Archive for November, 2008

Positive Power Principles

by Lauren Kennedy

Be positive!

That is the victory cry of many experts, gurus, coaches, and mentors for achieving success and living your dreams.

I am an avid supporter of a positive attitude.  A positive attitude influences our thoughts, our perceptions,  our creativity, our sense of humor, our stamina, and our affect (that’s psychologist speak for emotional tone), regardless of our present circumstances.

So this seemed like a healthy ideology to advocate to others. But when I explored the actual concepts and the methodology of many of these Programs, I began having serious doubts about their effectiveness.

Many master mind groups,  forum,  blogs, newsletters and webinars, have adopted  these concepts.  The directive to be positive isn’t specifically referring to attitude as I had first assumed. The  main focus is on thoughts, feelings, information, and situations.

These programs’ primary theme is:

Your thoughts are solely  responsible for controlling your emotions and creating your life situation.

These Programs advocate the following:

○ Discount negative thoughts and immediately replace them with positive ones.

○ Promptly ignore and discard unpleasant emotions by focusing on positive thoughts, visualizing      pleasant images and thinking about happy memories.

○ Avoid all information depicting negative new, events or circumstances, revealing the abuses, pain or suffering of people, creatures or the state of the earth.

○ Match your vibrational energy to that of your dreams, desires or goals.

These Programs claim that by adhering to their suggested techniques, one will achieve a positive, successful life.

They stipulate that:
○ One must avoid acknowledging or exploring any issues that may cause discomfort;
○ That one must not discuss politics or religion due to possible conflict which can produce negativity:
○ That one need not examine instances of  corruption, deceit, dishonesty, abuse of human rights or the plight of the suffering because it will produce negative thoughts;
○ That one must not communicate their “negative” emotions plus one would be well advised to personally dismiss them and immediately replace them with happy thoughts.

○ It is ok however, to request suggestions for eliminating any unpleasant thoughts or feelings as long as one doesn’t share them.

But through observation and experience, I have discovered that in the end they often result in limitation, self denial,  inadequacy and avoidance. While these statements have merit in some contexts, applying them indiscriminately or applying them without some additional processes, render  superficial and short lived results at best and discouragement, denial, and depression at worst.

Believing  that we can isolate ourselves from the tragedy and pain in the world or believing that we can avoid experiencing unpleasant emotions, is shortsighted and naive. We often convince ourselves that if we follow some perfect plan of action then,  “It won’t happen to me,” whatever “it” might happen to be.

Excuse me. Yes it can!

No matter how well you visualize utopia, not matter how many wonderful thoughts you think and no matter how many positive memories you call up to drown out the unpleasant feelings, you cannot release unwanted emotions by repressing or resisting them. In addition, your thoughts can not control all outer situations, people, events or disasters from touching your life.  If our thoughts affect reality, then so do everyone’s thoughts. Excepts perhaps for a few highly evolved individuals, most of us have not developed our skill or ability manage thought energies to affect the intentions of a gang bent on destruction, to defend against the collusion of corrupt corporations or to change the course of a tornado or deflect a hurricane.

Empowerment is Key

True success, security and happiness result when we change our relationship with our emotions, change our attitude, change our perspective, and change our response (through a sense of empowerment and self efficacy) to the situations we encounter in life. To achieve your goals or  self growth, one must learn how to BE positive in spite of the disappointment, pain, and emotions which we will undoubtedly experience throughout the course of our lives.  The methods and skills necessary to achieve that kind of empowerment will dramatically improve your life experience.

What’s more, when we intentionally remain uninformed about unsettling issues, or purposefully choose to ignore or deny the plight of the suffering, the persecuted, the abused, the disadvantaged or the confused,  we are asserting one of two positions;

We choose to decline addressing the unjust suffering or excessive corruption to avoid our thoughts being contaminated by negativity,

We are dedicated to our Positive Program and therefore we are entitled to protect ourselves through isolation from all negativity or suffering;

Our Choices Shape Our Character

The rationalization that we should not help others because they are responsible to change their own thoughts has been misconstrued. We are assuming that their situation is the result of their own negativity. Whether we are faced with people who are starving because of a drought,  destitute because of layoffs, or people whose behaviors and irrational thoughts have precipitated their situation, integrity and compassion demand that we offer support and guidance when we can.

