anger to pretend it’s not there. I can only change the effects of anger if I genuinely change the how I’m feeling. That’s what this law of attraction work is for me. It’s learning to change how I feel so I feel better and better.

Anger is empowering, but joy, love and hope can be empowering too. I can create what I want from a hopeful place. In fact, I believe it’s the easiest way to do it.

I was upset by the results of the recent presidential election. It took some time for me to gain emotional equilibrium afterwards. I felt some anger and despair, but eventually, I reaffirmed that I want to be led by joy. There was some joy for me in this election. I was joyful at the prospect of a good woman president. I was giddy when I thought Hillary would win.

This election has reawakened my feminist feelings in the best possible way. I’m now determined to let my joy lead me to find and promote good women politicians. I’ve already started. This is going to be fun.

The Election

 

divine-light-1296353_1280

You may have heard.  We’ve had a presidential election here, in the United States.  Perhaps you’ve lived it these past months and years.

In my estimation, it didn’t end well.  My candidate lost and the winning candidate terrifies me.  Or at least he did.

On election night I stayed up late, watching the results.  The contest was too close to call for a long time, but clearly not going the way I wanted. I didn’t sleep much that night.  As the truth became clear, a solid feeling of despair and terror descended on me.

I quickly decided that I did not want to stay in that emotional neighborhood. One thing I’ve learned regarding the law of attraction, is that it’s vital for me to feel good.  That doesn’t mean I should pretend to feel good when I don’t.  I need to acknowledge the genuine feelings I have. It just means that my work is to gently and consistently soothe my unpleasant feelings and steer myself toward feeling better.

I think clearer when I feel good.  I see more options when I feel good.  I get inspired to wonderful solutions when I feel good. I want inspiration now.

I don’t know why this election went the way it did.  People are proposing all sorts of explanations. All I know is that if I stay feeling good and listen for inspiration, I will find the best possible way forward for myself.

Despite the final result, I’ve had wonderful experiences in this election.  I came to feel admiration and affection for Hillary Clinton as I learned more about her. I think she’s a wonderful, talented, kind person who has helped many people. Early in life, she made a conscious decision to spend her life helping others and she’s kept that focus.

It touched me to learn of the little things, in addition to her big accomplishments, that Hillary has done to protect and encourage vulnerable people.  For example, I learned that when she was a senator, Hillary reserved some of the intern openings in her office, for people who had been foster children. She also worked to make it easier for foster kids to get adopted.

During the beginning of the Aids epidemic in this country, when there was a lot of hysteria about contamination, she publicly stood by the gay community and people who were working to care for Aids patients. My twitter feed has been full of stories of people she’s helped. I admire her tremendously.

On twitter I discovered a wonderful community of Hillary’s supporters.  I feel a connection and a shared vision with these people. That connection and vision will last long past the election. It’s a vision of the many diverse people in this country, loving and appreciating each other, and building a society that allows us all to flourish.

The election got me to follow the twitter feed of one of my writing heroes, Anne Lamott.  Her clever posts as well as the pictures of her ever-growing pack of #gooddogsforclinton and #goodcatsforclinton, comforted and entertained me through this election.

I feel grateful to the comedians who’ve lightened the mood.  I’m particularly happy to have discovered Samantha Bee. It’s nice for me to hear humor about politics from a female perspective.

Hillary’s campaign reawakened my dormant feminist sensibilities and made me want to get involved with promoting feminist causes again. This time I’ll have less fear and anger, and more joy. It was joyful to be reminded of the Sufferagettes and the long line of feminists that paved the way for Hillary’s candidacy.  In my own small way, I was part of that line.

After the election, social media was full of people trying to comfort each other. We’ve been reminding each other that love and beauty still exist. Creativity and passion and kindness still exist.

Now, I have a challenge.  Can I take this election result, that I didn’t want, and find some hope in it?  Can I imagine it being okay? The law of attraction perspective on unwanted things in our lives, is that they clarify for us what we do want. We can use the unwanted to fuel our vision and pursuit of what we prefer.

This election is a call for me to get more involved in my wider community. It’s a call to create the things I want to see. I was overjoyed when I thought we were going to have a good woman president.  I want that feeling again.  I want to do everything I can to support women politicians I believe in. I also want to support organizations working for racial harmony.  I want to help slow climate change.  I want to promote peace.

