Back in the days when I was training to become a rebirther and was enrolled in a variety of workshops and classes offered the Loving Relationships Training, which is still run by Sondra Ray, I learned about something called my “response column.”
Typically, when writing affirmations — you know, those positive statements meant to help create change in yourself on a subconscious level — we would include one column on the page for the affirmation itself and then another column for our “response” to the affirmation. That response represented the first thought we had to the positive statement we had just written.
For example, if I wrote the affirmation, “I, Nina, now experience perfect health,” in my response column I might write, “But I have a headache.” I would then write the affirmation again, and my response might then be, “Yeah, right, that’s why I get at least three colds every year.” You get the idea.
Why bother with a response column? It might seem that, contrary to the point of the exercise, instead of focusing on the positive you’re actually focusing on the negative thoughts. Actually, by using affirmations with a response column, you allow your negative thoughts to surface. You acknowledge them and continue with the affirmation, effectively replacing the negative thoughts with the positive ones until eventually — after days, weeks, sometimes months — your response column begins to fill with positive responses, like, “Yes, that’s true,” and “I do, indeed, enjoy perfect health.”
Sometimes, however, when we are making changes in our lives or doing things that push the envelope of that with which we feel comfortable, the world around us becomes our response column. Lately, that’s been the case for me.
Recently, I pushed forward with a project of mine and managed to convince my literary agent to take on my Kabbalah of Conscious Creation book. As my literary agent left for New York City last Friday morning to begin a month of meeting with editors at publishing houses that will conclude with a trip to Los Angeles to attend the Book Expo America, where he will meet with more editors and publishers for several days, the possibility of my dream becoming a reality took hold. My positive action — my affirmation of action, as Stuart Wilde liked to call it, began to develop a response column. The world began to bring me evidence of my negative thoughts. You see, although I want my book to be published, having it out in the world in a big way (and me with it) brings up some fear, especially given the book’s topic — generally speaking, it’s about the Law of Attraction from a Jewish mystical perspective.
Every day I affirm through my actions that this book will be written with integrity and honesty and my highest desire to serve. Yet, in response, what have I most recently received? First, I received a package of articles written and published in newspapers and magazines by a rabbi adamantly opposed to the type of book I’m proposing to write. I’ll just mention that I received these articles from him because a friend suggest that I write to him and ask to speak at his synagogue. He didn’t get past the one topic related to my book (I have lots more) before he sent me a somewhat nasty email and then these articles, which discussed how horrible it is for unknowledgeable New Agey people (Like me?) to write about “energy” Kabbalah (Is that what I’m doing?). Needless to say, he declined to have me speak to his congregation.
I also received an article sent to my by my agent and published in the New York Times Magazine, which was written by someone who went to the Kabbalah Center and had some not so nice (and some nice) things to say about it’s brand of Judaism and Jewish mysticism. (Most people I know and respect don’t have anything good to say about the Center either…) I’ve never been there, but I admit I have some of their books. My feelings about them are mixed.
And I’m left staring at my response column — It even shown up in written form! — and wondering what to do with it. Well, actually, I know what to do with it. I will acknowledge that what has appeared simply represents my negative thoughts (“I’ll be judged for my beliefs and thoughts.” “Those I respect will judge me negatively.” “People won’t like me for who I am and what I believe and what I write.”) And I’ll continue making affirmations of action. I’ll continue writing and moving forward with this project.
Today, I reorganized my booklet on the same subject and contacted another expert to ask for help. Yesterday, I worked a little on my book proposal. I’ve decided to write an introduction addressing some of these issues to put them out in the open.
And you know what? Just before I finished this blog, I checked in on a Beliefnet forum (Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism) to see if anyone had commented on something I’d written there. Lo and behold, someone told me they thought the work I was doing was wonderful! A positive response from the universe…
I guess that response column exercise worked well. It only took about a week to clear out the negative thoughts and to replace them with positive ones!