"My seemingly-impossible good is happening now." Last week, I suggested that you print this out, tape it to your mirror and see what happens. Did you do it? If you did, what have you noticed? Major miracles already? Probably not; however, you may have begun to notice the "minor" miracle of a slowly but steadily improving outlook on life.
How come? As old and trite as it may seem, it is still true nonetheless: What you focus on will come upon you. If you have been through difficult times, as I have, and you choose to focus only on the difficulty, then you will get exactly that -- more difficulty.
Perhaps you have noticed that someone inside of you listens to what you have to say to yourself. If you are listening to what I have been calling your Soul-Talk, then things are probably going to work out; if instead, you are listening more to your "Self-Talk," things might stay bumpy for quite awhile. Why? Most Self-Talk is of the negative, "man, this sucks" kind of variety, and the part of you that listens simply jumps right in with agreement, adding: "Yeah, and that isn't the half of it. This is even worse than you can imagine." And then your Self-Talk slides on down the spiral path. Have you been there? Sure you have. Me too.
The more you tell yourself how bad things are, the more evidence your brain will find that it's bad and getting worse. So, how do you break that downward cycle? As I have been suggesting over these many months, it comes down to what part of yourself you choose to listen to -- your negative Self-Talk, or your more positively-focused Soul-Talk.
"Seemingly-impossible good" is part of that Soul-Talk that you can begin to experience today, albeit most likely in small increments rather than miraculous complete makeovers. Sure, we might all like to dream about complete makeovers, but unless you win the TV lottery and someone does it for you, any makeover you experience will have to come from your own consciousness, from your own choices, from your own actions.
Taking That First Micro Step
You might surprise yourself just how easy it is to begin making progress simply by adjusting your focus. The more you tell yourself how impossible things are, the fewer choices you will perceive other than even more downward spiraling steps. However, if you pick something as simple as "my seemingly-impossible good is happening now," some part of you will begin to discover those small steps that make big differences. In case you haven't already noticed, just about anything good that happens in your life comes down to you taking the steps necessary to allow or enable that good thing to take place. As I have previously written many times over, a positive focus is not sufficient, but it will be pretty darn hard to take a positive action step without a positive focus in the first place.
Remember the old saying about the journey of a thousand miles beginning with the first step? Indeed, without that first step, you can wind up going nowhere fast. The clever person recognizes progress as soon as she takes that first step. Is a single step sufficient? Obviously not. However, that single first step is critical. While it may not be earthshaking, even that first step gets the energy moving. It's a whole lot easier to steer something moving than something dead in its tracks. So, get your impossible good focus on your radar screen and take that first step -- and don't forget the ones after that while you're at it.
Overcoming Your Shadow
If you're like me, you might find yourself whining along the way, complaining "look how much I have done already. This isn't fair. This should be done by now." Careful! That's the slippery first step toward sliding right back down into the "ain't it awful" club. All it takes is a couple of those negative pieces of Self-Talk and you can undo lots of positive forward motion. The good news, however, is that as soon as you notice that you're slipping, you can reverse directions by again choosing to focus on your "seemingly-impossible good."
Why does this simple focus shift work? It's pretty much akin to seeing your shadow. I love the shadow metaphor that I first encountered when I was looking at getting a degree in clinical psychology: We all have a "shadow" aspect to our personality, and each of us has probably had some experience in getting stuck in that shadow.
My spiritual teacher once pointed out to me as I was lamenting the "shadow" side of life that you can only see your own shadow when you are facing away from the light source. As soon as you turn back toward the source of light, you no longer notice that shadow.
Focusing on how difficult things are, on how unfair life is, on any other form of apparent negative circumstance is akin to turning away from the sun to focus on your shadow. No matter how much you do or what you tell yourself about your shadow, you will stay stuck in that shadow experience until you choose to turn around and focus on your way forward.
Turning away from your shadow or negative circumstance doesn't change anything except, perhaps, your attitude and your ability to perceive choices. That simple turn from the shadow back toward the light is literally a simple turn that you can do right where you are, right now. While from the outside, it may not appear that you have done much of anything, much less made any progress, that simple act of turning back toward your source of light is both necessary and sufficient to get you moving again. In fact, that simple turn is what allows your "seemingly-impossible good" to start coming true.
Should You Expect a Miracle?
The unwise person will make the turn and then sit and wait for a miracle to happen. Pity that poor person -- rarely will a miracle occur to change your circumstances just because you made a turn. Unless, of course, you understand that the simple act of turning toward the source of light will allow you to perceive choices which will help you move one more step forward in that thousand-mile journey. Your "seemingly-impossible good" only seems impossible when you are sitting and waiting for it to happen to you. However, perhaps the real miracle takes place when you choose to turn back toward the light, begin to make steps forward, and in the process discover that you are your own miracle maker.
Taking that first step is what allows the miracle to kick in -- the more steps you take, the closer you get to your impossible good coming true. And the closer you get, the more choices you are likely to discover. The more choices you discover, the more you will be able to accelerate your movement forward on your journey.
If you have been following these Soul-Talk articles, you will know that my life has seen its fair share of challenges and difficulties. Turning horse poop into fertilizer, turning lemons into lemonade, and all similar clichés are simply evidence of the simple fact that people can make good out of just about anything. No one will make perfect out of imperfect, but that doesn't mean you're doomed by your circumstances. Just turn your focus toward that source of light, take whatever steps you can, and sooner than you might expect, you will find your impossible good is, in fact, happening now!
I'd love to hear from you. What has been our experience with taking this kind of approach to your life? Please do leave a comment here or drop me an email at Russell (at) russellbishop.com.
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Russell Bishop is an educational psychologist, author, executive coach and management consultant based in Santa Barbara, Calif. You can learn more about my work by visiting my website at www.RussellBishop.com. You can contact me by e-mail at Russell (at) russellbishop.com.