Web Camel Transport 20

Attracting Happiness:  The Art of Constellating

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Law of Attraction reminds us that what we think, and what thrives in the locus of our attention holds the power we have poured into it. Our thoughts, like magnets, invite other objects of thought or circumstances “outside” ourselves to resonate in our lives. And in a sense we co-create that which we think will happen. At the same time, when we remain open to unanticipated surprises or delights, then the open door of our imaginations welcomes the nascent and as-yet-unarticulated.

We do not live in worlds of certainty. Walking around with an anxious load of uncertainty makes us feel terrible, unstable, and insecure. But to welcome some unexpected, spontaneous and interesting happenings, allows us to receive those “lucky,” or felicitous gifts when they occur. We do not always know when opportunity will knock, but if we do not find ourselves eager enough to open the door, then we will chalk up many missed opportunities. After all, our own attracting forces live in a world of many other attracting forces. A happy coalescence of optimistic or inquisitive (attractive) forces can change history.

Many people speak of the Law of Attraction, or magnetism, as if “like attracts like” is always an apt analog. With magnets, themselves, the North and South poles attract each other—they are opposites—but the like poles repel each other. And yet, if you think nice people will like you at the party where you only know one other person, then you will find people to like you. So thinking about making friends attracts the actual making of friends. On the surface we can say “like attracts like.” But perhaps thoughts do not exactly replicate themselves, like a harmonic, or an overtone, in life, but rather function as organizing or constellating principles. And principals.

For example, when I go to an event with the thought that no one will like me, that thought constellates my body posture and facial expression, my emotions, and my (all-important) behavior. I may keep my head down, avoid making eye contact, refuse to initiate conversation, and interpret other people talking together as deliberately excluding me, thereby fitting what I experience as evidence to support my negative narrative. So, in this way, my beliefs organize my body, my attitude, my emotional pallet, my behavior and therefore my possibilities. I attract, as per the Law of Attraction, a negative social outcome.

In order to constellate differently, to align myself with what I really want, then I need to intervene with myself to change the thoughts that issue from my mind. Changing any element of a constellation has some capacity to realign all aspects of it. For instance, I can practice affirmative thinking. To make it more specific than simply a generic positive thought, I customize it to myself: What is it that I prefer to think when going to a social engagement? Maybe I want to think, “I will enjoy people at the party and they will enjoy me.” Changing our thoughts directly, through reiteration, might work better for some people than for others.

One can also determine to shift physical alignment and posture as well as facial expression. Going to the party one might walk with a nice, relaxed but upright posture, make eye contact with people and smile. And that leads to another dimension—behavior. I might determine to talk to a few people, to behave as though I have more confidence and a more positive attitude (I have likely experienced moments in the past where I did have an upbeat attitude and felt confident). With these thoughts, postures, facial expressions and new behaviors, I will constellate differently and my experiences will be different—most often better. At the very least I always benefit from “putting my best foot forward.” I would much rather fail—to win friends or garner opportunities—due to forces outside myself than due to my own lack of courage or creativity.

My own constellation demonstrates a kind of “gravitational force” between personal elements, but the totality of my constellation fills the interpersonal space around myself in a particular way, and that influences how others perceive and respond to me. If I reach out with curiosity and warmth to learn more about others surrounding me, I may not “attract” them to learn more about me, but perhaps I attract their openness and trust as they respond to my genuine interest and positive regard. Attraction can pull for homogeneity sometimes—that common denominator with another person that makes them feel familiar to us; or it can pull for complementarity, for a “fit,” as in the example above: I am curious about someone and they respond by wanting to express themselves. In either case, we can attract happiness, whether familiar or unfamiliar.

Guest saddle:  What do you tend to attract to yourself?  Are you aware of your constellation of elements that influences what comes into your gravitational field?  Is it easier to change your thoughts, your bodily expression or your behavior?

Author: lisafriedlanderlicsw

Lisa Friedlander is a psychotherapist in private practice. She writes essays and loves to quilt together events, situations, memories, ideas, and stories that connect in interesting ways--dovetail, cause friction, make waves, and interweave.

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