Today is a great day to focus on a deceptively simple energetic law that applies to all of us, here on earth. You can frame the law a number of ways, but my favorite, lately, is this:
What you focus on, you feel;
And what you feel, you receive.
One thing I really like about it is that, if you were to just make this a mantra you return to, over and over, you’d naturally feel your way into it. There’s a lot of subtlety and nuance to actually pulling this off, in an increasingly chronic way, but no one needs to explain it to you, per se. The hardest part is just remembering to remember it.
And in those moments when I’ve forgotten, and I remember, it feels like such a relief. Oh!, I sigh, with a semi-guilty start. I forgot I have control over this lol.
Of all the wonderful ways adoption of this perspective can affect your life, when you make it your mantra, here is perhaps my favorite: it unleashes your inner Dora the Explorer, your inner swashbuckler. You don’t have to nervously squint and suspiciously peer at the people and circumstances around you, trying (in vain) to identify the bad things and the toxic things and the narcissistic things and the dysfunctional things, before they can get to you and mess you up. They’re objects in motion, you’re an object in motion, and you have a lot more control to evoke what’s desired than you think.
Life is essentially a ship on the ocean and it’s our job to get our sea legs so we can continue the important business of enjoying ourselves. No one can tell you or teach you how to maintain your balance on a tilting, swaying deck — you obviously just have to respond moment by moment, so you don’t fall on your ass. When you do fall on your ass, as is inevitable, you don’t lay there saying “I’ll never stand up again”, right? “Standing up is what caused this!” You learn to trust yourself, and take smaller steps, and don’t lock your knees. It’s a series of micro-adjustments.
When you’re falling on your ass all the time, you don’t want big seas. But once you get really stable, you wanna level up, right? You want a little challenge.
And let’s say you blow it. You forget to offer a deliberate focus, and you forget for so long, in fact, that your focus causes you to feel bad and your feeling bad causes you to manifest more reasons to feel bad, as is universal law. You still have control right now over how you respond to the thought of having blown it. And even if you blow that, you have control right now over how you respond to the thought of having blown it. Even if you’ve been blowing it with your focus for thirty straight years, this is a new breath, right? Your power is always in the present because your ability to re-focus is always in the present. Something will come along and give you a new insight, a new piece of information. Maybe it’s this blog!
So, to recap: my favorite thing about “what you focus on you feel; and what you feel, you receive” is, it inspires me to be the adventuresome person I truly am, at heart. In inspires me to set my tone high (through journaling, meditation, clean living, snuggling the little dogs, wearing pretty clothes, whatever), and then go out there and just — shake it up! Or “see what happens,” as MacGruber would say. This ain’t my first boat ride and it ain’t my first storm. I can find my balance in most situations.
Now, here my second favorite thing about “what you focus on you feel; and what you feel, you receive”: we become willing to love people in increasingly unloveable situations. And this brings up a good meta-point, generally: it’s definitely easier to love lovable people who act right; just like it’s definitely easier to feel good in circumstances that are full of things for us to feel good about. No one is arguing that!
But, if you are only able to love people when they’re acting lovable, and you’re only able to feel good when your environment is suffused with reasons to feel good, then chances are the pie chart of your life will contain a minimum — a bare fucking minimum, like a tiny sliver of a slice — of moments when you loved, and when you felt good. Right?
I don’t actually want to own a really fucked up dog long-term, but every time I’ve been to the pound, there’s been one dog that’s observably more fucked up, ugly, awkward, and just pitiful than all the rest, and I feel this strong strong urge to adopt those dogs. This is not self-valorization — obviously I haven’t pulled the trigger on it — but I’m just saying, this is a sentiment I bet we can all relate to, right?
I mean…there was this one dog, one time at the pound in Flagstaff, that was as big as a cow, just doofy and almost furless and the least aesthetic thing I’d ever seen. And had a hound dog face with big long floppy ears, and sad sad sad eyes, and she looked around with fear and worry and ululated constantly. Her big worried red-rimmed eyes, this really loud yodeling sound emerging from her throat, these ridiculous ears swinging back and forth, and then her scrabbling splayed feet trying to support all that doofy cow-spotted weight. I was, like, stricken. I was, like: oh my god. You are the ugliest, most pitiful, most lovable, most ridiculous dog I’ve ever seen, or imagined. What a disaster. Nothing could be more pitiful than you.
I just couldn’t. I wasn’t even there to adopt a dog, I think I was with a friend or something. I didn’t have a place in my life for a 125 pound yodeling catastrophe. But I still think about that dog. I mean…no one adopted her, I would think. And I just — my heart just goes out.
