Monday, June 04, 2007


The Secret, and other thoughts

Jojo dropped off her DVD of The Secret last night, as promised. I'd been hearing a lot about it, and I was curious in a skeptical sort of way. I had mostly dismissed it until some reasonably credible people in my life started singing its praises, and then I heard that the mentoring and coaching program at work was also advocating it.

Beloved and I watched it together, and I have to admit that there were no dramatic epiphanies on either of our parts. The Secret is basically a repackaging of the power of positive thinking mixed in with a bit of theosophy and a little bit of The Force thrown in for good measure... conveniently, the three tenents upon which I've already built my own rather esoteric faith system.

The premise is that your thoughts and feelings have a physical power, and that there is a universal "law of attraction" that draws what you think and feel to you. In short, if you send good energy out into the universe, the universe sends good things back to you. I'm completely on board with that philosophy, and have tried to live my life that way for years. Where I am still a little skeptical is the extrapolation from that, where The Secret claims that whatever you want, as minor as a parking spot close to the door at the mall or as major as a multi-million dollar mansion by the beach, you can draw to yourself through three simple steps. First, tell the universe what you want. Second, visualize not only that you actually have what you covet, but allow yourself to experience the positive emotions that you will feel when you have the thing you covet. Third, believe in the power of your thoughts.


I remember back in the early 1980s when we were growing up, we used to play a lot of cards as a family. My dad, who was in sales at the time, was a hugely strong believer in the power of positive thinking, and he'd slap his hand on the deck of cards and 'demand' which card he wanted to pick up. I can't remember how frequently it would work as a ratio of the number of times he tried it, but damn if it didn't work at least often enough to leave an impression with me all these years later.

So maybe there is something to this. I mean, I do agree with Shakespeare, who says through Hamlet, "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."( I,v, 175) And I can't argue with the underlying premise. I just have trouble with the covetous aspect of this particular philosophy, that you can attract stuff to you by simple virtue of your desire.

I also have a bit of a problem with the idea that you attract everything to yourself, including the bad stuff. You attract cancer and AIDS and poverty through negativity? And the idea that you can cure yourself of something - again, cancer comes to mind, but I'm also thinking of infertility here - by simply willing it away? What really bothers me about this is the implication that if you can't will it away, you simply aren't trying hard enough.

Anyway, it was very interesting, and the timing was certainly right. I've been making a conscious effort to lead a calmer, less obsessive, more "zen" life since last Wednesday. I'm giving myself over to the universe, placing my faith in fate, and I have to tell you it's been incredibly liberating.

I've decided, for example, not to go for a beta blood test to find out the actual hCG count. This is a huge departure from the girl who kept obsessive results of hormone levels and follicle counts in an excel spreadsheet through four infertility treatments. Those of you who were around last September when I found myself pregnant will remember the great gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands that occurred when the blood test came back at the high end of normal, possibly indicating twins. The great irony, of course, is that high hCG is at least ordinarily an indicator of a strong pregnancy. So, I've decided this time to simply be grateful for the positive pregnancy test this time around, and wait patiently for the first ultrasound in two weeks.

Same with the nanny that we interviewed the other day - the same day, in fact, that we found out about the pregnancy. She's great and I really like her, but I'm not sure we can pay what she needs. So I made our best offer, and she's been considering it. I could have obsessed and been anxious and fretted for days, but none of that would have made any difference whatsoever. Instead, I've given it over to the universe, and know that whatever was meant to be will happen. I've done what I can, the rest is up to her.

I'm not sure if I can keep this up, but I'd like to try. I think this is what people who have true faith in God can do - simply turn over their hopes and fears to God, with the faith that God knows best and the Will of God will prevail.

But on the off chance it might help, I think I'll take a few quiet minutes over the next little while to visualize the new caregiver frolicking happily in the park with my boys, and my round-bellied self waddling up the street to meet them with my heart spilling over with joy. I mean, it can't hurt, right?

Whaddya think? You buy it?