I’ve been thinking lately about positivity and the power of our thoughts. I recently watched The Secret, which is a documentary that preceded the book written by Rhonda Byrne in 2006. I remember the book being popular, but I was having my first baby that year and had little time for reading. The general message, I found through the lazier on-screen footnotes, is that we will receive goodness if we expect goodness. Similarly, if we meditate on negativity and fear, these are the things that will be attracted to us. It reminds me of years ago when The Prayer of Jabez was all the rage among the church-goers. It was a book based on the simplest of verses, and encouraged followers to ask for specifically what they want and expect it to come. Have faith, and your desires will naturally gravitate toward you.
This was a hard theory to swallow, given what my family has been through the last 7 years. My oldest went through years of chemotherapy, my middle child had gut issues, and friends have unexpectedly passed away. Throw in post-traumatic stress and daily life, and it was tough, to say the least. I had major fears that our family was doomed to a destiny of darkness and challenge. So, according to the theory of attraction, did I do this to myself? Was my son’s cancer a result of my concern? I don’t think so. In fact, I think sometimes shit just happens.
That being said, I do not discount the theory entirely. There are those times you hear about people recovering from serious illness simply with their positive thoughts, or achieving an unlikely goal after meditating on it daily. Extreme things happen from time to time. But beyond the extreme, it has been proven that positivity is beneficial to our health, and if we focus on the good, we usually walk a path that finds goodness. If we believe in ourselves, others will too.
As I’ve pondered this, I have found one example from my recent past that supports the law of attraction. After my son’s cancer, I found I had chronic Lyme disease and through nursing (or in-vitro) had passed it down to my kids. We started treatment by taking antibiotics plus herbs, and literally had to make a chart of all the supplements and prescriptions we had each day. Keeping track of treatment felt like a full-time job, and the monthly blood draws and doctor visits plus the meds and herbals turned out to be an enormous investment. All the years of insurance-covered cancer treatment cost minimal compared to the monster of treating Lyme. Being a slow-dying disease, it only took a few months for us to look at the length of our road and get concerned. But somehow, I couldn’t stop. It broke my heart that my middle child wouldn’t ride his bike because of his joint aches and that my oldest had regular headaches and fatigue. My kids often looked sick, and for myself, I wanted to feel more energized, and be rid of my migraines. I felt so strongly that we were right where we were supposed to be on our journey.
Trusting this, we began accumulating debt. Scary, and completely out of our character, but somehow, I knew we were on the right path. And if we were on the right path, then the finances would be supplied for us somehow. They would manifest, although I had no idea how. I just chose to fully believe that if we were where we were supposed to be, it was going to be made possible. God (or your specific interpretation of the higher power) was going to provide.
Time marched on, we improved, treatment slowed, and about three months before our first debt-laden credit card was going to start accumulating interest, we got a phone call from Make-a-Wish. My son, three years prior, had chosen to go see Monet’s house in France because he had learned about Monet in preschool the year he was diagnosed. Make-a-Wish was now calling because they were doing an Ad campaign with Subaru and the director had found our story to be unique and appealing. It felt like a lifetime ago, and yet we were now being asked to Skype with a production manager to discuss what the trip meant to us.
After a quick review through our photos (kids forget so quickly), we all sat on the couch and talked to a complete stranger about our adventure to France. We had no real investment in this project and didn’t know what next steps were if we were chosen to help with it. A week later, Make-a-Wish called and said Subaru would like to fly us out to Hollywood for an all-expenses-paid four days to shoot the commercial. Sounded amazing! We accepted and it turned out to be a pretty big deal. We had no idea at the time, as we chatted over tacos, that the director sitting with us was an academy award winner who had filmed the first digital movie EVER. It was inspiring, to say the least, to see these hard-working and talented people doing what they love in a creative field.
Unimpressed by glitz or fame, however, my kids were much more interested in the pool and the beach. In fact, the studio time was a bit of a disaster, and one of those situations when a mother must remind herself she cannot control her children. They were tired, they would not smile for the cameras, and it was like pulling teeth to get them to talk. Definitely a deer in the headlights situation. So, being that the crew had many potential options and other families to choose from, it was most unlikely we would make it to the final cut of the commercial. I chalked it up to an “oh well” situation and we felt grateful for the free trip.
It was when we were in the studio waiting for the shoot, that we found out we were getting paid for this adventure. Each of the five of us was getting paid, simply for showing up. Further, we would get paid again if we were chosen to be in the national Ad.
After our performance, I greatly doubted we’d be in the Ad, and honestly didn’t care. I felt so grateful and blessed to have had this real-life experience for my children to see how production works, see creative minds working outside the box, and to have time to laugh and play at the beach. But months later, when the commercial released, it turns out we were in it for literally 1 second (maybe less?)… 1 second where my children look miserable. I was baffled.
The money my husband and I earned through that fluke phone call for the trip to France over three years before, paid every dollar of medical debt. And as a bonus, the money my children earned successfully fattened up each of their college savings accounts. It was the answer I had faith would come and yet could never have predicted how.
So, as far as The Secret, I still think sometimes life just hands us tragedy. That being said, it can’t hurt to be positive and believe good things for ourselves. To train our minds to gravitate toward thinking the best in others, and live in the space we feel called to live – knowing that we are worthy of our dreams. Because sometimes, life can baffle us with goodness in the most unexpected ways – and there seems to be benefit in having faith that it will.