Laughter Medicine – The Affirmation Spot for Friday December 21, 2007

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Today’s affirmation is:

“Today I am experiencing complete joy by seeing the humor amid all the world’s seriousness.”smiley_face.jpg

They say laughter is the best medicine. Here’s an extra dose this Friday sure to make you smile, if not laugh out loud. There is nothing in this world more life-affirming than a hardy laugh. Be careful, though, for in humor there is sometimes also great wisdom.

“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”

~ Herm Albright

“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”

~ Douglas Adams

“The optimist claims we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimists fears this is true.”

~ James B. Cabell

“Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer, but wish we didn’t.”

~ Erica Jong

“When I hear somebody sigh, “Life is hard,” I am always tempted to ask, “Compared to what?”

~ Sydney J. Harris

“Genius may have limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.”

~ Elbert Hubbard

“What is a committee? A group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit, to do the unnecessary.”

~ Richard Harkness

“Is there another word for synonym? And why is the word abbreviation so long?”

~ Anonymous

“If all the world’s a stage, where is the audience sitting?”

~ Anonymous

“There’s no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.”

~ Will Rogers

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to the next with no loss of enthusiasm.”

~ Winston Churchill

“If you want something in life, you have to work for it. Now, quiet, they’re about to announce the lottery numbers.”

~ Homer Simpson

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

The Affirmation Spot

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

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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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Beyond the Survivor China Finale – The Affirmation Spot for Monday December 17, 2007

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Today’s affirmation is:

“Today I am succeeding in life without compromising my values.”

survivorjpg.gif

Last night was the season finale of America’s favorite reality show – Survivor. I am a passive fan of the show. My wife really enjoys it and so I wind up watching about half the episodes each season with her.

For those of you who are regular viewers, you know all about the final tribal council. Let me catch up those readers who don’t watch the show. The goal of the show is to become the sole survivor and to win $1 million.

On the final show each season, the jury – comprised of the last seven people voted out – has an opportunity to question the final three survivors as to why each deserves the jury’s vote for the million dollars.

Invariably, the subject of deceit and lying comes up. The accepted wisdom of the show is that these characteristics are necessary to advance in the game. Generally, those players who are most adept at duplicity and use it without compunction are contenders to win the show.

The jury is comprised of people victimized by the treachery. Often they are understandably bitter and chastise the finalists for this behavior. The response is always the same. “Hey, it was just ‘game’. It’s not who I really am outside the game.”
Afterall, lying, cheating, stealing, and stabbing in the back are not only the norm in the game, but the only way to have a chance to win.

The Survivor book of wisdom says that honesty, concern for others, and integrity are characteristics that demonstrate weakness and are likely to get you eliminated.

This season, as is often the case, the biggest schemer in the game was awarded the million dollars. At the end of the day, the jury normally recognizes and rewards that person’s behavior. The jury develops A kind of awe of the person’s ability to “play the game”.

The message is clear. It is not that the game should have been conducted more honorably, but that whatever expedient means are necessary to win, are acceptable. Vice becomes virtue.

Of course, ‘the game’ in survivor is only a thinly veiled reference to the game of life we all play every day. The fact that these values are rewarded in a microcosm representing our world is troubling. This is a highly popular show watched by millions of children and young adults.

Is Survivor unwittingly teaching this generation that the fastest way to success is to abandon a positive approach to life and do whatever you must to achieve? Is the take away that as long as I can separate who I really am from what I have to do to win, it’s OK?

The news has recently been filled with information that some of baseball’s most respected icons may have been cheating the system and skewing the record books. This generation’s top hitter (Barry Bonds) and its top pitcher (Roger Clemens) have been implicated in the scandal along with a who’s who list of the games brightest stars. Are we seeing another
version of the same mentality – “I’ll do whatever I must to be on top?”

Are Survivor and the baseball scandal broadcasting a warning to us? I want to shy away from empty moralizing here, but taking the shortcuts or the easy way is always a temptation in life. We’ve gone beyond “me-first” to “me-only” thinking.

However,when this mentality rules in a society that society is risking collapse. No one trusts anyone else and every one hunkers down in a bunker mentality. People become short-sighted and the ability to cooperate lessens.

We need to ask ourselves whether or not this message represents the society we all want to live in.

We are capable of so much more! There is a superior way to achieve in life. We can build our skills, improve our outlook, and work towards our goals. We can learn to work towards goals that benefit me, but don’t tear down your dreams in the process. We can, indeed we must, pursue our dreams without leaving footprints on the backs of our colleagues
and friends.

I’m not advocating a world where there are no winners and no losers or where everything is “fair”. Such a world does not really exist. I’m also not saying Survivor isn’t tantalizing entertainment or pushing the idea that it should be off the air.

What I am suggesting is that we remember something clearly forgotten in Survivor and the baseball scandal. We cannot separate who we truly are from what we are willing to do to win. The real “game” we are here to play is one where we must learn to maximize our own potential without hurting others in the process.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

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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The Promise of New Life – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday December 11, 2007

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grass_through_snow.jpgToday’s affirmation is:

 

“Difficulities are doorways to something better than I had planned.”

“The entire cosmos is made up of clashing forces and polarities, yet without this seeming conflict, the universe itself could not exist. Life is a dance of opposites that involves destruction, rebirth, pain, and joy.”

~ David Fideler

The powerful symbology is important in Fideler’s quote. We have many of familiar aphorisms that confirm this idea such as, “It’s always darkest just before the dawn,” or even that famous gym affirmation “no pain, no gain.”

It is certainly a very old and very common human concept that out of pain, difficulty, and death comes new life. The Hindus recognize this interplay in their personification of Shiva, “The God of Destruction,” who is also recognized as the “Bringer of New Birth.” The Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Naht Hanh talks about the cycle of the beautiful rose that dies, becomes garbage, and then can be used as fertilizer to grow a new rose.

For whatever reason, adversity is often the birthplace of the best things in our lives. Think about your own past. Even though you dread the pain and struggle that comes with tough times, were those times not the seeds of some of your greatest triumphs?

So, am I extolling the virtues of pain and suffering? Suggesting that you should go looking for difficulty as a kind of initiation experience leading the greater joy? No.

As the saying goes, “Into every life, a little rain must fall.” We all face the proverbial winter in our lives. Things seem bleak, lifeless, maybe even hopeless. Yet, even on the coldest day of winter, the signs of new life are only inches below the surface waiting to emerge.

This is just a reminder – in case you are experiencing one of those times right now or for when you experience it in the future – to always be looking for the spring sprouts of new life. You can count on them always being there, if only you look closely enough.  For as surely as the seasons come and go in nature, they come and go in our lives.

Hope everyone is enjoying spring in their lives today, but if not be looking for its signs.

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray
The Affirmation Spot

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