Before this election, I couldn’t imagine that anyone as unqualified and unsuited to service as Donald Trump, could be elected to the highest office in the country. It’s shocking and appalling because he treats other people so badly, but it also shows that the limits of my imagination are just my limits.  One thing I can say about Donald Trump is that he demonstrates absolute belief in himself and it has helped him to accomplish what many reasonable people never thought he could.

It’s made me think. What could we accomplish together with that kind of faith in ourselves? Could we become people who love and value our racial and cultural differences? Could we live in harmony with nature and care for our environment?  Could we make sure that every person on the planet had clean water, good food and a comfortable home? Could we make a world where every child is treasured? Could we fill this world with music and art? Could we eliminate war?

Fear and hate got strong momentum in this election and carried us to this conclusion.  Imagine if we put that much energy into love and kindness. Imagine if love and kindness gained overwhelming momentum.  What could our world be like with that kind of power?

A Radical Notion

maple-leaf-1209695_1280

I have been changed by studying the law of attraction and deliberately using it in my life. My fundamental assumptions about myself and my world are different. There is one new perspective that embodies it all: I can trust my joy.

I was shocked when I realized this was true.  It goes against everything I used to believe. I thought I had to force myself to do difficult and unpleasant things to eventually get what I want and be happy.  I totally bought the notion that forcing myself to do things I didn’t want to do, was the key to achievement and being a good person.

I thought joy was a bad influence.  At best, it was a waste of time.  At worst, chasing after joy would cause me to lose everything good and decent in life.

I’m so relieved to learn that life doesn’t work that way.  I’ve caught glimpses of the truth throughout my life, but my belief in hard work was so firmly entrenched, that I didn’t believe my own eyes.  I didn’t believe it when I saw that relaxing and feeling good led me to easily accomplish tasks that I struggled with when applying will and effort. Desperation finally motivated me to consider that there could be a better way – an easier way.

I can trust my joy.  Those 5 little words encapsulate the essence of everything I’ve learned about law of attraction and how it works in my life. My feelings of joy are trustworthy.

I can trust my joy to take care of me.  I can trust my joy to nurture my relationships.  I can trust my joy to lead me to my best work.  I can trust my joy to keep me physically and financially healthy.  I can trust my joy to help me contribute to my community.

More than that, I can trust my joy to lead me to excitement.  I can trust my joy to lead me to love.  I can trust my joy to bring creativity and adventure and deep satisfaction to my life.

Joy is both the goal and the path to the goal.  I get to joy by cultivating joy.  I can simply look around my world to find joy.  We live on an amazing planet.  Right now, it’s autumn where I live.  I’m surrounded by trees displaying a joyous profusion of red and yellow leaves.  The hillsides are exquisite tapestries. I can see joy everywhere.

My life’s work is to cultivate joy.  That’s it.  Every other thing I want will show up along the way, like cartoon woodland creatures peeking out from a path in a fairytale. I’ve seen enough evidence of this that I feel absolutely certain of it.  Eureka!  I can trust my joy.

Thank and Grow Rich

chestnut-1710197_1280

I’m in the habit of worrying.  In fact, I’m a world class worrier.  If there were an Olympic sport of worrying, I’d bring home the gold. I even worry in my sleep.

As I’ve been studying the law of attraction, I’m finding that this habit of worry prevents me from changing my life.  It’s based on a mistaken idea that if I search the world for threats, I’ll see them coming and be able to keep myself safe.

I want to take the intense focus I apply to worry and turn it to more positive thoughts and emotions. I’ve had a lot of good results when I’ve deliberately changed my thoughts and emotions so that I feel good.  If I focused on joy as intently as I have on worry, my life would be wonderful.  That is my goal.  I want to replace the habit of worry with the habit of joy.

I’ve recently encountered a new tool to help me change my habits of thought.  It’s Pam Grout’s new book, Thank and Grow Rich.  As the title indicates, it’s about gratitude, but also about other positive mental stances.  It’s about love.  It’s about creativity.  It’s about being in the moment.  It’s about all the ways of thinking and feeling that make life sweet.

Thank and Grow Rich is the kind of book I can turn to again and again, to get grounded and focused on what helps me in life. It contains lots of easy little exercises that she calls party games.  It’s a handbook for generating positive habits of thought.

Lately, after reading Thank and Grow Rich, I’ve been making impromptu gratitude lists in my head.  When I want to boost my mood, I just look around and name 5 things for which I’m grateful. It’s easy and effective.

In a twist on one of Pam Grout’s exercises, I’ve started a nightly gratitude journal. At the end of the day, I spend a few minutes writing 3 or more things I’m grateful for about the day.  It keeps me focused in a happy way.  I get excited about writing in the journal every night. Throughout the day, I’m alert to special moments to record. It’s a fun exercise and it keeps me appreciating the wealth of good in my life.  It makes me happy.

