When I first moved to the Philippines about three and a half years ago, it was like taking a giant step into the unknown - into a world that was so radically different from that which I had known in New Zealand, that in some ways it terrified me - but also for the first time in many years I felt truly excited and challenged by what might lie ahead.
The first year or so was almost exclusively taken up with strengthening and developing the new personal relationships I had entered into when I came here. I had a new wife (an amazingly wonderful wife at that) and new step-children that I had to get to know and love. All that would take time and effort on both sides, but fortunately it all worked out extremely well and I settled into my new life here.
So here I was, in a land far, far away, where I knew virtually no-one and didn't speak the language. At times it did indeed feel totally isolating and lonely, but deep inside I knew instinctively that I'd made the right decision to come here, so as time passed and I became more comfortable in my new role in life, it came the time when I needed to consider what the future might hold here, for me specifically. I knew I was way too young to actually "retire", but with limited capital (none really!) I had to chart a course for myself that would give me as much personal fulfillment as my new position as husband and surrogate father was already giving me...What to do? What to do?
It was around this time that my wife discovered "The Secret" and "The Law of Attraction", and introduced me to the concepts contained within. Now I don't want to go into a long and scientific discussion about whether the Law of Attraction is real or not - I'll leave that for others to argue. Now before you jump on the bandwagon and argue that this is all just "New Age, mystical claptrap", I'd just like to ask you to hear me out.
What I want to say is that the precepts contained in the Law of Attraction revolutionized the way I viewed the world. It made me realize that the concepts that I had grown up with and had been indoctrinated into me since an early age were in fact rubbish and indeed were an anathema to the way we, as human beings, should be living our lives. I'm talking of concepts like: "Us against the world"; "That everyone wants something from you"; "That there is ulterior motive to everything people do" etc etc. I realized that I had reached the age of 55 and was nothing more than a world-weary skeptic...in fact worse than that - I was living my life in a permanent state of anger, annoyance, envy, rage and jealousy and that moments of happiness and sheer pleasure were few and far between and more often than not were the result of luck. The Secret, and The Law of Attraction made me realize that this was not the way we human beings are meant to live.
WE ARE BORN TO BE HAPPY - TO BE SUCCESSFUL AND TO BE FULFILLED!
What an awesome concept that was...so how to achieve this amazing yet seemingly impossible state of nirvana.
It is so ridiculously simple - that's what makes it so amazing. All I had to do to turn my entire life around was to look only for the positive aspects of any situation and to live in a permanent attitude of gratefulness for what I had - not a permanent attitude of ingratitude for what I didn't have - simple ha! No matter how bad our situation seems - there is always something we can be grateful for. Little things like the sun, the rain, a sweet smelling flower, a loving kiss from a spouse or a child, a cuddle with a pet...it really doesn't matter how you achieve your attitude of thankfulness, as long as you do. Once you stop looking at the world through cynical eyes you start to see the sheer beauty and wonder of nature and people, and then you feel more grateful, more blessed by your life and the circle continues. So, that's step one - be grateful for everything you have and never express envy, jealousy or ingratitude for that which you don't have.
The second most important step for me was not so much to adopt the positive, but to reject wholeheartedly the negative. It was only when I started to monitor myself and others that I realized just how much negative stuff we surround ourselves with every day. Whether it is complaining about this or that politician, corruption, or just the Government in general; whether it is criticizing a loved one; gossiping about a neighbor's perceived idiosyncrasies; or just complaining about the heat, or the interminable traffic...I suddenly saw clearly just how negative we were all being every single day. How can you live a positive, gratitude filled life if every second word that comes out of your mouth is negative or complaining? For me, it took a major effort to change this...55 years of disappointment and ingrained negativity are hard to remove straight away - but it can be done - trust me! If I can do it, then anyone can. What I did was read and listen to as much positive material as I could, plus of course with both my wife and I embracing this philosophy we were able to mutually support each other and often we would find ourselves reminding each other not to focus on the negative aspect of a situation, but rather seek a positive aspect of it. Remember though - it is always a "work in progress". We cannot expect to achieve nirvana overnight and it takes a bit of hard work and discipline to overcome years and years of negative conditioning. Believe me though, the results are worth working for.
Similarly, if someone is rude or unhelpful - before, I would seethe internally at them. Did they know I was annoyed with them? Probably not! Did it make me feel any better? Not really - now, I know some people say it is good to have a rant, or a blow-out (to let off steam), but personally it's never made me feel any better within myself, in the long run - it just puts me in a bad mood that I then take out on others and so the downward spiral begins. What I do now, say when someone cuts into a queue that I've been in for 20 minutes or so (and trust me it happens often here), I just assume that person has a good reason for wanting to get where he or she is going, quickly. Usually, I shake my head, smile and just let it go...what is the point in letting it bother me? Does that hurt them? No, it hurts me and those around me that I love, so why do that? If you get angry with that person, you are allowing someone else to determine your mood and that is a big mistake. You are the Captain of your ship - you make the decisions on how you feel and react, so stop blaming the actions of others for your decisions.
So, now I am living a happier, more relaxed, more laid-back life than I ever was before, but still I knew something was missing - what to do with myself? An entire industry has grown up around The Secret and The Law of Attraction (LOA). My inbox these days is flooded with various gurus offering me the "missing key" to LOA. If you follow LOA and live life in an attitude of positivity, gratefulness and thankfulness, your life cannot help but change for the better. Your relationships will improve, your health will improve (less stress), your friendships will improve, and your entire outlook on life will change, but will you become rich and successful. Well...you may! Living life positively does attract like-minded people into your life and these people are often themselves rich and successful...this may well open up new opportunities for you that you'd never dreamed possible before. It does happen, I'd read too many testimonials to believe otherwise.
This is my nirvana - A wonderful wife, an amazing family and the opportunity to follow my dream. I am now a full-time writer and I truly am now living my dream, thanks to just a simple attitudinal adjustment that everyone is capable of making. Give it a try! What have you got to lose - just your anger, your cynicism, your envy, your jealousy and your negativity.
LIFE IS AWESOME - MAKE SURE YOU PARTICIPATE IN IT!
Check out some of the links below. The last two links are to my son, Chris' blog. If you are interested in comics or movies based on comics, you'll love these. He's a really talented writer and he knows his stuff. I don't even like that stuff, and I still enjoyed reading his blogs.