My Passive-Aggressive Relationship with the Law of Attraction and Some Simple Steps

It is safe to say that the Law of Attraction was not on my radar prior to my life crashing and burning around me when I was in my mid-thirties. Up to the point of dramatically losing my job and my first marriage falling apart, I was blissfully unaware, and some days I still wish I was.

When it did come into my awareness through Alan Cohen’s book, The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, it was a tremendous relief, almost a lifesaver, at a very dark and paralyzing time in my life when my only way of dealing with each day was to look only at what was right in front of me, not the next day and certainly not the next week. Essentially the message I received was: if I attract the circumstances of my life to me, and I had powerfully attracted destructive forces, then I had equally the power to attract good into my life. And that was a hopeful promise and expectation. It meant my life didn’t have to be all bad. That this day and circumstance did not need to be a predictor of my future. Hallelujah!

Since then, for almost two decades, my relationship with the law of attraction could probably be described as passive-aggressive and fraught with pitfalls along the way.

The basic premise is, set your intention, write it out, visualize it and then let it go. Cool, simple, easy. Until it isn’t cool, simple or easy. Especially when those big dreams of enough money, enough opportunity, enough love and enough success don’t materialize. Are they right around the corner or miles and miles away? Do I stay with it or give up on it and how do I know the difference?

I have experienced myself, and witnessed others, move from hopeful anticipation that this stuff really does work to painful desperation in their visualizations (“I trust, really I do, but how much longer do I need to wait?”). Some books and authors, The Secret being one of them, would have you believe it is as simple as visualizing – forget the how, just know what you want. It’s not what you do, it’s your state of mind, your energetic field, the vibes you give out.

Then we look around to see what other people are doing, judge ourselves for not measuring up and, in our jealousy of believing they are achieving something that eludes us, judge them for not being perfect enough, for being inauthentic or for abandoning their values in the pursuit of success – all projection, by the way, since rarely do we have enough knowledge of them or their path to truly know their intentions, their values or whether they are being authentic or inauthentic.

I am not totally disillusioned with the law of attraction but I have been in deep inquiry about what works, when it works and why it matters – to me anyway. While it is not as simplistic as thinking happy thoughts and life will be happy and full of success, there are a few simple guides I am learning to adhere to as my passive-aggressive relationship with the law of attraction becomes more moderate (and seemingly more successful).

Self Talk

It is true that it is as simple as: our self talk influences how we feel and essentially our basic health. Aside from all the of the promises offered by the law of attraction, when our self talk is positive rather than frustrated, anxious or worried, our anti-aging hormone goes up, our immune system hormone goes up and cortisol (nicknamed the stress hormone) goes down. When we are more at peace with ourselves, it shows on the outside, others notice and are attracted to us. We make better decisions. We have more energy. We treat ourselves and others better and they treat us better – because in this process we also fuel healthy boundaries. Win-wins all the way around.

Setting Intention and Acting

It is still true, as Yogi Berra said, that if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.

And the truth is, if we are not consciously setting intention, the pathways are just being filled up for us – by circumstances, by other people, by non- or in-decision. What is it you want for yourself and for your life? Grow your clarity on this, imagine the end result and let it go. But don’t stay home on your mediation cushion or on your couch waiting for the miracles to start rolling in. Begin to do what you can to move in the direction of the intentions you set. One of my favourite teachers in this respect is Mike Dooley and his messages from The Universe. Love, love, love the beautiful balance of dream, dream, dream, remember you are a forever being and everything will be fine and ACT. Do what you can, when you can, from where you are or nothing will happen. And acting in accordance with your intention takes your attention off whatever it is you think isn’t manifesting in this moment.

IMG_1495What I have witnessed over and over in my life is that clarity of intention does bring results. Sometimes in immediate timing like when my second marriage ended and the assets were finally being separated and I was moving into my own place. The house was prepped, physically and energetically (I would meditate outside, walk around the house, say my goodbyes and invite welcoming energy), put on the market and, against all odds, it sold in 24 hours. My new home had come on the market just before that – ready and waiting for me. In three weeks, I was in a physical locality that represented sanctuary, joy, movement and home for me.

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Me and my sweetie

Sometimes it takes awhile and a few tries. Prior to my second marriage, I began to imagine what my ideal relationship might look and feel like. It was supposed to be my second marriage. It wasn’t. I let go of the idea, quite content to be joyful alone. And then love tapped me on the shoulder in the most unexpected, improbable and gentlest of ways and the relationship I imagined plus more showed up. It is not what I expected it to look like or how, but it is a gift I cherish every day.

Who Cares What Other People Are or Are Not Doing; What Am I Doing?

Focusing on what other people are doing or not doing, imagining how successful other people are, worried that there is “not enough” for everybody so I won’t get “my share” are all counter-productive distractions that do not reflect healthy self talk but is the purview of your “itty-bitty-shitty committee”. While your attention is in minding someone else’s business instead of your own, opportunities pass you by. What is yours to do? Do that. Pursue it with singular focus – while keeping your peripheral vision active to catch those things that activate, fuel and will manifest your own visions and intentions. Keep your head down, your eyes focused on your own destiny, your actions aligned with your intention and more of what you want will come your way.

