“On The Pulse of Morning” – The Affirmation Spot for Monday October 22, 2007

maya_angelou1.jpgThis morning I am sharing what is, in my humble opinion, among the greatest poems ever written. It was written for and read by the poet Maya Angelou for President Clinton’s first inaurgural on January 20, 1993. If this doesn’t get you inspired for the day, nothing will.

“On the Pulse of Morning”

by Maya Angelou

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.

The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers–desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot …
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours–your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

As beautiful as it is to read, it is more wonderful to hear to watch the poet recite it. This will be the best 6:21 of your day.

 Video of Maya Angelou deliverying the poem in 1993.

You may be struck by how innocent that time seems compared to now, but if we heed the words of this poem there is hope for a still-more innocent future.

Peace…

Ray

The Affirmation Spot.com

I’d like to personally invite you to come by The Affirmation Spot today and try a couple of our free affirmations or download affirmations in a category of interest to you. We are constantly growing and expanding with the goal of offering affirmations for your specific life needs.

New affirmations are available in the Wealth and Prosperity, Personal Empowerment, and Sales sections of the website.

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Things I Learned from My Dog Part 1 – The Affirmation Spot for Friday October 19, 2007

mia_snow.jpg

Today is the first in what will become a recurring series on things I learn from my dog. We humans may have the opposable thumb and a larger brain, but animals can actually serve as very good teachers for us.

 

I’ve always been a dog lover and I especially love Labrador Retrievers. They just seem to be the ultimate optimists in the dog world. They are fun, playful, and affectionate.

 

Take our three-year old black Lab – Mia. The whole world – me included – can be against me on a bad day, but Mia is still for me. When we need to feel better about ourselves or other people it always helps to take a dog’s point of view. Dogs teach by example and then there are those things we can learn by observation.

 

One humorous thing about Mia, though, is that she is a ferocious Squirrel Warrior. In fact, I’d have to say she is a little neurotic about squirrels. We are very fortunate to have a house with a significant number of windows. Mia – when she’s not sleeping – can usually be found patrolling the windows…waiting…watching for movement in the yard or a gray bushy tail in the grass that might indicate the presence of a squirrel.

 

She takes this very seriously and she can drive herself crazy over the squirrels. Some of the older, wily squirrels will do things to really annoy her like sit on the deck rail or the patio (in full view) and munch on a nut. While inside Mia is having a conniption fit, the squirrel is calmly watching.

 

They also seem to have a very good idea of exactly how far her chain will reach in the back yard and they love to sit just beyond it. Sometimes when we let her out she will sit up by the door for half an hour or more waiting for one to wander too close and then she is OFF. Chasing the squirrel for all she’s worth and almost catching it, but not quite. She is the Wylie Coyote of the neighborhood. Another brilliant trap foiled.

 

Much of Mia’s day is consumed with the pursuit of squirrels she’s probably never going to catch. She just cannot relax as long as there are squirrels around. They torment her and she lets them.

 

You know, we all have our squirrels. We all have things that drive us up the wall and refuse to let us have peace. It might be a habit of your spouse, e-mail spam, traffic jams, the project at work, or, well, you fill in the blank.

 

Even the language we use to describe our “squirrels” is backwards. We often say, “That traffic really annoyed me.” Did it? The traffic was just sitting on deck rail munching a nut. You were the one in the car losing your sense of peace.

 

There was a story I remember reading once about a young man who had decided to take up meditation. He was working with a teacher. The man lived in a big city apartment. He was explaining to his teacher that he could not meditate in the apartment because there was a bus stop right outside his apartment.

 

“The constant noise,” he complained, “will not allow me to meditate. It’s too distracting.”

 

The teacher leaned forward and smiled, “Ah yes, but is the bus coming into the apartment and bothering you or are you going outside and bothering the bus?”

 

The teacher’s point, of course, is that it is not the things that bother us; it is our thoughts about them that create the stress.

 

Today, make a list of your “squirrels” – those things that really annoy you. Think about how each can be addressed. Is there something you can do to change the situation and make it better? Or, is this something you just have to accept and get better at dealing with it?

 

Don’t try to take them all on at once. Work on one or two at a time. Over the course of the next few weeks or months –depending on how many you have – you will have more peace by setting them down.