The Magic of Vision

compass-801763_1280

I’ve seen an advertisement on youtube where a woman starts her pitch by asking disparagingly if I am sitting on the couch waiting for law of attraction to bring me what I want.  There was a time when I would have been offended or questioned myself when I heard those words.  Now, I just shake my head because I know she’s totally missing the point of this work.

It’s about navigation, really.  I navigate to where I want to be, by focusing on where I want to be.

This isn’t as easy as it sounds.  I’ve been a terrible navigator for most of my life.  In fact, I come from a long line of bad navigators.  We’ve all been stumbling around, faced in the wrong direction and wondering why we didn’t get to where we wanted to go. It’s what we were taught by all the bad navigators that came before us.

I keep having an image of the nose of a plane or the prow of a boat.  My life is that plane on its flight or a boat on the water and my work applying the law of attraction is learning to point my vessel toward where I want to go.  Working with the law of attraction is not about what I do or don’t do.  It’s about where I aim.

I can just focus on everything I want to experience and just trust the river of life to carry me there. That is what I’m coming to believe. My work is to keep my attention focused on the vision of what I want – to flesh it out and feel the emotion of having what I want.  I focus my imagination on the future and set a course to where I’m focusing.

I have experienced the benefits of focusing on a positive vision for my life.  When I knew I needed a new car and I didn’t know how to get one, I started deliberately envisioning myself happy, driving a safe, well running car.  I visualized myself easily driving it through the hilly back roads of my environment.

I’m convinced that this visualizing helped me get a car and car loan when with no extra money and no credit history, I believed I had no way to get either.  The vision and my deliberate attempts to stay open to it, overcame my fears and my precarious situation.

Something similar happened with my health.  When I was experiencing some minor, but chronic health problems, and I was reading about law of attraction, I deliberately tried to focus my attention on feeling healthy.  I didn’t do that a lot.    Just a few episodes of focusing on my desire to feel healthy and I was led to change my diet in ways I’d attempted for years and failed at for years. This time it was inexplicably easy.

One more example: I was finding myself getting crabby and resentful at work.  I often dreaded going there.  I decided to deliberately envision feeling good at work.  On my drive to work, I would tell myself that I was going to have an easy, fun day at work.  I’d think about everything I liked about my job.  I’d envision getting along well with everyone there.  I’d envision my workday going smoothly and easily.

This visualizing and focus helped me right away.  After a week of doing it consistently, my work day became very pleasant.  I had fun at work.  In fact, my workday became so enjoyable that I enjoyed being at work more than I enjoyed being at home.

I can select what I want to experience in each part of my life and I can focus on that and envision it until it comes true.  I can envision a whole life where every aspect of my life pleases me.  I can focus on that vision and relax and let the stream of life carry me there. So that’s what I’m doing now.

After I create the vision and infuse it with love and hope, I let go and turn it over to the beneficial forces of the universe.  If I stay in the moment and trust and do what feels right in the moment, I will be led to everything I want.  I’ve seen it work so many times.

Happiness is like a Campfire

campfire-1031162_1280

I’m experimenting with deliberately nurturing happiness in myself. I can create emotions with very little effort. It’s much easier to feel happy if I just focus on feeling happy rather than on creating conditions in my life that I think will make me happy, like more money, health, better relationships.

Law of attraction teachers always say that an easy path to the physical things that we want is to create the good feelings that we imagine we’ll have when we get those physical things.  Lately, I don’t care as much about those physical things.  I just want to feel good.  It turns out that it’s not that hard to create emotions.

Creating happiness is like building a campfire. It can start as a tiny spark.  That spark can be a joke, a passing feeling of well-being, appreciation for some useful item I see every day.  If I shelter and protect this spark of happiness, if I coax it along, it grows. The growth is almost imperceptible at first, but then the happy feeling grows fast.

As the spark turns into an established flame, it becomes less vulnerable. I can step back and relax.  I don’t need to shelter my creation as much. I feed it with thoughts of appreciation for the world around me or the world in my head.  I think of good things that have happened, people I love, the way sunlight filters through trees. It’s easy to find things to appreciate once I’m looking.

If I continue to feed my happiness with happy thoughts, it gets bigger and bigger, until it just needs occasional tending. I can enjoy the warmth and the glow.

