Note…. This was written and posted last October. Since I have encountered difficulties this morning and I have many new subscribers, I am rerunning it. I love you.
In this month of celebrating gratitude, I am most grateful to Science of Mind for teaching me how to be optimistic. I didn’t learn to expect the best at my mother’s knee but in Religious Science churches and classrooms. I am grateful to my teachers and colleagues for helping me choose optimism as a way of life.
Optimistic people have much better lives than pessimistic people. No one would argue with the statement that Pollyanna was a happier character than the Grinch. Most people would agree that it is better to expect the best than to be on the lookout for the worst that can happen. Not everyone believes that our attitude impacts our experience as completely as Religious Scientists do, but nearly everyone agrees that attitude is important.
Most people believe that we are as happy or sad because of our experience in life. Inheriting a million dollars usually makes us happy while the death of a loved one usually makes us sad. Even so, common sense tells us that everyone loses loved ones and not everyone mourns forever. And we know there are plenty of unhappy millionaires on this planet. No two people have exactly the same experience and no two people would react the same way.
Even if it were possible to give two people the same experiences, the optimist would enjoy his life much more than the pessimist. That makes sense. More importantly, our consciousness creates our reality. If we can grasp that concept, we can understand the importance of changing our thinking so that we are expecting only the best.
If you want to do well on the job, you must go to work each day with an optimistic attitude. Once there, you will give good service, be noticed more often and be promoted quickly. Even if you never get the raise you deserve in that workplace, your excellent attitude will allow you to attract a new job very quickly.
In olden times, before milk came in cardboard boxes and was pasteurized, we had a saying, “Cream rises to the top.” What that meant was that the richest part of the milk (cream) would collect at the top of the bottle and it also meant that the person with the best attitude toward work got the promotion.
Money matters are important but attitude is even more important. Many of our Presidents came from wealthy families but not all of them. Being born poor has stopped many ambitious men and women from aiming at the top because they believed that it was too difficult to overcome childhood poverty. Lack of wealth didn’t stop Abraham Lincoln or Bill Clinton.
Nor did lack of beauty stop Barbra Streisand or Whoopi Goldberg from being a movie star. Lack of education didn’t stop Ernest Hemingway from writing. Whether it is money, appearance, education or some other perceived shortage, the truth of the matter is that the most important ingredient in anyone’s life is attitude.
I have added a short spiritual mind treatment for anyone who chooses to use it in order to become more optimistic.
What situations make me worry?
What would I like to be more optimistic about?
I Am Optimistic
There is only one God and that God is totally powerful, and present everywhere. God is present right here and now and supporting and guiding me. God loves me and God is expressing as Love through me. Because I know that God is always with me, always loving me and always saying yes to me, I am totally and completely optimistic.
I feel wonderful about life. I expect the best in life. I know that life is a great joy and a wonderful opportunity to express love and wealth and health. I expect the best in every area of my life. I am in love with life. I greet every day with great expectations. I am optimistic about my health. I am certain that I am rich and my wealth is growing every day. I am surrounded by loving people. I engage in happy activities. I love my life now.
With this prayer, all my questions are answered and all my desires are fulfilled. I release this spiritual mind treatment with a great sense of joy because I know that God is with me every step of the way.
Life is great! I expect the best!
And so it is.
I’m reminding everyone that I will be on Rev. Beverly Molander’s radio show on Monday, July 23, at 10 am, Pacific Time. You can listen then or later by going to the archives. Go to http://www.unity.fm/program/AffirmativePrayer
It would be great if you were to listen at 10 am and called in during the show. Have a great weekend.
I’m nearly always happy because my life is filled with blessings. A recent invitation to be on the radio, or instance. I will be on Rev. Beverly Molander’s radio show next Monday, July 23, at 10 am, Pacific Time. You can listen then or later by going to the archives. Go to http://www.unity.fm/program/AffirmativePrayer
The radio show invitation is a happy event and I am very glad that Rev. Beverly Molander asked me to talk about my life and my books. That does make me happy.
However, happiness is not dependent on exceptional events. Happiness is an attitude that can be cultivated on a daily basis. We can develop the happiness habit. All we have to do is “Change your thinking and change your life,” . The way to do that is, one day at a time.
