Spirit has brought to my attention that, even with an experiment that’s been designed around love and positivity, there are some potentially toxic downsides to it that I hadn’t originally thought of.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. Experiments are like that. You try, you learn. You fail, you learn. You succeed, you learn. It’s part and parcel of the process.
I cannot and will not diminish all the amazing things that have already happened on this journey so far, much of which I attribute to a) surrendering, and b) being rather than merely doing. Getting to be, especially in the last month or so, has been one of the greatest gifts in my life.
But reflecting on the possible downsides of the experiment has been giving me some pause.
The Invisible Stress of Failing Publicly
Stress is invisible, I know, so maybe the expression is a little redundant.
But as I’ve already shared, I have not been doing this experiment perfectly. I kicked it off at a time when I was just beginning to recover from burnout, and I’m not completely over it yet. I don’t think I have had any all-out dicey days, but I have had some dicey moments.
If I had started this experiment at my physical and mental best, failing may have held considerably less significance for me.
But right now, I don’t need more stress in my life, and I didn’t know that failing you was something that could weigh on me.
To be fair, failure was not something that was explicitly defined in the beginning. It would be more accurate to say that I haven’t been following all the rules I laid out for myself all the time.
But it is a potential downside to an experiment that was supposed to be healing and joyful. Feeling guilty for my stumbles isn’t going to produce healing or joy.
“Positive” to the Exclusion of “Negative”
This was never supposed to be a “positive thinking” experiment contrary to what the title might lead you to believe.
It was more based on the idea that the Universe responds to everything we think and feel, so all things being equal, better to dwell on the “uplifting, inspiring, and informative” versus the fluffy or negative.
Of course, life presents us with people, circumstances, and events that occur to us as positive, negative, or shades of grey in between all the time. How we define good or bad is up to us, but one inescapable truth of life is things happen. They just do.
Life tends to be more enjoyable when we feel good. And it is even possible to train ourselves to view potentially negative events as positive. But thoughts do not negate circumstances.
When I stop to think about it, the most inspirational moments in life are the ones where someone had to rise out of hardship, challenge, or adversity. In that sense, such events aren’t necessarily “bad,” but they can appear that way initially.
I don’t necessarily have the answer. It would be a cop-out to say, “Life is always in balance” or “Life is always in harmony,” but that is the closest thing to truth I can muster as I contemplate what “uplifting, inspirational, and informative” really means.
Ultimately, you never know what people, events, and circumstances might turn out to be “uplifting, inspiring, and informative” when they didn’t appear that way at the outset.
The above realizations don’t discourage me. Rather, I feel like I’ve discovered something about myself I’ve been unaware or unconscious of. I even feel like I may have understood a deeper spiritual truth.
I need to give myself some grace for being imperfect, and for doing this experiment imperfectly. It would be amazing if I managed to pull it off without effort, but then would it even be worth doing?
It has also occurred to me that these missteps are part of the journey – they are supposed to happen, so my life is reflected back at me like a mirror. I get to see how I do things and why. And there is much to be learned from that.
So long as there are things wanting to emerge out of this experiment, I’m going to keep going. And for the time being, more things are emerging.