This post may jump around a bit. Forgive me – I am absolutely buzzing!

The further along this path I tread, the more convinced I am that it is the right way for me. Things keep happening, it’s just amazing.

I don’t think I’ve ever really been pessimistic by nature, and I have, on the whole, had a fairly positive outlook on life as far back as I can remember. It’s not been something I’ve ever really thought about (at least not until last year), it’s just the way it’s been. If I found myself with people who were complaining about how ‘it wasn’t fair’, or ‘so and so really pisses me off’ I never thought twice – and joined in, strengthening the consensus. It never seemed to do any harm, and after all, if I was to say “I can’t say I agree with you there, and I don’t feel comfortable talking about them in that way behind their back”, they’d look at me funny, right?

I too have, like many people, been plagued by self-doubt. Ah, the cursed self-doubt!

If only I had put Marianne Williamson’s Our Deepest Fear on my wall 10 years ago:

Our Deepest Fear…
is not that we are inadequate,
our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?”
Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some of us,
it is in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

Many of you know how it began – forgive me as I indulge in briefly recounting the story so far. It began with a book about Finance. A bestselling book called ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki

That was a bit of an eye-opener. I’d never had a financial education before – this was all very new to me. And yet somehow it wasn’t. I’d voiced my opinion that participation in the Rat Race was optional several years beforhand, but never been able to offer a coherent alternative. This book offered that.

I turned back to my friend who had leant me Rich Dad Poor Dad and asked them if they had any more recommendations. It just so happened that they did, and thus before long I was reading The Magic of Thinking Big. I laughed at the examples used in the text, written as it was for an era long passed – yet the underlying message was plain – there is nothing to stop you from becoming the person you want to be, it’s just a question of adjusting your thinking and behavior – something that we are all capable of.

I think it was then that I bought an audio copy of Earl Nightingale’s “Lead the Field”, Jim Rohn’s “The Art of Inspirational Living”, and a Tony Robbins CD too. I still remember listening to those for the first time in the kitchen in Kami Itabashi, and having to keep on stopping cooking and running into the other room to write down yet another line that struck me as something I just could not afford to forget. I could barely sleep those nights after listening to them.

I’d tried listening to these kinds of things before, about ten years back, but just wasn’t ready for them. Back then, they had ‘stupid American accents’ (ok, so Jim Rohn does take a bit of getting used to!), and yeah, I knew it all already. It’s not as if they were saying anything new after all.

But it was different this time. OK, so the messages were all very similar, and I had heard them all before – but this time I was willing to accept these ideas without prejudice and give them a go in real life.

Next was ‘What to say when you talk to yourself’‘What to say when you talk to yourself’ (Chad Helm-wots-his-name) – now that was a bit of a shocker. Here was a plain and simple step-by-step method that if put into practice could change my thinking, my beliefs, my actions, my outcomes! Although I did not use the method explained in the book, just the knowledge of the process was enough to open me up for further reading.

I think it was then that someone mentioned the hundreds of hours of downloadable material from HayHouse Radio (established by Louise L. Hay, of ‘You can hear your life’ fame) – in particular my friend recommended Dr. Wayne Dyer – she had found him to be very helpful.

I was later to discover that this chap was pretty well known in the US, a personality in fact – but I would have never guessed it from the programs of his I listened to. It wasn’t really about him. His identity was irrelevant. He never pretended to be anything more than anyone else. It was only others that promoted him as anything out of the ordinary. He never labeled himself as some special messenger. He was just a regular guy who shared all the problems that the rest of us had.

A couple of months later I bought a download of his audio book ‘There is a spiritual solution to every problem’.

Listening to that I was confronted with my negative feelings towards “God”, which at that time I associated with organised religion – not spirituality, or anything that was relevant to me.

But over the space of a few months, and with help from my friends (including some of you, thank you) I started to appreciate that actually it wasn’t the Guy in the Sky with the big beard that was being talked about here – it was something within me, something within us all. The label was irrelevant. Leave the limited thinking to Richard Dawkins.

