Fighting The Dark Thing - Part 1
Suddenly there was a great burst of light through the Darkness. The light spread out and where it touched the Darkness the Darkness disappeared. The light spread until the patch of Dark Thing had vanished, and there was only a gentle shining, and through the shining came the stars, clear and pure. Then, slowly, the shining dwindled until it, too, was gone, and there was nothing but stars and starlight. No shadows. No fear. Only the stars and the clear darkness of space, quite different from the fearful darkness of the Thing.
- Madeline L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
The Dark Thing
You've felt it at some point or other in your life. It's the bad feeling. It's hopelessness. It's doubt. It's the creeping belief that you might not be totally qualified for the promotion you just got. It's a nagging dissatisfaction with the entirety of your wardrobe, or standing with the door open staring at a refrigerator full of food you don't really want to eat. It's generalized powerlessness in the face of a political environment that seems irreparably fractured. It's the despair and loneliness you have felt in a relationship in crisis. It's hearing news of yet another mass shooting and wondering if the world has always been this bad - or if it's getting worse by the minute.
But I have a theory. I believe that the goodness or badness of the world is not only colored by our perspective, but CREATED by it.
If you're looking for evidence that the world is falling apart, there's no shortage of data points. If your hypothesis is that as a society we're spiraling out of control and Darkness is winning, you have no further to look than the evening news for evidence. Have you noticed how Lester Holt always tacks on one feel good story to the end of the Nightly News broadcast? As if two and half minutes of the network equivalent of cat videos on YouTube could somehow make up for seven minutes of concentrated stories about severe weather and devastation, nine minutes on political gridlock and misdeeds, five minutes on terror activities around the world, and four minutes on grizzly crimes. The story about the little boy who mowed the lawn with his 92-year-old neighbor is only one positive data point among the 67 negative ones we see every night.
The news is a perfect example of our focus on trouble, because that's what we tend to do - we focus on trouble. We make a hypothesis, and then we go about looking for the hints and clues and exhibits A-Z that support that hypothesis. And our reptilian brains are always trying to protect us, so they're always focused on danger.
Here's some TRUTH
If you're looking for evidence that you won't succeed - you'll find it.
If you're looking for evidence that your success will exceed your wildest dreams - you'll find it.
If you expect to see proof that you'll never be able to balance life, family career - it will appear.
If you expect to see proof that your life is in perfect abundant balance - it will appear.
If you are looking for proof that people are generally unkind, horrible and selfish - well, we already covered that; just watch the news.
If you are looking for proof that people are generally kind, loving and generous - you can't help but see it everywhere you go.
But it's not just about our perceptions. I'm not asking you to ignore that bad things happen. I'm not asking you to pretend that sometimes things happen that hurt like mad. I'm asking you to assess your beliefs and how much actual energy you put into proving the negative. Because the upshot of the practice of evidence building is simple.
If you believe that the world is getting worse and there's nothing you can do about it - it will.
If you believe that the world is getting better and you take any action to support it - it will.
Because once you have found the evidence you're looking for one way or the other, and you've proven your theory to be "true" (yes, these are snarky, sarcastic air quotes) - your behavior follows. Your actions reflect your "truth." And your "truth" becomes reality.
If you accept it to be true that you won't succeed, you'll either half-ass it, or decide not to take any action at all. You'll give up. You will fail.
On the other hand, if you have decided that your truth is actually that your success will be dream-exceeding - you'll focus your attention, your resources, your energy, your time, yourSELF on the actions that - one step at a time - will move your toward your goals, and you'll develop a growth mindset that allows for continued, unlimited evolution.
If you expect to see proof that life is limited and you have to sacrifice one area of life to make the others succeed - you'll pour yourself into one area of your life, to the detriment of the others. You will close yourself off to compromises, opportunities and changes that enable flow between all the areas of your life.
Flip side: If you accept it to be true that your life is in perfect, abundant balance, you'll be more relaxed, accepting and open - and you'll learn to live in a better state of flow and balance.
If it is your truth that people suck - you'll retreat from those sucky people, and close yourself off from the good ones too.
If your truth is that people are good - you'll open your heart and let in all the joy that is human connection and understanding.
Here's some more TRUTH: You are a World Changer
If you believe that the world is getting worse, you'll accept your powerlessness, inertia will be your fallback. And the simple fact of your disengagement - of your retraction of your own light - will make the Dark Thing darker.
If, however, you believe that the world can be a better place - you'll shine your light in the way only you can. You'll volunteer at your kids' school. You'll check on your people when you haven't heard from them in a while. You'll vote and seek common understanding in the world of political discourse. You'll be vulnerable in your relationships. You'll invest in a Kickstarter that supports a beneficial technology to address pollution in our oceans. You'll nurture your body, mind and soul so that you can shine more brightly into the universe.
Because no matter what your religious affiliation (or non-affiliation) this is Truth: A light shines in the Darkness, and the Darkness shall not overcome it.
Shine your light the way only you can. Speak. Paint. Vote. Laugh. Love. Write. Compose. Tell your story. Reach out. Volunteer. Cry. Support. Sell. Create. Teach. Sculpt. Sing. Hold someone’s hand. Tell a joke. Listen. Breathe.