How good can it get?
Asking this question could change your life
Back in October 2021 I wrote a post after having received the Loving Kindness meditation audio as a free gift for preordering Dr. David R. Hamilton’s book, Why Woo-Woo Works.
At the time of my post, I’d been practicing the meditation nightly at bedtime for about a month and had begun to notice an upswing in positive aspects and events in my life: receiving unsolicited donations for a free service I was offering, my health insurance premium decreased, the fall weather was outstanding, and my writing was flowing faster than I could type.
Although I was then unaware of any shifts for the people I targeted with my loving kindness intentions, I felt so uplifted by the meditation that I shared it in the post. I pondered at the possible global effect that simple act might generate if everyone, every night, sent out loving, kind thoughts to family, friends, strangers, or anyone in need.
In the time that has passed, I’ve kept up the practice, not always nightly but most nights. I’ve also heard back from recipients of my good wishes. Maybe not a direct response since, of course, most of them don’t know of my practice. But I’m getting their feedback about good things, subtle at times, happening in their lives too.
Due to the private and sensitive nature of some of the feedback, I’ll share the results in broad terms. One recipient who was experiencing intense family disruption told me that a family member had reached out to her on a particularly painful day, sensing that she needed support. (I had been praying for forgiveness between these two.)
Another call revealed that someone in a difficult, demoralizing relationship had received a significant award of recognition for his work in the community—a much-needed boost to his self-esteem.
Someone who had been feeling challenged and marginalized by current popular opinion on how to survive the pandemic reached out to find new community more aligned with her own beliefs. Through a series of fortuitous events, she began a partnership with another woman and is now not only building new community, but also a business offering family-centric services that the group desperately needs.
For myself… here’s the big news: I have just (this week) accepted the largest—and possibly most important—assignment of my career. The beginning stages alone will encompass a year to achieve, and it’s very possible a much longer-term relationship will emerge.
Timing—and energy—is everything. There was a time that I would shrink from such an assignment. In fact, I did on at least two other occasions when similar opportunities presented.
Yet this time, there was not the least bit of hesitation or doubt on my part. I believe that my past six months of giving and receiving loving kindness provided not only the mindset necessary to be in position for this opportunity, but also to know it was mine to do.
So what are the next steps? Maybe it’s time to ask…
How good can it get?
I first heard about using this question as a strategy from Cynthia Sue Larson. I became aware of her work about ten years ago when I was writing (or attempting to write) a sci-fi novel based on time travel and parallel universes. My novel was a flop, but my knowledge about the possibilities of how time can be experienced was greatly expanded.
Perhaps unbeknownst to me, becoming familiar with her was the true reason behind my attempting the novel. After failure to generate any audience for that book, however, years passed and I forgot about my intrigue with her work. Then Ms. Larson surfaced recently in an interview I watched on the Gaia network.
Cynthia Sue Larson has a remarkable combination of education and experience worth mentioning here. From her bio on the newsletter she writes on this platform:
Cynthia Sue Larson is the best-selling author of six books, including Quantum Jumps. Cynthia has a degree in physics from UC Berkeley, an MBA degree, a Doctor of Divinity, and a second degree black belt in Kuk Sool Won. Cynthia is the founder of RealityShifters, and a founder of the International Mandela Effect Conference.
Ever the optimist (similar to myself), Ms. Larson mentioned in that interview the benefit of asking the question, How good can it get? in response to any situation, regardless of the surface appearance.
She explained she recently had Covid and experienced some of the debilitating after-effects of what is known as Long Covid. Some of the symptoms included brain fog and joint pain, which can also be symptoms of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and arthritis.
She and the host of the interview talked about the long-term effects of Covid. One popular theory they discussed suggests that the disease pushes whatever potential health conditions are present within an individual to the forefront. In other words, whatever you had, even if it had not surfaced yet, would begin to manifest as a result of the spiking-effects of Covid.
But Ms. Larson was not willing to accept the possibilities of the serious, chronic diseases that her symptoms could indicate. She asked, “How good can it get?” and began to take immediate steps to nurture and heal her body, instead of focusing on the negative possibilities. The physical results of that shift in thinking were enough to allow her to return to her innovative work.
At the time I watched the interview, about two weeks ago, I’d had one meeting with my new client—the introductory one—and my original interpretation of her needs and what help I could provide was on a much smaller scale.
I decided to apply the question, “How good can it get?” to my preparation of recommendations that I was to offer at our next meeting. Within hours, I was contacted by the person who referred this client to me. I was told that the client had broadened the scope of the project we had discussed.
Buoyed by that information, I expanded my recommendations and after our second meeting days later, sent a proposal for the project that was ultimately accepted without any revision of terms.
For the purpose of this newsletter, I’ve oversimplified the explanation of the interview I watched and the serious nature of Ms. Larson’s extensive work. My goal here is to share her method of response to all situations in life, similar to the Yay! method mentioned in a recent post.
When life hands you lemons, you now have three choices:
Say, “Yay! Now I can make lemonade!”
Ask, “How good can it get? What else can I do with these lemons?”
Another possible response to situations that give you pause is to remember the days, times, and people who gave you love. Photographs make that especially easy to do. For example…
About Rowboat Parking
This photograph was taken in Rockport, MA in the late afternoon on one of the best and most memorable days of our cross-country adventure. It was early on in our three-year road trip, and we spent October 2017 in New Hampshire. As you might imagine, New England in Fall is pretty much a photographer’s dream location.
It was October 31—Halloween. I remember the date easily because our first stop of the day trip was Salem, MA. Truthfully, we were underwhelmed. Due to the day, the town was overrun with tourists and holiday events. But something didn’t sit right with us. Wasn’t Salem the site of the famous witch trials and burnings? Yeah, didn’t resonate as something to celebrate for us, so we kept driving.
Things vastly improved as we stopped for picnic lunch in a park and decided to return to New Hampshire on a route that took us through Rockport. On our first pass through that city, we found the harbor and Joe took many shots, including the one above.
As we made our way around town, we also found dozens of decorative displays of pumpkins, seasonal gourds, and flowers on the cobbled streets. It was the quintessential collection of every possible perfect setting for a photographer, including a retro diner. I took over as driver, leaving Joe free to see and capture every single shot.
If you create art, you know that some days produce nothing you like, and other days the muse is on your side. Six of the images he made that day went on to become some of his most popular ever.
But truly, the great and lasting result of that day is the gratitude and love I feel every time I look at the photos, both his art images and the phone photos taken of us enjoying life and each other.
And you know what? That whole trip was a result of another shift in thinking—from “We’ll take that trip someday” to “If not now, when?”
But that’s the subject of a future post. For now, try applying “How good can it get?” to current and future situations—and let me know your results.
Until next time, all my best, Shelley
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