Then mum chipped in – was I aware that much of my writing could be referring to anthroposophy, the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, founder of Waldorf Schools (one of which I attended.)? No, I wasn’t aware, but should I really be surprised? No, I think not, as the majority of the different schools of thought all seemed to be saying the same thing, only using different words.

More recently I have been listening to Dyer’s interpretation of the 81 verses of the Tao. Is there anything new here? No, of course not, because the thing is, we know it all already! We just choose to keep it out of our conscious minds, like some ideal that can never be achieved, the pursuit of it is bound to be fruitless …so for the time being we’ll stick with these rules and these goals that have been given to us by Society etc.

The joy I feel at having made what little progress I have down this path is profound. The sense of freedom is almost overwhelming at times. Yes, there are those down times, but its OK, it’s all part of the perfection, and I know that, and I find reassurance and peace in that knowledge. I say Yes to the challenges, and trust that things will work out, and they do.

I guess it’s coming on for a year now since I actively began practicing positive thinking and pursuing knowledge of myself. I wonder, have I been more ‘lucky’ since I first started to say Yes? Would things have been as good as they have been if I hadn’t changed my thinking at all?

Who knows? …And who cares? It doesn’t matter, because things have happened as they have, and that’s just great.

However, I would say that I feel happier than ever before. Whilst this could partly be attributed to practical things that have happened (such as the engagement to the cutest babe in the whole world… tee hee), I think it can ultimately be attributed to a stronger connection with my, er, what shall we call it – ‘Spirit’? ‘Inner self’? ‘Core being’? ‘Love’?

Trusting that everything will work out does have a profound effect upon the way in which I live my life. It enables me to concentrate on the here and now and not worry about the tomorrow that will never come in any case. That’s not to say that long-term plans are a pointless waste of time – A captain will focus his attention on making a safe exit from the port – but he won’t have set sail without deciding upon his next destination!

Tonight something rather special happened. I met someone who clearly I have been meant to meet for some time. It’s just been in the pipeline, and finally tonight, the time was right.

Tonight was the Photography Society’s first social. I’d met a couple of them momentarily at the intro fair the other day, but other than those two there were no other familiar faces. 40p pint of Blackcurrant and Soda in hand (this no-alcohol thing is incredible – why is it not more popular?!) I introduced myself, and broke the ice with my Moo cards. I also had my portfolio with me, fresh from its success of seducing the editor of the newspaper (must write that article tomorrow! How do you fit 9000 miles in 1500 words?!), and Pepé too, who was quick to befriend some guy with a pint of real ale.

It was such a thrill to be surrounded by people who shared my passion. And all those lovely cameras too… dribble dribble…!

An hour passed. I got to know quite a few people including the lovely president (who has roped me into giving a talk in a fortnight – where did that ability of mine to say “no” disappear to?!), we played a bit of musical chairs, until a chap a little further down the table came into focus, and asked if he could have a look at my shots.

Chris is a very nice man. He’s a few years older than me, and has a wealth of experience as a cameraman in the TV industry. He also happens to be a stills photographer, and is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to what makes a good shot. He has all those skills I currently lack (having forgotten everything I learned on my photography course some 15 years ago). He knows what settings to use on his equipment to get the perfect shot, whereas I tend to simply twiddle the dials and just keep on shooting until I get the semi-desired result.

Chris gave me two great gifts tonight. One was strictly practical – the name of a process that, if I use (which I will), will enable me to submit my photos to photo libraries that until now wouldn’t accept them as they haven’t meet their minimum technical specs.

The other gift was one of encouragement, confidence and confirmation of something I felt yet needed to hear from someone else. (Now what would the Tao say about that…?!).

It was even more of a joy to meet Chris as he too is one to embrace life in all of its ups and downs. He has had some very very difficult times (such as when he was paralysed from the chest down), but has come through them a far stronger person, and is grateful for those ‘times in hell’. Chris is also one of those who, like me, do not believe in life being about the final note of the symphony.

So all in all, it has been another splendid day. And, oh bollox, I have a meeting at 9am, I’d better go to bed…

tee hee