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How to Embrace Intentional Optimism and Stop Living in Fear, Anger and Blame

By Marcus T. Anthony

“Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on.
And it makes me wonder.”
Led Zeplin, Stairway to Heaven.

We live in troubling times. Daily, we twenty-first century hominoids are bombarded with disturbing news about the increasing number of perils that await us as individuals, and as a species. This is a volatile world, and we just have to live with fear and rage, knowing how it may all come to a screeching end at any moment. You want a disaster? Take your pick. COVID-19, the World Economic Forum saying “by 2030, you will own nothing and you’ll be happy,” China and Russia colluding to desecrate our precious democracy, but then there are also them damn Nazis hiding under the bed. Indeed, the brown shirts are around any and every corner.

But even if Adolf’s latter-day descendants don’t dare show themselves, there are storms of unprecedented magnitude bearing down on us, threatening to blow away our houses and our existence. Then, if the gods disappointingly steer the typhoons elsewhere, we can still pop into the cinema where Al Gore will reassure us that the climactic end is nigh. And you betta stash some of that popcorn and coke, because it’s probably too late to do anything.

In such a world why would anybody even bother to get out of bed?

Let me confide in you that I wouldn’t get out of bed either if I believed this story. But I just don’t. I reckon it’s often bullshit, the nonsense of click-bait journalists and bloggers desperate to get the hits necessary to generate a bit of attention or income.

And those foolish enough to click on such stuff mostly do so because the narrative is what they have come to believe. It’s what they want to hear. “Ain’t it awful! I told you so!”

Look, I know the doomsday story is really popular. It’s a ratings winner. And it gets all the awards at Golden Globes time, where some crusty celebrity (who has taken the precious time to leave her gated community to condemn leaders who build walls) will shed a tear for what has become of the world, and to rage against the monsters who lead it.

Meanwhile, what didn’t make the papers is the story about the old guy who walked down the street whistling, a skip in his step, smiling at babies and the pretty girls he knows fully well he shouldn’t be smiling (because, as all decent human beings living in this rape culture know, only perverts do such things). No, that old bastard was enjoying himself far too much to make the news. Or perhaps he was just happy that he’s lived so long, given that less than two centuries ago the average lifespan globally was just 28 years of age, with one in three children dying before the age of five.

Consider these strange facts, mentioned by Stephen Pinker in his new book Enlightenment Now. Surveys show that people often think that their country’s economy will get worse in the next year, but they are relatively optimistic about their personal financial future. They tend to believe that crime rates are deteriorating across the nation, but not near their home. And they believe that the environment is going to hell – but you guessed it, not around here.

Why is that? Could it be that the world of experience (our real world) is nowhere near as bad as the narrative that we are sold in the media and in many of our education systems?

Intentional Optimism

So… there is that other story – or those other ten thousand stories. They are the tales that I prefer to listen to. They are stories driven by intentional optimism. And by life itself. Not by the spin of media and social media and their enraged audience.

Intentional optimism is the decision to be fully present in the real world of experience. And the decision to stay there.

The price to pay is a small one. Tune out of the electronic news media and social media and learn how to be present to life.

But make no mistake, this other narrative is not a story of delusion (relatively speaking, as compared to the doomsday narrative that we have all come to know and love). It doesn’t deny evidence or data regarding global warming, rape or political extremism (realizing that problems should be addressed, not obsessed).  But neither does it get sucked into the collective projections of the masses, preferring grounded experience.

Instead it makes a commitment to withdraw from the fear-driven narratives and their doomsday noosphere and to make lived presence and intentional optimism the basis of life, whereupon an entirely new world unfurls before us as if by cosmic grace. The painful pasts and fearful futures that obsess the minds of the many suddenly disappear, seen as the illusions that they typically are. Abstract narratives are replaced by the fullness of life.

And what is it exactly that becomes real? It is whatever arises in the moment. It is the mother and her baby that you stop to smile at as you walk home. It is the song you choose to sing, regardless of who cares to listen. It is the tang of the orange upon your taste buds as you bite the fruit.

And in such moments these things are often joyful. And enough.

We all know that life is not always “happy.” We all experience a full range of emotions, including fear, anger, sadness, guilt, shame and so on. Intentional optimism doesn’t reject those. It simply addresses their root cause and permits them their natural expression (perhaps crying if you are sad). If action is needed, such as acknowledging that loneliness is creating sadness, then one commits to such action (for example, developing more warm relationships). If addressed in such a way, all such feelings pass in time.

The best thing is that this other story that we can choose comes with a very different attitude, and typically a different experience of life. You don’t live in fear of expected doom. You don’t blame anyone or anything for what is missing. You are just thankful to be here, now. There is little need for affirmation, visualization, or imploring prayer to the deity. Instead there are words that form spontaneously: “Thank you. I love you.” Such words have more power to transform the world than any social justice narrative one can possibly imagine.

Thus, there is a generosity of spirit that seeks sharing of experience.

