Affirmations and intentions

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. — Lao Tzu

About four years ago I started writing affirmations on my bathroom mirror. (Use a dry erase marker) The previous year had seen divorce and a move to a new place with new beginnings. I started with Affirmations 101: I am worthy, I am loved, I love you. Without self-love, it is difficult to love others or believe anything else good about yourself.

If you’ve told yourself 70,000 times that you are not good enough, it will take at least 7000 repetitions of a loving affirmation to reprogram the subconscious mind. Say it to yourself, with strong feeling, and it will become integrated into the subconscious mind.

After I did that for a while, I wrote I am beautiful and I attract beautiful people and I am extraordinary. Those were challenging for me, because I never thought of myself as attractive, either physically or otherwise, and thought of myself as just an ordinary person, nothing special.

Writing them where I would see it every day, repeating it over and over to myself, slowly but surely I found myself knowing the truth of these words. I AM beautiful and extraordinary! And I started attracting a different type of people into my life, people who brought positive, bright energy into my life.

Currently on my bathroom mirror: I invite personal transformation into my life every day.

A few years ago I subscribed to “Notes from the Universe”, delivered to my inbox every day. Here are three that I printed and taped to my bathroom mirror.

Live your dreams NOW to any degree that you can. With every purchase. Every decision. Every hello and goodbye. Every assignment. Every conversation. Every meal. Every morning, afternoon, and evening. And never, ever, ever look back. Reframe every thought, word, and deed from the perspective of the person you’ve always dreamed you’d be, as if your life was already as you’ve always dreamed it would be. Die to yesterday’s illusions and be reborn to the truth of your vision.

And let’s just see if you can handle the torrent of treasures I send your way! – The Universe

 

Time out! Time out!

What do you mean, you can’t see it? You don’t know? You aren’t sure? You’re scared?

This is an adventure, you’re an adventurer, and uncertainty, fear, and even setbacks happen. Besides, “easy” has never been your style, and just because you can’t see the miracles doesn’t mean they aren’t happening, doesn’t mean you’re alone, and doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path.

The day your ship arrives, and it now swiftly approaches – the confusion, fear, and setbacks will be among your fondest memories. – The Universe

 

It’s easy. Just once a day, imagine the life you dream of. Believe that it can be yours in this world of magic and miracles. Choose to live as if you know of its inevitable manifestation. Don’t compromise. Don’t worry. Don’t look for results. And as surely as spirit crafts one moment after another, so too will it fuse together the life you now lead with the life of your dreams as if they were two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, destined to become one. – The Universe

 

My wish for you is that you succeed beyond your wildest imagination. That you find love in places that astound you. And that you have friends who call you “just because.” I dream that you go barefoot more than you wear shoes. That you play as hard as you work. And that you laugh more than you cry. I want you to set the bar high, but not too high. To reach for the stars, but with your toes on the ground. And to never, ever stop dreaming. But most of all I wish for your happiness.

And these dreams of mine are what started it all.  – The Universe

Hanging these up with intention and reading them frequently continues to bring me inspiration to keep on my path. I truly feel that I am living the life of my dreams, and that there is much much more to come. I can honestly say that I get to go barefoot more than I wear shoes! And my circle of friends who are family is ever expanding.

For years, when things weren’t going so well, I would say to myself and to God “I just want to love and be loved.” And now, I know that I am loving and being loved.  It didn’t happen in a way I expected, rather, it has happened as I began to use affirmations as well as regular meditation of the heart-based kind.

And the love is ever-expanding.

 

I don’t want to quit my job

A few months ago, I was thinking about how to leave my job, and developed a timeline to make it happen. Part of it may have been that my two closest coworkers left, then my boss, who is amazing. The rest of it has to to do with generally not buying into traditional western medicine and the revolving door that the hospital I work in has. I was searching, questioning, setting intentions, and back in March made a decision to do something different, and found my passion.

I have finished the first term of study with New World Ayurveda, including the Nutrition Intensive. I have learned so much, and have made gradual changes in what and how I eat, and have weaned myself off the bioidentical hormones I’ve been taking for 7 years. I feel fantastic. I have energy, clarity of mind, purpose, and joy. I am more productive at work than I’ve ever been, and am developing new relationships with new and old coworkers.