 

When you encounter something really annoying you remember Mia. If it’s a real problem that needs to be dealt with, deal with it. If not (and so many things we get worked up about are not), visualize yourself as Mia going crazy and the source of your annoyance as the squirrel calmly munching the nut and enjoying the show.

 

I promise a smile will come to your face and you will recognize how silly it is and let it go.

 

Have a peaceful and prosperous Friday!

Ray

The Affirmation Spot.com

I’d like to personally invite you to come by The Affirmation Spot today and try a couple of our free affirmations or download affirmations in a category of interest to you. We are constantly growing and expanding with the goal of offering affirmations for your specific life needs.

New affirmations are available in the Wealth and Prosperity, Personal Empowerment, and Sales sections of the website.

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Positive Thinking Without the Rose-Colored Glasses

rose_colored_glassesToday’s blog may seem strange coming from someone who runs a website selling mp3 affirmations. However, this topic has been on my mind for sometime and an article I read today on Slate.com entitled Think Negative! seemed like the perfect opportunity to address it.

In the article, writer John Gravois takes Oprah Winfrey to task for her promotion (and darn near creation) of The Secret craze. Gravois argues that, if anything, we have our rose-colored glasses on too much in modern America. He blames “the positive thinking crowd” for this problem.

Gravois refers to a book by Rutgers University professor Karen Cerulo entitled Never Saw It Coming: Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst. Cerulo apparently details Gravois’ point about how we Americans only see the good in things and do so to our peril. He calls on Oprah to use her powers of persuasion to reverse support for The Secret.

First, I want to say that Oprah has been a hugely positive force in our society for a long time. For many years, I didn’t “get” her show. I thought it was just another afternoon show for the shrinking ranks of stay-at-home moms. Once I realized what she is all about, I became a great admirer.

Her message, it seems to me, is a pretty simple one…”you can do it!” I think she and her staff work very hard to find tools and information that support that mission. The Secret certainly falls into that category.

I think what is needed in this discussion is balance and context. 

To an extent, Gravois has a point. There are some purveyors of The Secret that go overboard in their assertions. This does have the tendency to promise susceptible people things that probably are not possible. It also has fairly been criticized for promoting the a “blame the person” defense when the system fails to yield the desired results.

On the other hand, Gravois seems to be falling into the common trap that assumes that a negative view of the world is somehow more realistic than a positive view. While he recounts instances where positive thinking falls short, he fails to look at the fact that most of the negative things we worry about never come to pass.

Yet, those negative thoughts and worries have a very real impact on our lives and on how we interact with the world whether they ever come true or not.

We live in a world that has a lot of negativity. We have a government and a mainstream media that maintains control by spreading a great deal of fear, negativity, and divisiveness.

People, in my opinion, have a right – even a self-obligation – to fight back or they place their outlook, their confidence, and their very self-hood at risk.

Positive thinking is a tool. Like any tool it can be misused. Its benefits can be overstated. It also has very real, tangible, demonstrable benefits over being negative. Skills, mood, behaviors, and many other aspects our lives can be improved (if not perfected) through the power of the way we think about them.

It’s foolish to walk into a rattle snake den or fail to seek medical attention for a serious condition on the hope that your positive thoughts are going to protect you. It is equally foolish to go through life only seeing the gloomy; never experiencing the good; and allowing others to form and control your potential by controlling your thoughts.

Only you have that right, but you can certainly hand it to the government, the media, your mother, or your friends. You have to take the bull by the horns and manage your own thoughts.

That is why I created The Affirmation Spot. Affirmations are a spark that lights the flame of the positive thinking engine. I call them mind vitamins because they do something similar for your mind to what vitamins do for your body – maintain health and help battle stress and disease.

Use of affirmations cannot guarantee perfection, enlightenment, a worry-free life, or the big shot in your career. They can, however, help you improve incrementally and prepare your mindset to handle life’s stresses and maximize life’s opportunities.

May each of you have a peaceful and prosperous day!

Ray

Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and focuses on empowering minds to think positively, achieve goals, and live dreams.He’s spent the past 21 years in sales and sales training for major companies.

He is the author of the Anunnaki Awakening series (2015). Book 1 – Revelation – is now available in paperback and on Kindle. This trilogy takes Ancient Aliens out of the past and into the present. An interstellar, interdimensional journey ensues with humanity’s future hanging in the balance.

