Things I Learned from My Dog Part II – The Affirmation Spot for Friday February 8, 2008


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copy-of-ray_hawaii1.jpgWhat Ray’s reading right now:

The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life




Be sure and visit the blog Saturday for our weekly Saturday poll. Last week’s poll asked, “What one thing would you do to make the world a better place?”



mia_snow.jpgMia is our beautiful three year-old black lab. She is doesn’t know it, at least I don’t think she does, but she is a master teacher on the subject of life – a kind of canine Confucius. You see, she lives her life the way many of us set out to live ours. She knows what she wants and she goes for it and she never gives up.

You can characterize this trait as persistance.

When Mia wants something she can be highly persistent. For instance, I rarely get to sleep in on weekends anymore. Mia usually makes sure I’m up no later than 7 a.m. She doesn’t have to go out she just wants me out of bed. She has a very subtle approach and a clear strategy. She doesn’t bark or run around the room.

No, Mia persists with kindness. 

It usually starts with her getting up on the bed and finding a way to lay her head on my chest.This is usually enough to wake me up. Then the licking begins. She licks my hand until I sleepily hide it under the pillow. Mia persists. She inches up her way up so that she can lick my chin.I’ve always been a night owl. On nights when I don’t have to go into the office the next day, like Friday nights, I’m often up late reading or working. So, I’m pretty determined to sleep in until at least 8:00. Mia, however, has different plans.

She’s probably spotted squirrels out playing in her backyard. She is, afterall, the fiercest squirrel warrior in five counties. She wants me to get up and let her out.  I want to sleep for a little longer.

Now she works her way up to my ear and starts licking. I’ve had enough and I tell her to go lay down. She complies, but she doesn’t give up. Mia persists. Usually, within five to 10 minutes, she’s back. She jumps up on the bed and plants herself on top of me with a sigh. She thinks she’s a lap dog even though she weighs 55+ pounds.

I hide my hands immediately. I mean I’m smarter than the dog, right? So, she starts with the chin and starts inching her way up until she’s licking me right on the face. Not one or two kisses, mind you, but a full barrage designed to end the stalemate.

Sometimes, depending on exactly how late I’ve been up the night before, this can go on for two or three cycles before I concede the point and get up and let her out. On the mornings this strategy doesn’t work, Mia has back up plans. Mia persists.

She waits until I’ve just dozed off again and then she sits at the edge of the bed and makes “crying sounds”. It’s like one of those alarm clocks that starts out low and grows louder until you turn it off. If this doesn’t work, Mia persists. If this strategy doesn’t work, she turns to her last hope – April. She starts bothering April. She’s not really trying to get April to get up. She just wants April to convince me to take her out. I usually don’t make it to 8:00.

Looked at in one way, not my tired early morning view, it’s all pretty humorous.

Persistence is one of those attributes that helps you go where you want to go in life. Unfortunately, you sometimes lose steam along the road to your dreams.

Here are Mia’s persistence tips:

  1. Be clear on what you want in your mind.
  2. Pursue your goal with all your might, but be kind. The world is full of mean people willing to succeed at the expense of others. Don’t be one of them.
  3. Be patient. The first lick doesn’t always do the job.
  4. Involve others and get their buy in to help you.
  5. Have back up strategies. Sometimes Plan A fails. That doesn’t mean your goal or your dream must fail. Devise new ways of succeeding.
  6. Never give up.
  7. Enjoy life. Mia always does!

Be peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

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Metta and The Monk – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday January 24, 2008

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Today’s affirmation is actually a version of a Buddhist meditation called Metta (loving-kindness). This meditation is practiced by directing the following words at yourself. Then spreading them to loved ones and people towards whom you have positive feelings. Then applying them to people that you are neutral towards. Finally, you direct the meditation towards people you view negatively – enemies or people who have hurt you in life.


In my own practice, I have also expanded it to include all people and living things on the Earth and all living things where ever they may exist in the universe. Back in my days as a sales professional, I also would direct this meditation particularly at the customers I planned to call on the next day. It had an uncanny way of opening doors where they appeared to be closed.


