In 1944 Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics to this popular song:
You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
But don't mess with Mister In-Between
You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
And bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith, or pandemonium is
Liable to walk upon the scene
[Listen to Aretha Franklin's Version]
When it comes to realizing the power of the positive, we are late bloomers personally. We saw ourselves as Realists: analytical and earnest by nature. The positive made us a bit nervous, suspicious even. We could see how the positive attracted people, attention, and energy, but it all seemed too easy and too fun(!) We came from the hard work and smarts school of manifesting.
Recently we've become converts. The shift snuck up on us and was unplanned. Over the past few years we have found ways to hold a positive perspective which has gradually reshaped our view of the world. Now the positive feels like a ski lift chair to grab hold of which takes us up to the mountain top. From here our outlook is limitless, we breathe more deeply, and we are able to move forward easily feeling the wind at our back.
How did this happen? It began with several events during which we had a direct and irrefutable experience of something bigger than ourselves. It was vast, loving and overwhelmingly positive. While it felt remarkable, occurrences like this aren't unusual. Throughout human history people have had similar experiences, often via a deep connection with nature, spirituality, religion, love, art, music, drugs, physical exertion, family, children, etc. Whatever the conduit, people undergo a shift in their awareness from the individual here and now to a vast and eternal oneness that is exhilarating and affirming.
Being in touch with the positive in this way doesn't mean ignoring the negative or the painful. Sometimes it is precisely by going through difficulties that we are able to authentically connect with positive energy. Some challenges compel us to go deep within ourselves and to face fear, the unknown, limiting stories, and other daunting obstacles. When we finally resurface, we feel expansive, freed from constricting beliefs, and connected to something profound.
While some people naturally gravitate to positive energy, others of us have to make an effort to maintain it. We need ways to hold on to a positive perspective as we experience the vicissitudes of life. It is this insight that led us to the idea of a D-I-Y Church of the Positive (and the Possible). In a purely functional sense, a church (or synagogue, or mosque, or any place of worship) offers practices and a community to support cherished beliefs. Some people feel fulfilled by joining an established institution—to which we say Hallelujah and Amen!—whereas others may be moved to create their own gospel.
So what does our version of the P&P Church entail? Approaches we've adopted over time include:
Recently we've added The Possible to our canon. We realized that what we could imagine was limited and probably limiting. We have begun to invite in the possible, trusting that there are potential outcomes beyond our wildest dreams. We figure this is especially true given that we are such novices at this positive stuff. Our experience so far has been fun and sometimes amazing, especially if we remember to notice what is different. The right people show up, events arrange themselves synergistically, stuff appears and disappears accordingly, and we don't have to push to make it happen.
All in all life is better as we have learned to accentuate the positive and invite in the possible. Amen to that!
What helps you tap into the positive? When do you feel it most? What are you doing? How could you hook on to the ski lift chair of positivity more often throughout the day?
Find a way to hold an authentically positive view about something you are about to experience such as, "I'm going to have a great _______ today." Now as you go through that experience notice what is different, including how you feel, what you experience, and what happens.
Beth and Eric
This monthly slow essay is from Beth Meredith & Eric Storm of Create The Good Life.
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