I’ve been thinking a lot about positive thinking lately. What it really means, why does it seem to have merit in some cases and not in others. Where are the lines drawn between thinking positively in that ‘pie in the sky’ manner and thinking ‘realistically’ but trapping yourself in a cycle of not-having because you can’t let go of being ‘practical’. There has to be some middle ground. I don’t believe in what I call quantum mysticism, like that of The Secret, but I do believe that we have the power to shape our lives through our thoughts–for good and bad.
But what do you do when you can’t make yourself believe in something you want very much? That has always been my big dilemma. Because all those sayings “fake it until you make it” or “act as if”, well, I’m a pretty good actress. I can do these things. But really believing them, enough to make them come true–not so much.
However I’ve had a few conversations lately that make me wonder. Recently I had a discussion with some online friends about the value of fandoms and what we get out of having fictional heroes. One of my friends mentioned that she had action figures from her favorite shows that acted like totems for her. One reminded her to take risks, another to be brave. Others were examples of following your moral compass as well as your heart. We talked about totems and how no matter how advanced we become, we as a people still seem to need totems of some sort. The magic doesn’t reside within them. It resides within us. The totem only reminds us that it is there.
Another thing that has me pondering thinky thoughts at the moment is this article I came across today on Positively Positive. It’s a site my friend, fellow author Cooper West, recommended to me. I don’t always agree with what the guest bloggers have to say (there was a recent article in which someone defended taking time out for themselves after a work trip instead of coming home and pitching in with helping with the kid–I’m sorry, but if I’d been left with a toddler for a week, I’d be the one needing the break!) but this one caught my eye. Amplify the Power of Your Thoughts suggests that writing very specific goals and dreams down on paper and carrying them with you in your wallet can increase your chances of having the desired outcome.
Well, I don’t know about that either. But hey, what can it hurt?
You’re probably asking yourself, what’s up with Lt. Colonel John Sheppard rescuing a colt from a raging river? 🙂 Well, one of my friends and I have been taking dramatic action shots of our toy figures and emailing them back and forth to each other. We’re having a ridiculous amount of fun doing it. But this action figure is one of my totems too. The one that says “never give up.” So I’m going to write down my dreams and goals. I’m going to give very specific instructions to the universe and see what happens. You should try it too. What have you got to lose?
In the meantime, I’ve been discovering the value in getting just a single hour more of sleep each night and taking the dog on regular walks. Autumn is here now, unexpectedly early. It may yet be a fickle thing, turn back into summer, but right now the leaves are turning, the geese are flying overhead, and the days are pleasantly cool. Spending some time outdoors each day is absolutely necessary for me to function normally–apparently the Japanese are embracing the concept of ‘forest bathing‘ and others speak of ‘earthing.’ I don’t know if these things are based in science or not, but I do know that there is something about walking outdoors with the dog on a fall afternoon that brings peace to my soul. There is something about it that grounds me in a very basic way. I’ve been trying to get out more, to balance my crazy work schedule with some breathing space. All I can say is that it is helping. My headspace is a little clearer and the writing is going better. All this time I’ve been beating myself up for not getting up at 4 am to write several hours before work, or for not churning out a new novel every month, and it turns out the answer was I needed to push less instead of more. Lesson learned.
I’m off for a few days of R&R with some friends this weekend. We’re going to talk about writing, watch a bunch of movies, stay up too late drinking wine and dishing about our lives, make far too much food, and in general enjoy ourselves without reservation. I’m looking forward to this. I need this. And when I come home, I will be ready to get to work on the sequel to Unspeakable Words again. 🙂