Stress is there, of course, but somehow it is easier to deal with. I’m sure there are quite a few factors involved, but I would say the main one is my regular meditation practice. It’s been a year and a half, and even I notice that I am less reactive, calmer, more peaceful, more in the moment. I’d like to incorporate more yoga into my life, and for now, most mornings, I follow this zen yoga video, and it just seems to energize me and get me ready for the day.

I worked hard this week, and felt good after every day. That’s different. It wasn’t like that a few months ago, or a year ago. The job hasn’t changed. I have. As I walked out to my car yesterday, which was Friday, I realized that I wasn’t all about quitting the job anymore. I have purpose there. I have opportunities to share love with hurting people, and be a source of encouragement and help.

I still have goals, and time lines, and dreams and desires. But I am happiest when I stay in the present moment with the people that are in front of me. Perhaps next summer when I finish my course of study, great changes will occur, or it may be that I keep on where I am now. Between then and now, I am sure that I will find guidance as I set one foot in front of another.

 

Thoughts on Meditation

As I continue my meditation practice, and especially while traveling, more insights came to me about what meditation is and is not. It can be a bit challenging to keep up a regular practice while traveling, and a key concept is to not judge yourself. Travel is glorious and disruptive at the same time, so the idea is to do the best you can to stay “grounded”, and meditation can help in this area.

I recently had a conversation with someone who said she hadn’t been able to commit to meditation, even though she thinks it’s probably pretty great, because she doubts if she can clear her mind of thoughts.  I think that’s a  common misconception. Maybe advanced meditators can do that, but that is definitely not my experience! Someone else I talked to said “I’ve just got to keep doing it until my mind goes!” She seemed to be trying too hard. It’s not about the mind going somewhere else, or having no thoughts at all.

Back when I was a conservative fundamentalist Christian I had a long list of things that were bad, or even evil. Meditation was one of them, because the belief was that you make your mind blank and as a result you open yourself up to evil spirits who can come in and possess you. I really believed that, which now amazes me. Back then, I embraced dogmatism rather than allow uncertainty into my life. I am happy to report that I was wrong, and if I can meditate, anyone can.

One way to experience meditation is to realize that it is basically sitting with yourself. There are different techniques, and although it is helpful to have a teacher, it is not absolutely necessary. I use a mantra based on when and where I was born. The mantra is an anchor, or you can use your breath. I focus on it, but inevitably my mind drifts to — you got it, thoughts! Then after a bit I realize I’m thinking, so back to the mantra. There’s no striving, just gentle drifting back and forth. Definitely not blankness, but occasionally there is an awareness of being somewhere else, so to speak. It’s difficult for me to describe. And I must admit that I sometimes relax so much that I nod off to sleep!

It is worth it to make a commitment, to take the time, to truly sit with yourself and to allow whatever is inside you to surface. Then you get up and go about your business. Over time, you will see a difference in your responses to life’s frustrations, and people will say, what have you done with yourself? Because you will develop a different countenance and demeanor. This huffington post article about the benefits of meditation is fascinating, and has before and after pictures.

As you practice sitting in meditation letting whatever happens inside happen, without judgment, you will gradually find yourself letting go of old mental and emotional patterns. You will find freedom from that which doesn’t serve you well, and you will find new ways of peacefully embracing life as it unfolds.

Morning Introspection

I went down to the lake this morning to drink my coffee. It is coffee, although I am gradually decreasing the coffee and increasing the Raja’s cup. Blended with butter, it is delicious.

The lake has a lot of vegetation floating on it. Robert thinks it is water hyacinth. Much haslake with water hyacinth gathered along the pier and boardwalk where I sat, contemplating and watching the birds. Lately, when I look out the window, I don’t see many birds. But sitting, they come. I don’t know the names of most of them.

There are gulls, of course, and an occasional egret. I think the large black bird is a grackle. There are smaller birds that flit quickly over the water, and seem to really like the water hyacinth islands. I wonder if there are insects there that are easy to catch. I saw a lone duck, flying low, quacking as he went. I wonder if he’s trying to catch up to his friends.

My favorite is the pelican, but there were none to be seen this morning.

