It is not an easy existence, this human experience. It is not all rainbows and unicorns, or endless delights. Life itself can be and usually is pretty challenging. So, how can we stay positive in a negative world? I've written a book on this very subject, called Positive Pagan: How to Stay Upbeat in an Offbeat World. It's one of my favorite things to talk about, and a never-ending quest for me, to find more ways to get back to a positive frame of mind. As a fellow human, I know that life can be very overwhelming, so I share some very concrete ways in my book about returning to the flow of positivity from a Pagan perspective. No matter what spiritual traditions you follow, the rituals, meditations, and suggestions that are included in the book are accessible to everyone.
Why aim to stay positive? Quite simply, I ask you this: can you make things happen or change your circumstances in a negative state? Not really. I feel that the core of positivity is action, so if you do one thing to change your circumstances and mindset, that leads to another, and then another. To be positive is a choice and a way of life. It is something that you choose to do daily, and yes, there are days when you may choose not to be positive. Without the darkness of life, we cannot truly appreciate the light that we can tap into ourselves. In my book, I liken it to an ember, a glow that keeps me going, no matter what is happening in my world and the world at large. Some days it can be difficult to access, and some days, it's a bit easier.
Here are a few things you can do on a daily basis to tap into that positivity. I hope it helps you with navigating this sometimes very negative world.
Start Your Day Simply: I was one of those people who rolled out of bed at the very last minute, and would spend the rest of the day trying to catch up. Sound familiar? A way to get out of such a pattern is to begin simply. Begin by keeping your bedroom as serene and soothing as possible. Get rid of all clutter and distractions, keep only a few books by the side of the bed, and remove the television. When you awaken, take a few moments to take some deep breaths before anything else. Don't reach for the phone right away. Meditate before you get out of bed. When you get up, make your bed. So far, you have accomplished a few things already! Much better than rushing about. When making your morning beverage, incorporate some magic into the process by stirring your spoon in multiples of three, or saying affirmations while you drink your beverage or make your breakfast. Slowing down and calming your morning routine will help time feel expansive. Less rushing, calmer frame of mind, incorporating magic, simplifying your bedroom environment. Try incorporating these into your morning routine, and see how you feel as you go about your day.
Think of Others: Make time in your day to think of others. Whether it is leaving birdseed out for the birds, tending to plants, sending someone a check-in message or note, be sure to spend at least some time each day thinking of others. It will help you to get out of negative mental spirals, help others feel better, and in return, you will get a boost. As you get used to this being part of your daily practice, you can start looking for other ways to think of others. Maybe bring in a treat for a coworker, bring some flowers or baked goods for a neighbor, or, if time allows, volunteer.
Be a Child Again: What did you like to do most when you were a child? Blow bubbles, stomp in mud puddles, make blanket forts, play board games, camp? Do something that brings you those same feelings of joy. It puts you in a different frame of mind, and all your worries fall away for a bit. Consider it a boost, and don't worry about what other people think. Focus on the joy of the activity, and revel in it.
Spiritual Practice Daily: Participate in a spiritual practice daily, whether it is as simple as gazing into a candle, checking in with your deities, or pulling cards for a daily reading. Tune into your spiritual self, and discover what keeps you connected. Perhaps it's music, or using Pagan prayer beads, or reading a book of daily meditations. Enjoy the process of discovering what parts of a spiritual practice you truly enjoy.
Ground, Center, and Protect: Make sure you ground, center, and protect yourself daily. There are all sorts of energies bouncing about, so it's a good habit to do these three actions daily. Grounding is as simple as imagining roots growing from your feet, down deep into the ground. Go outside and walk barefoot on the grass if you can. Eat grounding foods, such as oatmeal or brown rice. Center yourself with deep breathing, breathe in, hold and breathe out on a count of four. Imagine a silver beam from the top of your head, down to your toes as it centers you.
Protection can be as simple as a hematite or tourmaline on your desk at work. Or protective jewelry, either in a special symbol, anointed with protection oil (your own or purchased) and made of protective stones, such as smoky quartz, amethyst or onyx.
Cleanse: Cleanse yourself of negative energies with a bath or shower, wash your hands regularly, and cleanse any new items (especially from thrifting) that come into your home. Use Florida Water, or herb smoke and incense, to cleanse your home and items regularly. Ring bells, clap your hands, open your windows, to keep the energy flowing in your home. Notice the difference it makes, and incorporate it into your regular routines. Getting rid of stagnant energy helps keep you in a positive flow and frame of mind.
Language: How you speak to yourself, and how you speak to others impacts you greatly, without you even realizing it. How often do you say, "I'm old, I'm fat, I'm lousy at XYZ?" Monitor your language, both written and verbal, for a few weeks. Do you find yourself spreading gossip, saying unkind things, or speaking poorly about yourself? How do you appear on social media? Are you posting negative, gloom and doom, unhappy words? Everybody has a bad day or even a few bad days, but if you are noticing that your words are negative on a regular basis, it's time to change that. Pause or take a deep breath before speaking, and take a break from social media, or find different things to post.
Community: Who is in your community? Are you happy with the people in your life, or are you in contact out of politeness or obligation? Who you surround yourself with has an impact on your daily life, so take stock of who is in your social circle, and make changes if needed. Or withdraw for a bit, take a break, and spend time with your favorite person (yourself!) Vice versa, if you are finding yourself lonely or without many friends, try building up your life with interests, reading, hobbies, and more. Become good friends with yourself, and do things that make you happy, and you can find others who share in your interests. If your spiritual community feels more like a burden than a joy, then it is time to evaluate where your time could be better spent.
Laugh: The world can be very tough! So, incorporate laughter into your life. Whether it is a favorite sitcom, comedy shows, reading jokes, wordplay or puns, find what tickles your funny bone, and make sure you access it regularly. Laugh with friends, or watch a funny movie when you are feeling less than positive. Laughing is a good way to get energy flowing throughout your body, so be sure to do it as often as possible.
Learn: Lastly, always be open to learning. Whether it's a new language, or how to use a new tarot deck, a different way to celebrate a turn of the Wheel of the Year, never stop learning. With the vast world of the internet, you can never run out of new and exciting things to learn about, whether it's videos or apps on your phone. Give something you've always been curious about a try, and see where it takes you.
Most of these ideas may seem common sense, but we can all use reminders to change the energy in our lives. Being positive is an energy flow, whereas being negative often feels stagnant. When things flow, life flourishes, so make choices daily to incorporate a bit more positivity into your life, and by doing so, dealing with negative things that happen will be a little more tolerable. Shifting your mindset can bring about changes for the better in your life, and when you empower yourself this way, the possibilities can be wonderful.
Lisa Wagoner is a Patheos Pagan blogger (Witch, Indeed) and the Maven of Mystical Curation at the Of Wand & Earth metaphysical shop. She has presented workshops at Mystic South, Sacred Space Conference, and the Rota ...