Accentuate The Positive – Day 237 of 365 Days to a Better You

Some 2500 years ago the Buddha, as recorded in the Dhammapada, is said to have articulated the following.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought: we are formed and molded by our thoughts. (Verse 1)

Whatever harm an enemy may do to an enemy, or a hater to a hater, an ill-directed mind inflicts on oneself a greater harm. Neither mother, father, nor any other relative can do one greater good than one’s own well-directed mind. (Verses 42-43)

The Buddha’s meaning is quite clear. He was among the earliest to say something along the lines of, “You become what you think.” Then he goes further. He tells us that no outside force can do us as much harm or good as our own thoughts.

This begs the question, “Who controls your thoughts?”

That ought to be 100 percent of time Y-O-U.

The equation is simple from here. Badly as we might want to shift the blame to other people, God, or society; you control your thinking and your thinking dominates your life. I say dominates rather than controls because there are circumstantial exceptions, but not many.

So, what you’re feeling, what you’re attracting, where you’re stuck all follows a straight line back to your thinking. There’s just no way around it.

This isn’t a blame game. I’m not telling you this so you can feel worse about yourself or become defensive. I’m telling you this because your thinking has led you to where you are as surely as the earth follows the sun. If you want to change your circumstances, you will have to change your thinking.

It’s not a replacement for faith or a support system, but those can only help you when you’re thinking is leading the way forward.

Power hack: Accentuate the positive…eliminate the negative.

You may have heard the old 1940s sing titled Accentuate The Positive. The lyric goes, “You’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative…” It’s simple, but profound advice.

When you feel down, depressed, beaten, you can get stuck in an eddy of negativity and there seems like no way out. One negative thought follows another and you start buying into all of it.

When you’re feeling that way, you’ve megadose the positive. Force feed it. Flush out the negative with the positive. Let the sunshine dissipate the clouds. Don’t complain about the clouds. Summon the sunshine.

Easy? No, it’s hard. It sometimes takes every ounce of strength and you may feel oddly attached to your wallowing, but I assure you you can pull yourself out of that ditch when you understand your thoughts don’t just happen.

My wife shared something funny and inspiring today. She follows Rachel Hollis and she now has a tattoo that reads, “Embrace the suck.”

Sometimes we have to do hard things and it sucks. Climbing back to your best self when it’s easier to stay down is hard. But, you are a one-in-a-trillion miracle and totally with that effort.

You’re all the best! Thanks for stopping by and spending your valuable time with me!

Ray

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Leaving Boston and Clicking Our Heels Together Three Times

Life is filled with cycles, circles, and side-trips. Some thrill, some enlighten, and some just come into your life long enough to make the needed impression and move on. All are part of the great adventure that is our lives.

Four years ago April and I took one of those side-trips by moving to Boston. Literally, a few months before our arrival, Boston was not on our radar at all.

April was recruited here and accepted the job. Within two months, April, our black lab Mia, and I were on the road headed for Boston. Our time in New England has been extraordinary. We’ve often commented on how we still feel like we’re on vacation. This is truly one of the GREAT cities of the world. There’s so much culture, history, and there’s an ocean. It’s a place of poets and presidents; as much the birthplace of our nation as Philadelphia.

We got to experience the Boston Pops July 4th Concert twice. We’ve endured massive winter Nor’easters and blissfully soaked in fall colors found nowhere else on Earth. Coming from Kansas, we were surprised to learn that a heatwave is officially three days in a row above 90 degrees. We became old hands at the Mass Pike and the T. We experienced tall ships and and learned to sing “Sweet Caroline” at Sox games like the locals. We enjoyed Nantucket, The Vineyard, and The Cape. We walked Harvard Yard and the deck of the USS Constitution. We built the house we always wanted.

Yet, earlier this year we noticed a sea change in our thinking. When we moved here, only one of our two grown children was married and we had no grandkids. Now both are married. We have two grandkids and a third on the way. Suddenly, 1500 miles away felt like a million.

When we moved here, we had no expectation of how long we’d stay. We started talking about the possibility of moving back the second year. We also discussed living here for 20 and being the cool grandparents that our grandchildren would come to Boston to visit in the summers.

Alas, the gravity of family was too much and we decided to move back to Kansas. Our house spent three months on the market. Yesterday we accepted an offer and, barring hiccups, we now have an expiration date on this little adventure. By the end of June and four years to the week since we arrived, we’ll reverse course and traverse I-90 on a westerly heading.