I am not advocating rescuing  someone from themselves. That is impossible, even when that someone is our own child. However I am suggesting that we are responsible to share our experience, strength, hope, time and support.

A Positive Attitude is Not Built on Fear, Isolation and Avoidance

A program truly dedicated to self growth must promote unity, not fear and isolation.
Self growth is about walking through our intellectual fears, not rationalizing them. In addition, no human has enough information, insight, or objectivity to judge whether another person’s situation is the result of their own negative thoughts. Nor is it our place to do so.

Positive Principles

Before withdrawing into these well disguised  notions of isolation and self denial,  consider these alternative principles.

Painful situations do not cause negativity. It is our perceptions, fears, resistance and attitude that produce our own negative reactions.  Notice that  I said negative reactions, not negative emotions.

Ignoring the effects of corruption, dishonesty, or abuse is in itself an injustice. Consider this famous quote. “Evil persists when good men do nothing.”

Understand, I am not advocating storming the dens of corruption and greed with guns blazing. That would be incongruent with a positive approach. Creativity, wisdom, insight, intuition and integrity are less dramatic but more productive ingredients for lasting results.

When we discount or ignore our thoughts and feelings, that is self abuse. Granted, there are many thoughts which we may decide that we want to replace. But dismissing them without exploration and randomly choosing a happy thought will not give us the results that we seek.

Feelings Are Messages for Growth

And regularly dismissing our feelings can have prolonged negative effects on our health, (mental and physical), our behavior and our self worth. Our feelings are a treasure chest of information. And they never lie to us. Our thoughts about a situation may be incorrect. But our negative feelings are shouting to us that something is not working.

For instance, our anger may or may not be the result of actual mistreatment. Perhaps it is our perceptions that we need to adjust. Or perhaps we need to set some boundaries and quit  being a door mat, seeking approval, or reacting out of fear of rejection.  Or maybe we need to make some changes in our situation, behavior or perception. But when we discount or dismiss our anger, we have cleverly relieved ourselves from the responsibility of making any alterations in our thinking, perceptions, situation or behavior. Now we just have to paste a smile on our face, act happy and commend ourselves for remaining detached and numb.

Contrary to some views, pretending to be happy does not result in happiness. Apologizing for your feelings is akin to apologizing for the truth. Conversely, wallowing in your feelings is self abusive and irresponsible. We must experience them,  discern their message, make choices based on that knowledge and then we can release them. Learning  to apply the methods that allow you to benefit from and partner with your feelings is a priceless wisdom.

How Do You Vibrate?

Do you know how to raise your vibrational energy level to match your desires?  There’s not many” how to” books on that. However, focusing on feeling and Being  like the person that you think you will be when you achieve your goals and desires will have a positive effect on how you think and feel.   And  have discovered that a positive attitude, having a positive outlook, looking for the positive in people and situations,  really improves how I feel. Feelings are energy in motions so I guess that qualifies as vibrational energy. In turn, my emotions have a huge effect on my thoughts,  beliefs and choices. And that ultimately affects my life circumstances and experiences.

Remember,  a person doesn’t attract what they want, they attract what they are. And one’s thoughts, feelings and actions flow from who one is BEing. Just thinking pretty thoughts will not fool the Universe or anyone else.

A program of being positive by avoiding unpleasantness, denying our feelings, compulsively ignoring negative thoughts,  evading  conversations with conflicting views and remaining unaware of tragedy, suffering, corruption and abuse, is not a program on how to remain positive. It is a program on how to remain unaware, how to act like Pollyanna,  and how to isolate oneself against the world in which one lives.

An effective program must contain methods to help the individual thrive in whatever circumstance they encounter.

It must show  people how to achieve their potential, their purpose and their dreams while coping with the world as it is, living life on life’s terms.  Although beating on the wall, hoping to change it into a door is a waste of time,  just visualizing a door in the wall is equally ineffective. Instead, visualize yourself outside in the sunshine while imagining a way out and perhaps you’ll discover how to make a door or find another exit.

