The Definition of Positive Manipulation
Often listed as one of the five most stressful events in life, divorce is by far the most long-term situation in which one must apply a Positive Manipulation process. So what do I mean by putting the two words positive and manipulation together? Its definition -- and trust me, you won't find this in Webster's -- is to physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually convert the negative energy within us and around us into its most positive form.
Look up "manipulation" in any dictionary and you will see the words "manage" and "handle." Used in certain contexts, it doesn't have to have a harmful connotation. In fact, if I were to hand you a piece of clay and ask you to manipulate it into the shape of a dog, you wouldn't hesitate, understanding exactly what I meant. Use it in any other circumstance, however, and it takes on a whole different meaning. So for most people, adding the word "positive" to "manipulation" seems to create an oxymoron.
Other writers talk about different processes of positive self-manipulation. Thomas Keating refers to self-transformation as conversion and calls the process "the contemplative journey". In his book "Think and Grow Rich," Napoleon Hill dubs it "voluntary self effort," and refers to the manipulating of one's own energy as "transmutation."
Manipulation is Not a Dirty Word
To make it more palatable to those people who cannot get past the negative connotation, you should know that Positive Manipulation is done to yourself, not others. When you encounter divorce, however, your first inkling is to protect, self-preserve and possibly negatively manipulate. The last thought on anyone's mind is to give love and put their best foot forward. After all, putting your foot anywhere in the vicinity of your future ex may mean getting it lopped off! Instead, consider the idea of every one, every thing, every situation you encounter, having an energy attached; an influence, positive or negative on your body, emotion, mind and attitude. Knowing that everything coming at you can be potentially deemed as either good or bad means you have a decision to embrace or release. It gives you cause to bring it in as is, or change it into what is appropriate to your needs or the needs of the moment. The act of Positive Manipulation is really an ability to take whatever is not working towards your goal and turn it into something worthwhile, that can attach to or radiate from a loving place within you. Whether it is for self-protection, or for an altruistic act you do for someone else, Positive Manipulation creates positive energy that can be felt immediately by you and those around you.
Hill put it this way: "The secret of control lies in understanding the process of transmutation. When any negative emotion presents itself in one's mind, it can be transmuted into a positive or constructive emotion, by the simple procedure of changing one's thoughts." Hill believed we could manifest anything through thought control, and it doesn't have to stop there.
The Origin of Positive Manipulation
The term Positive Manipulation came to me many years ago at the onset of my separation in the early 1990s. It was a beautiful summer evening and I was walking with a neighbor, telling her about an issue I had with my husband. I can barely recall the details of that story, but I vividly remember her accusing me of manipulating him. "Well," I said resentfully, "if I am, it is a positive manipulation and it will benefit all of us in the end!"
At the time, I didn't fully appreciate the words I'd chosen, but as the months rolled on, I understood my indignation. I was twisting myself into a pretzel, using a manipulation process on myself, not him, trying hard to hold back every negative word and thought in order to maintain a healthy relationship with the father of my children. I knew how disrupted our lives had become because of the break up, and I was determined to create peace. What good was becoming a happy divorcee if my kids and their father were miserable? It didn't make sense to go from one state of turmoil to another, and somehow I knew love and forgiveness were the answer.
Now, I am making this sound easy, but it was not! The concept was innate, but the practice was tough. I was incredibly mishandled throughout my marriage and harbored plenty of pain and anguish. I had all the appropriate human reasons to hate and never forgive him, but I tried earnestly to let them go, thinking, "I'm done with the past and can start a new life. There will be no room in my heart for anger, especially if I fill it with love and forgiveness." As naïve as I was at the time about healing, I believe I was guided by common sense, a necessity to survive and, most importantly, love. My altruistic attitude didn't come from me being a saint. It came from me being a mother. And I wasn't being totally selfless. I was acting on behalf of myself as well. It was the only way to achieve my goal of living a happy life. I wanted what was best for the father of my children, but that wasn't my initial objective. Keeping him loving towards me was what I was after. It was the only way we would all survive the trauma, and I knew someone had to start the process. Armed with this selfless/selfish attitude, I was able to overcome many negative emotions I had towards him and the numerous uncomfortable situations our family was exposed to.
My Positive Manipulation practice instinctively began immediately after he left. Hoping not to make our situation worse, I tried to be as polite and gracious as I could. I found it relatively easy to be positive about the future though because I was so happy that the marital stress was gone. I was willing to forgive almost all of my negative emotions towards him since I knew he had a beautiful soul, even if it was temporarily masked by what I perceived as lots of negatives.