Leaving Boston is bittersweet. This place got inside of us. It will never be just another place on the map again. Thankfully, April’s new job – still based here in Boston – will probably give us the opportunity to come back and visit. Perhaps, we’ll still bring our grandkids here when they’re old enough and show them the super-cool city where grandma and grandpa used to live.

The seven-week countdown is on. Soon we’ll be clicking our heels together three times and waking up in a Kansas bed. The tree-lined, windy roads of New England will be replaced by the wide-open spaces and skies of Kansas.

Yes! Life is filled with cycles, circles, and side-trips. Thanks goodness for this one! It’s been truly wicked!

Ray

 

 

Dreaming While Awake

Today’s thought

“Most people think dreams are only experienced when sleeping. A few enlightened souls recognize that dreams happen only when we become fully awake.”

Of course, our awakening occurs gradually over the course of our life or lives (depending on your belief). Some days it’s two steps forward and three steps back. Some days the chaos and the noise around us obscures the mountain summit.

However, the more we commit to our own awakening; the more we make it the focus of our lives; the more clearly our dreams come into view. We seem to be treading water, treading water, treading water, and then one day we realize we have slipped right into living our dream.

There is a kind of unconsciousness about the last step that allows us to ease right into a life we only, well, “dreamed” about.

Today, no matter what physical or psychological weather you face in your life; keep treading and keep your dream in focus.

Sleep is for rest. Our dreams are meant to be experienced with eyes wide open.

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot. He’s spent more than 25 years studying personal development and especially writing, recording, and using affirmations to achieve his goals. His eBook – The Power to Be You – offers 416 life-changing and original quotes, ideas, and affirmations to take you to new levels of achievement and reflection.

anunnaki_cover_full_colorAnunnaki Awakening: Revelation, Ray’s first novel,  is turning heads and opening minds. Humanity’s past is checkered, secret, and dangerous.

White House Correspondent Maria Love is on to the story of her life and with the help of an Anunnaki leader seeks to unravel and reveal history’s biggest conspiracy. The Awakening has begun!

It Is What It Is or Is It?

“It is what it is.” Has anyone else noticed the sudden popularity of this phrase? Perhaps in this era of big fears we feel swept along by forces we cannot control. It’s become almost mantric for some people.

On the surface, this statement seems to be highly pragmatic and even a little bit wise. But, I wonder.

I’ve been paying special attention to when people use this phrase. They tend to use it in situations where they feel they have no control and have resigned themselves to an outcome. There is a subtext, “I’m powerless to change the situation,” but what comes out is, “It is what it is.”

Certainly there are things in life – despite our positive thoughts and motivated action – that we cannot change. I cannot make Monday Friday. I cannot become 10 again. However, we cannot allow the times, our circumstances, or other people to convince us that the realm of things over which we lack control is large.

“It is what it is” is actually an affirmation – even a meditation – on our powerlessness. If we choose to buy into that mindset and inhabit that space, that is what will expand in our lives. Everything will become only what it is instead of what it can be. We will see ourselves as helpless entities acted on by massive forces rather than as the amazing and powerful beings that we are.

Words have enormous power. Choose the ones you say to yourself and to others wisely.

Stay inspired!

Ray

2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!”

Eight Years….Has It Changed Us? – The Affirmation Spot for Friday September 11, 2009

Whatever anger rules anger destroys. Wherever love pervades, hope and possibility flourish.

Eight years ago today the world witnessed what happens when hatred and violence shape human actions. September 11, 2001 was the world’s first truly global terrorist event. The scale, the number of people from around the world gone in a moment, and the planetary TV audience brought us all closer together, if only for a moment.

In the days that followed, I wrote the following open letter. It was partly an attempt to come to terms with my own feelings and partly an attempt to sway anyone who might have been reading that we must find better ways to live together on this planet.

Here is the letter in its entirety from September 14, 2001.

This letter is dedicated to the victims, their families, the rescue workers, and everyone who is a voice or a pair of hands for a more peaceful world.

The events of this past week have shocked and saddened all well-meaning people the world over. As an American, my heart breaks for the people tragically victimized by this act. As a human being my heart hemorrhages, that we still live in a world that believes killing each other is a solution to our problems. How regrettable that we human beings still choose to address our grievances with each other in such destructive ways.