Differences of opinion are part of life. Like it or not, political information is a crucial element in responsibly participating in the direction of the country in which we live. Corruption, abuse, suffering and calamity exist.

But we can still learn  to remain positive and supportive without avoiding unpleasant realities or  differences of opinions. We can address corruption and abuse with a positive approach. We can assist those in need without jeopardizing our own positive attitude.

A optimistic attitude is crucial to experiencing a successful life. Our attitude is shaped by outlook, our perspective, our priorities, our  sense of empowerment, our ability to manage our feelings, cope with changes, obstacles and challenges and most of all by being true to ourselves and our purpose.
Positive thoughts and visualization alone will not change your life or your life experience.  You must work the whole equation.

Being positive has become synonymous with sticking one’s head in the sand. If it doesn’t touch me, it doesn’t concern me. Mother Teresa was by anyone’s account a positive person. Yet, she dealt with human pain and misery daily. Had she avoided these issues for fear of tarnishing her positive outlook, many people would have been denied the gift of compassion, aid and hope that she contributed.

One of her quotes depicts the positive attitude and principles that allowed her to acknowledge and heal the suffering she encountered.

“I would not march against war, but I would march for peace.”

It is the difference between ignoring suffering and doing what one can to ease it. It is the difference between identifying an problem in order to find a solution  and bemoaning the hopelessness of human cruelty.  It is the difference between taking action to improve the lives of a few  individuals rather than declaring the enormity of the problem  a waste of time and effort. It is the difference between experiencing and interacting with the world as it is while maintaining a positive outlook. It is recognizing that the veil of self satisfaction can blind us to this truth: Controlling outer circumstances is an illusion.

But changing how we experience them is not.

Ignoring and avoiding are forms of resistance. And what we resists, persists. What persists will eventually touch our lives. Do what you can, with what you have, to the best of your ability for yourself and others. That is the way to change negativity, one person at a time.

“It is good to have a destination towards which to journey. But, in the end, it is your choices on the journey that matter.”

Do you want to achieve a sense of Empowerment, Emotional Peace, Positive Attitude, Integrity, and Personal Freedom in you life? Call or email me for a free 30 minute consultation.



November 30, 2008 at 5:21 pm 3 comments

Forgive or Forget?

Most of us concur that the concept of forgiveness is a good and noble one. But when we are significantly injured, emotionally or physically, we find the notion of forgiveness less appealing.

We find reasons why forgiveness would be counter productive. We decide that the offending person can not learn their lesson if we forgive them or we conclude that they do not deserve our forgiveness. Instead, we spend significant time and energy recounting the pain and suffering that we endured.

We may even give lip service to forgiving the offender. However, we frequently continue to relate the depth of our suffering to an attentive audience, enjoying the noble role of a martyr. Or we may use our painful experience to validate an opinion or generalization that we have about a particular group of people.  We can also use our unfortunate treatment as an excuse for our own behavior.

Sometimes we can use our suffering to gain pity in an attempt to manipulate someone into a course of action or simply to get attention. If the offender is a “loved one”, we may continuously remind them of the pain they caused us, triggering on going guilt in order to manipulate them to do our will.

And then we may publicly proclaim our forgiveness of the undeserving to gain respect and admiration of our high moral fiber, thus turning forgiveness into self righteousness.

What Is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness doesn’t mean to forget. But it does mean that I am no longer reliving the pain, hurt and anger. It doesn’t mean that I excuse the behavior. However It does mean that I don’t judge the person, only the behavior. It doesn’t mean that I don’t protect myself from further abuse. But it does mean that I treat the person with respect and that I do not actively pursue actions that would cause them harm or shame.

I recently saw a documentary that illustrated true forgiveness.

The documentary was about white supremacy groups or hate groups. Two former members were interviewed. They have changed their ways and their beliefs. And now they are speaking to youth groups in an effort to prevent them from being lured into this lifestyle of hate and  violence.

One of them, we’ll call him Doug,  worked for  a center dedicated to preventing hate crimes. While working there, Doug met another man who was also helping to spread a positive message. We’ll call him Dave. As they ate lunch together, a unpleasant realization slowly dawned on them.  Dave was one of Doug’s former victims. Doug had beat Dave mercilessly and  left him for dead, because he was gay.

