The number of choices each of us makes during any given day is astounding: what time to get up, what to wear, what to eat, what route to take, where to go for coffee, which piece of work to tackle, who to call, how many e-mails to send/respond to, whether to go out at night or not, and so on, and so on.
Then, of course, there are those times when ‘no choice’ is also a choice. That’s when we let others choose for us: where to take us to celebrate, what movie to see, what plans our bosses have for us etc. I know that I choose most of my activities based on what I want or what I think will make me happy. We’re constantly faced with opportunities to choose between what we want and what we don’t want.
The longer we’ve been on the planet, the more experienced we are at making action-oriented choices. As I ponder my goals for 2010, I see before me a fascinating array of new choices to make. One of the more interesting choices has been triggered as I read Esther and Jerry Hick’s book, Money and the Law of Attraction. In the Teachings of Abraham, they strongly recommend the choice of positive thoughts over negative thoughts – suggesting that we focus our thoughts on what we want, rather than dwelling on what we don’t want or don’t have.
Some might argue, as I once did, that we have absolutely no control over our thoughts – they just plant themselves in our minds because of what we’ve seen or what has happened. Besides which, what we think doesn’t really have any bearing on what happens to us, does it? Well what if it does?
According to Wikipedia, “The Law of Attraction argues that thoughts (both conscious and unconscious) can affect things outside the head, not just through motivation, but by other means. Essentially, “if you really want something and truly believe it’s possible, you’ll get it”, but putting a lot of attention and thought onto something you don’t want means you’ll probably get that too.”
Hmm. Since I can only speak to this from my own experience, let me say that whether the Law of Attraction has been “scientifically” validated or not, I do know that when I think good thoughts, happy thoughts, I feel better. And when I feel better, I actively look for other thoughts and things to support me in feeling even better. It becomes a lovely upward spiral filled with happiness, joy and wonder. The opposite is also true. When I think negative, unhappy thoughts, more of those come into my head. If I let it continue, my feelings spiral down into a pit of despair, worry, loneliness – well, you get the picture.
But, you say, life is tough – I have no job, no money, not enough food in the frig, people are in pain all around me. True though that may be, it doesn’t change the fact that you still have the power to choose what you think and feel about every condition. Our thoughts will trigger a variety of emotions. According to David R. Hawkins in Power vs Force, it has been scientifically proven that the words we use to describe emotions have the power to either energize us or zap us of our strength. The most life-giving word is enlightenment, followed by peace and joy. Shame, guilt and apathy are the most debilitating.
Why would anyone want to hang out in the misery that negative words cause? For example, if my life is sailing along in a wonderful direction but some of my friends are really struggling, I am tempted to feel bad, sad, and/or guilty. If I do that, not only do I dim the light of possibilities that I could hold for my friends and family, it dulls the glow of me feeling great about what’s good about my life. To dwell on that negative seems to be such a “lose-lose” position for all concerned. Why would I want to feel less than, just because of others who aren’t where I am? If everyone’s in the pit, who is left to pull us out?
A number of years ago, a dear friend called in great distress with the news that she had lost her business. This vibrant, take-charge woman was just beside herself with pain and worry for her future. On my way out the door to her house, I grabbed a book from my shelf to loan her. As women do, I listened with great empathy to her story, but felt somewhat helpless in the face of it all. So I gave her the book I’d brought, suggesting it might be useful. One day later she called with such a joyful note in her voice. That book (Even Eagles Need a Push by David McNally) was the lifeline she needed to pull herself up. It was onward and upward from there.
Though I may feel bad initially over someone’s situation, when I make the shift and focus my thoughts to how strong, resourceful and determined humans are in the face of adversity and how much I admire their courage, that support holds a much greater potential for forward movement than choosing to wallow with them in the muck of despair. Plus, the gift of rocky road ice cream can change someone’s state of mind in just one spoonful!
Which leads me back to choices. If one of my goals for 2010 is to feel good in every moment, then I will work to consciously choose my thoughts about any given situation. If bad things happen, I can ask myself, “What is it that’s good about this situation?” or “What will make me feel a little bit better?” Every small shift to the positive opens a doorway to better things. Then, if I think of a positive action to take, however big or small, that, too will support the ‘feel-good’ vibrations.
The other choice I will continue with is to disengage from the media negativity. Sixteen months ago, my mate and I decided to cancel our cable and only use the TV for DVDs. As a result, I haven’t watched the evening news for quite some time (my grandmother called it watching the doom and gloom). I get brief snippets from the radio when listening for the traffic report, but mostly, the pain of things I have no control over does not enter my life. Call me crazy, but this one action has added tons of time to spend on activities that make me feel just great – such as writing this article!
One other thing I do to boost my feel-good meter is subscribe to daily e-mail meditations that lift my spirits and start my days off right. As TUT.com says, “Thoughts become things. Think only the good ones!” What thoughts will you think in 2010?
Permission is granted to copy this article for personal use, providing credit is given to the author, Sue Paulson, and it is not altered in any way.