“Sorry. I forgot Puffy and had to go back.” I move to my spot – the couch.
I hold up my stuffed teddy, Puffy Bear, my best friend since high school. And I explain that I really need a hug during these sessions, and that Puffy never says no.
“But Mr. Podolsky…”
“You never call me Irv!”
“Irv…you’re the one doing the hugging. Not the bear.”
“But it feels like the real thing.”
“And so it becomes real,” my shrink asserts.
“You know Irv, that’s a very astute observation.”
“Well yes, because you are demonstrating, to yourself, that what you project is what you get back.”
“I projected a hug from you, but–”
“You projected a desire for acceptance. THAT, must first come from yourself.”
“It does, but I need pictures.”
“Not that. You have to respect yourself, Irv. And there’s something else you need.”
“Patience. You’re coming to my office feeling defeated, like you’re losing the game, that you’ll never be that great author you want to be – all because you give up before you’ve given yourself the time to create that world.”
“I did create that world. I wrote my book.”
“That you did. It’s a big accomplishment.”
I again look at my bear. He’s nodding in agreement, with the help of my hands.
“But,” continues my smart doctor, “you want to be famous too. And you’re on your way. Yet, when it doesn’t come to you fast enough, you feel you’ve failed and that stops the process.”
“I’m just watching what’s happening.”
“That’s your problem. You’re looking at WHAT IS, instead of imagining what CAN BE. You have to act and believe as if you have it already.”
“I’m not gonna tell people I’ve done things I haven’t!”
“Puffy will know I’m making things up.”
“Puffy will know you’re visualizing your future. If you can’t see yourself doing what you want to do, how can keep yourself excited about pursuing it?”
“I DID imagine. I did! But it didn’t happen.”
“What did you just tell me?”
“I imagined it.”
“No, the last part.”
“It didn’t happen.”
“RIGHT! ‘Didn’t’ is what you’re imagining now – more of NOT happening. And that, dear Irving, is exactly what you are manifesting – the ‘not’ part of ‘happening’.”
“But I still want it to happen. I’m just waiting.”
“No. You’ve given up. You’ve stopped believing that it’s on it’s way, and so it will never come to you. You can hug your bear now.”
I do. I hug Puffy. And I want to cry.
My therapist just doesn’t understand! I try so hard, all the time. I believe and I believe and I believe, and it still doesn’t happen! Only Puff knows that.
Doc writes a note, mouthing words I can read. ‘Only trusts invented friend.’
His eyes return to mine. “Irv…here’s the problem. You wait for good things to happen just to make you happy. You think those events, outside your control, prove that you’re worth something.”
Held in my hands, Puffy turns his head to mine, intrigued as I am.
“It’s the other way around,” my shrink continues. “Your happiness, your confidence, your enthusiasm, CREATES those good events. And then they reflect those goals you’ve already met.”
“Yeah? Where’s my best seller?”
“It’s in your future, Irv.”
“That’s not real!”
“There you go again. You just told me you’re potential fame isn’t real.”
“I mean it’s not real now.”
“You’re brain doesn’t know the difference between now or later. It just thinks thoughts, many of which are about the past. Doesn’t reminiscing about the Good Ole Days make you happy? Why can’t you get excited about the future too?
“I don’t want to be delusional.”
“I would call it being a visionary.”
“That’s just a word.”
“No Irv, life really works that way. What you THINK ABOUT brings those things into your present. If it’s success, you get that. If it’s failure, you get that too. If it’s, ‘Wow, it’s taking too long,’ you get a long wait.”
I look at Puffy. Puffy looks at me. He doesn’t buy that either, ‘cause he’s shaking his head along with me.
Back to my Doc. “I don’t know. How can it be that simple? You make things happen by wishing for them?”
“Wishing implies a separation between you and what you want, with a possibility you won’t get it. Wishing is about uncertainty. Winners don’t wish. They expect.”
“Yeah? What about Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty, Rich Perry, Donald Trump and Tom Miller? They all expected to be president.”
“Tom Miller is a dude running for president who serves tea and coffee on airplanes. He’s for small government, about the size of an airport. And he believes “life” starts from the moment of rejection. Oh… I mean conception.”
“Sorry, Puff. Not you.”
I hug my bear, then continue. “This guy Miller wants to kill the Department of Education, health care, the minimum wage and more people with capital punishment. And if he’s elected, he promises to prosecute all Mayors and Governors if they let illegal immigrants live in their towns.”
Puffy again shakes his head. Watching my bear, my shrink does the same.
