I am a recovering cynic. I still struggle with it.
I have made progress though.
Several years ago, a friend tried to convince me to read The Secret. I asked her about it. “It is based on this premise that if you picture yourself having something that you want, you will eventually have it. In other words, if you put out in the universe that you are going to have X, it will come to you.”
I don’t remember what I said to her. I think I might have gone into some kind of coma – like a drug addict who overdoses on the drug of choice. My need for cynicism was just fed a goldmine. I may have started to shake and froth at the mouth.
Based on her recommendation, I even bought The Secret. I tried, I really did. I just couldn’t get through it.
What I see in retrospect, though, is that I needed to ease my way into it. Going from being a cynical person to embracing The Secret would have been like a life-time smoker giving up cigarettes cold turkey. It could be done; I apparently just wasn’t strong enough.
And so I worked, slowly, on being less cynical and being more open to “the Universe.”
Honestly, it took me two or three years to notice a difference.
One of the clearest examples of my progress is the way in which I reached the decision to open a Great Harvest bakery. By being open to ideas and changes, and being mindful of themes (and yes, perhaps, “signs”) in my life, I was eventually led to Great Harvest and its franchise opportunities.
In reading back over that last paragraph, I realize that I have made the process sound very gentle … very lyrical … very gradual.
I think the Universe is much more forceful with me. Perhaps to some, the Universe taps you on the shoulder. To others, maybe it whispers in your ear. With me, I think it bonks me on the head.
That may say something about my personality.
There is a very recent example.
Like all of us in our everyday lives, I have been a bit stressed. And I have been feeling the added pressure (added by myself) of doing another blog post. The posts that I like the most just come to me – and they feel right. Nothing had come to me, so I sat down to force a topic. I thought of how I had addressed topics very difficult to me so I searched for another challenging topic. All I needed to do was turn on the tv to find the answer. Politics.
I wrote a post about politics. It was a nonpartisan post. It bemoaned the lack of respect and civility in our nation and talked about how people in general have changed.
We have all heard it before.
It didn’t feel good. It was a depressing view of humanity.
And then the Universe bonked me on the head.
On my to-do list for the next day was to set up a Facebook page for the new business. I did it, and then watched as friends and family and even people who I did not know responded with encouragement and support.
An old friend responded to a happy birthday wish with the most kind and heartfelt message – a message that has remained with me.
Four of us on a non-profit board in town met and together worked out a very difficult problem we had encountered. And we did it by truly listening and caring.
Civility is not gone, nor is respect and kindness. People are still inherently good.
But you have to be open to it. You have to look for it. And we need to remember what is truly important.
If you don’t, the Universe may bonk you on the head.