The first step I took was to create a goal, "I want to be the best person and mother I can be." The second step was to attach a motive to it: "Because I want my kids to be healthy and feel secure and loved." This goal, with its altruistic motive, sent a force out into the universe that rippled for years. There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't feel angels around me and validation for what I was doing, not to mention a newfound strength and conviction. No matter what situation occurred, I was able to handle it, most often with a positive outcome.
Again, this is not to say that I always did the right thing. I am human and admit to it, but the conclusion of any episode we endured seemed to help and not hurt in the end. Like a cat, I always landed on my feet no matter how far I was thrown, taking any negative energy that was coming toward me and manipulating it into an energy I could use. Hate for what was done to me transformed back into love, anger turned to tolerance and forgiveness, anxiety became empathy, and fear evolved into a need to succeed and desire to learn — a quest for knowledge so strong it brought me to write this book. Ultimately, peace was kept and the children and I not only survived, we thrived.
I started out humbly, realizing that the true value in creating the goal/motive is to start somewhere and continuously admit that I may not have any idea how I am going to make it happen. I have a quip I use all the time: "I am smart enough to know that I am not smart enough to know everything about anything." As soon as we let go of the idea that we know best, the best way to do things appears.
You May Not Be Alone in That Body of Yours
No matter what religion you were exposed to, you have probably been taught that we are comprised of two entities, one being the human body and the other being a soul or spirit. When you begin to comprehend this, an amazing realization arises; we are not beholden to the body we come in. We can transcend all our shortcomings. We can let go of our physical selves and tap into an incredible power that could never be defined in human terms.
While growing up, I was aware of two personas I called "Big Donna/Little Donna," which were distinct and separate people in my head. Big had a loud voice and was first to respond. Little was tiny and a struggle to hear. I was in my late 30s when I began to fully understand what these voices represented. We all have an inner soul voice that is constantly beckoning us to transform out of what our human selves have gotten us into. Since being human makes us flawed, so too are most of our thoughts and actions. At the time I discovered my two voices, I followed what was louder and stronger, irrespective of what it was telling me to do. The little voice didn't stand a chance and, in addition, the direction it was asking me to follow was difficult and uncomfortable. What I didn't realize was that as I got healthier and desired more love and positive energy in my life, the two entities switched. Now Little Donna became the new Big Donna, meaning the voice of positive reason was becoming louder and easier to follow. This was a huge step in my own growth. I realized that the volume was now controlled by what my intentions were, not what my human self wanted to hear!
We have heard of people doing extraordinary things. The "Spirit" within each of us is capable of much more than we ever use on a daily or even yearly basis. We can overcome anything we put our minds to. That incredible power that we call God or Buddha, Allah, Divine, Source, Jehovah, Great Spirit, exists within all of us, but do all of us make use of it? Do we listen to the source or forget it's there to tap into?
Positive Manipulation is the act or discipline of managing those voices within us. It is about making a case for doing and saying what is right for everyone and using our soulful, mindful ears, instead of our human ones. It is about talking ourselves out of what we really want to do in order to do what we really should do. It allows us to recreate ourselves so the spirit and goodness within us will constantly, easily, and joyfully be revealed. Our soul (as I like to call it, but please feel free to use your own word) is comprised of pure love energy, and we need to be reminded every minute of every day that we all have the ability to utilize it every minute of every day! Even if you don't believe in God, accept and embrace this higher consciousness because it is within you.
If you are reading this article, there is most likely a small voice inside beckoning you to turn up the volume so it can be heard. It wants you to know that you have the ability to lift yourself from your human bodies' frailties and occasional negative state of being just long enough to do what you need to do. Whether we decide to use it or not, we all have the potential to be our best selves and to emit, articulate, and transfer the love energy we were created with. It is called free will, but you should know, it doesn't come freely — unless, of course, you will it to.
This article was adapted by Divorce Magazine with permission from the book The Ten Commandments of Divorce: How to leave your marriage without breaking up your family by Donna Martini, DM Enterprises, LLC, © 2011 Donna Martini. Donna Martini is a longtime student and researcher of traditional and alternative medical practices. It was her divorce, however, that prompted the greatest healing, when she uncovered the mysteries of energy exchange and started using a process she later named Positive Manipulation ™. When others began to ask for help, her coaching and writing careers emerged. For more information, visit www.TheTenCommandmentsOfDivorce.com.