Am I Really Mr. Positive?

Posted Posted in Breathe Yoga Newsletter, My Stories

Today I’d like to clear something up. I am not positive! Stop calling me positive! I’ve been accused of this for years now, and it’s gotten worse since I declared 2016 to be The Year of the Happy Train. We must stop this madness. Because you know what? I’m not really that positive. I’m realistic. That’s what I’m going for, anyway, and life is so much smoother that way, at least for me and for most of the people that I know and that I see in my office. Relax as best you can and just stick to the facts. “What’s going on right now? What’s the situation? What am I reacting to? Is there anything that can be done? What’s the first step?” Most people are just so negative, though, that in comparison I look like Mr. Sunshine.

I’m making light of this, but there’s an important point to it. People come into my office all the time assuming they should “be more positive.” And then they crucify themselves when they’re not. Pretty clever mind trick, huh? Nobody can say we aren’t brilliant, even in our madness. Especially in our madness… That’s why I’m not so into this positivity stuff; it ends up being just another opportunity for us to fail and then beat ourselves up. If I notice I’m thinking that same old negative chatter, but I’ve learned that I should be thinking more positively, what do you think the next thoughts might be? It might sound something like this: “You suck! You’re supposed to be thinking more positively now! You’re failing at this, too!” Nice. And I’m talking this way to myself??

So here’s the difference. Positive thinking is oftentimes unrealistic. Let’s say we want to tell ourselves that it’ll all be fine. Well, the problem is that we know it might not all be fine. The outcome that I don’t want to happen totally might happen, and I know this deep down. So my attempt at positive thinking sounds sort of like this, with the chatterbox giving its commentary in bold: “It’ll all be fine… BS… It’ll all be fine… BS… It’ll all be fine… BS…

What, then, does the reality version look like? Maybe something like this. And read it s-l-o-w-l-y, because that’s how our built-in intelligence talks. “Wow, I notice I’m really hoping this certain outcome happens [relaxing, loving breath]. I sure hope it does; that would be awesome [relaxing, loving breath]. What if it doesn’t, though? [relaxing, loving breath]. If it doesn’t, then I’ll have to do deal with it; but by doing one thing at a time, of course [relaxing, loving breath, while maybe thinking through the scenario slowly]. But I’ll do my best regardless. In the meantime, is there anything I can do now? Let me think about that for a minute [relaxing, loving breath].” And now you’re in a totally different place; you feel different. And there’s more space in your mind for inspired ideas and solutions to pop right in, just like that. And it doesn’t take much effort; it’s actually the opposite of efforting.

Can you feel the difference? And we’re talking about the same exact situation. One has potential failure built in and the other doesn’t. One has thinking that we might not fully believe and the other doesn’t. One needs a certain outcome to happen, which we’re usually not in control of anyway, and the other gets cool with whatever happens. “I know I’ll be okay, even if the worst can scenario happens. I might not want it, but I’ll be okay; I’ll make it. I’ll thrive anyway.” And then allow yourself to feel that okay-ness, that safety. Breathe that feeling in, all the way down to your toes, basking in it for several seconds. The cells of your body just love this, and they will really sing. This feeling component so important; it really speeds things up. It anchors that feeling of safety in your body. And over time, your peace will become less and less dependent on outcomes that are not totally in your control. Instead, it’ll be known as something that’s inside of you. Wow, what a better plan. What a better plan. And it just takes some learning and then some gentle, loving practice. And by reading this, you’ve already learned it! Also let me say that if positive thinking works for you, go for it! You are the expert of you. This forced version is what most people are trying to do, though, and it really doesn’t work long-term. So that’s why I’m writing about it here.

So the next time somebody calls you positive, feel free to smack them in the face and tell them, “Stop calling me that! I’m realistic!” Just kidding… But do think about this some if it resonates. This way of thinking works much better because it feels much better to most of us. All that pressure to “think positive” or “think right” or “do it right” is GONE. And you have a source of intelligence built in that you can ask what you should do in any given moment. Call it wisdom or common sense, intuition or instinct, it’s really all the same. And it came with the package. And it usually doesn’t have a whole lot to say. Just the facts. And that beats positive thinking any day of the week. And after living this way for a while, you’ll probably have more of a glow. You’ll be more relaxed. And your friends might even start calling you positive…

You Don’t Have OCD…

Posted Posted in Other Cool Topics

Hello folks. Today let’s dispel another mental issue. We’ve done a pretty good job with anxiety so far… Hey, not bad for your average Friday in January! Here we go… People say all the time, “I have OCD” (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Some of them simply mean that they’re really uptight or particular about how things are, while others are more serious about it and even have an official diagnosis. Well, I have good news… Regardless of which camp you’re in, I’m pretty sure that you don’t have OCD. In fact, I’m pretty sure that nobody has OCD, and that there is no OCD. And this is great news! Is there a pattern? Yes. Is there a disease I’m born with and cannot change? No. Most of us have this pattern to some degree; it’s just how much. Now, I’m not saying that you don’t have some conditioned behaviors, even very persistent, intense, life changing ones. But I don’t think that anybody is born with a “disorder,” like it’s a disease of the body or something. I’m pretty sure that does not exist. And we can be very thankful for that. It’s all created by our thinking, and we can practice changing that. YAY!!!

