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Wriggle out of the straitjacket of negativity

“Absolutely everything is available to us—sorrow and joy, grievance and forgiveness, horror and transcendence—it’s all on the menu. It’s up to us where we put our attention.”–Josh Radnor
costa surf

My daughter, Taz, and I once took surfing lessons in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Our instructor, a Venezuelan named Jesus, was very clear.

“When you get on the board, keep your eyes focused on the sandy beach. Do NOT—under any circumstances—take your eyes off that beach.”

“But when do we start paddling?”

“The board,” he continued on in his sexy Latin accent, ignoring us, “is always going to head toward whatever you’re looking at.”

Since the last thing Jesus wanted to do was peel two first-time surfers off the scary-looking rocks on either side of the beach, he was adamant:

“Keep your eyes on the beach.”

“But when do we jump up, hang ten . . . ?”

“Keep your eyes on the beach.”

Jesus’s message also comes in handy in life.

When you dwell on what could go wrong, you head for the rocks. When you get all buzzed about how cool something is going to be, you head for the soft, welcoming sand.

When I launched my travel-writing career, I had a choice . . .

I could focus on the rocks:

**I’m an unknown from Kansas.

**I don’t know a single person who makes a living as a travel writer.

**I have no idea how to get started.

. . . or I could focus on the sandy beach:

**It is going to be utterly awesome visiting exotic locales, meeting dashing foreigners, getting begged to stay at five-star resorts.

**I mean, can you imagine, getting to write (my favorite thing in the whole world) about countries I’ve yet to explore?

When I decided to write a book, I had the same two choices . . .

The rocks:

**Hardly anybody gets a book deal these days.

**Why spend all that time and energy on something that may or may not happen?

. . . or the beach:

**How cool is it that I can sit here in my pajamas and do what I love.

**How amazing is it that my words can make a difference in people’s lives.

Just like on that Santa Teresa beach, both realities exist.

But the pertinent question is: which reality is more fun? Which brings more joy?

Why waste the 1,440 minutes we get each day on pessimistic assumptions? Why dwell on worst-case scenarios? Why mentally prepare for doom? Why wait for the dropping of the dreaded other shoe?

Especially when you have the power to focus on how frickin’ amazing it’s going to be when you find your perfect partner, land your dream job, sign that book contract.

Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the just-released, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side.

18 Responses

  1. Thank you! I LOVE this!! And the pic!! A few months ago a friend of mine and I challenged each other to be “In State” as much as possible for 30 days. “In State” meaning ….thinking and feeling how we want to be both physically and emotionally in our lives. It started as a 30 day challenge and now it is on going!! This post is perfect for me today because I was just telling my friend that I had not been focused as much on it this week!

    Thanks for reminding me to head for the sand and better yet, get back on the surf board!!

  2. P.S. We are all grateful that you became a travel writer and an energy/inspiration writer! Glad you focused on where you wanted to go, rather than the “Obstacles” that may have gotten in the way, if you’d have let them.

  3. In the original Shorthand Notes of A Course In Miracles, the scribe, Helen Schucman, heard an inner voice say:

    “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me, because there ARE none. You still think there are.”

    Could it be the rocks in our lives are those other gods?

  4. So I’m focusing on the fact that we are finally getting desperately needed rain to put out forest fires and not on the roof in dire need of replacement. I’m putting an invisible shield over it until the money appears to take care of it. And it will.

  5. When I first took driving lessons, the instructor told me “The car will always go where you look, so you must look wherever you want to go ! If a car is coming at you, don’t look at it, look at your side of the road ! Don’t look at the obstacles, or you will hit them !” Has served me well … 🙂

  6. I agree and l am still working on my best ideas to give my job wings and get on my feeds or off my lazy soooo influenced, still beliving to have my job is save for income. Believe me l am eager working to get something new going
    My ideas are sky rocking, the sabotaging inner voice is bagging me to keep the job, say what!! Wait a minute there is more
    So in my 2 minded world l am on the boat and where rocks are just bubbles of my mind
    So l have to get of the so dam chair, l mean my Job
    The next week where l have 4 days off l am only focusing on writing and l mean writing!!!!!
    Well l get to know new people Yes! Pam you get me going again
    And l am looking forward soon to kiss my job goodbye
    I planned for sure next June when my lease is expired and l make plans to see what l am going to do..Rent a studio l call home and successfully getting a book going..
    Sounds like a plan, right !!! You know Pam how it is😊😊

  7. I love your books and I love reading your morning posts. I need constant reminders to focus on the good. And your stories provide them in the best possible way.

  8. Pam,
    Thanks again for another reminder to keep my eye on the sandy shore of what I want.

    1. This is BRILLIANT & BEAUTIFUL!!
      And Precisely what I needed to hear!!!
      You, Taz and your life experiences are a sublime help to me!!!
      Thank you PAM!

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