by Linda M. Potter
I have a new favorite word: pronoia! Up until a month ago, I’d never heard of pronoia. Now, however, it’s not only worked its way into my everyday vocabulary, it pops up in conversations when I least expect it, triggers impromptu acts of giggling and sparks spontaneous fits of joy. It’s one of those words that’s just fun to say and more fun to use in random ways that confound my adult friends, but delight my inner child.
Pronoia is what’s called a “neologism” —– a new word that has not yet been accepted into the mainstream, but is rapidly coming into common usage. People disagree as to who originally coined the term, but I like the version that ties it to the psychedelic ‘60s/‘70s and John Perry Barlow, a lyricist for the Grateful Dead. He purportedly introduced pronoia as “the suspicion that the Universe is a conspiracy on your behalf.” It was a perfect “make love-not war” generation response to the rampant paranoia of the day — the suspicion that everyone was plotting against you. At least that’s my take on it.
Now, I love words and I had to research this a little. The root word is noia which comes from the Greek and means “thought.” When combined with para the result is a word that means the “modification” of normal thought… with a negative result. However, when combined with pro, thoughts take a positive turn, life is effortless and the world becomes a welcoming place. At least that’s what we pronoiacs believe. How can you not like that?
So, I’ve been on a pronoia binge — spreading its positive message everywhere I go. I have found however, that I’ve raised a few eyebrows with well-meaning family and friends.
What has happened to Linda? they whisper among themselves. She’s so positive about everything, so convinced that life is for her rather than against her that we fear she’s become delusional.
In response to the growing concern about my sanity among those who care about me, I reposted a lovely picture I found on Facebook (from Hay House, UK). It shows a beautiful young woman with be-ribboned blonde locks in a flowing dress and fairy wings atop an unusual-looking white steed. She is declaring indignantly, “Someone told me I was delusional. Well, I almost fell off my unicorn!” It got a bevy of “likes” and reassured my friends that even if I’d lost my mind, I hadn’t lost my sense of humor.
In my defense, it’s not my fault I’ve become gleefully positive. According to the Pronoia website (Pronoia.com), it’s quite common for pronoiacs to fall victim to “sudden attacks of optimism and outbreaks of goodwill.”
Worse things could happen to me. It’s not only reassuring but empowering to know with absolute certainty that there’s a Power for Good in the Universe — call it God, call it The Universe, call it George, whatever works for you — that likes me (really, really likes me) and is rooting me on. And it inspires me to pay it forward.
If we believe God is conspiring for our good, failure is no longer even a possibility, much less an option, and “I Can Do It!” is the only mantra Spiritual beings having a human experience need to adopt. Sound a little over the top? Maybe a little, but just have fun with it.
For example, there’s something uniquely refreshing about waking up each morning, running out on the back deck of my house — arms wide — and screaming: God’s in his Heaven—all’s right with the world! Yes, I look a little silly in my fuzzy pink bathrobe with the yellow ducks on the collar… and my neighbors are probably grumbling about me behind my back, but I’m not about to let them knock me off my unicorn. I’m having a great ride.
Linda M. Potter is a writer, popular speaker and the author of If Only God Would Give Me a Sign! For more information, to purchase a book, or to schedule Linda to speak at your next event, visit www.lindampotter.com or contact her at email@example.com.