Why the things we do "stop working"

(This post was originally named “Why the Law of Attraction Stops Working”.)

Did you have a breakthrough after applying a new understanding of a principle, only to find out that as time went on, it became more and more difficult to duplicate your amazing results?

Believe me, we experienced the same thing and wondered why things stopped working that had worked before. Eventually it became clear to me… or more accurately, God placed in my path a person who had been there, and who had discovered the answer and could share it with me. Here’s what I learned, and I think (with the financial turmoil in the world today) now is a good time to share it with you:

We’re here to discover the path to true, lasting, and complete joy. It’s the path to God; to a personal, two-way, living relationship with our creator. We find it by discovering and abiding by His laws… the more precepts we learn to live by, the closer we approach that fulness of joy.

It’s like the children’s game of “hot and cold”. One child hides an object and the other goes to find it. When the second child is headed in the right direction, the first child says, “warmer…”, but when s/he starts heading in the wrong direction, the first child says, “colder…” until by constant course-correction, the object is found.

In life, when we are headed in the right direction, we feel warmth and enlightenment from God in our spirits. When we are headed in the wrong direction, the enlightenment is replaced with darkness and confusion. It says, “Colder…”

Proximity does not have the same effect on our joy as much as does our direction. Meaning, a person who is nearly right on top of the object might feel “colder” for being faced in the wrong direction, while someone clear across the room from it might feel “warmer” for being faced in the right direction, even though there is a much greater distance involved. That’s the paradox.

So here’s why our law of attraction experiences can become frustrating:

The law of attraction is a true principle, so the first time we learn about it, it fills our souls with light and understanding, and as we apply it, we’re often blessed to see amazing results. Then, after a degree of success, God wants us to know that there is something even better to learn, something even more powerful and wonderful to discover. When our results are not what we think they should be, or when doing the same things do not yield the same results, He is allowing us to grope around a little bit until we face an even better direction toward even greater joy and success than we have perhaps even conceived thus far.

Sometimes we grope until we feel that “warmer” indication that lets us identify a goal that is perhaps more worthy of our energy and commitment. Sometimes we grope until we recognize that something is amiss in our life and needs to be corrected. Sometimes we grope until we discover the blessing in our hardship, and come to peace with it, will a heart full of gratitude.

If we have not accomplished the ultimate goal of perfect oneness with God, then the game isn’t over, and we need to pay attention to those “warmer” and “colder” spiritual nudgings. There’s something new we’re supposed to find… a deeper understanding… a more perfect process of partnering with unseen help to accomplish even greater purposes than we can even comprehend.

It’s easy to get off course and not even realize it. When the drive for success begins to eat away at family relationships, for example, it’s time to get back to the basics and re-establish one’s footing on solid ground. When spending has become a little careless, it’s time to demonstrate greater respect for money and show gratitude for simpler things. When we’ve developed a habit of achieving goals that add to our personal comfort, it may be time to set goals for improving the condition of mankind at large.

Where ever we are, if we don’t fine-tune and continually improve our intentions along the way, what once felt warm will ultimately turn cold.

We are meant to learn principle upon principle, so holding tight to just one and never learning any more, will ultimately lead to some serious “coldness”.

Consider the following image. I’m grateful to one of my mentors for pointing this out:

This illustration shows the path to a perfect fullness of joy, or what you might call a path back to your creator. When you do things that are within the influence of His power, you enjoy the warmth of his Spirit, enlightenment, and true success.

To begin with, at the left, our behaviors can be in the red zone, and as long as we’re within the range, we will experience these spiritual benefits. As time proceeds, and we move toward the right, our underdeveloped red-zone behaviors will not yield the same results. We must fine-tune our understanding and behave accordingly in order to remain within the influence of His power. We must eventually learn to live within the yellow zone to find our way to perfect happiness.

Outside of the dotted lines we feel “colder,” while inside the dotted lines we feel “warmer.” This is how we are led to all truth.

So don’t be discouraged if you have fallen out of the joy you once felt. It’s still there for you, and as you search for it by getting back to the basics, you will find it. It only takes a step in the right direction for you to finally feel that assurance that you’re getting “warmer”.

Even when we feel very far away, the assurance, joy, and newfound hope is ours the moment we discover the right direction. Need some financial peace of mind? Seek first to find joy in simply being headed in the right direction. With a resolved intention to find the right direction, you will be led to it. From there, the joy and peace of mind you seek will certainly follow.


Householder Family Christmas Update 2008

Lest you think I’m always so on top of things… here is our annual family Christmas update – a month late. I finally got a “round tuit.” Ever feel like you just can’t manage to do all that is expected of you? Yeah, me too. It’s called being a part of the “I’m doing the best I can” club. Welcome!

