Sunday, August 23, 2009

Newspaper column

“It only takes 17 seconds for a thought to manifest and have other, similar thoughts join it,” she said, scribbling small circles on a piece of notebook paper to illustrate her point. “And those thoughts create an energy.”

It seemed reasonable enough. I tried to keep an open mind and listen.

“That energy is a living force. If you think something bad is going to happen, it probably will. If you surround yourself with negative energy, more gets drawn to it,” she continued. “On the other hand, if you think positively, it can change your life.”

I wasn’t sure what to ex­pect when I made an appointment with a life coach. The session was free, so I figured I didn’t have anything to lose. At worst, I blew an hour or so of my time. At best, I would come out rejuvenated.

Kim and I opted to meet in a cafe, and I liked her immediately. She had a very confident and welcoming vibe about her, which I found comforting. We stuck to small talk while we ordered drinks and picked out a table, but before long, we were tackling deeper topics.

“Everyone in your life was meant to be,” she said. “Before you took on this form, you all agreed which roles you would play in each other’s lives. And the ones who are the hardest on you; the ones who are mean and inspire you to be a better person — they’re the ones who love you the most.”

I had a hard time envisioning that my pseudo step-mother who never misses an opportunity to put me down might be someone who loves me the most. 

But I tried not to dismiss anything and at least let the thoughts rattle around for a while. Because I’m sure Columbus had a hard time convincing people the world was round.

Some of her ideas were tough to grasp, but at the heart of it all, she had a very simple message: Positive things happen to positive people.

When I got in my car to leave, I was shocked to see that it had been more than two hours. I called my mom to tell her how it went, and I found myself thinking that I’d at least give Kim’s ideas a go. I consider myself to be an incredibly positive person as it is, but I can let negativity take over sometimes.

Oddly enough, later that week, I stumbled upon an article about the book “A Complaint Free World” by Missouri minister Will Bowen, who believes complaining only exacerbates problems. He says by re­framing thoughts to more positive ones, “you’ll be happier, healthier and wealthier.”

It sounded a lot like what Kim had said. Bowen, however, takes it a step further. He sells bracelets at and advises his followers to switch the bracelet from arm to arm every time they internalize a complaint. He says recognizing them is the first step. Then you can learn to think differently.

If thoughts count, I’d end up with bruises from having to swap the bracelet too many times. Trying to see things with the proverbial “glass half full” is one thing. Giving up complaining entirely is another.

I’m sure there’s a happy medium to happiness in there somewhere. But it’ll take me more than 17 seconds to figure it out.


Nina's Mama said...

Just so you know the web address you typed may be wrong, thing it is .org instead of .com.

Karen said...

I'm going to go check out those bracelets. I'm sure any bracelet will do, but I like his idea. I've been trying so hard to stay positive, but I know I'm still internalizing a lot.

Karen said...

I tried to go to the website, and it's .org instead of .com!

novelle360 said...

Sorry guys! Fixed and linked.

the_plainsman said...

Interesting re-write of your original piece.

I lost my extended response to your the original due to a power outage (lucky you!) so here is the Cliff's notes version.

Back in our parent's or g-parent's time there was a popular minister who rivaled in some ways Billy Graham in popularity. He authored a book that sold in the millions, titled by his singular thought, "The Power of Positive Thinking."

Curiously, the concept was attacked by many and the Wikki decription seems to be written by one still negative to him and that simple concept!

Anyway, I agree with the idea, and no better proof of it to us is the way your latest venture has taken flight!


Jennifer Suarez said...

It sounds like the meeting with Kim was insightful. I've always believed that good energy draws in even more good energy. Happiness is a perspective if you ask me, and as long as you've got a good one, you'll find yourself more cheerful and easy going than others.

Of course I'm also a HUGE worrier so no matter how hard I try not to be so I'm far from having it figured out. :-)

Lioncloud said...

Wonder where she got the "17 seconds" figure from. I suspect it's more like 17 milliseconds.


Kristin said...

I love this. Maybe I'll go see a life coach sometime.


Kristin said...

That bracelet thing is a really good idea. But idkk. I like complaining xD

so sick of typing that everytime I leave you a comment. Might stop >.o ---> -KrIsTiN-

nikbv said...

Hmmm. It looks like us pessimists get screwed once again. I knew it.