Appreciation and Gratitude For What Works and for “Your People”

Pause. Breathe. Look around. Who is there with you, supporting you, respecting you, valuing you, working with you in the movement toward your intentions? Deep gratitude to these people. They matter. And, notice how far you’ve come from time to time so you can begin to believe that more is possible, your vision is attainable and maybe more than you ever imagined.

Review Your Own Relationship with the Law of Attraction

Read a lot of stuff on the law of attraction. I have. Sort through what resonates for you. I like a lot of what Abraham-Hicks offers. And Napolean Hill‘s Think and Grow Rich is a classic. One of my favourites is Florence Scovell-Shinn. She wrote this little 100 page book: The Game of Life and How to Play It, which for a time, practically became a bible for me. I still use affirmations from her work and it was a simple one that made me feel like I finally actually understood prayer for maybe the first time in my life. “Following the path of love, all things are added; for God is love and God is supply.” Or you could substitute ‘Source’ or ‘creator’ or ‘Allah’ or whatever works for you for God. Because it is whatever works for you not what I think it should or shouldn’t be or even what works for me.

Limiting Beliefs

Examine your limiting beliefs (which I intend to be my next post). Focus on what matters. Do not suffer fools gladly (including yourself) and Go Get ‘Em!

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You Are Not Your Story

It is deeply heart-opening when people who read Embracing the Stranger in Me: A Journey to Openheartedness share how the stories in the book resonate for them in their own journey.  And then they thank me for being so courageous to share those stories as they feel they have glimpsed into my own vulnerability.  All true.  And it has generated a curiosity for me about what my relationship with this book is – because it doesn’t feel quite so courageous from my perspective.  This book has its own life, energy and flow – thankfully and interestingly.

Story at work

How are your stories working for you?

And I get to remember, again, what I already knew and now know more deeply.  I am not my stories.  I am not my book. I am not the stories other people tell (or think) about me.  And, you are not your stories.  They do not define you – unless you choose to let them.  Of course, they shape you.  And, you have choices as to how they shape you – looking at life through the human tragedy or drama perspective or from the soul journey perspective – that which we are seeking to learn or experience at the soul level.

There are moments in my life that are seared into my memory as pivotal moments.  One such memory, complete with date, is March 1998.  I was halfway through a severance period, having been royally fired from my job, in the middle of a divorce and having bought a home, for me and my two young boys, predicated on a salary I no longer had with no idea what I was going to do next to support myself.  I was in the highest anxiety of my life – to that point.  I could only focus on what was right in front of me – the next moment, maybe the next day, but certainly not weeks, months or years down the road – because otherwise the stress was overwhelming to the point of being debilitating.

I was sitting in my kitchen, making a choice of which book to pick up and read – the practical What Colour is Your Parachute or the transformative The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.  I didn’t know it would be transformative when I picked it up, but it was.  I was transported to another world.  Mesmerized.  It moved me to tears and to laughter. And I understood maybe for the first time: I am not my stories.  I am not my failure.  I am not my divorce.  I am not my job loss.  These are things that have happened in my life.  I have a choice as to how I view them. The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore offered me a different, expansive option for how to view these things that happened to me.  The author, Alan Cohen, offered that I had attracted these things into my life. If I had the “power” to attract those life altering “negative” things, I had the equal and opposite capacity or power to also attract more life affirming circumstances into my life.

What I understood is that I had been increasingly drifting away from the things I hold true in my life, the things I valued – or said I valued.  My actions did not always support my beliefs and what I thought I valued.  I was in increasing dissonance and did not know how to live a fractured existence anymore. At the time I felt like I was looking out a picture window at my life as it unfolded, I was so dissociated from my experience and my existence.  And I did not have the skills to know how to navigate it – or relationships – in a healthy way.  It made me believe the human tragedy/drama perspective – that I must be a bad person, maybe even evil.  Otherwise, why would these things have happened to me?

In this one day, I was liberated.  I was invited into choice.  I wish I could say it was only a generative upward vortex from then on but of course it wasn’t.  It was, and still is, a human journey, fraught with the rollercoaster of emotions and experiences.  It took me another decade to surrender into the journey with a greater degree of fullness and I’m still learning about surrendering.

The book was and is intended as an offering of stories for others – for you even – in your own journey.  An invitation to journey on, journey deeper, journey more lightly. An invitation to view your stories in a different way from different perspectives, ones that generate more expansiveness, spaciousness and choice.  An invitation to trust what you doubt, to know someone has navigated similar waters with varying degrees of success, sometimes at peace and sometimes in turmoil – because this is life and this is how we grow. To understand that life is more than just the physical experience and to trust the non-physical as you experience it, as you surely do.  To treat yourself with compassion, love and forgiveness and to invite that into your relationships – all of them, even the ones where you would prefer to hold onto a bit of resentment.

When you live your stories as if they are you, you disempower yourself.  When you understand your story shapes your journey but is not you, you show up more fully in your strength and your power and it is a thing of beauty to behold.