Dave didn’t think that he could ever forgive Doug for the pain and humiliation that he had suffered at his hands.

However, several days later,  the center scheduled both of them to speak to a group of students together. During the presentation the Doug gave a heart felt apology to Dave in front of the class.

They are now friends and speak to many groups together to spread a message of tolerance and non judgment.

This poignant incident demonstrates two truths.

People can change.  Doug has made an incredible transformation from his former life.  To prevent a new generation of hate groups, he continues to speak publicly to young people, in spite of the death contract that has been put on his life by his former associates.

No offense is to great to forgive. Dave forgave a man who humiliated him and nearly beat him to death.

These men demonstrated what it really means to be noble.

Given this example, how can we claim that any individual is incapable of changing and what excuse could any of us have for refusing to forgive?

November 20, 2008 at 5:53 am Leave a comment

It Matters

  by Lauren Kennedy

Where does Peace on Earth begin?

It begins with me, with each of us. It cannot be just a nice concept or vision that we hope will materialize.

It must begin with our own priorities, integrity and choices. As long as we desire and respect power, wealth and success, more than we respect cooperation and compassion, nothing can change.

What Do You Tell Your Children

Parents say they want their children to grow up to be successful, respected, with and important job position. Seldom do they say I just want my children to be compassionate, honest and follow their own truth.

We are conditioning the next generation to be competitive, not cooperative. As long as we let fear dictate our decisions, our priorities and our action, peace will remain only a vision.

We must demonstrate peace in our own lives by showing tolerance and non-judgment. We can’t turn our heads when we encounter corruption, dishonesty or ignorance in our presence.

We Can Not Accept the Lie

We can no longer accept the common assumption that one can not live according to spiritual principles in business affairs. We can no longer condemn those that are different from us. We can no longer let fear justify our intolerance, our attempts to control, or our disrespect for others, the planet and its creatures. Nor can we conclude that our efforts are meaningless.

Instead we must begin to believe that what we do matters. It matters if we choose honesty rather than manipulation and deceit in business. It matter every time we are accepting rather than judgmental. It matters when we stand up for integrity instead of condoning greed by our silence.

One person may not change the world, but one person at a time will.  The changes, attitudes, and perspective that would make the world better for all can only be realized if we become an example of those changes, attitudes and perspectives.

We often do not see or realize the effect that our example, our understanding and  our compassion has on others. But make no mistake, it is how we live and interact with others that has the greatest, if less noticeable affect on the world.

Act Because It Is Needed, Not For Reward

We help others the most,  not when we are trying to be noble, or appear spiritual. Then we are making a trade, our noble efforts for respect, praise or reward in the hereafter.

It was when I got out of my head,  connected to others’ with my heart and then acted accordingly that I discovered I truly made a difference. I didn’t realize it at the time because I wasn’t focused on the helpful act I was performing. I was simply doing what my heart told me  was needed.

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa said, “I would not march against war, but I would march for peace.” That is the difference between fighting for peace, (which does not work), and being peace.

As long as peace remains a concept, it cannot become a reality. We can only manifest peace by acting, speaking, choosing and living in peaceful ways. And that can only happen when we stop focusing on our image, begin experiencing life in the moment and connecting to others from our heart.

Be What You Want to Experience

It takes awareness, honesty and courage. But as each of us expresses peace in our own lives, others will begin to express it in theirs. And when we express peace, we will experience peace, as least internally. And internal peace is where it really counts anyway.

Peace matters. Each time you express peace through understanding and compassion, by connecting heart to heart rather than image to image, it matters. We all make a difference. What we do matters.

Peace on Earth begin with you and me. What you do matters. It matters. Because Peace on Earth matters.

And it can only exist through us. We all matter.

November 9, 2008 at 2:31 am Leave a comment

Keep Hope Alive

Yesterday, I was doubtful that we would turn around global warming.

Yesterday I had concerns about barriers that my children may face.

Yesterday, I believed that we may destroy ourselves and the world through conflict based on power, aggression and judgment.