My thoughts recently are wandering to the future. I want to stay in this present moment, mindfully, enjoying the beauty of the morning. Yet, I am in a spot where my life has had another turning point, and I have set a goal.

Next June, 2016, will see the culmination of some of these goals and the beginning of something else. It’s that something else that keeps causing me to wonder.

Sometime last summer or fall, it had become clear to me that it was time to think about my future. I don’t want to stay at my job forever, or even for a few more years. I want to travel, even live a gypy’s life, maybe.

Goal #1: save as much money as I can, for the time when I leave the job. Goal #2: work full time until June 2016. I will have been there for 6 years, and I will have had enough. I sometimes feel like I’ve had enough now, but practicality still reigns somewhat. I think there’s still purpose for me there. That month, I will be 59 1/2, the age of being able to withdraw some monies without penalty.

Those were my only real goals until I made the decision to enroll with New World Ayurveda. Not only is the course of study exactly what I am interested and the cost affordable, but the concluding week long intensive is in….. (drum roll, please)… June 2016!

A major shift has occurred since I began this study, a shift in my soul, a new sense of purpose. Robert, my partner, says it is visibly noticeable. I’ve had people ask me what  is happening, I have a more peaceful appearance. I can feel it inside.

I think it all started when I learned Primordial Sound Meditation and began the practice of twice daily meditation – March of last year. I don’t understand how it works, but it does.  I started stepping out of my comfort zone more and more, with painting, writing (this blog), decisions about ridding myself of toxic relationships, and other issues related to how I live day to day.

So, as I sat thinking on this, enjoying the beauty of the morning, I realized that the wondering about what would happen in June of 2016 was turning into worrying.  I was sitting in a place of beauty, so I closed my eyes, felt the air, took a few breaths, and decided that the best thing to do would be to write about it and let it go. I opened my eyes, drank in the beauty once more, and went inside to write.

Three ways to deal with stress

Do you have stress in your day?

Most of us do. The question is, how do we deal with it?

Some signs of stress can be low energy, difficulty sleeping, frequent colds and infections, indigestion, constipation,diarrhea, or nausea, headaches or ringing in the ears, mystery aches and pains, nervousness or shaking, and at its worse, shortness of breath and chest pain.

The most common response to these symptoms is to think that there is something physically wrong. ( And there could be.) But if you get checked out by your doctor, they can’t find an underlying cause, then it could be related to stress.

Sometimes we don’t take the time to digest our experiences. If we go from one activity to another, or have a lot of responsibility, or have personal relational or financial difficulties, and don’t take time for ourselves, then we aren’t fully digesting what is happening within, which can lead to some of the above symptoms. It’s rather like not chewing food well.

The first way that I have found helpful in handling stress is to only do one thing at a time. At work this is a huge challenge, as I have a lot of demands placed on me at any given time. Even though at times I slip and catch myself trying to multitask, I actually get more done with less stress and less error when I focus on only one thing at a time.

The second way is to sit with yourself. Meditation is the best way to do this, but before I started meditating, there were other things I tried that were helpful, and I still do some of them now. When I was in a bad relationship, I learned, through the help of some great people in Al-Anon, to give myself 15 minutes to have a good cry, which releases a lot of stress, then wash my face or take a bath or shower. (Or cry in the bath or shower!) If you cry more longer than that, things can just get worse.

Third, look at your eating and sleeping habits. Are you eating nourishing food on a regular basis? Try to eat 3 meals a day with the midday meal being the largest, and don’t eat after about 7 pm. Are you staying up late watching a marathon of your favorite show? Not the greatest thing for getting  a good night’s sleep!

Other ideas are to take a walk in nature, connect with animals, or sit by a body of water. I have found that just listening to the sound of birds calling or saying hello to a dog brings me a sense of inner peace. Take a gentle yoga class. Do something creative. Get away from social media or electronics for a bit. Read a good book, or engage in laughter through a funny movie, socializing with good people, or engaging in a pillow fight. It is best to try “old-fashioned” ideas – non electronic!

Take care of yourself, and remember to breathe!

“Every grain of experience is food for the greedy growing soul of the artist.”                       – Anthony Burgess