Have you ever tried to find a new way to navigate life? I’m reminded of the Seinfeld episode where George decides to take a new approach to life by doing the exact opposite of his natural instincts. I can tell you, I’ve tried that one and it STINKS!
I was raised on some of the tenets of Dale Carnegie (dad’s favorite) and W. Clement Stone (mom’s favorite). They’ve had some impact on my life, but primarily serve as a foundation for what was to come several decades later, my passion for understanding, and trying to live by, both the Law of Attraction and Mindfulness.
I gave up my successful business of 30 years and a decent salary to pursue other things without even a spit of planning. The Law of Attraction tenets have come in very handy at getting me through moments of what could-be, would-be, total devastation.
I’m grateful to have discovered that, what is commonly referred to as “reality” is highly overrated. I’ve also come to learn about “contrast”. (That’s a buzz word created by Abraham Hicks to refer to all the lousy things that happen to us in life, which ultimately cause us to know what we want, by discovering what we don’t want!)
Another example of “contrast” would be the idea that, out of every negative, comes an equal or greater positive. This was personally evidenced to me years ago, by a devastating building fire at my office, causing the building to be razed to the ground. As I’m standing outside in the smoke, on the street, breathing into a towel, watching eight fire trucks try to put out the blaze, I could never have dreamed that, behind the devastation, embedded in the flames before me, would soon be an insurance check that which allowed me to move, purchase computers, and significantly increase the scope and volume of my business
With that in mind you’d think that I might have a firm grasp of these concepts by now, and I do. But there’s a catch. It requires discipline! I call it the “Yeah but…” moment.
It’s one thing to be a would-be disciple and advocate of the Law of attraction. However we betray our own well-being with self doubt or terror. Much like Judas (the moment he betrays Jesus) or Ralphie (in the movie “A Christmas Story”) when he abandons his pal, Flick , whose tongue is stuck to the frozen streetlamp, when crying, “But the bell rang!”,
In times of stress I’m still inclined to default to panic, fear or depression. Which is SO DUMB! Because experience has taught me otherwise.
Years ago, (when I used to get panic attacks) my son turned me onto a song by Sister Hazel , called “Change Your Mind” .
I know all these things and yet when faced with the option of utilizing these remarkable concepts at critical moments, I sometimes find myself saying “Yeah but… that’s just denial”, or “Yeah but… I really do have plague”, or “Yeah but… maybe I am going to be fat forever!” (Okay that last one may be seated in truth, but I hope not.)
I once heard it said that when the word “but” is used in a statement, it usually always negates the reality or truth of the previous statement. For example, “I love you but…” Or “You’re really smart but….” Or “You don’t look fat but, you might wan to rethink those jeans.” Get the picture? (No. This is not my butt, btw. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
Some mornings I wake up, and before opening my eyes (out of a very old, bad, habit) I almost scare myself out of bed. How? A daunting “to do list” spontaneously generates in my brain and runs in circles like a hamster on a wheel. I’ll debate the urgency of its contents, versus staying in bed long enough to meditate for 15 minutes and eradicate the madness. That’s when the “Yeah but…” monster rears its ugly head. “Yeah but…you don’t have time for meditation right now!” Or “Yeah but… this stuff is all just denial!” or “Yeah but…you’re wasting precious time!” What I’ve learned, is to embrace the monster and try beat it at its own game.
“Yeah but… when I don’t meditate, my day can go south pretty fast, usually when I least expect it.” Or “Yeah but… meditation often leads to inspiration,” (like my decision to start writing this piece before I even had my tea.) Or “Yeah but…you know in your heart that you can change all the fear stuff with just the slightest effort or tweaking, so JUST DO IT!”
And that, I’m learning is what makes men out of mice or lemons lemonade out of lemons. Your ability to stop immediately and just be quiet for a few moments and change your mind.
Think of Tom Hanks in that moment in the movie “Castaway”, after he’s delivered the unopened FedEx box with angel wings and discovers that it’s owner is a cute, sexy redhead whose fedex box with Angel Wings saved his life.
They meet totally be accident and he stands in the crossroads, while she gives him information about where each roads lead geographically. After she takes off, we discover that the angel wings hand painted on the back of her truck match those painted on the FedEx box that saved his life. We’re inclined to think he’ll take off down the road after her. But instead he stands there, pausing in the middle of the deserted crossroads contemplating his future. We never learn which direction he chooses, but we intrinsically know that he’s going to be okay, better than okay in fact!
So if life sometimes smacks you in the face or it’s positively scares the shit out of you, take a breath. If you can’t decide which road to choose, simply surrender to the moment, it will likely reveal wonderful things which you never even imagined.
Footnote: I woke up this morning feeling panicked about a couple things, I was genuinely scared in fact. Then I realized I didn’t really meditate yesterday because I have a house guest. Today I almost repeated that mistake when I realized it would be a mistake to just hop out of bed. Halfway through meditation I had an impulse to write this piece, completely taking me out of my state of fear! I don’t even remember what I was worried about! I hope you find my effort was worthwhile. It sure was for me. Thanks for reading!