I started writing The Positivity Papers in January 2018 as a vehicle to communicate principles and practices for experiencing more joy in life in a way that's accurate, accessible, and actionable.
Think of it as a series of apologetics outlining the value of positivity that's one part literature review, one part commentary, and whole part empowering.
The most recent edition of The Positivity Papers was written for inclusion in Volume Two of the print edition of this series, and you don't even have to wait for the book to arrive. You can check it out right now here.
I personally feel that this is one of the most important pieces that I've written, but that may just be my own bias due to my personal experiences.
Letting go of expectations, letting go of what we once had, letting go of an old dream or talent or purpose or way of life that is no longer serving us is a something that took me twelve years to master, and it's still a work in progress that I'm continually honing every day.
Today Facebook sent me a notification of a status updated that I wrote ten years ago today. It read:
"No one ever said that life would be fair, only that it would suck."
There were those who tried to talk sense into me at the time, that it would all be worth it in the end, but I wanted to hear none of it because at that time my reality was so locked into the old narrative what life should have been, what I had but no longer had, and of what I so desperately wanted to get back. The truth is, sometimes life does suck. Part of positive thinking requires taking an honest look at the situation, and sometimes the feedback says that life isn't going very well right now. The trick is not to ignore this truth, but it is also not to let the "suckyness" of the situation overwhelm us.
Some parts of life do suck. But many parts don't. What can we learn about what's going right, and how can we apply it to what's wrong to balance the scales? In a similar way, what can we learn about what's wrong to be better prepared for the future? And what can we do starting right now to make for a better tomorrow?
I hope you choose to invest 5 minutes to read this piece, and then I hope you choose to let me know what you think.
Stay Positive, my Friend!
When I was a young boy my father would bring me every Saturday to the local magic store, Bianco's Bike & Magic Shop. We'd get there right at 10am when Tony Bianco opened up the shop and we'd stay right up until he closed at 3pm. It was there that I first met all the local magicians, from dabblers and hobbyists, to scholars, historians, and seasoned pros. They came from all walks of life, and yet they came with the same passion for the craft and art of magic.
Seeing such a cute young kid interested in magic, they happily shared with me their secrets, tips, tricks, and words of wisdom and encouragement. When I was old enough I officially joined them by becoming a member of the Society Of American Magicians. Being part of such a welcoming and tight-knit group was a positive influence on me from an early age.
What most strikes me about that time in my life, now that I look back from a bigger perspective, is that my father—who surely had plenty of other things he could have been doing with his weekend—willingly, happily, and joyfully brought me to the store and spent all day with me and my new friends. My friends became his friends, and if he wasn’t taking part in the magic then he was helping with the bicycle repairs—which was more in line with his passions.
My father and I could not have been any different from each other, yet we still bonded by his joy in sharing in my passions. He was always one of my biggest supporters, and for that I will always Always ALWAYS be grateful. When my father died in 2014 I responded by doing a magic show. I called up my friend Jenifer Gelineau, who heads up Holyoke Summer Strings, and volunteered to do a magic show for their students. It was a small gesture, but a significant one.
How do you show someone that you care? How do you show someone that you love them? You show up. You convince with your presence. That’s what my father did for me, and with the skills and knowledge that I gained because of him I now dedicate my time on this earth to prove with my own presence, by showing up and sharing the same kind of love that my father taught me.
Today my career as a Facilitator of Fascination affords me the opportunity to share my talents as a magician and expertise in positivity and happiness, to help others who greatly need it by trading value for value through:
This work is challenging and yet extremely rewarding, because not only do I get the satisfaction of doing what I do best, but I also get the satisfaction of having a front row seat to witness the life transformation of others. It's been my experience that showing up to life everyday to do your very best, being present, and helping others along the way, is a great way to show others that you care.
What do you think? How do you show others that you care?
By Limin Hong
I have in my hands two boxes,
Which God gave me to hold.
He said, "Put all your sorrows in the black box,
And all your joys in the gold."
I heeded His words, and in the two boxes,
Both my joys and sorrows I stored.
But though the gold became heavier each day,
The black was as light as before.
With curiosity, I opened the black,
I wanted to find out why;
And I saw in the base of the box a hole,
Which my sorrows had fallen out by.
I showed the hole to God and mused,
"I wonder where my sorrows could be!"
He smiled a gentle smile and said,
"My child, they're all here with me."
I asked God, why He gave me the boxes;
Why the gold and the black with the hole?
"My child, the gold is for you to count your blessings;
The black is for you to let go."
Harry Chapin routinely performed charity concerts, giving his money away to rebuild this place or that; feeding the hungry here and the hungry there. But Harry's social causes at times caused friction among his band members. He donated a third of his paid concerts to charity, often performing alone with his guitar to reduce costs.
After Harry's death, his wife Sandy said, "Harry was supporting 17 relatives, 14 associations, seven foundations and 82 charities. Harry wasn't interested in saving money. He always said, 'Money is for people,' so he gave it away." Despite his success as a musician, he left little money and it was difficult to maintain the causes for which he raised more than $3 million in the last six years of his life. The Harry Chapin Foundation was the result, which works to support organizations that have demonstrated their ability to dramatically improve the lives and livelihood of people by helping them to become self-sufficient.. As of September of 2012 the Foundation has distributed over 1.7 million dollars to 413 organizations.
Oh if a man tried
To take his time on Earth
And prove before he died
What one man's life could be worth
I wonder what would happen
to this world
Harry showed us what would happen. And so will I. Who wants to join us?
Today I received an email from Jeff McBride. It contained a message from Jordan Wright, a talented artist, both as magical performer and filmmaker.