Yesterday I felt an unshakable cynicism of the “haves” ever extending understanding and respect to the “have nots”.

Yesterday I didn’t feel very patriot nor especially proud of the recent course of my country.

A New Hope

Today I have hope.

Today, I believe that perhaps we will make the sacrifices to over come global warming.

Today, I believe that the barriers that my bi-racial children face will be pebbles rather than walls.

Today, I have hope that we can resolve the threat to our existence.

Today, I feel patriotic for the first time in my adult life.

The president elect is, admittedly,  a charismatic, inspiring, positive leader, with character, self discipline, understanding, and perseverance.  But he is only  the instrument of my hope, but not the reason for it.

The Reason for Hope

What truly gives me hope is that people of every color, of every background, and of nearly every economic class, (ok, I still have a little cynicism), have chosen a person of color to lead the nation, have chosen a policy of cooperation over competition, have committed to compassion instead of greed, and have upheld the value of service above of self serving.

Perhaps, the result of the election, was due in part to the dismal state of the economy. In the words of a republican statesman, “When your house is on fire, you don’t care what color the fireman is.”

It is a fine example of a cloud with a silver lining. But we must remember what created the original cloud when we finally see the sunshine again.

Even so, it gives us the opportunity to experience a new model of civilization.

I remain hopeful that we will recognize the benefits of a model of government that truly demonstrates equality and respect for all humans.

I have hope that we will realized that cooperation, compassion, and service is more valuable than our own self centered fear and greed.

And I pray that we will  protect this new spirit of good will towards all  from “perishing from the earth.”

November 5, 2008 at 8:50 pm 2 comments

Divided We Fail

Divided We Fail  Lauren Kennedy

There’s a commercial that always bring a tear of joy to my eye.The tear is quickly followed by feelings of sadness and confusion.

The commercial depicts a foot race. The contenders are mentally or physically disadvantaged children.  One child falls. Another child turns around to check that he is not hurt.  Soon, the other children follow suit. Then they all join arms and run across the finish line together.

I am certain that millions of viewers are also touched by this image. So the question becomes, why don’t we  emulate this behavior?

Have we become so cynical that, although the image is heart warming, we consider it an idealistic fantasy. Or do we value  the self satisfaction of winning,  success  and importance more than the fulfillment of cooperation and harmony?

Sure, we give  lip service to peace and unity.  But we remain obsessed with winning, rather than with the thrill of the game. We strive to be recognized as the best, rather than appreciate excellence in our efforts .We seek to achieve importance and recognition so we can wield our influence and power, forfeiting the close emotional bonds, appreciation and value for who we are, and the fulfillment of contribution,  that result from cooperation and tolerance.

As we view someone performing a selfless act of compassion, ti may evoke a sense of admiration in us. But it is the successful, the wealthy, the powerful, the important people that we respect, that we follow, that we believe possess superior qualities of wisdom, leadership and character. And if wealth and success were achieved through dishonesty, callousness or manipulation, we dismiss or justify or refuse to believe.

We may give a medal for an act of compassion, but we give our respect and our minds to the successful.

I saw a documentary about a man, the wealthiest in the state, being found innocent of first murder, then attempted murder in spite of a preponderance of evidence against him. During his trial, he gave himself a birthday party which was attended by police officials, government leaders and a host of admirers.

The perception seemed to be that such a successful individual couldn’t be guilty of such behavior. Or their desire to acquire some of that importance for themselves through association meant more than how he came by it or his behavior after he had it.

We too, can turn around as the rest of the children did and join forces with the compassionate to give a hand to the struggling. We  too, can join arms and experience a win for all. Or we can pass by the fallen, leaving them stranded, motivated only by our single minded desire or obsessed by our consuming fears or failure and lack,  to grab our own success and importance.

As long as we condone the notion that the only way to succeed is on the backs of others, compassion,  cooperation and mutual success will indeed remain a fairy tale.

But the choice, as always, is our own.

November 3, 2008 at 6:19 am Leave a comment

Our life is an evolving creation, shaped by our choices, colored by our desires, and lightened or darkened by our intentions.
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