The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, May 10, 2013

Don't be like Captain KIrk! Diamond Hour #7: Have Gratitude

This is Gratitude both past and present.  During your Diamond Hour, spend 3-5 minutes generating the most positive emotions you can.    Imagine  all of the things in your life for
which you ALREADY feel gratitude:  life, love, health, family, a roof over your head, etc.  As you do,  chant out loud something like “I’m SO grateful for my loving  children!   I’m SO grateful for
 a strong, healthy body!  I’m SO grateful for a healthy mind  and happy heart!” and so on. 

The core message of “As A Man  Thinketh” and countless other  self-help books is that our minds
 and emotions create our worlds.

My very favorite goal-setting technique, the “Time Line” process created by Tad James, suggests that you need to visualize (or “mentalize”) your goal, its position on your time line (visualized as a string of actions and incidents stretching off into your future), the intermediate actions necessary to support that goal.  Then you have to check the degree to which your internal ecology supports your goal: your beliefs, value hierarchy, and positive and negative emotional anchors or associations.

But the “carrier tone” of the entire thing is emotion.  Enthusiasm.   In the terms of Aikido master Koichi Tohei, does your “Ki” extend out into the world, or does the world’s negative energy “back up” into you?   Imagine it like a stream running into a poisoned pond.  So long as the water flows outwards, the poisoned water doesn’t enter the stream.

That is the power of enthusiasm.  And it is impossible to feel enthusiastic and positive if all you see in your life right now is the negative.   OUR EXTERNAL CIRCUMSTANCES DO NOT CONTROL OUR EMOTIONS.  What we focus upon, our beliefs and perceptual filters control our emotions…big time.  For 27 years, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, convicted of sabotage against the system of apartheid.

But instead of becoming embittered, he used that time to benefit his people, clarify his values, and deepen his spiritual nature.    

He focused on what could be done.   

Remember the success equation?  GOALS X FAITH X ACTION X GRATITUDE = SUCCESS.  Because this equation is multiplicative rather than additive, a zero in any category will KILL your dreams.  So no matter how hard it may be, it is critical that every day you find something to be grateful for, right here, rght now.  

“No, dammit!” I can hear some of you howl.   “I don’t have anything to be grateful for!   I refuse to feel positive about my life!”   Like Captain Kirk in The Final Fronteir:  “I don't want my pain taken away! I need my pain!”

Says a fictional character.  

Mistaking this for anything other than childish ego would be a huge mistake.  If you learn the lesson, you don’t need the pain.  Only if you insist on remaining ignorant do you need to hold onto the negative emotions.  Dig deep.    Learn the lesson.  Then let the negative emotions go, trusting that you won’t make the same mistakes again.

You can afford to be grateful.  Afford to embrace the small miracles of life, and find joy in any circumstance, no matter how difficult.  In fact, the hard fact is that the only way to maximize your chances of moving to a BETTER circumstance is by finding joy right where you are.   If this seems a contradiction, you have my sympathy.  I can only say that you need to wrestle with this one until you “get it.”

Be grateful right now.  And then…create an even better future.


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