Have you ever tried to abstain from negative thinking for 7 days straight? No negative-speak for an entire week, in your brain or mental plane? I’m talking about derailing trains of thought like these: resentment, frustration, worry, dread, regret, jealousy, disapproval, criticism, fear, anger, pessimism, limitation… and that ultimate emotional frontier, victimhood.
What does that leave, you ask? Only thoughts that induce love, joy, appreciation, amusement (my favorite), excitement, curiosity, positive anticipation, peacefulness, acceptance, satisfaction, playfulness, knowing and allowing. But come to think of it, those are the only states in which I care to establish residency. So when I read about Emmet Fox’s 7 Day Mental Diet principles, despite my aversion to diets my response was an unequivocal “bring it on!”
Mr. Fox implores: “Make up your mind to devote one week solely to the task of building a new habit of thought, and during that week let everything in life be unimportant as compared with that.”
The results were immediate. I spontaneously traded in my old grumbling for some spiffy new appreciating. On the morning of Day 1, I got up to use the bathroom and saw that the toilet seat had been left up. But rather than bitch and moan that my boyfriend was slipping up again—and worry that he’d never become fully “potty-trained”—I just smiled and said “there’s a sign of him… I love that guy.” The sweetness of that small yet colossal victory provided momentum for the next few days.
Since we did the Diet together, I could see some marked improvements in my boyfriend as well. He became consistently upbeat—full of positive expectation and optimism like never before. You’re-on-the-right-road signs cropped up for us both. Like a lovely check in the mailbox, solutions to some long-brewing problems, stellar synchronicities, stumbling upon the perfect resources—stuff like that.
Of course, I haven’t kept up the pure positive thoughts continuously. That’s to be expected of a human enrolled in Earth School, is it not? Emmet Fox was pretty hardcore about it though, insisting that the entire program come to a grinding halt should a blunder occur. But how do you define falling off the wagon? Fox clearly concedes that you will experience an abundance of negative thoughts throughout the week. But the idea is to not entertain them. Do NOT serve them tea and cookies, and whatever you do, do NOT give them the old soft shoe. Negative thoughts are to be treated strictly as red-headed stepchildren… or proselytizers on your doorstep. But how long does it take to politely turn them away and shut the front door? There are gradations to be sure, and I suppose my acceptable interval is simply longer than Fox’s.
I’ve never been one to blindly follow rules, so I made the program my own, combining Fox’s ideas with Abraham-Hicks tenets and other stuff I’ve poured into my truth-bucket. Emmet, who died in 1951, was part of that old guard of New Thinkers that included Napoleon Hill—innovative for their day, you betcha, but perhaps best viewed through a modern-day personalized lens of practicality. I believe in spiritual evolution, so the wisdom of yesteryear is only partially useful for life in the Now. (But then, so is the wisdom of today.)
“Diet” is a four letter word, and food diets rarely work because they’re usually unsustainable and engender feelings of deprivation. Often the dieter falls off the wagon, then gives herself a lot of negative flack. Obviously counterproductive. And the mental diet is no different. I don’t want to throw out the baby when the bathwater gets stinky, but I do want to make things right as soon as I am able. I think practicing acceptance of my foibles—the Art of Allowing—seems to be a key component of the moving-forward process. So even though I’ve bent the rules to my liking, I still got a lot out of Emmet Fox’s conception and continue to reap the benefits of the modified plan.
It seems more fitting to think of it as a 7 Day Mental Conversion, a footbridge leading to a higher plateau. The same goes for any other type of program; these are just permission slips we use. If we get to go on the field trip, then it’s “woohoo!” If not, we can always try something else.
When the week was up, my boyfriend and I were so pleased that we decided to parlay it into a 30 day plan. Just by making the commitment to myself (and in the presence of My Man, in this case), and heeding the reminder signs we posted around the house, I am altering the ledger statement of my emotional currency. The average monthly balance is lookin’ good, even if it dips down on any particular day.
Whether you call it a Diet or a Conversion Plan or a three-handled moss-covered family gredunza, it’s a potentially life-changing thing to do that requires no financial expenditure, no participation or endorsement by others, nor any embracing of dogma. So what are you waiting for!?