Come Monday, when Chelsea just about clinch the title for this year, by winning over Middlesbrough, it will be three weeks to our departure from Fairhope, Alabama, USA. Curiously, those who know me well, just a few, will know that I challenge the concept of “hope” as being anywhere near a positive and helpful emotion. Rather it gives up on human potential and resorts to “fingers crossed”. Well we know ourselves to be far better, far richer in potential and abilities, than crossing our fingers to ensure something we want or need to happen, actually does. We can actually make it happen, whatever the it is. WHATEVER, THE IT IS. We can cross our fingers too if we believe that might have an effect. Why not? The Bible tells us we can “ask to receive” and yet, even more curiously, that very same book is riddled with “hope”….fingers crossed!
Anyway, the idea of naming a town called Fairhope is interesting to me. It actually sounds quaint, on the romantic level, but on another level it sounds quite disappointing. Contrary to that, however, my time here has been quite awesome. And I must say, I like awesome.
I wholly recommend extended stays, anywhere.
The time and space of being an a-responsible person is highly liberating. Being able to leave the humdrum of normal life and to experience a new life with new visions, in a different time zone, a different culture, a different climate makes way for new thoughts and quite exciting possibilities. It is rather like that tall wardrobe with the top shelf out of reach, you eventually fumble around in the dust and detritus and rediscover personal possessions. You give them new light, a polish-off, a clean-up and they become better than before.
It is happening here, to me in Fairhope. My spiritual self has been moved from that dusty old shelf and plucked into a brand new world, where it is going crazy. It loves the freedom and the disciplines of thought.
Many years ago I purchased a book by Norman Vincent-Peale. He was a man of the clergy who professed and evangelised from the rooftops of America THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING. I read that book over and over, highlighting quotes and sections until the marker ran dry. It seemed the answer to my problems, the worlds problems, everyone’s problems. My efforts soon took me into a new world of looking at “things” differently. My curiosity, however, was not satisfied. I wanted what I perceived to be personal power. Upon reflection, it became much too hard. Life in all its negative forms kept bombarding me, everyone, and so the results of what I had set out to achieve did not materialise. I looked at the martial arts and discovered I should repeat to myself “the power of the universe” when punching a block in two. It would give me the power I needed to forget the pain and succeed at the block-punching. How stupid! My very good friend and I laughed at the very idea. Power of the universe indeed!
My search for personal power, success, wealth and so on, continued. I bought more “self-help” books. Book shops have row upon row nowadays. There weren’t so many, back then. Emile Coue, Napoleon Hill, Zig Ziggler, James Allen, and many other authors found their way to my shelves. Even the Bible was not overlooked as a wonderful source of inspiration, and still is. What is quite absolutely wonderful is, they all say the same. But it was still too hard for me to actually practice what they all preached. Life, the world, the media was way overpowering in negativity that I caved-in and resorted to simple, as far as possible, positive thinking. I use phrases such as “Success Comes in Cans”, which folk attribute to me because I use it so much, but it was one Joel Weldon, an American Keynote Speaker, who created that. One of mine is “There is only one IF in life, between the L and the E” followed closely by another of mine “Results Not Excuses”. More recently, perhaps over the past 2 or 3 years, I have resorted to a simple statement “All News is Good News”, which, generally, doesn’t go unchallenged and discussions ensue. However, for me, it encapsulates a wholly positive and sunny outlook, and what is wrong with that?
Well, here in sunny Fairhope, Alabama, USA, I can report Positive Thinking doesn’t come close to what I have discovered. I admit thinking positively is a useful tool towards battling the negativity with which we are bombarded, however, positive thinking is very much a reactionary attitude. We are hit with situations, daily problems, and we react positively to them. That provides us with a wonderful way of handling them, turning them around into opportunities, just like all the positive thinking books advocate. But how cool would it be to actually NOT be a receiver of life but the creator of life? Not be a reactor to life but a pro-actor of life? To be able to create the life you choose? To have the control? To have that power? That inner power to create whatever you choose? This is not something saved solely for the wealthy elite, not by any means. And this is not pie-in-the-sky stuff either. This is very, very real and boy am I excited.
I think you would agree, we are, and our lives reflect, the sum total of our thoughts and experiences. We have to be, who else can be responsible? With that said, I am in my second month here in the US, with just three weeks to go, before jetting off to Hong Kong, Phuket, Thailand, Sydney, Australia, and then New Zealand (North and South Islands) for a further four months. It didn’t just happen. The thoughts have been there for sometime, finding the way for it to happen.
What I have discovered and what I continue to be amazed about, is that which my friend and I laughed about all those years ago. I am thankful, now, I have rediscovered that power.