It actually started not with the draft, but with Rick deciding to stream The Secret through Netflix the night before I started the rewrites. I went in with half my attention on it, and was sucked in pretty quick. It’s not that this was any major revelation, but rather that it was stuff that people have been trying to tell me for the past 4-5 years: if you want to change your life, change your thoughts. I’ve been struggling with that. It’s a journey I wanted to take, and like any journey it’s been a lot of hills and valleys. I’ll do ok, then something will happen to knock me back, and I find myself in the same old thought patterns again. I realized that I started out alright, but I got caught in a cycle of success and defeat that had to end if I really wanted this to work. I don’t want to be a bitter, angry person. I want to be happy, and for the people around me to be encouraged. All this time, I’ve thought that changing your thoughts is hard, but the truth is that it isn’t. It requires more attention, but it’s certainly doable. What really matters is how determined you are.
So I started my rewrites, and I noticed something else. Ruby Josen, the main character in Move and Resolution, had grown and changed a lot between the books (there’s a three and a half year time gap between them) because she changed her focus. In Move, she was focused on what she didn’t want, and everything not only fell apart, but fell into chaos. There were a lot of bad decisions made by all of the characters in the book, and it all stemmed from everybody being so focused on what they didn’t want that they scattered. Forcing things to avoid consequences made more trouble. In Resolution, Ruby is focused on what she does want: she’s built a better life, and she wants to make things from her past right so she can move on and her mistakes from Tanger Falls can’t hold her back or threaten her future. Instead of separation and chaos, we see the characters uniting and organizing to the unified goal of setting things right, no matter what it takes. They were focused on the same goal and worked together in harmony (most of the time) to figure out what was causing this new trouble in Tanger Falls and to resolve it. The past really can come back to haunt you if you don’t tie up all those loose ends correctly. And sometimes we don’t realize that the loose ends are there until they choke us.
You see how this is going. I saw it working in fiction, so naturally I wondered how it would work in reality. Two things happened next: I had my annual physical, where my doctor diagnosed me with a sinus infection and Vitamin D deficiency. Then later that same day, I found a copy of The Secret in book format that Rick bought several months ago. It’s a relatively short book, so I decided that I could squeeze in some time to read it. It basically followed the DVD word for word, but somehow reading it in addition to seeing it really put it in my brain.
I decided to test it. Instead of focusing on being sick, I decided to focus on healing and getting healthy. I knew the antibiotics and Vitamin D booster were working in me, and I decided that I would focus on wellness instead of sickness. Whenever the medicine had me feeling bad, I’d catch my thoughts to change them from “I’m sick” to “I’m healing.” You know what happened? I felt better the next day! It usually takes me 3-4 days to feel better on antibiotics, but I started them on Tuesday and woke up Wednesday morning feeling improvement. I wasn’t 100%, but by Friday, I was hard pressed to even remember that I was sick (in fact, I nearly forgot to take my medicine, until I saw the pill bottles and remembered that healing is a process and I need to do my part to keep the process on track).
I applied it to some other matters I faced, and I found that I was more inspired and less stressed than I normally am, which was a most welcome change. The results weren’t instantaneous, of course – you see that I’m still on the path to improving, but my progress is better, and I feel better mentally than I have in a long time. And yes, there was resistance. There’s always resistance to change. Just because I decided to change my thinking didn’t mean others did, and I noticed people trying to send a lot of negative energy around. Honestly, I’m not sure if there was an increase in popping attitudes, or if I noticed it more because I was making an effort to pay attention to the positive versus negative energy around me.
Now I already hear many of you scoffing, “Well Sherri, everybody talks about the power of positive thinking, but we live in reality. Life isn’t good all the time.” I know. I’ve had enough crap avalanche on me to get it and never forget it. Life does happen, and it doesn’t care whether you’re good, bad, positive, negative, a hero, a villain, or whatever. Circumstances turn, and sometimes people are so incredibly full of crap that I have to hold my breath around them. But my point is this: it seems that a lot people spend a lot of time and energy focusing on the negative and overlook the positive, and then they wonder why bad things keep coming. What if we decided to be thankful for what we have instead of complaining about what’s wrong? What if we took responsibility instead of blaming others, or circumstances? What if we decided to focus on solutions rather than problems? What if we took positive action instead of running from, ignoring, or making excuses for problems? What if we focused on good and right, instead of bad and wrong? What if we spent more time focusing on our goals and positive outcomes instead of what’s aggravating us and getting in the way? Is it really worth your mental energy to focus on what drags you down rather than what lifts you up? You really do get back what you send out. There’s no other way it can happen. If all you do is look down and see darkness, then that’s what you get. If you lift your gaze to the living future, that’s what you get. It really is that simple.
I know we can’t change reality, but we can change the way we think about it and, subsequently, how we deal with it. We can be ruled by blessing or curses – it all depends on where we choose to focus. It’s not really a secret. It’s all in who chooses to apply it, and how reliably they do it. I can say from my personal experience just over the past week that I’m a lot happier. Sure, there’s resistance. There’s always resistance to change. But I see it working, both in fiction and in reality, and I can’t deny results, large or small.
Maybe you believe this. Maybe you don’t. It’s your faith. It’s your life. It’s your energy. Where are you sending it? To reap good returns, or bad?
That’s all today. Take care, and have a good week.