Navigating Positivity Pt. 1

Navigating Positivity Pt. 1
 
 
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“The power of story is the foundation by which we are able to navigate through our lives.”

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Dr. Oneeka Williams:

Hello, positivity, posse, and welcome back to the #PositivityPause. I am so excited and thrilled to be with you again today. Not just because I absolutely enjoy spending time with you, but also because you are taking time to prioritize you and pressing the pause button on all of the craziness, the expectations, the negativity, the stressors swirling around you and taking time to pour into you. Today is one of our positivity conversations.

Once a week, during the pause, we are going to actually have a conversation, just highlighting some of the considerations, and our thoughts, and our experiences that help you to redefine, recharge, reset before you resumed, just giving you some different perspective. Today, I am just blessed to introduce to you and to have with me conversating Dr. Charles Anderson, my lover friend, partner and husband for the last 35 years. He is really one of the key people who has contributed to making me what I am today and living this life of always trying to extract the positives from whatever our situations are. Today, because our entire approach is based on the healing power of story (how we are able to extract the positives from our stories to educate) meaning not just that we ourselves learn, but others. We have an opportunity to teach others to elevate and rise up above our circumstances and to empower not just ourselves, but others to take action.

Our stories are so powerful and when we frame them through the five habits of positivity that we have talked about before, that forms the basis and the scaffold upon which you can do the work of developing a mindset of positivity. That then positions you to be mentally, emotionally, and physically well. The data supports and the evidence is building to confirm and affirm that when you have a positive way in which you approach your life, it positions you to live longer, to have less chronic illnesses, to be less stressed, to be more emotionally and mentally healthy so that you experience less anxiety and less depression, your relationships are better and more fulfilling and your experience in the workplace is just so much more productive and constructive.

There are so many benefits to being very intentional about having this process of positivity in our lives. As I have said, the power of story is the foundation by which we are able to navigate through our lives. I wanted us to talk about one of the navigation systems that we so often use the G P S and I'd like to welcome my husband, Dr. Charles Anderson. Welcome to the positivity pause podcast. I am so thrilled that you are here today. So tell me when you think about a GPS, what do you think about GPS?

Dr. Charles Anderson:

When I think about GPS, I think about Waze. Think about trying to make sure I don’t let it take me off a bridge. I think about turning the controls over or turning my directions over to something else, instead of myself thinking through the directions. So given that control to someone else, so that directional ability is something or someone else.

Dr. Oneeka Williams:

So, you've put your trust in a Waze?

Dr. Charles Anderson:

Waze, Siri, any of the rest of that. Like so many of us do.

Dr. Oneeka Williams:

That is very interesting and really quite true in that so many of us will turn over our entire direction and how the trip is going to be executed two Waze and our GPS, because we really believe, I mean, it really starts with believing, that the GPS is going to get you to your goal or to your destination, and it's going to get you there probably in the best way possible. You know, it's so funny… a couple of weeks ago, I went over to this West Indian restaurant not far from my mom, to pick up some food was feeling in a mood for some Curry goat and so on and so forth. When I was ready to leave, I had two choices while I thought, you know, I'll just go back the way that I came, which is having come from my mom's home, but then I thought to myself, well maybe there a better and a more efficient way to return to my home rather than cutting through town and going via my mom so I put it in GPS. When I looked at the directions, it seemed kind of backwards. It almost seemed like it was taking me back in a direction that was going away from what my ultimate destination was. Have you ever found, have you ever done that with a GPS and, you know, do you just plug it into the GPS and then you just follow it without even questioning?

Dr. Charles Anderson:

No, it's funny when you plug it in, I've had times where I plug it in and not only does it seem like it's going to take longer, but it actually takes me places where you run into construction or something else that it had no way of even knowing was there, which is incredibly frustrating. All you hear is, you know, “Repositioning, repositioning, redirecting” as you try to negotiate your way around that. So it is, it's kind of a pain, but it's something we just learned to live with in many ways.

Dr. Oneeka Williams:

Well, you know, the funny thing is that I had this kind of my own construct and vision about how I was going to get there, and then when the GPS gave me a different set of directions, I thought, you know, this seems like it doesn't make sense to me. It gave me a time of arrival of 25 minutes, and I decided, you know, I'm just going to go my own way. As I went my own way, the GPS adjusted to actually longer than it would have taken me, had I gone in the way that the GPS had originally guided me. Then in kind of my haste to sort of shortcut to mom's, I ended up going in a completely new route, which then extended the GPS time even more because I was sort of kind of lost, I didn't really know where I was. Then I stopped and I said to myself, “Okay”, I kind of chuckled because it reminds me, of what we sometimes do with God, which is that we kind of have our own perspective, we have our own plan. Then somewhere in there we stop, and we ask for guidance and to be asked for direction, and then we look at the guidance and direction and we say, “Ah, I don't really think that that's going to work”. Have you ever found yourself in this situation before?

Dr. Charles Anderson:

It’s crazy, but that's exactly what happens with a GPS, right? You know, it starts taking you a certain way you're not sure, you start trying to make up your own strategy about how to get there, and you wonder, why did I put it in the GPS to begin with, if I was going to go my own way right?

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“As God positions us and directs us on these paths, it is not just about him getting us to the destination, but it is about the importance of the journey.”

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Dr. Oneeka Williams:

Right! And, you know, we know that the God or the GPS has a bird's eye view, it has information coming in from whether it's the cars that are all along the road at the same route that is sending some type of feedback, information that you can’t see, but it's signaling and communicating that there's something that can potentially obstruct your path, something that is going to cause potentially some detour or something that will slow you down, but we don't have that information. That's how Waze works. It works by this crowdsourcing, and I think it's the same thing with God in that he knows, he has this bird's eye view. He knows exactly why he's sending us in a particular direction because he can see this larger view of what is going on. We just have a very limited vision of just this what's one step in front of us. So, as I turned and made the decision that I was actually going to go in the direction that I was being guided.

