Negativity and Positivity 2/3

Dear Ones –

This is the post about positivity we are sure you have been waiting for with bated breath! Or maybe just with a bit of curiosity or even annoyance (where is that post?). Here it is:

So, positivity can be as problematic as negativity can be. This is why: the world is both negative and positive, or some mixture of both, or maybe it is neither at all (next post is on equanimity, but you will just have to wait). Too much of anything throws it all out of whack. And we want to be perfectly clear here, that by throwing the world out of whack, we mean the world within and around you, not the world at large and in space. We mean your inner life and the lives of those you encounter, day to day or on happenstance. Too much positivity can burn, as surely as too much sun, or fire, or ice.

When you are generating positivity for the sake of it, trying to convince yourself – or someone – of things being other than they are, you are essentially creating falsehoods in the world. If you want to live in falsehoods, that is of course your business, but to do so without admitting as much will only create a double layer of lying to yourself (and those around you) and it begins to be a very dense tangle indeed. Like an overly rich cake with extra frosting. Might sound good in the moment, but if you actually eat it very much, it will give you a tummy ache.

We recommend, instead, a somewhat optimistic attitude. Not the attitude that says “Everything happens for a reason!” Those in dire straits will want to punch you in the nose (as you will, too, should you be in dire straits and hear this well-meaning but ill-timed pablum). No, we mean the attitude that finds a way to find the meaning in events, in moments, in straits. The attitude that says, “Well, this sucks but we can make something of it, maybe, possibly later, after we have done what needs doing right now!” The attitude of fortitude, as it were. This attitude, we want to say, is not the “stupidly soldiering on” one. It is the one that does what needs doing, even if (especially if) what is needed is to weep and weep and weep until the heartache is cleansed. If the thing needed is to nap. Or to quit. Or to avoid someone for as long as possible. This is the can-do attitude that can actually do. OK?

We have to say a little thing about affirmations. (Those who know us well know exactly what we are going to say.) When affirmations work, it is because they are already true and you know it. When they don’t work, it is because you are trying to lie to yourself and having none of it. Humans are so fundamentally desirous of the truth in all things, that lying to yourself to say something is so, when in fact you know the opposite to be true, will only mess up your energy field and piss you off at yourself. Now then.

Positivity in and unto itself will not get you very far. It needs depth, and context, and flavor. Like a little salt brings out the sweetness of things, a little reality check will bring the right amount of optimism and depth to your experience. You can be like Scarlett O’Hara, shaking her carrot at the sky and vowing never to give up. It’s a slightly grittier version, and possibly more useful, than the fluffy Glinda the Good who didn’t bother to tell you to use the shoes on your feet to get home. (Optimistic attitude based in actual experience says here, “Well, look at the good we did and the help we gave and it wasn’t so bad after all, and Toto is safe and free, so it worked out. But it was still scary as shit.”)

Do you see what we are saying here? Pretending everything is lovely is never going to go over well, within you or without. Having a willingness to look at things with a modicum of cheer, when the time is right and the vessel is open to learning, well, that can take you Home, right where you want to go. Where the heart is, you see.