Will the world be here tomorrow? Will you and I be here tomorrow? To be honest, I just don’t know. But one day soon, and in but the blink of the cosmic eye, the sun will rise and both you and I will not be here. That is an absolute certainty.

”But Marcus!” I hear you say. “My world is going to hell and you just don’t care!” And you would be (mostly) right. Unless you are my wife, someone I’m directly involved with or some twerp knocking on my door trying to sell me some contraption I don’t need, your hell is none of my business. I can’t save you from your misery, and even if I could, I’m too busy having a good time of it to give it much thought.

So, am I against social activism? Against seriously tackling political and ideological extremism? No. Not at all.  If we are to consider this from a spiritual perspective (and I realize most people won’t) an essential aspect of engaging such problems is the consciousness that underpins that activism. Social activism can be like the “liberalism” that often drives it. The latter is a nice idea, but not actually commonly practiced – not even by liberals. As far as I can tell, a great number of social activists in 2017 are too busy being morally superior and beating up enemies to truly demonstrate the justice and compassion that their souls (and all our souls) call them to actualize.

Human societies need people to develop good ideas and sound policies to create preferred futures. That includes having to deal with the darker side of human nature and of human propensity. World and local leaders do have to deal with psychopaths, extremists and despots (often in the mirror, it must be said), including those within our societies.

My main point here is that working at the essential foundation of problems – their expression of consciousness – can help all of us make more intelligent and wise decisions. It can enhance insight, where upon we can pull out of the psychic dramas that we are so prone to engage in if we do not bring things to full awareness. If we fail to assume responsibility for our fear-based projections, we may fail to tackle perhaps the most essential aspect of the problems we experience. We may end up creating conflict and suffering – a kind of self-fulling prophecy.

What I am saying is that the most logical attitude to take in this mad world, under most circumstances, is this. Stop judging and condemning everyone as stupid and immoral. Instead, give thanks, dance and celebrate this moment of existence that the cosmos has very generously granted you.

Yes. Let us give thanks. Let us forgive those Trump supporters and those libtards. But most of all, let’s love everyone and anyone who is so generous as to cross our paths and smile, who cares to talk to us or just be present with us for a moment in time. For this moment in time is all any of us have.

Who knows, maybe in a day or two I’ll be singing a song, dancing in the park with some old Chinese ladies here in Zhuhai (South China) or helping myself to a nice big piece of chocolate cake… and I will look up to the sky and see a large missile with a beaming image of our Dear Leaders Kim Jong Un or The Donald on the tail. There will be just enough to think “What the hell was that all about?” before every molecule in my body is incinerated. Maybe the Nazis really will ride into town upon their murderous tanks. Or perhaps the damn Commies will ride in upon black horses, with a bare-chested Vladimir Putin leading the way.

And that will be it.

But at least I’ll know that I stood by what was of the greatest importance for this spiritual journey as an individual, and for this human species. I will know that I refused to live in fear, anger and blame. Not even for a good cause. I will know I took the time to share a little joy and laughter with just a few other souls. All without charging a cent.

And it will be enough.




3 Ways to Kick Your Fears to the Curb

Creeping in Through the Cracks

Fear is an almighty strong emotion. It could be said to be the driving force behind our collective impotence.

Why does it have so much force in our lives?

It get’s flung at us constantly via the media — TV, movies, adverts, the general public, etc.

And when we’re not ‘out in the world’ overhearing all the crime statistics and getting fed bad news from people on the street, we rush home to fall into the escapism of our daily Facebook feed because there’s nothing there to be fearful of, right?

Wrong! We get a slipstream of everything that’s messed up in the world (barring, of course, those sweet little kitty meme’s and quirky quote feeds — although even those are starting to take their toll on social media addicts).

One has even come to fear the next ‘Be Like Bob’ post or cradle in terror at the thought of another cat in a pot photo. All jokes aside…

Getting Down and Dirty

We need to take responsibility for what we give our attention to and for how we allow, yes allow, the media to manipulate our emotions and pervade the airwaves with such repugnant negativity.

We are the ones giving credence to and creating our own fears — we can literally asphyxiate ourselves with things to fret or find fear about.

Every time you give into fear you feed negativity and give it more power. Fear is a choice, like it or not.

Related article: How To Deal With Your Fear of the Unknown

The Different Types of Fear

fear quoteThere are, of course, many different types of fear but they are all grounded in the act of giving your power away.

When we come up against fear, we are presented with a chance to be aware, brave and face up to it.  Get to the nitty-gritty and uncover the truth about why we are so afraid or uncomfortable (i.e. the fear of heights/snakes/natural disasters/terrorism/clowns/Uncle Sam/Aunt Betty/’fill in the blank’).

When we mine ourselves for the ‘why’s’ and ‘what-have-you’s’ of our own fears, we can face them and move through them.

If there is nothing we can do but send our love, compassion, empathy or prayers to a fearful situation, then do that! Stop giving rise to a tidal wave of negative emotions.