It was fascinating to me that I was able to achieve my goal and destination in a shorter time compared to what I was going to be, trying to do my own way. It really made me feel that it is so, you know, it got back to this notion of believing that what we believe really influences how we act. If we have a belief that we are going to be guided, even if there are times when the evidence may suggest otherwise part of the whole positivity movement, part of how we walk with positivity is that even when the evidence seems to suggest differently, we believe that the goal and the end point that we will eventually arrive at is actually going to be that, which we had hoped for planned for when we essentially asked for some way of navigating to that end point. We have a process that is a positivity process that we believe that if we follow the path that we have been guided and directed on, that we will get to the end point that will actually serve us and will position us to be successful at whatever it is that we have planned anticipated and hoped for.

Dr. Charles Anderson:

It sounds like in that case what you have to do is trust this GPS, and we were just talking about the fact that, you know, is it good to trust Waze, right? So, you plug it into Waze… is it good to trust Waze? What happens is just like you're describing we’re thinking about what Waze is trying to direct us towards, but we have our own thoughts about what the direction should look like, and so we depart from that and don't trust it. Some of it's really interesting because part of not trusting Waze is that remember people used to always talk about these situations where somebody plugs in Waze and they drive off a bridge or, you know, all that sort of stuff would happen because of not trusting the source, which I think leads us to, oftentimes when you put something in Waze and you just don't, you just don't trust it. How many times we've driven together where we're, you know, driving along it, like put it in like, no, no, no, no, we're going to go this way instead. Right?

Dr. Oneeka Williams:

Yeah, and for me, Waze is just really a very, very simple and relatable way to really kind of demonstrate the God Positioning System, but in actuality, Waze is still a human construct, it is still bound by some of the irregularities that just come with technology that has been created by humans, but it gives us an analogy that we can relate to. Ultimately, my GPS is the God Positioning System. So as I use the analogy of Waze, it's kind of a poor man's way of just helping us to understand what can happen, and what happens many times. When we put in a goal and a destination into our God Positioning System, we ask God for guidance.

We have our own idea about how we think we're going to get there and then God gives us a set of instructions he sets us on a particular path. The path doesn't make sense to us, it doesn't seem to line up, and so we deviate and digress and divert from the path that he has set for us because we somehow think that we know better. That is really the comparison, is that when we have our God Positioning System and we are placed on a path that doesn't make sense to us, it is at that point that we are called upon to exercise our faith. If we believe that all things work together for good, if we believe that God positions us on path, that many times, his ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts we may not understand it. We then find ourselves, as you said, with Waze, getting frustrated, because we bump into a detour, we bump into an obstacle, and we think that this means that there is an issue that will somehow derail us from our ultimate destination. When in actuality, the destination is not the only object, the journey and the path is just as important.

As God positions us and directs us on these paths, it is not just about him getting us to the destination, but it is about the importance of the journey. Even though it may not make sense to us, we have to exercise our faith, we have to trust. This is a really good example about when we take this pause for positivity and we think about sometimes how our journeys can feel just difficult, can feel challenging and we wonder, how am I ever going to get to this end point? It seems as if the path does not make sense, it seems as if I could somehow try to navigate through this better if I had taken my own path. In actuality, you realize that the work of trusting and believing, which then gets you to, whatever obstacle you encounter along the journey, there's an opportunity associated with that. Whatever the problem is that you encounter along the journey, you know, and you believe, and you trust that there is a solution along this process that is helping you to get to the end point that will serve you in ways that you cannot even imagine. It really is a positivity journey as you trust in your GPS, that despite it not making sense, there is value there is purpose. Not just in knowing that you will get to the destination but knowing that there is a purpose in all of the obstacles, detours, and the maybe, the going around in ways that doesn't make sense to you, that creates levels of frustration, that those serve a purpose as well.

Dr. Charles Anderson:

I think it's also a matter of, you know, and that's where the analogy with Waze, um, falls a little flat because the problem with Waze is that it is crowdsourced, right? It relies on many different people getting to, and trying to get to similar destinations, right? At our core, we know that we all have a different destination, so it really doesn't work as well when you start to think about something that is, I'm going to trust the directions based on everybody else's path and what they're seeing in their path, right? That's, kind of the Waze or, Google maps, way of doing it is based on just this sort of human experience that allows one to think about or judge the directions that you're getting based on how someone else got to their destination. I mean, think about it. Someone gets on the same road; they're going to the same place, and they encounter an obstacle. The feedback that Waze has is to let you know that John was on the road that you're on and he encountered an obstacle, right? The fact is what we're talking about isn't about somebody else's road in the obstacle, right? It's about us really tapping into and believing that there's someone who's providing direction if we allow ourselves to listen to that direction, who is, who is all knowing, and they're not relying on anybody else's experience.

The other thing about Waze is that part of why we don't trust it and do our own thing is because it's proven time after time to, to not necessarily work very well, right? Very different here, because we have so many experiences where we've gone down a path that we thought was going to look a certain way, but inevitably, when we trust, when we use these habits that allow us to no matter what's going on, stay positive and stay focused to get out of our own way, right? It ends up bringing us to a place that quite honestly is even more miraculous than we thought it was going to be, right? So, it's that experience that's not based on someone else's path, but it really should be more about the experience that's based on my individual path and my connection, my God path that has shown up time and time again, that should allow me to be much better at trusting.


 

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