Creating happiness and creating a campfire both benefit from starting under favorable conditions.  It’s hard to start a campfire during a rainstorm.  Happiness doesn’t grow from an emotional storm either.  A storm of painful emotions is a bad time to get a feeling of happiness to catch and build.  Best to find shelter and wait for the storm to pass. Then try again tomorrow.

It’s Just Information

 

stop-634941_1280

 

I recently got into a funk at work.  I was feeling resentful and guilty and I couldn’t think my way out of it.  I was also by blaming myself for feeling bad, which added to the fun.

Abraham talks about situations that don’t feel good, or “contrast”, as being beneficial because they make us more clear about what we want instead of the contrasting experience.  When we clearly don’t like something, it makes it easier to imagine what we would like. I can appreciate that in retrospect, but in the moment, I don’t care.  I just want to feel better.

Maybe someday I’ll become a contrast connoisseur. I’ll seek out uncomfortable situations, just so I can develop a happy alternative.  That day is definitely not today.

In an attempt to get out of my bad mood, I scrambled around a bit, watched some Abraham tapes on youtube, and finally heard what I needed to hear to break out of my negative state of mind: negative emotion is just information.

That phrase doesn’t seem very dramatic, sitting there on the page, but it freed me from my resentment and guilt.  I felt immense relief.

The theory of law of attraction is that we attract whatever we focus on.  When I feel negative emotions, it means that I’m focusing on what I don’t want rather than what I do want.  Negative emotion is like a blinking red light saying “Wrong way! Wrong way!”

Remembering that negative emotion is just information, helped me to realize I could change my focus and feel better. It’s not some dire judgement on my worthiness.  It’s just information.

I can choose to think a thought that feels better.  Abraham talks about the process of thinking a different thought as a way to get from one unpleasant emotion to better feeling emotions. It’s simple but it can be magic.

For example, if I’m resenting something my co-worker did, that resentment feels bad.  It would be nice if I could instantly decide to feel ecstatically happy and full of love and peace, but it doesn’t work that way.  Law of attraction creates an undertow that works to bring me more of what I’m already feeling.  Rather than breaking free all at once, I have to gradually move toward a better position.

I can deliberately find thoughts that I believe in that state of mind, that feel a little bit better than the resentment. I can think that my co-worker and I are doing the best we can in that moment.  I can remind myself that the issue I’m feeling resentment about is not very big in the scheme of my life.  I can be happy that the co-worker is there doing some of the work, so I don’t have to do more of it. Unless I hold tightly to that resentment, it will eventually fade to the point that I won’t remember the situation a few months from now.

My aim is to find thoughts that soothe me, until I feel a sense of relief.  That relief not only feels better, it’s a sure sign that I’ve changed my focus for the better and am no longer attracting more feelings like resentment and guilt. That’s a lovely thing.

Being Weird

dogs-708354_1280

I recently attended my second Abraham Hicks seminar.  Sitting in the audience at the beginning of the seminar with several hundred others, watching Esther Hicks meditate herself into the proper state of mind to translate Abraham, I was struck by how weird it was. Usually, I just ignore the weirdness because what Abraham says is so grounded and useful.   I don’t want to be the sort of weirdo who believes in strange things.  It turns out that I’m exactly that sort of weirdo.

For any who don’t know, Abraham describes themselves as a collective consciousness, sending blocks of thought to Esther Hicks who translates those thoughts into words.  They say they are a large group of non-physical beings who have united in the common purpose of reminding us of our true nature.  Some describe their method of communicating through Esther Hicks as channeling.  I’ve seen interviews with Esther Hicks and one thing is certain, her personality and the personality that comes through as Abraham, are very different.

I love Abraham and have learned a lot from Abraham books and seminar clips on youtube.  The Abraham teachings have made a profound positive difference in my life.  Still, it’s very weird.

I believe that when we leave our physical bodies, the core of who we are continues to exist.  I’ve felt the presence of loved ones who’ve died and even communicated with them.  I’ve communicated in a non-physical way, at a distance, with people who are still alive. In everyday life, I find non-physical, intuitive communication, to be an active part of how I navigate the world.

If a family member contacts me with urgent information, I usually know, intuitively, about their phone call before I receive it.  I’ll be driving home from work and know that I’ll have a message on my answering machine from a certain person.  Sure enough, when I get home, the message is there. Or if I’m home, I’ll anticipate a phone call before the phone rings.

Recently, I had a strong urge to go to the library, even though I had plenty of books to read and didn’t want to borrow any more.  I kept having the urge to stop by the library, so I finally did.  It turned out that the librarian had a book that I wanted to read and was saving it for me.