Anyway. We’re not just here to love the pretty, perfect dogs, right? And for some reason, this is so much easier with animals, because they’re all so good-hearted. I didn’t have to adopt that pitiful hound-confabulation and pick up her shit for the rest of her life, to honestly and genuinely appreciate her. And you don’t have to adopt every human who can’t act right, or wasn’t put together right, and pick up their shit for the rest of their lives, but you can still USE THEM to expand your capacity to love.
What we tend to do instead, and this is definitely emphasized and accelerated by our current cultural climate, is we use people to contract our capacity for love. And I get it. I’ve been through hard times with people, too, where I’m like: you knew to treat me better than that. You knew, and you did it anyway. And as my power is always, and forever, in my present moment, I can always re-litigate whether or not I see value in continuing with that particular adoption, or whether it’s time for them to go back to the pound. I have that control.
But as I’ve deepened in my own spiritual practice, some new variables have begun to influence my thinking, when relationships are on the rocks. It used to be: am I having a bad experience, yes or no? Does this person make me feel bad, yes or no? And so as you can imagine, I’ve ended almost more relationships than I’ve begun lmaooo. I mean — being the delicate little snowflake that I am, with easily hurt feelings, you can imagine how many ways there are to step on my toes by accident. I didn’t bootstrap myself up to be a singer/songwriter because I was tough, let’s just put it that way.
These days, though, it’s more complex. I still terminate relationships, from time to time, as that’s always something we have to be at least theoretically willing to do, in our own best interests. I’ve terminated some thoughtfully, I’ve terminated others flippantly, and I mean — not to be a dick — but there are always new people to interact with, and to refine my spiritual skill set on and around. There’s always a new person.
That, probably more than anything, is why I’ve become a lot more interested in what Teal Swan calls “rupture and repair”. And don’t get me wrong — sometimes it’s just “rupture and fuck off”, right or wrong, and it doesn’t feel worth repairing, and maybe that’s the truth, or maybe that’s an old trigger, I don’t know. Sometimes you don’t know! You just go with your gut.
But knowing, as I do, that I can manifest ten more relationships for every one I let go of, and that there’s no real scarcity there per se, I realize…I don’t want to not know how to repair relationships. I don’t want to not know how to love people, even when they’re being unloveable — maybe especially when they’re being unloveable.
I have been so unloveable and so difficult, so many times in the past (and, arguably, present). And whether or not anyone in the vicinity was able to just take me with a grain of salt and love me anyway, while I had my hissy fit, while I behaved in an unloveable manner — that surely is what I wanted. That surely is the thing that would have brought me to my senses that fastest.
And no, I’m not a serial killer, or a person who tortures kittens, or who races ahead to the lane closure and then merges in at the last second by forcing people to brake if they want to protect their own bumpers. I’m not a maniac. There are people who behave unacceptably and we each get to define what that line in the sand is, of course.
But we receive very little encouragement, these days, to seek a full, organic understanding of one another FIRST, and to make pertinent relational decisions second. I didn’t end up adopting that catastrophe of a hound dog, but it didn’t cost me anything to love her and appreciate her, in the moment our paths crossed.
So, that’s my second favorite thing about deliberate focus. I like liking people. I love loving people. And when I remember I have the power to focus into what I prefer to feel, and as a consequence manifest more reasons to feel that way — I feel more empowered, more at liberty, to offer appreciation rather than defense.
Now, what’s my biggest stumbling block with this energetic life hack, you may ask? I’m well aware of it, for what that’s worth — it’s my desire to be right. Abraham Hicks has asked, rhetorically, many times: would you rather be right or be happy? Would you rather be right or be happy?
My answer to this is: I want to be right first, and for long enough that everyone knows I’m right, until the misery gets too intense, and then I’ll let it go and just be happy. That’s my jam. I could have been happy a lot faster but I wasn’t done being right, yet.
The funny thing is, I could have my cake and eat it too, if I would insist on being right about the right things: this person is an adorable, irreplaceable extension of source energy, singing their song in the best way they know how! And if it doesn’t look that way to me, it’s probably none of my business! And same for this one! And same for this one! And same for this one!
I’d be right 100% of the time if I just kept it there. It’s a process, not an outcome. A journey, not a destination. My sea legs are…okay. Better in some situations than others, for sure. Does that mean I’m going to control and confine my life to present only those challenges I’m already good at? Naw. That’s for chumps. Vibrational chumps. I’m gonna keep walking, stumbling, at times crawling around on the deck of the USS Life. When I’m overthinking, I’m gonna remember I have a heart and a gut. When I’m justifying and rationalizing, I’m gonna remember that what I focus on, I feel, and what I feel, I receive. When life hands me something I don’t want, I’m gonna remember that this is a great occasion to articulate what I do want instead, and turn my focus to that. And I’m gonna anticipate the best from the people around me and allow them to rise to that occasion, or make way for someone else who will.
It’s not personal; it’s vibrational