Either do something about your fear (fight or flight), make an effort to get to the bottom of why you feel a certain way (be it through meditation, inner-examination, therapy, etc) or stop thinking about it — turn your thoughts around!

What you think about you bring about. Your attention, good or bad, always feeds the probability giving it more gusto. So, stop gusting away at those fearful ruminations!

Incapacitating Fear

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

In order to work fear back into the light, we need to find its polar opposite — LOVE.  When you inject love into fear it evaporates — it has no stronghold in the presence of love.

But how does one start projecting love when ones knees are knocking?

Well, let’s address what is called heart-centered living — I’m sure you’ve all probably heard that word by now.  People are throwing it about a lot these days (including me — guilty as charged!). As airy-fairy and lace-clad as heart-centered living may seem — there is a nugget of gold in the finding!

Related article: How to Use Your Heart Wisdom

Quickening the Heart

When you work through your heart, based primarily upon how you are feeling about something (as opposed to working through your mind and how you think about something), you are guided by a more truthful resonance of picking up subtle nuances from your surroundings rather than being directed by what reason dictates.

So even though we are in need of our minds and pensiveness, we have been dominated by left-brain thinking for centuries.  A shift is occurring, not to totally disregard our thoughts but to channel through the heart and then process through the mind.  In other words, not just to go straight to the head and bypass our hearts or how we are feeling intuitively.

Rationality can be useful but it has, in some cases, left our instinctive abilities to wither in its stoic presence.  Sometimes our ‘logic’ has actually hindered our bliss. This could be because ‘society dictates otherwise’ or ‘the norm is to be…’  — well, be careful of whose ‘norm’ you are conceding to.

It’s that age old conflict between science and spirituality (left-brain versus right-brain) — the solution to which is using both in balance.

Related article: How to Listen to Your Heart, Even If Your Mind Disagrees

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.” — Dorothy Thompson

3 Key factors to transmute your fears are remembering to:

1. Spend Your Emotions Wisely 

Don’t buy into fear.  Think of all the things you have feared in the past — did any of those worries come true?  If yes, did you survive it?  I take it you did if you are reading this.  The energy or vibration of fear draws that which you worry about into your life.  Have you ever been with someone who is not afraid of dogs but you are.  When a dog comes running at you both, it goes for you, my sweaty-palmed friend, not your companion! Why?  Animals, as you probably know, can sense fear — so can the universe and the universe is impartial.  It acquiesces to what it thinks you desire via your frequency output.  If your emotions are dialed into fear, expect life to become frightening.  The only thing you should fear is fear itself (thanks, President Roosevelt!).

2. Know That Love Conquers All

Get used to being tuned into your feelings and steering them to safer shores.  When you are in fear, inject some love into your aura by thinking of someone you love, your favorite pet, the infectious chuckle of your child or grandchild or a blissful memory. Change your vibration! This is how you get to expand on the feeling of love in the face of fear.  Show fear that you have too much love in your heart.  Fear is a mental construct in the absence of love.  Trust your instincts and obey your heart. Send love and compassion to all those who suffer or who are in situations you fear to be in. Even send love to the perpetrators of heinous crimes. Why? Because you won’t solve hate by chucking more venom at a situation. When you can send love to the victims and perpetrators alike, you are diffusing the energy and making a space for healing and learning to occur. The perpetrators of violent crimes will not ‘get better’ with negativity, hateful thoughts or jail sentences (that is not to say that they shouldn’t have to ‘pay’ for their crimes — we all have to face the music for our actions) but, in sending love and compassion, there may be a glimmer of hope that they will have a true awakening to spirit and show remorse or have a change of heart.

3. Take Control

Short, sweet and to the point.  If you want to be self-empowered then the first things you need are awareness and the ability to take responsibility for your actions.  These two fundamental principles are gateways for you to realize your inherent potential.  You are a co-creator, take responsibility for that and take control from this point onwards.

Related article: Drop the Small Talk: Why ‘Heart Talk’ is the Future

The art used in this article is called ‘Kom Ombo’ and was part of my solo exhibition called ’42’ (you can download the FREE book of art and poems HERE). 

 


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Cherie Roe Dirksen is a self-empowerment author/columnist/radio presenter, multi-media artist and musician from South Africa.

To date, she has published 3 self-help and motivational books and brings out weekly inspirational blogs at her site www.cherieroedirksen.com. Get stuck into finding your passion, purpose and joy by downloading some of those books gratis when you click HERE.

Her ambition is to help you to connect with your innate gift of creativity and living the life you came here to experience by taking responsibility for your actions and becoming the co-creator of your reality. You can follow Cherie on Facebook(The Art of Empowerment — for article updates). She has an official art Facebook page (Cherie Roe Dirksen – for new art updates). You can also check out her Facebook band page at Templeton Universe.

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This article (3 Ways to Kick Your Fear to the Curb) was originally written for and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author Cherie Roe Dirksen and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

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