I keep talking.
“So I went to MillerforPresident.com to check him out. He already dropped off the internet, like he’s lost at sea. Now tell me how this guy, imagining he’s president of the United States, is going to make that happen.”
My doc leans forward. “We don’t know if he sincerely believes he can become President of the United States. But what we DO know, is that he feels threatened by the very government he wants to join. In that regard, I suspect he finds all kinds of reasons why his choices are being hampered and why he feels controlled. Government is not targeting him, Irv. At least not yet. I assume Mr. Miller’s negative projections are creating his intolerant world.”
My bear is still listening.
“Remember, what you fear is what you get.”
I sit up. “You really think that’s true?”
“Yes I do. And I’m not the only person who believes that. There are many, and they’ve been writing about it for years.”
“Yeah, I heard about it – creative visualization, or something like that.”
“The wisdom has been around for a very long time; it’s the trust thing, the believing thing, the 23rd Psalm thing.”
“Yeah… The Valley of Death. I can relate.”
“Newer translation: The darkest valley.”
“Same thing. I always start out with all kinds of enthusiasm, and then I get bogged down in that dark valley.”
“Why Irv, why do you get discouraged so fast?”
“I guess, ‘cause I want it so much.”
“And why do you want it so much?”
“Because… ‘Cause… I guess I need to know I matter to someone besides Puff.”
“You’re a middle-aged man, Irv. Do you really believe no one admires you?”
“No. But that part of me that clings to Puffy Bear, the little boy, that part of me still thinks that way…so I’ve been told.”
“Irv, tough-love coming. Grow up. Move on.”
“That’s what my first therapist said.”
“And now you’re with me. You don’t need your teddy anymore.” My doc stands, extending his open hand. “Can I have him?”
“Irv, it’s time to let Puffy go and trust others to appreciate you.”
“Puff stays with me.”
“Irv…listen to me. Your bear is no substitute for security. Nor is your Band-Aid of an excuse, ‘If I don’t try anymore, I won’t get disappointed.’”
“You really think I’m thinking that?”
“I’m thinking you believe achieving public validation is a huge stretch, and so it becomes that for you. That’s why you won’t take risks with your book, like sending it our for reviews and contests, and telling everyone how good it is.”
“If I told them, they wouldn’t believe me. I’m the writer.”
“Tell them anyway. Because if YOU don’t believe it, why would anyone else?”
He’s right. In the beginning I was really excited about my work. And when they asked me about it, I went on and on. And then they bought my book.
I don’t yap about it anymore. It’s boring to talk about it. So now I just throw out a sentence or two when new people ask me about my writing. I just can’t pretend to be enthusiastic when I’m not. I don’t know how other people do it.
“Irv… Are you listening?”
“Huh?” I refocus, and sigh. “This is all kinda depressing,” I murmur. I need a hug. “Puffy, come…”
My head jerks back to my therapist.
“Stop with the damn bear, already! You’re displacing self-pity!”
“No, I’m not!”
“You’re feeling sorry for yourself! Irv, you are NOT broken!”
“All my shrinks said that.”
“Then you say it!”
“I’m not broken.”
“That’s right. So give me the damn bear!”
My shrink walks towards me. I clutch Puff, declaring, “The bear stays with ME!”
Doc stops inches away. “Give me the fucking bear, Irv!”
I stand, defiant. “Over my dead body!”
“FINE! You’re a mess anyway!”
He reaches for his desk, yanks open a drawer, lifts out a .45 Beretta Px4 Storm, and aims it straight at my eyes.
“What are you doing?!” I scream.
“I’ve always wanted to shoot a loser! And next week, I’m marrying your mother.”
“What! Did Mom put you up to this?”
“You never return her calls.”
“I don’t have to! She phones every twelve minutes!”
“Well now she won’t have to.”
And now…I’m awake…alone in bed, sweating after another nightmare, wishing I really did have a Puffy Bear.
I sit up. Wow… So real… And I created it…just like my life.
And I’m thinking, I can’t go on this way. It’s time for a committed change. And all I have to do, is believe…that I can believe.
For more reading and resources about how thoughts influence our reality, check out:
“The Secret of the Ages” by Robert Collier
“THE SECRET” – a 2006 film
“The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale
“Creative Visualization” by Shakti Gawain, originally published 1978
An overview of psychic and paranormal phenomena byJeffrey Mishlove, PhD
“Roots of Consciousness” – the on-line reprinting of the book.
This article was originally published on Curiosityquills.com.