The Problem With Persistent Positivity
Right after my marriage ended- well maybe there was a slight lag in the time-line…I began to see a life-coach. In my book I call her Feather so I will do the same here. Anyways, I had fallen in love with Wayne Dyer…erm his books rather. He had become the wind beneath my broken heart. I went to see Wayne speak at a Hay House convention (HayHouse is a publishing company for assorted spiritual authors). After seeing Wayne I treated myself to two more seminars and one I chose was for a Toronto woman who Wayne had mentioned in his latest book. She was… interesting. I remember feeling irritated at her seminar with her kitschy ‘meet your neighbour’ exercises. I’ve always hated these kind of things that force you to open up much faster than feels right. Our boundaries are in place for a reason- and yet, there we were, being made to feel like a fool if we did not follow along. I challenged Feather on a few of her philosophies and she belittled me. I decided to call her. Our one on one chat was great so I decided to see her professionally and explore where it might lead. I mean Wayne really liked her.
Seeing Feather was like a drug. I would become pumped up on her positivity and decided to attempt to adopt some of her beliefs. This worked well until Feather raised her rates form $100- $150 a session and assured me I could owe her money- she trusted me?? Thing is, I did not want to owe her or anyone money. And I was beginning to find her positivity a little over the top. She claimed she NEVER got sad or depressed…I challenged her- never?? She got extremely defensive with me…and I knew something was rotten in Denmark. Where the heck does this saying come from…anyone??
Release and Relief...
Cut to my new favourite writer Jeff Brown. Finally someone who has the courage to call the whole positive vibe thing for what it is-a fallacy. (Great for momentary delusion) .
Every darn thing in this world is held together through the polarization of opposites. We cannot know deep empathy or compassion without experiencing deep pain. We cannot know the height of happiness without experiencing the depth of great grief. And mostly, what I want to express, is that we cannot eradicate past painful memories with a positive anecdote. Believe me, I have tried. Inevitably, minimizing any painful experience is not the way to go. Seems no one wants to feel pain- but listen here- no pain, no gain!
What scares me is that trained practitioners are recommending that we drug away our sadness- another form of minimizing. Cognitive therapists are giving us ways to think that simply undermine the depth of our emotion. “Try to think of it this way…”.
I’ve been on this planet for a while. (To the point where my dentists assistant called me dear this morning…) I’ve lived, I’ve loved, I’ve experienced tremendous trauma and abandonment. I’ve laughed I’ve cried. I’ve tried drugs, and I’ve tried talking myself into happiness. Here’s my truth. It may resonate with you- or not.
Through the fire...
There is no way around the fire- only through. Your soul longs for you to acknowledge it’s experience- acknowledge and learn and then grow. If we continue to bury our pain and trauma- it’s only going to erupt in other areas of our life.
Chaos . Acrylic on Canvas 46" x 36" . $500.00
Here’s a favourite- “well it could be worse”…. Right- but it could have been much better! I remember my first miscarriage at just over 3 months. I had seen the tiny heartbeat already. This baby was so real for me- I had planned his/her whole life!! (Not really but at least the first five years.). I went to a miscarriage support group and remember meeting a woman who had lost her baby upon birth. I kept thinking oh God that would be so much worse. Suddenly I was caught up in her pain, ignoring my own. The truth is- our pain is still our pain. We can’t make it go away by convincing ourselves it could have been worse. We need to acknowledge it, sit with it, soothe it. I had to cry, drink, smoke. There is no easy way out. The anger and sadness and fear we feel all have to be felt. Really felt, experienced, touched, each time they arise.
We can’t continue to stuff our feelings down- nothing could be unhealthier- and yet our society is continually not willing to really feel and not only feel, but acknowledge our own pain and the pain of others.
I think the more we can bring to the light, the more we will feel whole. the more we push down, the more we will feel a hole.
So, I know. It really takes guts to write the letter, to stand up for your truth, to explore your pain and to sit with it. But it also helps you learn the beautiful art, of acceptance, of love, of becoming compassionate with yourself. Self love is not about the pedicures or the hot baths or the hair salon. OK those things are an essential part of life- lol…but true self love looks like this; pretend you are the parent you always longed for- communicate with yourself through these lenses. Speak gently with yourself when you feel down or tired. Stop comparing yourself to some unrealistic image of perfection. Stop looking outside yourself for magical cures. Love each facet of yourself- understanding that it all comes together to form a shiny bright jewel named YOU. Accept your limitations and re-invent yourself over and over. Journal, paint or write a song to help you FEEL your feelings.
Change what you can but also accept what you can’t. Make mini paradigm shifts where you become the life coach for your co-workers. You can practice love and compassion pretty much everywhere you go. Understand that life is here to teach you, not to punish you.
Spend quality time with yourself- not alone, but with yourself.
I’m sure I’ve only touched upon this heavy but enlightening topic. Where I am now- I can’t encourage you enough to explore your feelings. Explore with love and compassion. All the excuses you can make for someone else- all the positive affirmations, will never come close to a truthful session with your soul and understanding that we all experience difficulties in life and we can all be there for one another-this… is how we can heal the world.
The chaos of Life will dis-assemble us, but we have the ability to pull the pieces back together in a way that feels right.
PS. You'll love this book!!!