Tanaaz Chubb is an intuitive healer and mindfulness teacher, as well as the founder of foreverconscious.com. I sat down for a few weeks with her new book, The Power of Positive Energy, to see what it might have to offer for the readers of this blog. The book succinctly encapsulates the basic teachings of positive psychology and the Law of Attraction. For those of you who are naturally inclined towards skepticism, some of the lingo in the book can be a stumbling block. I’m thinking about LOA jargon like “energy field,” “collective vibrations,” energetic Universe,” and “energetic frequency”: these are the sort of science-y terms that play the role of theology without hearkening to any specific historical religious tradition. There are also some New Age/hermetic beliefs in the book, like the chapter on contacting spirit guides and a small section on using crystals. But I don’t want to slam Chubb, because I don’t think anyone can afford to not listen to her basic message.
At the core of Chubb’s teaching is the idea that we have to practice self-love in order to experience life transformation. The shadows that past traumas cast over our present experiences are long, and difficulties can only be overcome by directly addressing the hurts in our past. As we practice self-love, we can turn away from self-medicating, self-limiting, or destructive behaviors and learn to trust in our own visions for our possibilities in life. We then turn the vicious cycle of self-doubt into the virtuous cycle of belief, creating what is called “manifestation,” or self-fulfilling prophecy. In order for this to happen, we have to get over the speed bump of cynicism, to believe that change is possible and that we have the power to make better life choices, whether these pertain to health, career, relationships, or money.
Here is a fairly typical passage from Chubb’s writing, which I think demonstrates the debt to positive psychology and self-help but also shows the refreshing quality of her work:
The more you can understand your role as a co-creator, the more you will be able to have a say in what you choose to create. It is important to understand that while your energetic vibration does affect your reality, you are not in charge of everything that comes your way. The Universe itself, your soul, and the energy of the Divine also have a say in what you have been sent to experience. This is why you are a co-creator. We are all creating the Universe together as a team. Every living, breathing thing on the planet is helping to shape the world that we live in.
I appreciate the fact that Chubb puts some caveats on the Law of Attraction, acknowledging that we do not control absolutely everything in our realities. I think this is important to say, otherwise we can end up victim-blaming and veering into prosperity gospel territory, in which winners are winners and losers are losers and the Big Man Upstairs dispenses rewards and punishments accordingly. We have to achieve a balance between taking responsibility for our actions and yet being compassionate towards ourselves and others, and I think she does a good job in this respect.
I have read the book cover-to-cover at a leisurely pace, doing the exercises along the way. She recommends journaling and sentence completion. There are many short meditations. Even though I am a meditation teacher and creative non-fiction writer myself, I felt self-conscious at times. I suppose there is a price of entry when it comes to practicing introspection and seeking positive change: Sometimes you just have to be willing to feel a little silly, a little uncomfortable. I found it to be odd placing my hand on my heart and saying little affirmations, for example. Even though I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that this stuff works, I still have my inner skeptical voice that gets my hackles up. It is a little hard to surrender intellectualism and go into that intuitive territory. I plan to give at least parts of the book a second go-round, just to make sure that my defenses didn’t get in the way on the first reading.
It can be a struggle to maintain positivity on a daily basis. Even though change can happen very rapidly, the pace feels glacial from a first-person perspective. Think about how a passenger on a speeding train will feel almost stationary, except when looking out the window. The experience of change depends upon having a fixed point of reference. So even though our lives might be changing for the better quite a bit, it doesn’t feel that different from the inside. We all wake up each morning and see the same face in the mirror each day. The magic happens in the thousands of tiny choices that we make each day, in the inner attitude towards life that we purposely cultivate. I think that Tanaaz Chubb gets us to intervene at that innermost level, in the life outlook that we take with us on the journey. So I would say go ahead and give this book a try. Feel awkward and embarrassed: it will be worthwhile for the many small transformations that take place.