ponedeljek, 30. avgust 2010

Fear versus Creativity

During our summer holidays my husband and I visited an experimental farm in Austria. Sepp Holzer calls himself a »rebellious farmer« and works miracles at the height of 4200 feet above sea level. He turned a steep pine forest into a land of ponds, fields and fruit tree gardens. How? By building terraces. The rain water descending from pond to pond comes down as spring water full of life energy at the bottom of the terraces. By creating a humid microclimate Holzer is able to grow even apricots and lemons at an amazing altitude. He says: “My farm is not supposed to be a recipe. It is merely an inspiration.” He is trying to invite people to think creatively instead of being afraid and asking questions: What if ...? Holzer's core philosophy could be shortly described by three sentences: Back to the nature. Do not be too greedy. And: Turn disadvantages of your situation into advantages.

I will write about the back to the nature concept and about the greed in my next blogs. Let me concentrate on Holzer's approach to disadvantages here. Instead of whining about how he cannot grow anything on very steep slopes, he built terraces. Instead of complaining about the cold weather at 4200 to 4900 feet above sea level in Austrian Alps, he built a pond system to compensate with humidity and he grew mixed plant culture to make the plants stronger as a community to compensate even more for the low temperatures. He also applies rocks that accumulate heat and warm his plants, especially Mediterranean herbs and fruit trees.

It is one thing to listen to people talk about turning disadvantages into advantages or problems into challenges. To actually see people in action however is what really inspires me. On Holzer's farm you can literary see the saying »Life is what you make of it« coming to life.

Holzer’s positive attitude is not applicable only in farming. You can see challenges instead of problems and turn disadvantages into advantages in any area of your life. Mental illness happens. It is a fact. You had no saying in whether you would get it or not. In other words – it is your destiny. What you do about your illness however is your choice. Read in my book about my choices. It is coming out next year. My book is also not a recipe, it is just an inspiration. Just like Holzer’s farm.

četrtek, 05. avgust 2010

I am taking a short break from blogging

Based on comments of the readers of my last blog The Limits of Positive Thinking, I would like to add another limitation. One should not be too specific, when one affirms. Let me explain.

If we read books by L. Hay, there are no affirmations like: "I am married to Tom this and that." They are always more general: "I am married to a loving man." The actual Tom this and that is picked by god/the universe/coincidence – whichever you believe in.

I would give a similar answer to a lady mentioned in a comment to my previous blog that never wins in a casino. Maybe lottery is not the right way for her. Maybe she should think of other ways of investing money. She can keep the wish of getting well off, but needs to change the method of achieving it. By letting her lose money in casinos god/the universe/coincidence is showing her the way away from casinos. Affirming goes hand in hand with letting go and keeping faith. If one has no patience, one will soon say that affirmations do not work.

To sum up affirmations are not specific wishes. They never contain any numbers or names. For example one does not affirm: “I weigh 132 lb.” One affirms: “I am slim.” If that person is not at all overweight, all that needs to be done is improve her/his self-image. Only the ones who are overweight will really lose weight, if they change their diet and start exercising.

In my opinion affirmations are intended to change our thinking patterns. By saying positive things we only prepare ourselves for the future happiness. If we are not prepared, that means if we are too pessimistic and depressed, we might not even notice that something good has happened to us. Or we might blow our chances, simply because deep inside we believe that we do not deserve happiness. Affirmations are not magic, they are psychotherapy.

I am taking a short break from blogging, for my husband and I are going camping in Slovene mountains. It’s a recession-proof holiday. Minimum expenses, since we stay in our home country and sleep in a tent. Also very relaxing – no planes, no traffic noise, just mother nature. My next blog will be published on August the 30th.

ponedeljek, 02. avgust 2010

The Limits of Positive Thinking

I can only come up with one. It's not clever to endure a difficult situation that could be changed and only repeat to oneself: »It's fine. It's fine. It could be worse.« Some situations cannot be changed, that's true. All one can do in such cases is get used to it. However, there are situations that CAN be changed and those are the times to take action in addition to positive thinking.

Let me give you an example.

I had some lines from L. Hay's book hanging on a wall I was facing while sitting at my desk in my office, where I used to work:

»In the infinity of life where I am, all is perfect, whole, and complete. My unique creative talents and abilities flow through me and are expressed in deeply satisfying ways. There are people out there who are always looking for my services. I am always in demand and can pick and choose what I want to do. I earn good money doing what satisfies me. My work is a joy and a pleasure. All is well in my world.« (L. Hay: You Can Heal Your Life. Hay House: 2008. Page 108.)

To be honest none of the upper lines were true for my job back then, except the one about earning good money. I knew that these lines are meant as an affirmation. They say something about our future. First we talk about it and then the reality changes. We have to speak in present tense, otherwise the affirmations always remain in the future, which means they never become reality. I knew all that. But it still felt odd, because I saw no better future for me. I was certain that I would never find a satisfying job, since no one else would hire a mental patient. I had gotten the job at that office, because the employer knew me personally and felt sorry for me having schizoaffective disorder.

Still, I kept reading the affirmations and with years I started believing that it was possible for me to have a satisfying job.

Nevertheless it took more than positive thinking to really give notice, when the time was right to do that. It took courage. No matter how many times I had read the upper lines, sometimes also aloud (when I was alone), the letter of resignation still had to be written by myself. The universe provided a financial opportunity to quit the job — I could become a financially supported wife, since my husband started earning enough to cover our basic expenses. But I still had to write and post the letter.

When the time is right to take action, you take action. You do not write on your wall: “Somebody else will do it for me.” Positive thinking provides the right requirements for happiness, but when the time is right, you still have to take action.