It has been four years since I began my Positivity Quest in Hawaii. Back here for a quick week, staying with my family who is much grown up over the last several years, has given me pause to reflect on how this work of positivity has transformed me and my life.
First, I think it is important to reflect on the inner work of positivity that began with a prolonged and, at times, desperate attempt to extricate negative thinking from not only how I speak, but how I think. Early on, I instituted a wrist band method, which was to act as a physical sign to interrupt the habitual negative thoughts. What I learned and have witnessed over and over again in myself and others is that negativity is so sticky because it is so familiar. Most of the trash thinking that haunts us has been swimming through our brains day after day for as long as we can remember. Stopping negative thoughts is like breaking a smoking habit you didn’t know you had. Still, it is doable. For me it took the better part of 4 months of vigilant attention, which really isn’t bad in reversing 48 years of negative thought patterns.
As the work of positivity has evolved in me, I have discovered that once habitual thinking habits are lifted, what positivity really provides is an opening of the mind and a curiosity and wonder that small children enjoy naturally. Positivity encourages me to witness reality as it is and has helped replace my judgments about what is wrong with questions about what I don’t know and what I am not able to see.
Positivity is not a happy panacea for me. Emotions of sadness and anger are still in my life, but what is different is how those more challenging emotions are impacted by positivity. When I feel anxious or frustrated, I have learned to just notice the feeling and name it. I am less driven by the stories in my head, in fact a lot of times now, there is no story line because I am more immediately connected to the experience I am having. I don’t get stuck in the feelings anymore.
More notable still is the new space that I have in my thinking to envision and believe in what I am aspiring to create. This is maybe the biggest miracle of all in the work of positivity in one’s life. As we clear away the darkness that shrouds our heart, the love and aspirations that make up our true selves shine out without any effort. Life’s possibilities open like the opportunities they are all around us. I have studied, written about, started clubs and even a new non-profit business that was founded on the simple principles of positivity during the last four years.
Now more than ever, I invite you to join me in practicing a new kind of psychology that I promise will transform not only your days but how you live inside yourself. The only reasonable response to a life of positivity is gratitude. I am renewed.
And for those of you who have been waiting, I am finally ready to get my second book in the world- Life that works- a Guide to Thriving Positivity. Look for it by the end of 2014.