It starts with baby steps. Can I make it through this traffic light? You know, the one that always turns red just as you get close? Day after day? Like it sees your car coming? ☺ Well one day I was having a joyous morning, smiling and thinking my happy thoughts, when I encountered that light. Instead of anticipating it turning red and being annoyed when, yep, there it goes, right on cue, I flipped the switch and drove toward it projecting calm certainty: this light stays green for me today. Look at the beautiful green light waving me through! And holy smokes, I breezed right past, exhaling a thank you under my breath.
Then come the goose-bump miracles: one evening my husband and I were waiting for our connecting flight home to Southwest Florida. Now I love babies, love ‘em all, except babies-on-a-plane. My ears are super-sensitive to shrill noises so the ear-piercing screams upon takeoff and landing—the teeth gritting agony of being held hostage as poor parents do everything they can to calm their baby down…well, it’s a special kind of inner torture for me to see a baby carried onboard!
The difference this particular evening is that for months I’d been practicing living my life in gratitude, living in the moment, flipping the switch and looking at any situation as an opportunity for joy and fun. Because of my husband’s premiere status we were in line to board first behind any pre-boards, so we were standing in our roped-off area as the pre-board announcement came. I am not kidding you—eight couples with babies lined up in front of us. Eight under the age of one, not toddlers! That’s a record for any flight I’ve taken. Also: it was a 9pm flight and every single one of those babies was wide awake.
Here’s what was immediately different: I was still so happy from my lovely vacation that I didn’t jump into my negative forecasting thoughts. In fact, I thought the whole situation was hilarious. What a story—eight infants on a 9pm flight. But I also knew it would be okay. It was almost an out of body experience of looking at myself smiling at these parents and waving/playing peek-a-boo with the baby directly in front of me. My husband watched me for a while and then murmured: “you’re certainly acting different.” And I was- but I wasn’t going to analyze it—I was just in the moment.
We boarded right after the babies. I repeated to myself over and over: these sweet babies will stay quiet the whole trip. I took out my iPad and continued to read without noticing the rest of the plane boarding or the noise and confusion that goes along with a sold-out flight. I have no recollection of any of that. The next time I was aware the plane was taxiing and the infant 3 rows behind me beginning to wail. Again, I did not experience here-we-go thoughts, but my husband nudged me and said, “uh oh. Are you going to be okay?” I said, “I’m going to quiet that baby.” And I believed with absolute certainty that I could. I rested my iPad in my lap, closed my eyes and channeled my love toward the infant, pushed my love back through the rows- it was just me and him (I have no proof it was a boy, I just know.) The most amazing part of this is that his cries, (now being absorbed by this other self I had become,) weren’t the clichéd baby shriek: his crying was helpless and so full of fear that tears came to my eyes. I was no longer Sarah-sitting-in-the-middle-row. I was a soul out of my body that located him behind me and surrounded him without ‘seeing’ him. My soul loved-bombed him. I let him know that I would protect him and he was okay.
I was so involved in this that I’d blocked out all reality, all noises from the plane until my husband nudged me and said, “Well, you did a good job.” Only then did I open my eyes (tears still leaking down my cheeks) and become aware that the baby was silent. I looked at my husband in astonishment. “I didn’t know he stopped crying,” I whispered. He nodded. “About two minutes ago.”
And not only was that baby completely silent the rest of the way, but the other 7 never uttered a peep. Can you read this and think of a hundred ways those parents stopped the baby’s crying and that luck kept the others calm? Absolutely. But when you learn the techniques and know a different reality, you don’t question it, don’t discount it, don’t find pat excuses. You appreciate the miracle you just experienced.
These mini miracles gather in number until you realize the process Mary Lynn is teaching, and all the science behind it, just might work for stuff you care deeply and personally about. For me, a romantic suspense writer, it was to finish the first draft of a new novel in less than the 1-3 years of agony and self-doubt that it usually takes. Ideally—and let’s go for a huge miracle here—I’d like to finish a novel in 3 months without suffering whatsoever for my craft!
Before encountering Mary Lynn I would have had a good laugh at that goal. Using her three-step process, though, I re-worded all my usual excuses and super-critical thoughts on how unbearably difficult writing a novel is, why I couldn’t possibly write it in 3 months, how bad the plot would turn out if I wrote it that fast …to a simple: I write with calm, focused joy. I love writing this new story. How easy the story flows. How amazing this plot is. Every morning—I reviewed these affirmations, and then in a space of joy and excitement, I began typing. Guess what? I finished that novel in less than three months, and most of my readers tell me it’s the best book I’ve written!
There are so many significant miracles I’ve manifested in these two and a half years, but what I love the most is the absence of anxiety and negativity. Six months after starting Mary Lynn’s program of learning how to flip the switch to joy I was able to wean off antidepressants that I’d been on for over fifteen years, and did so without a blip of difficulty. (I’d tried a few years before that with an instant and horrific backslide.) My marriage and friendships are so much stronger now. My career is taking off with astonishing speed! All of this is due to the joy I carry with me throughout my day. It’s similar to that instant wonder that overcomes you when seeing a spectacular sunset or breathtaking waterfall—when you’re totally connected with the awesomeness of the universe…until you turn away. What if you could always feel that, even after you look away? What if you had the power inside you to live a life constantly filled with love, gratitude, joy and awe? You can, and when you get the hang of these simple steps and master them moment after moment…you realize how easy it is to stay in that space and how you never, ever want to go back to that other you. Good luck, my friend, you’ve got this!