Let me tell you a little story. You see, some of my good friends in high jokingly started calling me “slide rule” because I can be very, um, meticulous. It wasn’t my main nickname or anything (that was “Ace” – just kidding), but just a funny little thing. And I’ve since chilled out a lot on this. Which is saying a lot, because it can still be there quite a bit. And so I continue to work on that. Wait, not work… I continue to play with that. There, that feels much better. So I was talking to my mom one day and she informed me that if my stuffed animals weren’t in the perfect order – when I was still in the crib – then I’d throw a fit. Yowzers! So I came in with this pattern. My brothers were not like that. They might have their patterns or not, but this was one of mine. But it’s just a pattern. And that’s totally different than our notion of a disorder. So I’ve simply been practicing being more relaxed ever since I became aware of this pattern. No big deal.

Some people are pretty extreme, and they count things all the time. Or they have to do such and such an even number of times. This could be when they’re brushing their teeth or washing dishes or anything random like that. Some people can’t step on a crack on the sidewalk. There are infinite variations, but here’s the deal. It’s all a creation, and it’s your creation. None of it is real. I sure know that it seems real, though! I had a young teenage client once that was like this, and after a while it surfaced in my memory that I used to do some of the same things that he was doing. Like stepping on a crack on the sidewalk. Or maybe it was the division between consecutive segments of cement that were made when they laid it. There’s one of these lines every four feet or so, and I can’t step on one. Wait – yes I can!! Nobody cares except me. At some point I outgrew this and forgot all about it. Until that client came in. And even then, it was after he had left after the second session or so that I remembered he was just like me. But it was a big deal when I was younger and was doing this. But… it’s still a fact that it was still something I had created out of thin air. It was anything but real. Real to me at the time? Absolutely. But not absolutely real. As in, real to everyone, all the time. Period. It was never that, and that’s very, very good news.

I got to thinking about this recently and thought it would be a helpful topic to write about. And then last weekend I made my annual January pilgrimage to the Foley, AL outlet mall to get some new threads. And a woman at one of the stores was folding some shirts that I had purchased. She made the comment that she just can’t stand for them to not look nice and folded when they’re placed in the bag for the customer to leave with. I told her that’s awesome, but I don’t mind because my car is right there and I’m just going to wash them anyway. But she insisted and said something about being OCD. And I said that’s fine – if that’s your joy then that’s absolutely beautiful. Thank you. But I made a comment like, “As long as you’re at peace” or something like that. And don’t worry, it was natural and smooth and loving. I wasn’t trying to be Counselor Guy that has to heal everyone he meets, ha. But it was an important message. You see, if you’re counting things all the time or avoiding cracks in the sidewalk or constantly doing this or that, then as long as you’re relaxed, loving yourself, at peace, and fully understanding that you’re playing with your own creation, playing your own game, and choosing to do so, then what’s the problem? It’s just that the vast majority of people acting this way are totally contracted and totally unconscious. They’re victims of this thing that they have to do. Nope. These compulsions are ruling them rather than the other way around. And the other way around is that they’re in charge, playing with their creations, totally at peace and in their joy. Can you feel the different quality? One is peace and the other is contraction. And many folks are very, very contracted around this!

So when you think of this flavor in you, whether it’s big or small, just invite relaxation and love to the whole thing. In fact, feel free to pause, close your eyes, and take a breath of this right now, wherever you are. Ahh, that feels nice. The body is relaxing and opening up. I’m feeling my innocence. Now consider that there might actually be some choice in the matter. It can feel weird and even VERY difficult to start to break these habits and behaviors, but stay in the breath and out of judgment and just relax into them. Thinking is not really involved – just watch the whole thing. Keep a relaxed body and love yourself for playing with this pattern instead of being an unconscious robot. And you are totally free to be an unconscious robot, too! Most of us have been there and done that, though, and we’re waking up now. So happy practicing, happy relaxing, happy choosing, and as always, let me know if I can help! And share this with your friends and family that could benefit. They really can relax with practice! True story. Share it in a nice way, though. I can help you with that, too 🙂 Peace out!