It is devastating to witness the results of such hatred, bigotry, and violence in action. No cause, no complaint against the United States can ever justify the actions taken by these fanatics. Their misguided interpretation of their beliefs and their unwillingness to see Americans as fellow human beings, worthy of life, caused them to conclude that any action against America was justified. The outpouring of human emotion and determination this week from around the world should let them know they have crossed a line drawn by all civilized societies and sane human beings.

In our effort to draw that line, we bring ourselves into danger. Not only the physical danger of responding to their actions, but the psychological and spiritual temptations to become like the terrorists to defeat them. If we allow our desire for revenge on groups of people to overcome our need for justice for the individuals responsible, we are in danger of becoming undifferentiated from them. If we succumb to the fear resulting from the terrorist’s actions and curtail the basic liberties we hold dear in our society, then the very thing that sets us apart and is worth defending becomes a victim of these acts. Ben Franklin, the wisest of our founding fathers, said, “Those who give up their liberty for a little temporary security, shall have neither liberty nor security.” Our leaders and our citizens would do well to recall these words as we address what measures should be taken to balance our freedoms with our security.

This week has been a time for grief over the deaths of many of our fellow-citizens as well as a significant number of foreign nationals representing more than 40 countries. By this measure, this was indeed an attack on the entire civilized world. As grief turns to anger and then to action, it is important for us to measure our actions and do what is right not just what would make us feel better. In the aftermath of these events, we might feel justified in doing almost anything. We may believe that retaliating against innocent people or attacking our fellow citizens who might look or share the same religion, in name, as the terrorists is acceptable. Such actions would only make us guilty of sinking to the same level as these criminals. As Americans it is our responsibility in the world to set a different example and show the world different and better ways to solve problems. Simply responding in kind will surely bring a cycle of violence, whose results we cannot predict, and leave us with the same long-term problems experienced elsewhere in this world when violence becomes the only means of communication.

There is plenty of suffering to go around. The victims and their families are suffering, our country is suffering, and the world is suffering as we relive these events on videotape over and over again. In this time of righteous anger, it is also important to contemplate the amount of self-inflicted suffering that must be necessary for any person to carry out this kind of terror. It is a time to reflect on the ways in which we all bring suffering into our lives and the lives of others. It can be a time when, in addition to justice, we seek new ways of relating to each other and working for a world where no one feels either the right or the impulse to inflict such things on others. Suffering was brought by these attacks. Killing more people in response will only increase suffering not bring solutions.

So from tragedy comes opportunity. We have seen this week the heroism of those working directly to help the victims, so there is opportunity to demonstrate our humanity one to another. There is opportunity to reflect on a world that we all create everyday with each thought, word, and action. There is opportunity for all sane and civilized peoples to work together to end the scourge of terrorist violence wherever it occurs. It is justice we must seek, though, not revenge.

Finally, we have the opportunity to start seeing the other people we share this planet with, even those different from ourselves, as human beings just like us. The temptation to divide the world into “us” and “them” is the thinking that created justification in the minds of these terrorists for their acts. To the extent we have all perpetuated this concept of the world, we have all created a fertile field for the conflicts we continue to endure here on planet earth. No religion teaches nor accepts acts like we saw this week. Every religion, however, does teach us to love our fellow human beings. To the extent we fail in the latter, we can all expect more of the former.

Let’s not permit this horrendous tragedy to occur and these deaths to be meaningless. Let us commit, even as we seek justice for these crimes, to create a world where such acts are unthinkable ways of making a statement, even for the most radical among us. An event like this should fill us with hard questions, not easy answers. Let us rally around our flag to seek justice, not as means of supporting a response yet more fierce and destructive in nature. Blood for blood has never brought people anything but more blood. May these events lead us to a greater self-awareness and a more reflective, just world. In that way, we can honor the memory of those lost in New York and Washington D.C, and Pennsylvania.

Some may believe this to be an unattainable goal. One thing is for sure, as long as we believe it to be impossible it will be. Despite our best efforts, crazy people may persist, but as a civilization and as individuals we owe it to ourselves and our children to seek that kind of world. May those who have suffered loss, find solace in their faith and the people around them. May those who are responsible be brought to a civilized justice. May we all find peace in our hearts and greater peace in our world!