Sometimes I will have dreams where I emotionally work out issues with people in my life. Later they’ll call or write to me as if continuing the non-physical conversation we’ve been having.  This non-physical communication is not strange to me.

In each of these cases, I believe that someone’s desire to communicate with me, or my desire to communicate with them, has caused us to actually communicate non-physically.  I think we communicate with each other, non-physically, all the time.

What I find confusing is that if I find the lifestyle advice from Abraham to be useful and accurate, if I accept their vision of the world, does that mean I must accept their vision of the non-physical world? It seems like it must.

Truthfully, I don’t find the reality they talk about, to be hard to accept.  My mother died about 8 years ago.  I can totally imagine her leaving her body and immediately looking for ways to help those of us still in our physical forms.  She loved to get involved in other people’s lives and I’m sure that in non-physical, she’s no different.  She’s probably loving the broader view of the world that she has now.

This non-physical reality is not something that we talk about in ordinary life.  It’s not something we agree about.  Many don’t even believe that we continue in any way after our bodies die.  They would find this discussion to be absurd. And weird.

Worry about others’ opinions about me is the crux of my discomfort with following and talking about the teachings of Abraham.  I don’t want to be judged by people I care about and I’m afraid I will. I don’t want to be seen as unusual. I don’t want to be seen as naïve or misguided.

This brings me to a fundamental teaching of Abraham: I can’t be concerned about what others think of me if I want to be happy.  It’s something I’ve learned at other times and in other ways, but I keep forgetting. I do want to be happy. Perhaps it’s time to embrace my weirdness.

Staying Open

spring-awakening-1197602_1280

I’ve been thinking back on an experience I had about a year and a half ago.  My car was dying.  I’d spent a lot of time at the garage that summer so I knew this car was not going to last much longer. I needed another, but I had no idea how to make that happen.  I was still digging myself out of a financial hole. I was making progress.  The car was the last piece that needed attention so that I could relax knowing that I could take care of all my basic needs.

One blustery November day, I was on my way to work and my car choked its last breath and died by the side of the road.  I sat there in stunned silence. The car had over 200,000 miles and I was pretty sure it had its second cracked head gasket along with who knew what else ready to break.

I had no savings.  I had no credit. I lived alone and drove a half hour through back roads to get to work.  I had no idea what I could do.

Crisis has the marvelous effect of focusing our minds and keeping us in the present moment.  Luckily, I had been studying law of attraction for a couple of years at that point and I’d had some success with deliberately steering myself to better feeling thoughts and outcomes in my life.  I clung to that knowledge like my life depended on it.

It took about a week for me to go from sitting in a dead car, on an unpaved road, on a windy, cold day, to driving home a two-year-old car with 30,000 miles on it. It was a week full of anxiety, faith, and little miracles.  I made two decisions during that week, that served me really well.  I decided to stay open to the possibility that things could work out well and I actively looked for things to appreciate.

I started looking for things to be appreciate on the day when my car died.  I was grateful that it died on my way to work, when it was light out and I could knock on doors looking for a phone to use, rather than at 10:00 at night when I would be coming home from work.  There was sufficient staff on at my workplace that night, so it wasn’t a crisis when I couldn’t get there.  I had a good relationship with my mechanic, so he sent a tow truck way out to this back road to rescue me and my car and I got dropped off at my house before the tow truck continued on to the garage.

I had a lot of sleepless nights that week, but as I kept reminding myself to be open to the possibility of things working out well, they did.  A friend drove me around to look at cars. A co-worker picked me up on her way to work.  Another co-worker offered to lend me her car when she wasn’t using it. A family member lent me money for a down payment on a car.  My supervisor and landlord wrote letters of recommendation to help me get a loan.

As I listened to my intuition and stayed open to things working out well, they did work out in ways I never would have predicted.  By the end of this process, I not only had a wonderful, reliable car, but I knew that I had a community of people who cared about me and would rally around me in a crisis.  That knowledge was a wonderful gift.

I’ve been thinking of this experience because I have been struggling lately.  It finally occurred to me to look at what made that situation work out so well. I’ve used gratitude and appreciation to elevate my mood, but that hasn’t been enough lately.  The one thing I did in the car crisis, that I haven’t done with other situations, is to stay open to things working out well.  I was open to things working out in ways I couldn’t orchestrate or foresee.  I trusted that things could work out well without my control. I deliberately deciding to trust that things would work out well, even when I couldn’t imagine how.

