“Oozing Positivity”

My life is awesome. I am blessed beyond comprehension.
But much of my situation is a product on focusing on the positive.

My grandpa was the one who showed me how significant your focus can be. By always finding things to have gratitude about, he was always happy.

This is not easy. And it takes practice.

I’ve found that blogging/tweeting/life streaming has been a wonderful tool for adjusting my focus. It is, quite literally, an exercise in seeing yourself as your life’s protagonist. If you are narrating your life story, you must choose which details to include. Focus is the core skill of story telling. When you relay the activities of your day, do you focus on the scenery? The mental processes? The interactions? The mundane details? The hopeful signs? The painful fears?

When I visited my grandpa in the hospital, he never complained. He may have shared information about his body’s state, but with fascinated detachment. Then he would always sing the praises of the doctors and modern medicine.
This has been my training model and the inspiration for “Crap or Cone.” (“Crap or Cone” is a little mental trick I use to refocus on the metaphorical ice cream cone available in the present moment, and not the “dog crap” circumstances. Both are always present.)

A couple years ago, I often purged negative thoughts through writing. I then shared them online and found comfort and reassurance from online readers. But I found myself bonding with people over suffering. And every well-meaning response would pull me back to the negative mental space I was in when I original wrote. Even when the original negativity had passed, through dialogue I would be pulled back to the negative topic.

I made a conscious effort to not post as much about petty annoyances. It was hard at first. I had grown accustomed to the soothing responses to my complaints. But I learned to sit with the frustration and let it pass on my own.

This has allowed me to spend far more time and energy in a positive headspace. And publically, it may even appear as if I never have problems. Heh.

While I try not to wallow about them in my public updates, I have challenges like everyone.
For example, I am dealing with a ridiculous number of skin-based health ailments right now.
1. ears re-injured while stretching from 4 gauge to 2. (daily salt soaks)
2. nipples re-injured during waterfall sexual antics – and infected from gross water (daily salt soaks)
3. cut my neck while clipping my beard. (septic pencil to stop bleeding)
4. sunburned my neck and back. (aloe)
5. athletes foot -almost gone- (ointment)
6. hemorrhoids – sporadic flareup (prep H)
7. broken toenail/bruising from stubbed toe. (antibiotic cream)
8. cut finger from weekend crafting. (band-aid)
9. everyday acne & dandruff (OTC cleanser & prescription shampoo)

Now, if you spent the day with me, I’m sure you would hear about some of these. (I’d probably even force you to check out the bloody discharge currently oozing from my right nipple.) And I have the instinct to post whiny updates, as well. But I try to let those feelings pass without committing them to public permanence.

If I can let the momentary complaint pass by without clinging on to it, then I can either move past the issue, or re-frame it more positively. There are a million things going right at every moment. In fact, EVERYTHING on that list could be a part of a positive story of healing. I.e. “My white blood cells are fighting infection as I type this…even while I sleep! I’ll be fixed up in no time!” That is just another way of saying, “My poor nipple is oozing. 🙁 ”

It is not the circumstances of your life, but your perspective of them. And in this modern word of twitter, Facebook, and ever-present life narration, the perspective you share with the world can be just as critical, too.

Now, who wants to see my miraculously healing nipple?
-John
July 26, 2010

“The Power of Thought”

“The Power of Thought” works on 3 levels.

The first is simply the power of Focus.

When you think of something that brings you joy, it brings that idea into your mind.
If I think of my nephew laughing, it makes me happy. I do not have to actually hear his voice or be in his presence. I can still experience the love. The thought, itself, brings me pleasure.

This is why it is so critical to be conscious of what you put your focus on.
(It is the basis for “Crap or Cone.”)

The next level of thought is the law of Attraction.

Despite the “Secret,” this doesn’t have to be anything mystical. It can be as simple as “you move in the direction of your focus.” So if you are thinking of health issues, you will be more aware of the pain in your body. If you are thinking about parking karma, you will notice the good parking spot. If you are depressed you will see everything that is wrong. Whatever level you are vibrating at, you will head in that direction and draw similar things to you. Birds of a feather flock together.

The last level of thought power is Manifestation.

This is the one that is hard to swallow. This is the “abra-cadabra” notion that you can magically create whatever you want in your world. This could be a new car, a perfect mate, or a clean bill of health. Some people speak about this as if it is as simple as placing an order with the universe.

I have been resistant to last notion.

For one thing, I have very little faith that humans have any clue as to what is best for them. History is full of atrocities committed in the name of humans imposing their (good-intentioned) will. So giving us the ability to get whatever we want sounds horrific.

This is why, in the past I have focused on general goals of positivity, abundance, and peace – rather than a specific laundry list of wants. I have put my intentions on a direction, not a destination.

But recently I have been getting signs, hearing voices, and reading thoughts that have encouraged me to be very specific with my thoughts.

And I have had some powerful experiences to affirm this.

Last week for the first time, I wrote down some specific work & financial goals. It was difficult. I realized that my resistance to making goals specific was Fear. I was afraid that by making my goals specific, I put myself in a position to fail. When the goals are vague, it is easy to see everything as a step in the right direction. But with specifics, a missed target is glaring and failure is obvious.

But I forced myself to write it out. At the end of my list, after a pause, I put down an extremely lofty and “crazy” dream. Even though I was sitting alone, and typing for only myself, it took me a minute before I could commit the idea to the page. I was embarrassed. I felt stupid.

I won’t disclose the specifics, because I don’t want to jinx it, but later that SAME DAY, I was approached with an opportunity that was almost exactly what I had written last on that list. It was the most specific goal, the craziest, and now most likely to become a reality. I may not know for certain for several months, but the fact that someone came to me with the job idea – within hours – blew my mind.

Who knows what else is possible if I can continue to confront my fears?
I better write it down, in detail, and find out.

Sober Mom

1 week from now is my Mom’s 25th sober birthday.

Now, I am not sober. (Well, I mean I am *right now* but you know what I mean.) But the decision she made and the courage she showed 25 years ago changed my life immeasurably.
By going through family counseling, we all learned to communicate better. And through the process of working through it all, I learned that honest flaws are so much more beautiful & easier to love than fictional masks. And I learned about the magic of unconditional Love.
My mom is a Mom, with a capital “M.” She had the luxury of dedicating herself full time to parenting. In some ways, my brother and I are her life’s work.
And I think she did amazing.