The writer, Australian activist Chloe Anne King has the viewpoint that there is a "positive attitude" avalanche in this country stemming from Oprah, Deepak Chopra, Gala Darling, etc., and that is only available/possible for "privileged white women". The author declares that the political underclass would find it impossible to access yoga, meditation or any other mindfulness practice that would be of benefit in their struggle to find employment, pay bills or achieve "happiness". Not surprisingly I have issues with the statements she makes that have been aimed at "positive thinking gurus".
Ms. King's basic premise, that the world is going to hell or is hell or can be hell for some is a given. Open up a conversation in 2015, 1980, 1880 or on any year humans have been communicating and this same idea will inevitably seep into the discussion. Life is tragic, horrific, splendid, beautiful, ugly and wildly unpredictable. From my perspective this is where I leave Ms. King on her path, while I walk on my own. I believe the big brain at the top of our pyramid is powerful. Far more powerful than it's given credit for.
What is accepted as true in our electrical circuitry translates out into this life experience. I discussed my premise in Everybody Wins, 2 blogs ago.
A old 54 year perception was that "If I'm strong for myself, someone's got to lose." This idea drove my horse from start to finish. The concept worked if I had to do something which was perceived as beyond my abilities.
All for one and one for all!
Plenty of people gained with this perception. A ton of shit got done and I became quite good at my profession. I didn't balk if a day was start up to sun down for others. I described myself as wearily dragging a cart of tourists, one foot plodding after another with a carrot just out of reach. The belief carried me through grueling situations of a traumatic childhood, miscarriages, postpartum depression, financial disasters and most recently to the awareness door of PTSD. What this belief did not do was help me to heal or find joy. It certainly kept me alive long enough to get to this place, but it did not in the end serve me completely. It was an idea that could not evolve.
The positive attitude avalanche is in direct counterpoint to a massive blob of angry negativity which circles our beautiful planet. What is mixed in the miasma of misery is a piece of the same idea I carried clutched in my brain. "If someone else is winning, I'm losing." That idea, along with the one I operated under is UNTRUE. It creates a global belief that to make it in this world it is necessary to kill others to survive, stepping over the dead bodies to become the rats in that long ago famous science experiment. From this virulent perception, comes the need to point a finger at anyone who shares a differing approach that works for them, to call these individuals a name and attack them for wanting to see this experience in its possibility, not the box of limitation. Oprah, Mr. Chopra, Gala Darling and the rest, are holding a flashlight for others to follow. Attacking these people is no different than the wealthy hating the poor for not being wealthy, the religious disdaining the non-believer, the losing team despising those who hold a trophy. For centuries humans have operated under the old narrow construct of a win-lose perception and for centuries a few stragglers have brought forth the opposite idea that Everybody Wins. I can only speak for myself on whether positive thinking works. I imagine that if a world is seen from the view that our brains create the experience and there is beauty in the quagmire, then it can become true.
I read The Diary of Ann Frank when my childhood was controlled by dysfunctional adults. Ann was able to see possibility even though her situation was impossible. Her attitude made her last days not only more peaceful, but made me believe I could survive. I have now made it long enough to come to know that my shitty early life wasn't more shitty because someone else had a "perceived better" experience. My shitty life was frankly just my shitty life.
What is, IS.
Which means, what is, IS...until it isn't. From the beginning of this experiential story of evolution there has remained one constant, that change is possible. Whether humans recognize this it or not is irrelevant. Whether Chloe King thinks a positive attitude changes anything or not is irrelevant. What matters is that our brains have the ability to change our perceptions. That those same perceptions can change our viewpoint, can make us feel better, calmer and more alive. Even when life is a living hell.
The only thing that changed while I read Ann's diary was my perception. It didn't make my childhood better. It didn't do anything but light something within me. If she hadn't shared her positive attitude, I may have found it on my own and I may not. In the end I'm grateful that despite her horrific last days, Ann Frank wrote about her belief in the wonders of this tragic and magical life. From the words on those pages, her haunting message lingered. Bringing hope and possibility to another little girl who had none.