So, I’m practicing that now.  It doesn’t come to me naturally, but I feel much better already.  It is easier for me to stay open to the possibility of things working out well than to have complete faith that they will.  That distinction helps me. Good things just need that crack of an open mind to move into my life.  I don’t have total faith in positive outcomes and I don’t need total faith.  I only need to be open to the possibility of things working out well for me.  I can do that.

My Latest Journey

volkswagen-569315_1280 (1)

I’ve recently been on a journey of negative momentum.  I’ve been exploring the dark side of law of attraction.  It hasn’t been fun, but it has been an education.

Abraham Hicks refers to the less pleasant aspects of life as contrast.  Actually, they define contrast as variety, but they and their students generally use the term contrast to refer to experiences and emotions that we don’t enjoy. They’re always talking about the usefulness of contrast in generating and clarifying our desires for what we want.  I’ve found that contrast definitely does clarify what I want, but I’ve yet to develop enthusiasm for it.

This journey into negative momentum may have been an answer to a question I had.  It was one of those questions that comes up from thinking too much about what others think of me and judging myself by the judgements I fear from others.  That’s never a good part of my mind to visit.

The question was: Is it moral for me to focus my energy on just trying to feel good?  I grew up with the idea that what was moral was for me to try to help others who were less fortunate.  I should be helping others who are having a hard time or who have less than I have.

There are a number of problems with this approach to life.  There is an arrogance to it and I’ve certainly berated myself for that arrogance.  But the fundamental flaw is in thinking that I can make anyone else’s life better by feeling bad – by commiserating, by feeling sorrow or anger on their behalf.  It makes me feel awful and completely drains my energy, leaving me with nothing to contribute to others or myself.

What I have definitively proved to myself with this latest bout of negative momentum, is that I am no good to anyone when I’m in a negative state of mind. If my mood is bad enough, I can cast a pall over any gathering I attend.  In this latest downward spiral, I watched my negative moods affect those around me in negative ways and I came to the clear conclusion that I don’t want to do that anymore.

The positive clarity that has come with this is that when I make myself happy, I do actually benefit others.  When I’m happy and light, I can entertain and inspire.  That sort of good feeling is infectious and I communicate it well.  My mood, for good or ill, does affect others, so it is a public service for me to make myself as happy as possible.  I’m glad I got that cleared up.

By the end of this stint of negative emotion, I got pretty desperate to improve my mood.  Law of attraction is not helpful in this regard.  I started having anxiety attacks, something I don’t usually experience.  I got desperate enough to put my full attention on improving my mood.

One technique that I’ve learned from studying law of attraction, that did help, is what Abraham Hicks calls “going general.”  To “go general” is to take focus off of the minute details of whatever we’re thinking about and focus on the big picture.  I think of it as zooming out as you would with a camera.

For example, if I were worried about having money to pay bills, my focus on the worry might lead me to obsessively think about how many days until the bill was due, and the details of how much money I have available to me and where it is, and what other bills are due when.  By going over and over those details, I increase the negative momentum of the worry and the financial problem.

I could get out of that negative spiral by making more general statements to myself.  “I’m having some financial difficulty right now. I’ve had financial difficulties before and gotten out of them.  I will find a way to deal with this.”  It’s easier to move to a more positive place, when my focus is on these general statements because it slows down the momentum.  This more positive focus is what eventually allows solutions to come to me.

When I’m in a positive place, solutions just come.  They float into my mind at unexpected moments.  I hear a stranger say something and it inspires my solution.  Sometimes the problems just disappear.  I get a credit to an account that I didn’t know I was owed.  Someone repays money I’d forgotten I lent.  Things just work out.  That’s my experience.

This search for relief from negative momentum, eventually led me first to rereading books about meditation and living in the present moment.

In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle teaches that negative emotions are about the past and the future.  We fear what we think might happen in the future.  We feel regret or anger over what’s happened in the past.  None of that applies when we fully inhabit the present moment.

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, peace activist and teacher.  He is a gentle, loving soul who teaches us to deeply experience the present moment.  He recommends that we smile to ourselves, to the present moment, and to everything and everyone we encounter.  He teaches a kind and loving appreciation of the world, by deeply experiencing it in the present moment.

In law of attraction terms, this focus on the present moment slows negative momentum.  In the present moment, I’m okay.  In the present moment, I am connected to the world.  In the present moment, anything is possible.  By going general and staying in the present moment, I got relief from negative momentum and I can start again, creating positive momentum in my life.