I just finished perusing someone’s blog about how she listened to the universe, took leaps of faith, and the universe delivered. Not just a pizza, mind you, but the whole shebang. A better job. A better life. A whole new world of wondrous possibilities. And of course, if you too are so very brave and willing to take a leap of faith, the universe will reward you as well.
There’s just a whole layer of bullshit there that stinks. Really stinks.
It reminds me of the claptrap that is The Secret. You know, focused positive thinking will change your life and make you happier, healthier, and wealthier (or at least it will reward Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret, with that most coveted of trifectas).
What I want to know is, if the universe is into dolling out advice, how come it is just career opportunities for a privileged few and not, say, a warning sign to a mother about to rupture her membranes prematurely, or a woman walking around with undiagnosed breast cancer? Or hey, dude, don’t drive down 101 today because a big accident is ahead.
Do I believe in the power of positive thought? Yes I do, but it is not a simple, “if you believe it, it will happen”. Studies show that a positive attitude can improve outcome for many diseases and that depression, anxiety, and stress are negative prognosticators. These are complex biochemical effects of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) on the immune and other organ systems. It doesn’t mean if you think positively that your diabetes will go away, but rather, by being positive, relieving stress, and taking care of your emotional health you can maximize your chances of having an optimal response.
So, as someone who has gone through some really shitty things in my life, I take offense to the whole, “listen to the universe” thing. Because the corollary of, “If you just dream hard enough, you will be rewarded,” is “You stupid woman, you just didn’t believe it hard enough.” I also love how the universe seems to only speak to certain people. Like Oprah. Then again, maybe I am too busy putting food on the table, arranging doctor’s appointments, and doing occupational therapy to answer the universe’s robocall. And what about those who are less fortunate? Are they not important enough to receive missives from the universe?
We all see what we want to see . You can interpret heavy traffic on the way home any way you want. For example, my longer than average commute home today that left me frustrated beyond belief could be a sign that I should quit my job, a sign I should be better organized at work and check the traffic before leaving, a sign I should work part-time so I can leave earlier every day, a sign that I should learn to meditate, or a sign that I should definitely not go grocery shopping when I get home. I went with the grocery shopping, because the universe uses AT & T, so the call was dropped.
Most people who triumph over adversity or lead Oprah-esque lives do so because they worked very hard, were courageous enough to take some calculated risks, paid close attention to their surroundings (for example the body language of the person looking to hire a new associate), and had some luck being in the right place at the right time. Many also had a little capital to put up.
While believing my son would learn to walk was vital to his success (hope is so important), as well a healthy dose of The Little Engine that Could), I didn’t wait for some sign from the universe to tell me that it would happen. I listened to his physical therapist.
So what will I do if the universe finally switches to Verizon and drops me a line about reclaiming a more vital me? Well, I’ll say thanks but no thanks. You see, there are hundreds of people without jobs and countless homeless people shivering in damp sleeping bags who could use anything the universe has to spare. Then again, if the universe is so all knowing and all loving, it should know that already.