“May I be happy. May I be peaceful. May I be free from suffering.” “May (fill in the name) be happy. May (fill in the name) be peaceful. May (fill in the name) be free from suffering.”


cave.jpgToday’s post is a random meandering from a few years ago. During my own meditations, this image of a monk sitting in the entrance to a cave kept appearing. He just sat there playing this old flute and meditating on the sound. He seemed to be communicating with me without saying anything.

How wonderful to remember that there are people out there who spend every waking moment hoping and believing in what the rest of us are capable of becoming.


“The Monk”

Gongs echo in the darkness of the valley below;
one hour to sun up.
Against the mouth of a mountain cave sits a solitary monk;
meditating on the sound of his weathered flute.


Clothed in tattered robe that once was of yellow tint;
he owns nothing in this world
but the peace of mind
born of transcendent joy.


Each morning at this very time he prays with every breath;
that those of us in the world below
would give up our anger, greed, and hatred
and be transformed by the profound bliss he knows.



Be peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

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Unrealistic Affirmations

cp.gifThe affirmations a person uses depend on many factors. What is the person trying to accomplish? Where is he or she now in relation to that goal or dream? What is their belief factor? Is he or she aspiring to something big or just looking for incremental improvement?

One of the biggest knocks critics have against affirmations is that they encourage unrealistic thinking.

It is ridiculous, they say, to encourage a sixth grader who can barely play “Hot Crossed Buns” on the saxophone to use an affirmation like, “I am a world-class saxophone player”. That’s just delusional, they argue, to have a child believing something so out of touch with reality.

I absolutely agree!

“What,” you say, “I thought you were in the business of promoting affirmations and encouraging others to follow their dreams?” I am. And, I still agree with those critics. Oh, I believe emphatically that affirmations are for everyone, but I do not believe every affirmation is for every person.

Yes. The critics are correct. This affirmation is completely unrealistic for any sixth grader who believes it is unrealistic.

They are also correct that a smart sixth grader is probably going to doubt the affirmation at some point. Sooner or later the sixth grader using this affirmation may have the thought, “I can’t even play ‘Hot Crossed Buns’. I’m not a world class saxophone player.”

These two pieces of information do not match up. The sixth grader, like most human beings, will search for a way to make the ideas congruent. When this happens it is decision time for the sixth grader and his or her dream of being a world-class saxophonist.

Whether they know it or not the critics are citing and the sixth grader is experiencing a well-known psychological phenomenon called cognitive dissonance.

This theory states that when we hold two incongruent pieces of knowledge in our minds there is a very strong psychological impulse to bring the two conflicting thoughts into agreement.

The idea being that our sixth grader cannot hold the thought, “I can’t even play ‘Hot Crossed Buns’,” in his or her mind while at the same time holding the idea, “I am a world class saxophone player.”

The classic example is the mother on the news who cannot reconcile the baby she brought into the world with the possibility that he may have committed a crime. So, she believes in his innocence even against overwhelming evidence.

Now, here is where the critics’ logic fails. They assume, I suppose, that the only option for this newly self-aware sixth grader is to stop using this unrealistic affirmation and stop pursuing such lofty and unrealistic dreams. Basically, “Give it up, kid, there’s no chance.”

The cognitive dissonance theorists tell us that there are actually three options (besides “getting real”) open to resolve this dilemma.

  1. Change beliefs – the sixth grader can change one or both beliefs to be more in line. “I know I’m not a world-class saxophonist right now, but I can be someday.” He or she admits the first fact and changes the condition for the second to bring them into congruence.
  2. Adding beliefs – the sixth grader can think, “It’s true I cannot play “Hot Crossed Buns”. It’s true that I’m not a world-class sax player right now.” “It’s also true that Charlie Parker was not a world-class saxophone player in the sixth grade and look what he accomplished.”
  3. Alter the importance of the beliefs – the sixth grader can think, “It doesn’t matter that I can’t play “Hot Crossed Buns” right now. I will be able to some day. I still have it in me to be a world-class saxophone player.” He or she chooses to diminish the importance of the current state and focus, instead, on the future possibility.