Jacob, age 16 – completed his Eagle Project at Camp Hinckley in Southern California, blazing trails after the devastating forest fires. He made 1st chair trumpet in band at his high school and enjoyed a week with the marching band in Florida, including a performance at the Gator Bowl halftime show. While in Florida, he asked one of the girls at the New Year’s Eve band festivities to dance, and was then interrupted by a man who announced that he was her husband. Oops! He didn’t realize she was one of the leaders. He discovered that she was a 28 year old instructor from Salt Lake City, helping with the Gator Bowl performances. This probably qualifies as one of his most embarrassing moments so far. Jacob also taught himself to play piano in 2008 thanks in part to a few instructional videos on YouTube. Some of the favorites include: “Take a Bow”, “Apologize”, and “Armies of Helaman Medley”. He started dating this last year, too: a few of his first group dating activities included watching “What about Bob” at the park – taking a generator and projecting the movie onto the side of a facilities shed, while roasting marshmallows from camp chairs perched around a Coleman’s Lantern. Making castles out of ice cream blocks. Attending a Jon Schmidt piano concert. In short, loving life!

Nathan, age 13 – has taken a new interest in amateur video editing and production, after being required to create one for science on the laws of Newton (see sample above). He made 1st chair clarinet in band at junior high, still loves tennis and doesn’t get to play it as often as he’d like. Loves social studies and is brilliant at understanding and remembering what he learns on the topic. He has also taken an interest in the piano and keeps the home full of music when Jacob isn’t already on it. Favorite songs to play: “Bad Day”, and “Everything”. Also completed his Eagle Project at Camp Hinckley at the same time. (He and Jacob took different ends of the trail and met in the middle.) It was a dream for me to knock both Eagle projects out at the same time!! (Aside from having to return to the site a second time – 6 hours away – to go measure and map the new trail a few weeks later.)

Kayli, age 10 – still loves horses and spends time with them whenever she can. This is Kayli visiting “Jack” – our friend’s neighbor’s horse. She started a family trend among the kids blogging. She loves to cook and can follow any recipe… goodies are her favorite thing to make. She still plays the violin even though we missed an entire semester. Learned to play most of “Maple Leaf Rag” and “Bad Day” on the Piano. Learned how to curl her own hair. Discovered a few new movie favorites: “Singing in the Rain” and “Anne of Green Gables”.

Jared, age 9 – loves to play on the computer creating pixel art. He took first place in water color for 3rd grade at the Arizona State Fair. Has taken a real interest and demonstrates quite a talent in all sorts of art. He creates shadows and dimensions even when using nothing but Microsoft Paint. He loves the scouting program and loves to go to the science center as a family. Doesn’t like to go for long drives, though. Doesn’t like jumping cactus, nor slippery rocks next to ponds. His blue scripture case with “CTR” (for “choose the right”) embroidered on the front (with scriptures inside) vanished over our July trip to Utah and Idaho and still hasn’t turned up. Anyone seen it? The scriptures have his name engraved on the outer cover…

Nicholas, age 7 – matching socks, which can be quite a chore in our family. He set a goal to learn how to read by Christmas, so that he could finally “read Jackrabbit Factor“. Still waiting to lose a few teeth that look like they’d like to drop out soon. High energy, high volume individual. Packs a powerful punch. He has taken a liking to the piles of Legos Jacob “manifested” eight years ago (as described in Hidden Treasures). Maybe because they are just so much more fun than trying to match piles of socks. Also, Nicholas was excited to get his very own baseball bat at Christmas… still has yet to go use it…

BETHANY’S VIDEO – file conversion issue gave me trouble, couldn’t post it  🙁

Bethany, age 5 – sings original songs, complete with vibrato – melodramatic vibrato, at times. Can get me giggling by merely asking for something and then striking a pose that communicates absolute beggary, with puppy-dog eyes batting and lips pursed sweetly together. I try not to laugh but I can’t help it. And for the record: no, it doesn’t work. Loves to be rewarded with Trident gum when she goes for extended periods of time with a dry thumb. (Yes, it was given up more than 6 months ago, but there have been occasional setbacks.)

Sarah, age 2 – has everyone wrapped around her finger. Loves to spin in her “princess dress” (see sample above). Is talking in full sentences now (when she’s not on camera, at least), and loves her siblings (and all the attention they give her). Rides a little bike with training wheels. Loves Caillou, Baby Songs, and Elmo’s Grouchland Adventure. Has learned to reprimand Charlie the basset hound, but unfortunately Charlie pays no attention to her squeaky, non-authoritative voice. (“Charlie, GO!” “No, Charlie!” …and when he doesn’t obey, she just screams.)

That’s the rundown.  Besides all of that, we spent July on the road for a speaking tour, enjoyed Yellowstone, hiking the “Y” in Provo for July 4th fireworks, visiting friends and family, and Zion’s National Park (almost, that is… the trailer was too long for the mountain switchback roads so we had to turn around.)  In December, I spent a week at my parents’ house in an effort to make significant headway on creating the Jackrabbit Factor sequel.  (Kids voted to knock it out in a short period of time rather than to drag it out over two years like the last time.)

The best
part of the year was just being together.  Nothing brings us greater joy than our family, and we wish you and yours a bright and fulfilling 2009.  May God bless your family with the Spirit of Christmas Love throughout the year!