Gratitude is a beautiful basic practice to encourage happiness. I try to start my day with gratitude and continue all day. If I slip off track, I gently remind myself and return to my blessing count.
It helps to set the intention first thing in the morning. Typically, I count my blessings before I rise, simply by opening my eyes and looking around. I start with gratitude for a good night’s sleep. Then I give thanks for my wonderful bed that raises and lowers by electricity. I may think about Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison and all the other scientists who develop such smart inventions. That’s a beginning and a gratitude count of at least five.
I certainly remember to be grateful for my dear friend who gave me the bed when her mother was finished with it. Then I notice other things. My closet door is open and full of bright clothes. My antique dressers were inherited from friends. There is a gorgeous weaving that was a gift from a favorite artist friend.
One of my favorite art pieces – a three dimensional collage of a Mexican bus scene – was done by another artistic friend. The photos of my family are on the dresser. If I count all my family members, I’ve counted about 20 things I’m grateful for – before I hit the floor.
I’ve found it is truly better to count my blessings than to grumble about my sore back or my schedule. The truth is that I live a prosperous, loving, beautiful life. When I notice the truth, I see that am surrounded by love and blessings. I also notice that I am very happy.
Happiness is a word for a feeling that we can experience in many different ways. We may not have the exact words to describe that “warm, fuzzy” feeling but we know it when we have it. The confusion is not about identifying happiness but in how to get more of it.
A lot of our happiness beliefs were formed from lessons we were taught as children and some were the wrong lessons. For example, “money doesn’t buy happiness” but it is a start. Ask anyone who is hungry if he is happy. Truth is – we need a certain level of comfort to begin the happiness journey.
How much money do we need? Probably less than most of us believe. Anything beyond basic food, shelter and clothing is enough to be happy. You don’t really need a million dollars and nearly all North Americans have basic security levels. We can be grateful.
Many intelligent people miss the boat by defining themselves as problem solvers. We are trained to look for problems and, if we are not vigilant, we will begin the day by looking around to see what needs to be done. Making a to-do list before that first cup of coffee can be depressing.
I am a worker, by nature and habit. At one time, I was also a person who thought of “earning” happiness. I used to feel as though happiness was a payoff that would arrive as soon as I finished my chores. Since I never finished the chores, it didn’t work out well for me. I now know happiness is a mood I can choose when I am ready. Happiness doesn’t “just happen”. We choose it.
It’s true that some events make us happy. Being interviewed on the radio, going on a trip, getting a raise, or having our kid admitted to Yale can trigger a happiness attack. But if you are always dependent on the next big “win” to be happy, you are defining life as a struggle. You will not find struggle the best pathway to the happiness you desire.
Those “wins” you struggled for, will quickly be replaced by more anxiety about the next goal. Achieving goals and stacking up accomplishments is great but you need to stop and breathe and let yourself appreciate the good things of life (practice an attitude of gratitude) to sustain happiness.
What makes you happy? Most people would say that their greatest times come from being with people they love. What can surpass young love? Or the feeling of your grandchild crawling into your lap? Or being with your girlfriends and laughing about life?
Begin to notice the loving people in your life. They are a gift in all times – good or not so good. Form the habit of honoring your loving connections, past and present. Don’t ever take the friends and family who love you for granted!
You may not need to be physically near your loved ones to be happily influenced by their love. The furniture I inherited is just stuff but I am deeply grateful for the friendship of the two women who were in my life for the first 25 years of my sobriety. Their friendship was satisfying at a heart level.
My bedroom is solitary but chockfull of loving memories and it makes me happy. When you know your child is living his life well, you can be happy. The memory of a happy childhood continues to operate as a pleasant experience your whole life. Everyone has gifts in his or her life that can be the basis for counting your blessings.
People are not always necessary for happiness. In many instances. I am extremely happy to be all alone pursuing my creative activities. I can get lost in writing or drawing for hours at a time. I’d also prefer to watch movies alone and certainly, reading books is a solitary pursuit of happiness.
You can be happy in different ways at different times in your life. Dancing until dawn in high heels used to make me happy. I’ve had to find new ways to achieve that glow. What worked at 20 doesn’t always work at 50 or 70.
I’m not such a fancy dancer anymore but I love old movie musicals. The love of dance and music has simply translated. Better to sing in the rain with Gene, Debbie and Donald than complain about the weather and arthritis.