Part of the confusion, candidly, comes from affirmation gurus who promote the idea that your affirmations must be adhered to with unshakable belief to make a difference. Doubting – the cardinal sin of affirmationdom – must never be allowed to rise or else the magic potion will be spoiled.

People are people. Some days we believe in our dreams fervently and other days we completely lose sight of them. That’s not being negative that’s just being human. The path is not lost by one moment of doubt.

This affirmation may or may not be appropriate for the sixth grader in question. It depends on how he or she resolves the cognitive dissonance associated with it.

If he or she cannot come to terms with the disparity, then an affirmation like “I am becoming a world class saxophone player” or “I am a better saxophone player every day” may be more acceptable and reduce the cognitive dissonance.

Conversely, the previous affirmation is ideal for a college student majoring in music performance on the saxophone. That person has already put in many years and is now an expert on the instrument. He or she may be planning a career playing the saxophone. That college student certainly can realistically aspire to becoming a world-class sax player.

Here is what I have learned from more than 17 years experience working with affirmations. There really are two classes of affirmations – aspirational and incremental.

Aspirational affirmations are your “big thinking” affirmations. They are the ones that remind you that something far greater than right now lies within you. That knowing is not for anyone to label as delusional or unrealistic. It depends on you and your belief.

Incremental affirmations are affirmations that are more finely tuned. They focus on specifics and immediate steps. They are the trees to the aspirational affirmations’ forest.

In my view, they are both part of a healthy affirmation diet. Just like protein and calcium serve two different but beneficial roles in the body. Both kinds of affirmations add value to your over all growth. One is today’s weather forecast and the other is the long range forecast.

Let me illustrate the difference with a couple examples.

A high school quarterback with big dreams might use both of the following affirmations:

Aspirational: “I am the next John Elway.”
Incremental: “My completion percentage is improving each and every game.”

A person trying to climb out of depression might use both of the following affirmations:

Aspirational: “I am completely happy with all aspects of my life.”
Incremental: “Today I am putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.”

A person focusing on creating a better financial future might use both of the following affirmations:

Aspirational: “My million dollar idea is on its way to me right now.”
Incremental: “Today I am paying my bills on time.”


It’s not about being unrealistic. It’s about using the very real power of your thoughts to support your immediate goals and your long term dreams.

So, if you are a sixth grade saxophone player with a passion to be the world’s greatest saxophonist, I say go for it! One thing is for sure. None of your critics will be there to beat you out!

Be peaceful Be prosperous!

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.

anunnaki_cover_full_colorRay’s 2015 speculative fiction novel, Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation, is turning heads. Where did humanity really come from and where is it going? This is Book 1 of a trilogy. The Awakening has begun!

Learn more about the trilogy and order your signed copy today at AATrilogy.com.

One in a Trillion Miracle – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday December 19, 2007

Welcome to The Affirmation Spot. If this is your first time to the site, be sure to click one of the subscription options (top left) to be notified each time the blog is updated. Thank you for visiting. If you enjoy what you read here, help us spread the word about The Affirmation Spot.

There are direct links to downloadable mp3 affirmations at The Affirmation Spot.com on the right menu. They are set to music and allow you take positive thoughts with you wherever you go all day.

There are new affirmations in the Christianity section, the tennis section, and the Personal Empowerment section.

Enjoy today’s post. 
 


Today’s affirmation is:

“Today I recognize the miracle that is me and the other miracles all around me.”ggb_trafficjpg.gif

 Well it’s Wednesday and in case you were thinking it is the middle of “just another week” here are some things to ponder.

Someday we will all face the end of our walk in this form.

Sometimes during the course of “just another week” we don’t recognize how precious each moment is and how quickly all this is passing us by. We forget what a miracle it is that any of us are here at all.

Have you ever really considered just how many unlikely things had to happen for YOU to be here, or, for that matter, for HERE to be here?

