Does working with the law of attraction really lead most people to an expansive experience of manifesting all the delights and treats life has to offer, or does it leave us bound up in knots of cognitive games that fiercely deny the shit, pain and disappointment of how things are for fear of attracting more of that?
You've got to let the universe know what you want, right? So you make vision boards and say mantras. You use language that affirms that you've already got what's coming your way. You cultivate gratitude. You focus on what you want to have grow and you're vigilant about giving your negative thoughts the boot.
Because you know that "where attention goes, energy flows," "thoughts become things," and "what you focus on expands."
These are the guiding philosophies of so many of the people I work with, and so when I ask them to stay where they are and become intimate with their pain it's as though I'm asking them to send a neon sign to the universe that they want to be stuck, trapped, beaten up, bruised and sentenced to a life of suffering.
"Stay where you are" is so counter to our cultural momentum toward better, bigger and different it can feel like voluntary self-sabotage.
I'm not here to invalidate the power of our own thoughts and intentions and what can be created by self-authorship. I really don't want to rain on anyone's parade. I'm all for pointing my bow and arrow of desire toward that which I'm longing for and taking a clear shot. After all, I'm a rainbows and butterflies girl. I'm a "you can have the life you want" cheerleader.
I spent my 20s focused on creating a life that lights me up and going for results that were awesome and had the ongoing experience that when I really know what I want, hold that clearly as a vision and move toward it, magic lands in my lap.
For those who've had the experience of "being in the flow," where synchronicity and miracles and gifts from the universe flood in with your name on it, you hold an experiential truth that we have some say over how things unfold.
But here's the thing... life isn't always rainbows and butterflies. Does admitting that mean we're going to attract more pain?
Justin's dad of Shit-My-Dad-Says sums it up nicely...
"At some point the world shits on everybody. Pretending it ain't shit makes you an idiot, not an optimist."
So what happens when things suck? What about when things are hard? How are we supposed to work through the times when we're feeling exhausted, rejected, hurt, defeated, angry, betrayed and lonely?
Another thing I did throughout my 20s while climbing the magical ladder of goodness was utterly deny my pain, fear, vulnerability and challenges. The trajectory was always focused on what's next and making things better. But pain is not something we can get on top of to leave behind. It's not something that we can sidestep, deny or ignore -- that just gives it somewhere to hide, fester and grow. And it will always find a way out.
When you're going through something that sucks, you need to go through.
It's only through feeling the pain that is already there, allowing ourselves to be in the fullness of our experience, that we have any chance of moving through it. Painting silver linings with our minds is no trick to hide what's lurking beneath. If it's there, it's there. Denying it's there will make it more shocking when it bubbles up and takes you out. It's only when really confronting and looking into the big, hot, scary mouth of the dragon of what haunts you that you begin to deeply know what shifts will truly serve you.
If we can't receive, face, embrace and take right action with the darkness we're given, how are we supposed to receive, face, embrace and take right action with the blessings?
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