Can you list ten things you are happy about?
What activity makes you happy that you can add to your day?
On Monday, a friend called and said, “ Your book, Dreams Can Come True, was on the Today show.” There were several messages from other friends who saw the show. I am always amazed at the powerful reach of TV.
Later that day, my daughter sent me a clip of the show and I watched it. If I can figure out how to do it, I will put a link out later this week.
The reason the book was on TV is that the Today Show has a new host – Savannah Guthrie – and they were introducing her to the audience. Apparently Dreams Can Come True was her favorite book as a young teen.
The other host, Matt Lauer, read from the back cover and tried to tease her about the plot which is all about wanting to be a cheerleader and catching the most popular football hero as a boyfriend. I was happy when she defended the book, saying, “It was a good book.”
I was also bit dismayed at how much trouble they went to make their new host look like a silly girl. After all, the woman is an accomplished journalist and she’s read lots of other books since she was in 7th grade.
It threw me back to those days (1982) when I was a member of the National Organization of Women (NOW) and we were trying to pass the ERA Amendment. NOW kept calling me and I kept sending them money. My contributions came from the money I was making writing teenage romances.
The book is out of print now and it was fun to see the cover on a national TV show. We all enjoy our 15 seconds of fame. I hope it was helpful to Ms. Guthrie and the thousands of other young women who read it back then. I’ve always been proud of my career as a writer for teenagers, even though I moved on to spiritual writing.
In those days, I was happy to be making good money at a craft I’d struggled with for years. I was able to write books girls loved because I had been a teacher and I knew teenagers. It never seemed inappropriate to me to write about a young girl’s search for popularity and young love. They always learned some life-lessons along the way. Lessons in self-reliance and integrity, as well as how to get what you want.
I’m not sure I’d be able to write most of the stuff that I see pushed on TV now. That is because I have changed and times have changed. I am older, more deeply involved in my spiritual teaching, and I haven’t been in a classroom for more than 35 years. As I said, times have also changed. But…
Times haven’t changed – up until now – as much as I wanted. While there are some gains in women’s lives, we never did get the Equal Rights Amendment passed. Women still make 77 cents on the dollar that men make in the same jobs. While there are more women in visible TV spots, they are nearly all beautiful. There are still not many women (beautiful or not) politicians at the state or national level.
What’s more, it seems as if the gains we made over the years are being pushed back as fast as politicians
(who say they are all about jobs but spend their time pushing against equal rights) can push.
I am concerned that our political future may be deeply impacted by unlimited and undisclosed contributions from a few “fat cats”. It was not the future I expected back in the 70’s and 80’s when the lives of women and other “minority” groups seemed on track to get so much better.
If you had told any of us who were working for the passage of the ERA amendment that the rights and support of women and children would be in grave danger now, we wouldn’t have believed it. Access to abortion, birth control, child health care, and nutrition programs is absolutely important to the health of this nation.
I don’t care how much people long for the good old days that never existed. Nostalgia for simpler times is a poison pellet this country must not swallow. Believe me, there was never a time when all girls wanted was to be popular cheerleaders. Those teenage romances were about as realistic as the Cosby show.
I love to watch old movies and am almost addicted to screwball comedies of the Thirties but I don’t believe that people lived like that in real life. They were simply entertainments. We should never confuse entertainment with fact. Plus, time can never run backwards.
That said, I am very happy to have Dreams Can Come True acknowledged as, “a good book” by a successful and visible child of the 80’s. It is always amazing and wonderful how wide those pebbles we toss into the lake can go. I wish her well in her new spot.
As for my own current career. I will be speaking on Rev. Beverly Molander’s radio show next Monday at 1 pm. You can access the show by going to http://www.unity.fm/program/AffirmativePrayer. That invitation came because of the book’s brief appearance on the Today show.
I am finishing up my Emerson class this Thursday and it has been wonderful to revisit that fabulous thinker and his friends. This has been an exceptionally bright group of students and they especially enjoyed watching my lectures that I made 20 years ago. I especially enjoyed being reminded of that 110 pound weight loss.
My meditation coloring book is done and I will be writing about it soon.
I will be speaking in church on Sunday, July 29th, and I think my talk will be about Summer Reading. Any suggestions?
What was your favorite book as a kid?
What is your favorite New Thought book?