Every single thing we see around us all day long every day was a one in a trillion shot. Each blade of grass, each cloud, each person, even the traffic jam you found yourself in on the way to work this morning – all are totally unlikely combinations that beat the long odds to burst into existence. That’s nothing short of a miracle.

grass1.gifSomeday when you do reach the end of this stage of your journey; this “just another week” may seem a lot more special than it does now. You may wish you had stopped to witness and marvel at the whole miraculous play.

Today, make a point to see the miracles. Tell the person you care most about in this world that you love them and remind them that they are a miracle.

And when you encounter the traffic jam on the way home this evening, breathe deeply and say, “Ah, yes. You are a miracle too.” It won’t get you home any faster, but it will make the ride more enjoyable.

Enjoy a miraculous Wednesday!!

 Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

The Affirmation Spot

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Moving Mountains Beginning with Mole Hills – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday December 18, 2007


Today’s affirmation is:

It is not the mountain I conquer, but myself. I am reaching for the top of the mountain and my day in the sun is here.”

mountain.gifThere is a famous quote variously attributed to several people that says, “Whether or not you believe you can do a thing, you’re right.”  In the Book of Matthew, Jesus audaciously states, “Had you the faith of a mustard seed, you could command a mountain to be moved from here to there and it would be so.”

Both statements clearly to remind us that we have within us an astonishging capacity to do what would ordinarily be considered miraculous. In both instances, the fuel for the miracles is our belief.

I have often pondered this statement of Jesus and thought, “Ok, I believe it. I command the mountain to move.”  Immediately, even before I can get the words out, “common sense” enters my mind and says, “This is nonsense. The world does not work that way.”  Doubt has entered the picture. That’s why Jesus started his statement with, “Had you the faith…”

In Buddhism, doubt is one of the “five hindrances” to wisdom and considered the most difficult to overcome. We live in a society that teaches us that doubt and mistrust are prerequisites for our own self-protection. I wonder if the doubt spread by this world view is hindering us, individually and collectively, as we pursue our goals.

Although easier said than done, if we could suspend our disbelief just long enough to allow a firm belief in ourselves and our potential to take root and flourish; we could begin bringing the miraculous into our lives.

Maybe we start with things smaller than mountains like succeeding in our career, or strengthening our friendships and relationships, or simply achieving peace of mind.  Then perhaps we can tackle the mountain.  But then as Edmund Hilary stated, “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

How true!

Everyone have a great Thursday. Find a situation today to suspend your disbelief long enough to allow your miracle.

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

The Affirmation Spot

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Quitting is the Answer – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday December 13, 2007



Today’s affirmation:

“Today I am ready to convert my perseverance into success.”

Quitting is the answer to your dilemma. You know you want to give up. So, do it. You have a dream, but it is just pie-in-the-sky nonsense. What are you thinking? Are you crazy?

Do you really believe you could be the next great childrens author. Are you really visualizing yourself sitting on Oprah’s couch discussing your latest best seller? YOU??? Come on! Get real. You’ve sent 20 manuscripts out and how many rejection letters? That’s right. 20.

And you, thinking you are the next great country music star. You’ve made five demo records and not one call back. You’ve been at this for three years now. When are you going to face reality?

Oh, and Mr. basketball, you have dreams of a major college scholarship and then the NBA? Yeah right! You play three minutes a game on your high school team. The coach barely knows your name. And you think you’re the next Michael Jordan? Face it, my friend, basketball is a dead end for you.

Do you ever have thoughts like these? Do you ever hear those around you say things like this because they “care about you”? There’s always someone around to shoot down your dreams, if you are not already doing it. In some cases, it’s even an expert – an editor, a coach, or record producer. I mean they know what they are talking about, right?

The next time you have these kinds of thoughts I want you remember the following.

His sophomore year in high school, Michael Jordan didn’t even know he was the next Michael Jordan.

Michael JordanHe was cut from his high school basketball team. I don’t know if that high school basketball team was unbelievably talented or the coach just wasn’t a very good judge of ability. Can you imagine arguably the greatest basketball player ever cut from his basketball team? The coach was presumedly an expert.

Michael could have taken the expert’s word and given up. He could have taken up the vilolin or given up on school activities all together. Instead, he worked harder; became more determined. Three years later he was starting for one of the top college programs in the country and on his way to a Hall of Fame NBA career and six NBA championships.

