Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Outflow vs Inflow

The Law of Attraction is always working.  You can't avoid it.  You are always creating your world.  Whether it is positive and plays out like the best dream ever or a nightmare on a treadmill of unhappiness, you served it up to yourself.  As we study the Law of Attraction, we learn that, if we are needy and desperate for better things, we deliver neediness and desperation.  We become cautious about what language we use.  We try to wean ourselves off the words "want" or "need" and feel confused why nothing seems to change.

While presenting one of the week's lessons to me, the coach teaching me to be a coach told me about a seminar he went to that was very expensive.  It cost double digit thousands of dollars to attend.  At the event, the speaker basically talked about the same rules to the Law of Attraction.  The material was just like any other self help guru's material.  Not knowing where he was going with what he was saying, I made some noise that was supposed to express an appropriate mix of "oh that's a shame" and "damn what a rip-off" and then he delivered the punchline.  The seminar was absolutely worth every penny.  Not because of the material presented, but because of the speaker himself.  The most important thing a life coach has to offer is what he or she personally brings to the table.

So here's my plate at the buffet.  The Law of Attraction isn't like learning Spanish or German.  It isn't simply about which words you use.  Your life changes when you pay more attention to what you are putting out into the world than what the world is delivering to you.  Or at least that has been my experience.  Whether I was trying to be a more loving individual or a more generous one, the more I have been genuinely concerned about my impact on other people, the larger and more surprising the corresponding ripple back to me was.

The key word is genuine, but you can't just say it.  You have to be genuine.  Otherwise, we "people pleasers" we would have an edge on the rest of you and we would rule the world.  It doesn't happen that way because "people pleasing" isn't genuine.  We don't spend all that time trying to make others happy because we want them to be happy.  We do it because WE want to be happy.  Or rather, we are just tired of being unhappy.  I think in most cases, we just don't want others to hurt us anymore.  More than a few of us have become nothing more than scared hostages who have reached the conclusion that, if we simply do whatever our captors say and give them anything they want, they will finally leave us alone and stop hurting us.  We even learn to anticipate their wants and needs, but we always have a watchful eye towards how we ourselves are being treated.

My life dramatically shifted about 14 years ago.  I was getting a divorce.  One that I asked for and wanted.  In that situation I was focused entirely on what I was getting out of the marriage and I wasn't satisfied.  So I wanted out, but I wanted more change in my life than simply switching my seat and partner like a game of musical chairs.  Luckily, I turned my focus inward and examined my own behavior.  In the marriage, especially towards the end, I was not always the good guy.  Like anybody else, I can make excuses about being unhappy and not having my needs met, but it would simply be trying to justify my behavior.  Near the end, I could be angry, nasty and mean spirited.

She gets a bad rap when I talk about her in this blog.  She wasn't all bad or wrong.  She actually did say some very supportive things to me and teach me some good life lessons, but of course, when I examined my bad behavior, I decided I was becoming my mother.  I hadn't enjoyed experiencing her and I felt no one deserved to be given a plateful of my mother.  That was when my life shifted.

We know it already.  I never went to church as a child, but I did go to a year of Sunday School.  Most of us learn the Golden Rule.  You know the one.  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?"  Except it has to be genuine.  You can't just give someone a cookie in the expectation that they will give you one back.  The Golden Rule happens to extend out of Christian tradition, but nearly every organized religion contains a similar ethic.  I certainly didn't know it while I was deciding not to be my mother; but the more I've studied the Law of Attraction, the more I've found there is something to religion.  When I began this journey 14 years ago, I was somewhere between an Atheist and an Agnostic.  Now I feel like I have my own religion.  It's private and personal because I've never met a church that preaches exactly my logic of the universe.  It is based upon being accountable for what I put out into the world and there is no question that I am a better person for it.  A wonderful byproduct of it is that, because I am always trying to put the best out into the world, the best comes back to me.  The more that it does, the happier I am and that simply increases the quality and quantity of what I put out.

It would be dishonest to present it as a "success only" journey.  I have slipped.  At times I've returned to "people pleasing" while not realizing I had lost authenticity.  My eyes have shifted to the love I wasn't receiving rather than what I was giving.  Eckhart Tolle would say I was asleep and that's really what it is.  Every time it has happened, it is because I am living in the past.  I am keeping score, I am feeling a sense of lack, and it has always led to bad things and heartache.

Sometimes I wonder if it isn't as simple as this:  I am telling myself I am unhappy.  So I am.  I retreat into myself and everything that happens around me has potential to hurt and offend me.  I've decided I don't like how the world works and I don't want to play anymore.  But when I tell myself I'm happy, I am happy.  I feel like I positively glow with happiness.  It is like light shines out of my fingertips and I am continually inspired to do kind things for others.  I am happy and I want to share that happiness.

It isn't an accident those things you think you lack.  They are missing because you are the one who has shut off the spigot.

Money is about appreciation.  It exists for us to show our appreciation for the goods and services offered to us.  If you want money, be more appreciative.  Stop considering whether or not you feel the world appreciates you.  Learn to be more grateful for the goods and services you receive, the fact you have money to pay for them and most of all, for yourself.  Learn to appreciate the mere fact that you are taking this journey through life.  Recognize you are awake enough and care enough to try and give yourself the best life you can have.  At the same time, rather than weighing what you can do that will bring yourself the most money, consider what you can do that will be a joy for you to perform.  Find the thing you would be happy doing whether anyone paid you at all.  It's going to be the thing from which you receive the most appreciation because it's the thing you most appreciate doing.

Don't just change your lexicon.  Change a piece of who you are and how you behave.  If you want love, be love.  If you want appreciation, appreciate.  If you want happiness, be happiness.  To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, "Ask not what the world can give you; ask what you can give the world."

That's my dish for the potluck; the lesson I've learned that I can share.

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