Sunday, March 13, 2016

Inspirational Input = Inspirational Output

I made a promise to myself at the onset of this weekend. I would only allow myself to tune out the world and turn on the TV if I watched something uplifting and inspirational. I have almost succeeded in that goal (a little Home & Garden Network "fix" was required).

I had taped "The Lois Wilson Story - When Love is Not Enough". It is the story of Bill and Lois Wilson, the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon. Attending Al-Anon meetings changed the course of my life and the way I reacted to it. That small "One Day at a Time in Al-Anon" book was my bible and guided me through and beyond some of my darkest days. It impacted my life.

Even though it seemed rather coincidental that I chose to watch it first, it seems rather symbolic now that I look back on my choice of media input this weekend.

Al-Anon truly changed me. When people talk of some of the qualities they see in me, there are a lot that come from inhaling, living and breathing those words at a time when I didn't know which way to turn. Yes, family, friends, circumstances and hereditary all play a part in who I am but none of those came with a guidebook. Finally I had something to have and to hold with an index in the back to take me to exactly what I needed to read at exactly the right time.

My only regret is giving away my little guidebook to sanity, though I had memorized most of what I needed to know to persevere. Life went on and so did I. I had a solid foundation to move forward from where I was with or without my little Al-Anon bible.

I have always been drawn to inspirational quotes, words and poems. I have a file folder full of "inspirational words" I have collected along my way. But the next time a book truly changed my life was a time when I didn't even get the actual book. What I received was even better than that. It was a daily calendar with quotes and inspirational words from the book "The Secret".

I knew I used those quotes as a catalyst for many of my blog posts so I searched this blog to see if I could pinpoint an actual date. Why does it surprise me that I received that as a Christmas gift in 2007 and my first blog post was dated December 29, 2007?

If you have Netflix, I highly advise that you stop reading this right now and watch "The Secret". Then again, maybe not. Put this on your to-do list for a time when you have an hour and a half to spare and you feel open and receptive to listening to some rather powerful suggestions, quotes and ideas. I thought of almost every person in my life as I watched this. Whether you're in a "ground zero" state and restarting your life from the rubble or dealing with relationship issues, a personal crisis, health issues or almost anything anywhere in between, there is something for everyone.

I scribbled down quotes throughout the entire documentary. 95% of them were quotes I have quoted within this blog. Now that I realize that this blog was inspired at the time I was reading these quotes, it is quite likely not a coincidence. But I keep finding and rereading these quotations and they speak to me in different ways on different days.

I can understand a sceptic watching this, believing it's a bunch of malarkey. Perhaps there are some far fetched ideas but there are more that are based on what we know to be true.
  • "What you think about, you bring about" 
  • "All that we are is a result of what we have thought" ~ Buddha
  • "Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions" ~ Albert Einstein
  • "Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step" ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
  • "What you resist persists" ~ Carl Jung
  • "Energy flows where attention goes" ~ James Redfield
As I watched "The Secret" portray a person's a day spiralling out of control with one small annoyance after another getting all the focus, my last frustrating day replayed before me like a movie reel. I knew as I was living it, that I wasn't doing a very good job at being my "best self". In fact, my exact words at the end of it all were: "I like nothing about how I handled things, who I was or how I coped. It was hard but my rotten attitude made things ten times worse than they needed to be."

It's easy to be positive and uplifting when you are on the other side of the issues at hand. As I was living this day, if someone suggested I stop and watch "The Secret", I may have bit their head off. But now that I have a little perspective and space from a day gone terribly wrong, I may be able to construct a roadmap to guide me another day. Because it is going to happen. Life is all about second chances and do-overs. These obstacles aren't put in our way to annoy us. They lie before us so we can try again another day and do better. I will give myself a small reprieve and follow the sage advise I tell my little daycare family "When you know better, you do better".

I feel life greatly. When I was younger, the peaks were higher and the valleys were lower. As I've moved on and through life, I still ride those hills but the thrills aren't quite as high, nor are the lows so debilitating. I grimaced when I was told by family members when they could foresee a fall coming after I rose to new heights. I tried hiding the highs and the lows so I wasn't so transparent but I felt like a fraud. Words dried up and so did the emotions. I stopped feeling so deeply. I lost the good stuff right along with the bad. I looked back at the years I lived greatly and wondered what had gone so terribly wrong since then.

When you stop focusing on the "happy", the "sad" takes over. When you stop dreaming, you stop anticipating life and start dreading what is around the next corner. When you hyper-focus on all that is going wrong, you forget to count how many things are going right.

I didn't want to stop and write this after watching "The Secret". I wanted to go and dream and create visions of the life I want to live and how I want to feel while I'm living it. I want to start building a "Vision Board". I want to create my visions, file them away, keep my dreams alive and believe possibilities are endless. Then I want to find that "vision board" again and realize that all of my dreams have come true and I didn't even realize it.

This has happened to me before. If I write it, it comes. I never know how or when and I rarely even recognize it is happening at the time. It is only when I go back and reread what I wrote a year later that I realized I had subconsciously been creating a wish list. "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus", and that Santa Claus is you. If you can believe it, you can create it.

Think about the world you want to create. Focus on what is going right, even if it feels like everything is going terribly wrong. Did you wake up this morning? Yes. Could you see the daylight peek through your window? Probably. Could you hear the annoying sound of an alarm clock (if you are reading this on a work day)? Quite likely so. Did you have a roof over your head? Were you warm, fed and clothed? We take the basics of life for granted. Think about one person who is suffering more than you and it seems they were dealt an unfair hand. Suddenly it shifts your perspective and in that moment you remember how good you have it.

I don't want to underplay the gravity of what so many are dealing with as they wake up to each new day. I live in a world where far too many people I know and care about are dealing with the aftermath of what they have been given. It is far from easy and watching "The Secret" isn't going to fix all that ails them. But if we try to refocus our attention to what is good, list all we are grateful for, feed the positive aspects of our life, create a vision of what we want and where we want to go ... maybe, just maybe we can turn our thoughts around. Thoughts are a powerful thing.  Begin where you are and go forward from there. One small baby step at a time.

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