What if Michael Jordan had accepted the judgment of an expert and quit? The man revitalized a sport, gave a city with a reputation for losing the opportunity to be champions, inspired millions of young athletes, and gave every fan a highlight film that will run in their minds forever.

Back in the 1920s there was an unknown cartoonist from the midwest shopping his idea for an animated cartoon featuring a mouse. Walt Disney made two cartoons featuring Mickey Mouse that were rejected by distributors. Then timing and adaptability intervened.

disney.jpgDisney latched on to the new sound technology in Hollywood and created a third Mickey Mouse film with sound called Steamboat Willie which debuted in New York on November 18, 1928.

The mouse and Walt went on to do quite well for themselves. A major media empire and the world’s number one tourist destination bear the name Disney because he believed in his idea and he did not stop at “no”.

Had Disney quit generations would have been deprived of the eternal childhood represented by Disney message.

A retired motel and restaurant owner in his 70s spent two years driving the country pitching his secret recipe for fried chicken to restaurant owners. The story goes that Harland Sanders heard no over 1000 times before someone finally said, “yes”.

Today Kentucky Fried Chicken is served in more than 80 countries around the world. Everyone knows about “The Colonel’s secret recipe.”

What is the common element here? Belief? Yes. Commitment. Sure. The real common element here is perserverence converted into success. These people pushed through their own doubts and the opinions of others to achieve their goals.

They also didn’t listen to the experts who said it couldn’t be done. The experts thought the train, the automobile, the airplane, radio, television, and the Internet would never succeed. Experts are always learned people about “what is”. They are entrenched in “what is”. Experts are weak at seeing what “can be.”

That takes a visionary. Find a visionary who believes in you and what you are trying to accomplish. That restaurant owner who finally said yes to Colonel Sanders was a visionary.

The world would have been worse off if any of these men had given up. What will the world be missing out on if you quit on your dream?

So how about it? Are you up for that 21st manuscript submission? Are you ready to make another demo and make this cut the one that gets noticed? Are you ready to give a little extra at practice today and let the coach really see what you can do?

If you are inspired to keep going, continue visualizing Oprah. If you are motivated to take Nashville by storm, keep seeing yourself accepting your award as newcomer of the year in country music. If you are ready to take the court with a new purpose and determination, then keep dreaming of the NBA.

Others are going to call you crazy. “They” called Jordan, Disney, and Sanders crazy too. “They” called the Wright Brothers and Edison and Leonardo Da Vinci crazy.

You might have another bout of you calling yourself crazy. That’s normal. Just don’t give up on your talent, don’t give up on your passion, don’t give up on the promise of your dreams.

Start right now by restating your dream to the universe and your commitment to achieving it. I’d be honored if you began by leaving a comment on this blog.

Quitting is an answer. It is just not the right answer when it comes to your dreams.

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

The Affirmation Spot

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Nothing Is Ever Lost – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday December 12, 2007


raybaseball75.jpg Today’s affirmation is: 

“Today I am bringing the power of my past to the aid of my present.”

Nothing important is ever lost period. It may be out of sight and out of mind, but every person, thing, thought, or event that you have ever encountered continues to play a role in the thread that is your life.

I wrote the following poem back in 1993 at a time when I was wondering whether I had lost something of the magic of my childhood. As I wrote the poem, I realized that the power of that time was still right here within me. I only needed to reach out and touch it.

There is some time, some place, some person in your past that continues to have a tremendous influence on who you are and who you are becoming. I hope this poem will encourage you to reach out and touch the power that lives there for you.

“The Baseball Glove”

Worries gone from my mind
and sunshine up above;
clinging to my giant hand
my childhood baseball glove.

Its color is long-faded.
The pocket’s past worn out.
It takes me back to a time
before my self-styled doubt.

Back to days of make-believe
when I had not a care.
All day games of whiffle ball
and friendships that I shared.

As I think of long ago
and look, now, at this mitt
I’m caught up with the notion:
perhaps, it might still fit.

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray
The Affirmation Spot

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