October Reflections

I was talking to a friend of mine this morning about affirmations: those positive statements we create to help us stretch into new areas of personal development. I was reflecting on some of my old ones.

One affirmation I used during my time at Microsoft was: “I hold my quiet center throughout the day.” It was short and simple, stated positively and created a stretch goal for my growth. I said it MANY times a day for months. It felt like it was almost beyond my reach. I was no where near my quiet center and work at Microsoft was regularly stressful and chaotic. I felt phony when I said it to myself, but I persevered because I believed in the process.

I whispered it to myself in meetings with executives when I felt intimidated. I growled it to myself when I was irritated after a difficult customer call. I used it for months until one day I noticed that I hadn’t needed it for a while. In fact, for a week, I had “held my quiet center throughout the day(s).” Hmmm! then I noticed something even more thrilling; my stretch goal had become the new me. I was consistently holding a peaceful presence day after day. Don’t get me wrong, I am no guru sitting on a cushion, but the affirmation had certainly done it’s work. I was experiencing a much greater sense of calm presence throughout my day.

As I look back on other affirmations, they are the road signs of my personal practice. They point to places I have already been. Places I can revisit, but no longer hang around. They are all used up now, like pieces of gum I’ve chewed on for so long that they’ve lost their flavor.

I think I will create a new set for myself to chew on through the winter, and just as I mulch my garden, I will mulch my soul with new powerful statements of self-affirmation. I will beat the New Year’s Resolution Rush and begin now to sow the seeds that will bloom in Spring.

These are the rules I follow for creating mine:
1. They are a stretch from where I am now.
2. They are based on something inside me, rather than the outside world. “I” statements
3. They are linked to real changes I would like to make.
4. They are phrased with entirely positive words. (NO, NOT, WON’T, DON’T are out!)

In The Life We Are Given, Leonard and Murphy talk about affirmations at length. They suggest that affirmations are strengthened when they are shared. I would be honored to share yours. What will your springtime growth look like? What wonderful statements could you create now to soothe you through the wintry days ahead? I’d love to hear.

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Dr. Laurel Ross

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