Our World in Miracles I – The Affirmation Spot for Monday August 3, 2009

Ray’s Daily Affirmation:

“My world is conceived in miracles and today I remember to see them.”
(Choose from 100s mp3 affirmations at The Affirmation Spot)

Today is the first in a series of posts where I plan to highlight some of the amazing miracles around us. It’s easy to take things for granted, but our world and our Universe is a pretty amazing place.

While our goals and dreams and lives are very important, they are not the only thing going on. It’s always refreshing to step back and watch the miracles in action.

Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean at Ocean Park, Maine (to Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major)

Sunset into the Pacific Ocean off southern California

The Earth rising over the moon as videotaped by the Japanese Lunar orbiter Kaguya in 2007.

Sunrise in orbit taken over eastern Australia by Space Shuttle Discovery in 2006

See the miracles in your world today.

Stay inspired!

Ray

2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!”

Making the Most of Each Day – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday July 28, 2009

(Originally posted January 2, 2008)

Today’s affirmation is:

“I make each day a unique and special time in my life.”

solar_system2.jpgOur lives are about more than our jobs, our roles, our tasks, and our responsibilities. Each day of our existence has some unique place in the tapestry that makes up our lives. If we’re not careful, we may just miss the meaning.

It’s easy for days to slip by in our lives without us taking notice. Giving each day a special meaning is one way to keep that from happening.

Over the years, I’ve used a number of strategies to add meaning to each day. My favorite is to assign a positive attribute to each day of the week. This is not necessarily a novel idea. In the western world, the days of the week are generally named for the known celestial bodies and the god associated with that object.

In English Sunday is Sun-day. Monday is Moon-day. In French, Mardi (Tuesday) is Mars-day, Mercredi (Wednesday) is Mercury-day, and Jeudi (Thursday) is a translation of the Latin Jovis (Jupiter) or Jupiter-day. Saturday in English, obviously, is Saturn’s Day.

You can do something similar to add meaning to each day of your week. Try associating a positive emotion, attribute, or thought for each day. As the week’s cycle through, you will find that you look forward to focusing on the meaning of each day. The theme for each day becomes your own private meditation for the day.

You can associate anything you want with each day. The goal is to embody or focus on that attribute as you go through the day. The concepts should resonate with you and your life, but here is an example to give you some ideas.

  1. Sunday – theme your Sundays as “rebirth”. Since Sunday is generally viewed as the first day of the week it makes sense to use it to focus on something like rebirth. It is wonderful to have the opportunity start fresh every so often. Once a week is perfect.
  2. Monday – try theming Mondays as “happiness”. Monday is a depressing day for many people because it is the first day of the work week. Try countering the negative connotation by focusing on happiness all day.
  3. Tuesday – try theming Tuesdays as “peace.” Tuesday as the second day of the week.
  4. Wednesday – try theming Wednesdays as “overcoming”. Wednesday is often viewed as the middle of week – “hump day”. Capitalize on that idea by focusing on overcoming obstacles and challenges on Wednesday.
  5. Thursday – try theming Thursday as “faith” or “belief”. You may focus on your religious and spiritual beliefs or belief in your abilities or your future. Giving one day a week to this topic keeps you grounded in what is important to you.
  6. Friday – try theming Friday as “development”. We always need to be moving ahead in our lives. Having one day a week where we focus on our development can help.
  7. Saturday – try theming Saturday as “completion”. Since Saturday is the last day of the week it is ideal for highlighting the idea of finishing tasks or bringing aspects of our life to completion.

Other possible themes include hope, forgivness, relaxation, joy, frugality, learning, or love. The possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination.

Coincidentally, there are seven days of the week and seven colors in the rainbow. You might also try associating a color with each day/positive emotion to create additional significance.

Create calendars (regular or cyclical) that detail your themed days of the week. As the weeks pass, you begin to look forward to your “day of peace” on Sunday or your “day of take it slow” on Saturday. Try writing a more detailed descriptions of what each day means to you and how it contributes to your life.

Be creative and have fun with it. Maybe you make every Monday “laughing day”. You learn to laugh at yourself and others for taking life so seriously.

Most importantly, you will add significance to each grain of sand slipping through your 2008 hour glass. By the end of the year, you may find your life has more meaning.

Happy New Year. Thank you to each and every one of you who reads this blog, downloads affirmations, or takes a moment to write a kind word about what we are trying to accomplish at The Affirmation Spot.

Be peaceful Be prosperous.

Ray

2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!”