Amazing NASA – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday October 11, 2007

rocket_night_launch.jpg The past two days have been absolutely amazing! April and I spent the day yesterday touring NASA and reliving much of the history and glory days of the U.S. space program.

We were honored to attend a lunch with retired shuttle astronaut Jon McBride who provided a hopeful outlook for the future of the space program with plans to go back to the moon for good and then on to Mars by 2030.

Today we were making our way through another theme park (the third in four days) and decided to leave and drive to the ocean. We didn’t set out to wind up at Cocoa Beach. It was one of those synchronicity things.

We had dinner and went out to the beach to enjoy the evening. There was rocket launch scheduled for this evening and we thought Cocoa Beach might be a good place to view, as it is only a few miles south of Cape Canaverel.

We were not disappointed! About 30 minutes after dark, the entire northern sky lit up and the rocket slowly rose into view. The rocket was moving so fast that the sound of the launch and all subsequent sound did not reach us until as much a 30 seconds after the rocket had passsed a certain point. In other words the sound in the sky was coming from well behind the visual on the rocket. It was astounding.

I speak about goals and dreams and such often on this blog. The Affirmation Spot is all about producing audio pieces to help people achieve things in life. I cannot remember the last time I was as inspired as I have been these past two days during my contact with the space program.

It is so much of what we need so much more of in this world. We need a bigger vision that is centered on pulling together to accomplish something bigger than ourselves. Space can do that! It has the potential to replace war as the world’s number one industry. It has the potential to expand our minds and our possibilities. It reminds us that our petty differences on this planet are miniscule in comparison to our common goals and dreams.

If you ever have the chance, I hope you will visit NASA and that you will contact your elected officials to support this important program for the future of this nation and humanity.

May this Thursday find you peaceful and prosperous.

Ray 

The Affirmation Spot

P.S. – Be watching for a large number of new affirmations coming to The Affirmation Spot in November in December. Sports, Learning, and Personal Empowerment will be the key categories with many new additions coming.

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Leadership – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday September 26, 2007

“Leaders breathe life into the hopes and dreams of others and enable them to see the exciting possibilities that the future holds. Leaders forge a unity of purpose by showing constituents how the dream is for the common good. Leaders stir the fire of passion in others by expressing enthusiasm for the compelling vision of their group. Leaders communicate passion through vivid language and and expressive style.”

Page 18 of The Leadership Challenge, 4th Edition by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner.

Like previous editions, the 4th edition of The Leadership Challenge is chalk-full of inspirational language and practical tools to develop your leadership skills.  The two leadership experts share their the latest  research and examples in a 25-year search to define the characteristics that transform ordinary people into extraordinary leaders.

 The validity of their research has been tested across time and culture. It turns out that the factors that create a great leader are pretty universal, and thankfully, a learnable skill.

Their research-tested model (they have interviewed nearly 75,000 people over the years) continues to center on “The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership”:

  1. Model the Way
  2. Inspire a Shared Vision
  3. Challenge the Process
  4. Enable Others to Act
  5. Encourage the Heart

The Five Practices are comprised of the “Ten Commitments of Leadership”:

  1. Clarify values by finding your voice and affirming shared ideals.
  2. Set the example by aligning actions with shared values.
  3. Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities.
  4. Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.
  5. Search for opportunities by seizing the initiative and by looking outward for innovative ways to improve.
  6. Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from experience.
  7. Foster collaboration by building trust and facilitating relationships.
  8. Strengthen others by increasing self-determination and developing competence.
  9. Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence.
  10. Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.

Kouzes and Posner take you on a journey along the path of leadership you will not soon forget. If you are a leader or want to become one, this book is an absolute must.

Peace…

Ray

The Affirmation Spot

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The Affirmation Spot Affirmation of the Day – Thursday September 13, 2007

Today’s Affirmation

“Just as the sun knows when to rise and the rose knows when to bloom, I will know when it is my moment to step forward and shine.”

There is almost no power, except yourself, that can limit your ability grow, advance, and succeed. That is precisely what we are all here to do and the process is as natural as the flow of nature. All we must do is believe and take action.

Today, remember who you truly are and why you’re truly here. Then believe and act on your belief. The results will shock you.

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

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!