How do you judge yourself and your success? Do you look at your career and see completion or do you see room for growth? Many magicians might choose to measure their success by how many shows they have done. Others might choose to measure only by the amount of money they make. The tendency is to dwell on the work we have in the moment or have had in the past. But there are those times when we feel like we are working just as hard yet we are getting very little “work”. It is easy to get to feeling down and to feel like we are not a success. We might receive a bad review, and suddenly our self-doubt creeps in. In the end, it all comes down to our attitude in how we judge our success. If we judge how great our work is by what we have done, or the feedback we receive, then we are only looking at the end result rather than the passion we had doing it.
One of my favorite types of art is conceptual art. In its origins, conceptual art challenged the belief that the purpose of art was to create material objects. Conceptual art is never focused on the result, or the product that is produced. Instead, the focus is placed on the process, the creation of new concepts and ideas. Relating this to magic, think of magicians who are always striving to develop new techniques and skills to accomplish an effect. A lay audience might never see much of what they come up with, yet they are always generating new ideas. Perhaps we can learn from this “concept” to measure success by our passion to attempt something new. After all, we have to be willing to create something beyond what has been done in the past in order for our art to evolve. Our work is not just about the end result, it is about the creative process. The end result will look good if the process felt good.
It doesn’t matter what I do so long as I do it.
Seek first the Kingdom of God. Then all prayers will be answered.
Seek the inner, rather than the outer. Seek first to love and understand. What matters now and forever is the spirit. What matters now is Life and that I do it as my soul wills.
I’ve natural abilities that are to serve this mission in Life.
To honor God and all that is I must use my talents, sharing them with others.
In this way I will be God’s moon, reflecting His Light into the darkness for others to follow.
They in turn will become my moons, reflecting God’s Light to even more, until one day his Love is set up as a tent over the entire world.
We are God’s campers, blanketed by his Love.
Some do not see and even those that do do not fully understand. But if we continue to listen and follow our Hearts, the promptings of our Spirit, we will know our Lord’s Peace, Love and Joy.
I have a dream.
In this dream my talents allow me to support myself and my family. My talents are as a resource magnet; all that I need is supplied to me in abundance.
If I need food, it is given. If I need clothing, it is given. If I need shelter, it is given. If I need transportation, it is given. If I need nurturing, it is given. If I need a favor, it is given. If I need forgiveness, it is given. If I need help, it is given. If I need Love, it is given. If I need Hope, it is given. If I need prayers, it is given. If I need guidance, it is given. If I need council, it is given. If I need opportunity, it is given. If I need experience, it is given. If I need a friend, it is given. If I need advice, it is given. If I need wisdom, it is given. If I need strength, it is given. If I need perseverance, it is given. If I need knowledge, it is given. If I need warmth, it is given. If I need a cool breeze, it is given. If I need Light, it is given. If I need a sign, it is given. If I need my Heavenly Angles, They are given. If I need my Savior, He is given. If I need my God, He will carry me Home.
And in this dream, with these talents that support my well-Being, they are also shared with others, so that they too may be supported. That all that they may need is given unto them.
My dream is to be God’s moon. To reflect His Love unto others. To shed His Love all across this beautiful Earth.
“It is a magnificent feeling to recognize the unity of complex phenomena which appear to be things quite apart from the direct visible truth.” – Albert Einstein
The wall calendar of my high school sophomore Biology class had that above quote from Einstein printed on it.
I had no idea what the heck it was supposed to mean.
At the end of the school year I asked my teacher, Mrs. Higney, if I could have the calendar. Ever the gracious teacher, she agreed to it.
From 1999 to 2009 that calendar hung on my bedroom wall opened to that quote. I kept it open there so that it would be constantly there, ever present in my daily life to incorporate it into my reality.
It was taken down from my wall in 2009 for I no longer had walls. That November I left on a bicycle ride in fulfillment of my mission.
I quit my job, got rid of all of my possessions, sold my car, left my apartment and got on a bicycle and headed to California from Massachusetts.
The ride lasted five days before I turned around and came back to nothing but Love and a Clean Slate.
Despite the fact that I didn’t make it to California didn’t concern me, for that was not the real destination.
And in many ways, even though it has been over a year since the return, I know that I am still on that bicycle ride. I just don’t happen to be on the bicycle right now.
So what, then, is the real destination?
Perhaps it was the Clean Slate. Perhaps it was to Discover Love. Perhaps it was to take a break from Life. Or perhaps to take a break from what others call the World. And perhaps it was a means to an end.
The ride didn’t really start in November 2009. Perhaps it started that spring when a tree spoke to me and told me that I was on a Journey of Discovery. Or perhaps it was the summer before when my fiancé passed away. Or perhaps it was when we met in high school nine years earlier. Or perhaps it all started my sophomore year of high school, sitting in Biology class, looking at the walls. And wondering what it means “to recognize the unity of complex phenomena which appear to be things quite apart from the direct visible truth.”
In the time since I left everything behind to go on that Faithful ride I became broke.
I became homeless.
I slept on my friend’s floor for six months.
I let go of all that was holding me back.
I became a Mormon
I read “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse
I became a school teacher.
I met a wonderful woman and fell in Love instantly and asked her to marry me.
She said yes.
All of these things I could not see going into that bicycle ride yet all of these things prepared me for what was to come next. And what is coming next is preparing me for what I still cannot see. Yet what I can see is the unity of the complex mystery of Faith that is the Universal Plan.
And I am enjoying every moment of this Journey of Discovery.
The Study of Life is a worthy endeavor for all Beings.
I was born and now it is today.