So where is it?
by Jeannette Maw
My friend's email went out to everyone on his distribution list, alerting us to (his opinion of) what transpired during the most recent Democratic debate. His note included direct digs at acquaintances who held contrary beliefs, deriding them for supporting certain candidates and positions. The tone of his email was offensive and seemed to welcome mean-spirited argument.
What stood out like a sore thumb in that message was his characteristic closing of "Peace" in the signature line. I wondered how he could be connected to peace after the tirade he just shared. His communication seemed anything but peaceful.
In reflection, I realized he's not alone in this incongruity. Throughout the holiday season, we often hear the phrase "peace, love and joy" tossed around, whether in Christmas cards, prayers, songs we hum, commercials or taglines in emails. But do we truly embrace the energy of these higher emotions or is it just lip service?
If we get what we think about (as dictated by the Law of Attraction), and well-being for others is on our minds throughout the holidays, shouldn't we experience more of it? It's a nice thought, but for many the holiday season means the exact opposite. Whether year-end stress is inspired by challenging family interactions, limited shopping budgets, feelings of isolation, fourth quarter work deadlines, or the anxiety of keeping holiday indulgence weight off, there's plenty of potential to experience anything but peace, love and joy through the season.
Those higher vibrations, though, don't come about any other way than by our choice and commitment to them. If we're waiting for something to happen "out there" before we feel it "in here," we'll wait an entire lifetime for the peace and love many of us aspire to.
With conscious awareness and exercise of our power of choice, we can contribute to the vibration of peace, love and joy not just in our personal lives but for the whole planet-today. Rather than wait for whatever we think needs to happen (an end to terrorism or reversal of global warming) before we flow the higher vibes, we can choose those feelings right now, before anything changes. A.J. Muste captured it well in saying, "There is no way to peace. Peace is the way."
Much like my friend whose peace of mind is on hold while he pulls his hair out over deteriorating political guidance of our country (as he perceives), many of us offer our own variety of reasons for struggling to enjoy the holidays. Have you ever said or thought any of the following?:
"I'd be happy if … "
• I could just get away from all the ruckus.
• I had more money to do the holidays right.
• My mother-in-law would be nice.
• I didn't have to split custody of the kids.
• People weren't so caught up in materialism and commercialism.
• There was more time to prepare for it.
• People would be more generous to others in need.
• I had someone to be with.
No matter how good we think our reasons are for not entertaining the peace and joy now, the fact is we shortchange ourselves in putting off these good feelings.
We think "we'll be happy when…," but it's an illusion that happiness comes from something that does or doesn't happen. Our feelings are choices, although many of us aren't conscious of the process. We tuck joy away for the future, waiting to lose those last 10 pounds, for our spouse to straighten up, our boss to gives us credit, to graduate, eliminate the debt-whatever we might pin it on-but it doesn't work that way.
If we haven't practiced the vibration of peace, love or joy, we aren't going to suddenly flow it because this, that or the other happened. Maybe you can recall a time when good news befell you, but the expectant feelings of relief or exhilaration were mysteriously absent.
"How am I supposed to be happy now, when life is so rotten?" some argue. I've been accused of being both unrealistic and irresponsible for not worrying while others are suffering and worthy causes need attention. Global warming, destruction of rain forests, starving children, genocide, terrorism, animal cruelty, alien abductions-there are many ready excuses for feeling bad if we are willing to engage them.
Who does it serve to worry or fret? I wouldn't argue that we ignore situations or issues we feel inspired to contribute to. I will, however, suggest it doesn't serve anyone-not us, our comrades, nor the planet-to hold ourselves away from peace, love and joy now.
Motivation for feeling bad
Each of us is usually very clear about the reason we can't feel good yet. Business isn't booming; Uncle Scott died; my spouse cheated on me. Author and life coach Martha Beck says any time we feel bad it's because we're believing a lie. Dissolving that limiting belief gives us much easier access to better-feeling emotions.
In "Emotional Options: A Handbook for Happiness," Mandy Evans suggests that asking why we feel a certain way will reveal our limiting or faulty belief systems. She makes an important distinction between what we're unhappy about versus why we're unhappy about it.
For example, I might be angry at my neighbor's noisy late night habits. That's what I'm angry about. But to discover why I'm angry, I can ask the question: "what might happen if I weren't angry?" Considering the question can be confusing at first, but if we stick with it, eventually we'll receive insight as to why we're motivated to feel bad.
As I ask myself what might happen if I didn't hold this anger, I come upon the thought that if I weren't angry, his annoying behavior would likely continue.
Really?! I think being angry will help change his behavior? From a law of attraction standpoint, I see the ridiculousness of that thought. What we resist, persists, so as I push against his behavior I actually vibrationally encourage more of it.
If someone grieving over the loss of a loved one is asked why he's unhappy, he might point to the passing of his loved one as the reason. But when asked why he thinks that's the way to feel about that, after a perplexed moment or two, he may say because people would think he was strange if he wasn't sad. Or if asked what it would mean if he wasn't grieving, he might answer "that I didn't love her."
Very often the answers to why we choose to feel bad are revealed to be inspired by foolish beliefs.
Discovering our answers about why we feel the way we do can create light bulb moments and free us from beliefs that motivate us to feel anything other than peace or happiness.
All together now:
How we feel is a choice
Am I suggesting you be happy about your impending divorce, or not getting the job you wanted? Well, if you could pick, wouldn't you rather be? Why would we purposely choose to feel bad when we could feel something better?
For example, we can either be an unhappy person without a job, or an optimistic person without a job. We can be a distraught person on the verge of bankruptcy, or a peaceful person facing bankruptcy. Since our situation isn't likely to change in this red hot moment, all we can change is how we feel about it.
The empowering result of deliberately and consciously choosing how we feel is that decisions and actions taken from a place of feeling good yield more positive results than decisions and actions taken from a place of feeling bad.
Yes, there are appropriate times for processing bad news and sometimes a negative emotion is what feels best. But we each have the power to choose how we feel regardless of what's happening. As we exercise that power, we become ambassadors for the good vibes of peace, love and joy. And that's a nice way to serve humanity and the planet.
Jeannette Maw is a Law of Attraction coach and founder of Good Vibe Coaching in Salt Lake City. www.goodvibecoach.com.