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Friday, November 5, 2010

Is this Hogwash to You?

Dear A.B.,

I have encountered a "new breed" of positive thinkers lately.  A few people I am acquainted with are engaged in a process of focusing intentionally on goals through techniques like creating "image boards."  They cut and paste pictures that represent what they want in life.  One person has a picture of a man, a house and a baby, as she wants to marry, own a home, and have a child.  Another collects pictures of mountains and cabins, as she dreams of taking a vacation in and eventually moving to such a locale.  In addition to acquiring the pictures on the board, they also have written down a few key, very specific sentences about their goals, such as: "I want to marry, have a child and buy a house within the next 5 years."  "I want to vacation in Colorado next year and own a home there within 3 years." They periodically focus on the words and images. 

Does this seem like hogwash to you, or do you think there may be something to it?  Is it just another way of "doing" positive thinking and trusting and believing in its power?  I would be really interested to know what you think of this practice. 


Dear Ginger,

I have done this in some ways ever since I was very young. I cut out a picture from a magazine about an apartment before I was married and kept it for years as a reminder of what I wanted for myself. Many years later I remembered it and realized that I had acquired over the years most of the items in that picture.

When I was a young teenager I cut a picture out of model I wanted to look like and put it in my bathroom drawer. Several years later I saw the picture and as I looked in the mirror, it was shocked to see that the picture now looked like my own face and hair.

I did the same thing many years later. As an older woman I cut a picture of a nice looking gray haired model. Same thing. I began to resemble in hair etc. what I had aspired to.

There is much power to believing and imaging. I have "hair brownies" I call upon to "fix this mess" when I can't get my hair to go right.

In a moral or emotional pinch I always throw myself into some kind of "Prayer Position" of total surrender and ask for "Help" when I am at a loss for how to go forward.

These ideas are not new but began with Paracelsus in the 17 Century, Mesmer in the 18th Century in France, continued down through Emile Coue in the 19 Century, Jose Silva here in America in the 1940s and his Silva Mind Control  which has morphed into Neuro-linguistic programing. All power of positive thinking ideas and hypnosis techniques are based on this ancient wisdom. Same withMaxwell Maltz's blockbuster book Psycho-Cybernetics in the 1970s.

However, that being said. At my age I don't find myself  focusing a lot of  energy on "what I want"  so much as focusing on being grateful for what has been given to me, and humbly praying to be competent to pursue my chosen craft, accomplish my everyday tasks,  work cheerfully through obstacles in my path and be equal to whatever tragedy life throws my way.  A. B. Curtiss




I was wondering about this too and wanted to know if there was a danger in this. I believe its good and all but I also wonder if it is to easy to fall in love with the idea of it but never really allow oneself to become that said thing that they have posted a picture of on their wall. I love your quote in your book that talks about why we don't employ the positive self talk that would get us to where we want to. Thanks for your insight.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what you mean. In a way we all become what we truly think of ourselves on a daily basis. We make our own brain neuron by neuron and our brain has control over whatever physical happens in our body. I think some people are better at imagining than others. I'm sure anything is possible for the person who is adept at imaging. Some people have talents that others don't. Some people are natural psychics and clairvoyants. Others don't believe in such things. It all comes together in some way. I like the way the Desiderata says it

"...and whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."

You can read the whole of the Desiderata on my website--abcurtiss.com and click on depressionisachoice.com. Then click on Truly Inspiring.