Reframing Murphy’s Law Helped me Embody the Law of Attraction
“I am thinking positively!” I shouted into the void.
I was caught up in trying to manifest something, anything really, that was “better”, but I hadn’t yet accepted the truth of the power of thoughts: if you keep looking for something, you will attract more things/people/situations that are also searching. And since searching indicates that you don’t already have it, you are coming from a place of lack. It is only when you believe you have everything you need that things open up. It’s the most frustrating of paradoxes.
How do you get to a place where you don’t want them to change so that they will?
For me, it took a lot of internal work and examination of my learned behaviors to be able to unlearn them. I also had a moment of clarity when I compared Murphy’s Law to the Law of Attraction and realized that even though they seem to be opposites, they are saying the same thing.
“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”
I don’t know who Murphy was, but he seemed to be a patron saint of my family. My mother’s mother’s mother was an Irish immigrant who lied about her age on every census document and is untraceable (by my very amateur genealogical skills), but I think perhaps she and Murphy were cousins. I say this (very tongue-in-cheek) because what I’ve learned is lessons of always waiting for the other shoe to drop seem to have gotten passed down from mother to daughter, all the way to me, in a very strong way.
And the paradox — the enigma — is that when you are waiting for the other shoe to drop — it WILL.
Meaning, when you keep anticipating bad/uncomfortable things, even if you don’t want them, that expectation will let them happen. So by believing in Murphy’s Law, you make it true.
Now, my family would rationalize that as “some people are just unlucky”, or “I was thinking good things and it still happened to me”, and “bad things happen to good people”. While all of those statements may be valid, what I found, especially to the “but I was THINKING good thoughts” is that it’s not enough to just think them — though it is a very important first step — it is crucial to believe them. And to change beliefs has layers upon layers of conditioning to work through and daily practice to implement. But it’s not impossible!
Changing Core Beliefs
I had to first be really honest about cognitive dissonance and being aware of when those biased thoughts came up. Then, and this felt key, to not judge myself for having them, but acknowledge they — the thoughts I didn’t want to think or feel, but do — exist. Then consciously change them. And reinforce that by using mindful techniques like journaling, meditating, or even praying. A word/practice I had to come to terms with because of my own rebellion to my childhood protestant background.
The mindfulness part is important because this is where the changes can take place at the brain synapse level. Called neuroplasticity, it has been proven the brain can change/alter its learned (usually from childhood) behaviors. But, these paths are deep. I heard it best described as well-worn ski paths that have iced over after being used time and time again. To change them, to carve new paths, it takes repetition and self-kindness.
Mantras and Ho’oponopono as a Repetitive Healing Tool
I struggled with the self-kindness and forgiveness aspect. Why was I not getting this sooner? Why did my thoughts/actions/behaviors go back to old ways of thinking so soon? After many cycles of ups and downs, I found the strongest tool was in the power of mantras.
- (originally in Hinduism and Buddhism) a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.
- a statement or slogan repeated frequently.
“the environmental mantra that energy has for too long been too cheap”
It makes sense, because a mantra uses out loud (or conscious thought) repetition to create internal (or subconscious thought) repetition. And, I discovered, mantras are really used in every group on earth, for what is not singing but a mantra to music? Chanting, meditations that you repeat on a given cycle, saying the Hail Mary on a rosary, these are all more traditional litanies that may feel separate, but really, they are all doing the same thing: bringing comfort and hopefully peace to the person invoking them.
“I’m Sorry, Please Forgive Me, I Love You, I Thank You.”
I found there is power in choosing my own mantra. For, when acknowledging that we have previously unknown mantras in everyday things and that they hold the power to change our mindset, why wouldn’t you want to be more mindful of the ones you want to repeat?
Ho’oponopono, the Hawaiian prayer of forgiveness, became one I can remember easily at high-stress moments and resonates in my body. Sometimes I find I’m trying to forgive myself, sometimes other people in my life, but it always leaves me feeling calmer after a few repetitions. And, paradoxically, it has helped me to stop always apologizing to people in real life, but to come from a more authentic voice when I’m speaking, a problem that has plagued me for a long time.
Back to Murphy’s Law — another mantra I had unconsciously on repeat. Yet, this one was NOT serving me in any way except to validate when bad things would happen, and set me up for a lifetime (to that point) of waiting for bad things to happen. In my more innocent years, I even thought — what is the harm in not expecting much? Then you are happy when/if they turn out better and not disappointed when/if they turn our bad.
The Law of Attraction
But this is the opposite of the Law of Attraction. Touted by books like The Secret, and authors such as Gabby Bernstein, Mike Dooley, and Esther Hicks, among many others, it seems simple — believe in good things, and they will come. It has a shadow side in that if you believe in bad things, they will also come.
Where your thoughts go, your energy flows, and that is what is attracted into your life.
Back to me shouting positive things into the silence. To change a belief requires a lot of repetition, especially if it’s not a native (learned in childhood) process. And if your parents, guardians, and/or family of origin that you grew up with didn’t believe this — or wasn’t actively engaging in this belief while you were growing up — then you won’t be natively doing it either.
Most parents, even the most well-intentioned, loving ones — are repeating their parent’s interpretations of unconscious beliefs, who are repeating their parent’s beliefs, and so one, until you encounter one (or a few) who want to change at a subconscious level. It’s not enough to have parents who tried to teach you to do/be better with their words, although it shows they did try, and that can go a long way in forgiving them — but children learn what parents DO. What they believe. The behaviors they, as flawed humans, have on repetition. So, if your parents believed in Murphy’s Law over the Law of Attraction because their parents did, chances are, you do too.
Choice, Awareness, & Change
This is where choice, awareness, and change come in. Can you blame them, your caregivers, at this point? Absolutely. Will that help YOU change and bring in abundance? Most probably not. So being aware that these underlying beliefs may exist and why — seeing it in childhood and paths being formed, old ski runs in the snow — is step one. Then, taking responsibility and understanding it almost doesn’t matter (in this context) WHY the old patterns are there, but that only YOU can change them.
Change them with new repetition, substituting on repeat the positive side of the Law of Attraction — gratitude & appreciation (I believe good things are already here) and removing Murphy’s Law (If it can go wrong it will).
I will stop and add in my firm belief in the power of some kind of therapy for everyone, Cognitive Behavior Therapy or my favorite — EMDR, can help with some of the underlying things and really it’s just great to help process all that may come up with a trained professional while you are refarming things with your own mind. But, again, this mindset shift can be done by you alone.
It was after really focusing on the Law of Attraction for a while, really mulling over the hows and whys of my personal cognitive biases and seeing shift after many, many mantra repetitions, that it struck me, when I stumbled again on a quote of Murphy’s Law, that I had changed. I realized that 1. I didn’t embody this incantation anymore, 2. It had been deeply embedded in me from my family of origin but could be pulled up and out, and 3. Whether you believe in the Law of Attraction or Murphy’s Law, you are right. For it is what you believe, what you think on, that has the power to make it true.