If there 's one thing that irritates the hell out of me, it is the Positive Thinking, Just Put A Smile On Your Face And All Will Be Well brigade. You know, the born-again Amway tribe. It seems just the same old 'count your blessings' nonsense of our grandparents day. It just doesn't work for me: above all else I value honesty and truth especially within myself, and pretending that the World and I are just honky dory doesn't cut it with me.
I've been reading a book, 'The Healing Journey' by Matthew Manning, which details studies that show that such things as smiling, even in a pretend way, thinking positive thoughts etc. do indeed have an effect on the body in extraordinary ways, such as increasing the effectiveness of the immune system.
Well, great, but you know, even if it is good for me, I don't want to tell mySelf lies, to pretend to mySelf - hell it's bad enough having to put on a brave face for the rest of the world! And anyway, I just can't do it. As soon as I try to count my blessings, it's like, yeah, I'm so lucky to have a wonderful husband and four lovely sons..... but HELL! They aren't here right now! I'm so lucky to have a house here on this beautiful piece of land....but HELL! The cow's out of the paddock and in the garden! Positive thinking? Me? I could find the negative side of eternal bliss!
However, in this book I did find a useful suggestion. Of course the instructions weren't actually for what I thought; I did misread them quite significantly, but somehow my misinterpretation worked for me!
So what I've is trying to do when I feel myself slipping into the bleakness, heading for that dead black place, is to remember love. Not particular people or places or times, because that just makes me sad for what is no longer with me. The first time I tried this it was really hard, because I couldn't think of a single instant of feeling loved in that unconditional way that I love my children, which that is what I have missed all my life, and what I really need. I finally remembered one incident, and clung onto that. What I pull into my present is the sensation of being loved and I wrap that around myself like a soft, warm, alpaca wool blanket. Amazingly it works! And the more I do this, the better I feel about mySelf.
I have started using the same technique in other situations: when feeling very stressed I pulled up a memory of a time and place where I felt calm and peaceful, then 'extracted' the feeling from the memory, and wrapped that around my shoulders. It helped - but I need to practice this technique a lot more before it will work as well as I would like it to.
But if ever I start to tell people: just get a grip, count your blessings, smile, just change your attitude, be positive - please feel free to smother me in my blanket!