I am sharing this journal entry because this is the process I use to create my affirmations. I listen for hints about what I need to re-frame in my mind to make my life richer, easier, less anxious. Then, i write about it in my daily journal. After I’ve examined my response, I look for the words, the sentences that resonate with me or perhaps the ones that don’t resonate but that would change something that isn’t working for me. I write and write until the sentence comes alive. Then, I transfer it to a few pieces of paper and I place them in places where I can’t miss them, e.g. the bathroom mirror, the car dashboard.
It’s only been one day and I’m feeling calmer but I know this is not something that can be resolved overnight. But, hopefully I will respond with grace and ease while anticipating my next trip or the one after that.
Affirmation: I savor life. I glory in life. I love my life!
I love my life.
I haven’t always felt that way but I wanted to feel that way and isn’t that what affirmations are for, to empower us to create our own reality? I can remember very clearly the first time I heard someone say, “I love my job.” I was a teacher in a rural middle school. I already had one child and I’d been teaching for a few years. The gentleman who spoke those words was the English chair of this very small school. How much money could he have been making? I knew that wasn’t the reason for his happiness. I didn’t ask him why but over the years, I listened for others to say the same thing and I very rarely heard it. How often have you heard such a declaration? Then, one day many years later, I heard a woman say to me, “I love my life.” She had shared with me in the past, how unhappy she was, so this time I asked her why. She had made some very conscious choices and some very drastic changes. She had moved to Italy, took up painting and dancing and fell in love with life. Sure, if I moved to Italy or even went to visit for an extended period, like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love maybe I would feel that way too. But, maybe I could simply come up with an affirmation, affirming how I felt about my life. Could that possibly work? Could I change the way I felt about my life by simply stating “I love my life?” Could you? Well, I sure had nothing to lose and so, I created the affirmation. I added a few other lines to cement the emotion. And, I claimed it, I wrote it, I read it every morning. Then, it happened. I realized, I did love my life. I have surrounded myself with love, love of God, family, friends. My life is really cool and I feel wonderful about it. This is what I believed happened. By the power of my affirmation, I slowly began to change. I became more conscious about my decisions, about what I chose to do and not to do, about who I chose to be with and who I did not want in my life. The affirmation worked just like affirmations do. It slowly permeated every fiber of my life and without struggle I was off “living in Italy” painting, dancing and loving my life.
Affirmation: I freely forgive myself and others.
Recently, my book group read, The Girl in the Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold Catherine Taylor. It’s the fictional story of the wife of Charles Dickens. It created a great deal of conversation, which is one reason I am part of a book group. In the story this woman went about healing herself of every shred of animosity she had with regard to those who had mistreated her in her life. And, she was very poorly treated, even, some would say, abused. Her husband disowned her, made her leave her home and 6 of her 8 living children. Her sister took over the household and kept the family from contacting her. Her husband had what everyone thought was a mistress. Even after her children were grown, they did not connect with her. She had a lot to be angry about. She had a lot of justified reasons for resentment and she had quite a bit, as you can well imagine. But, after her husband died, she openly accepted those people in her family who wanted to make restitution. She didn’t demand a thing from them, other than an open mind and heart. She even took herself to her husband’s rumored mistress and made peace with her. What do you think? Was she a weak, desperate person or was she wise and strong? Was she so use to being used as a doormat that she no longer knew how to stand up for herself, or was she so relieved to let go of years of loneliness and shunning? All I can tell you, is that I found her actions to make peace with her pain, inspiring. Oh, it’s so easy to hold onto resentments, to work them over in our minds until we know we are right and our nemesis is oh, so very wrong, perhaps even evil. But, truly, when I do that, those emotions, those conversations I have with myself, don’t disturb that other person in any way. The only one who is unsettled and disturbed is me. Sure, it takes me longer to let go of somethings than others. But, it really helps me to tell myself that; I freely forgive myself and others. I know by putting this affirmation into practice, I am happier, I am more peaceful and I am healthier. Truly, there are no justified resentments. Let them all go, especially the ones you hold towards yourself.
Affirmation: I release myself from my childhood limitations.
It was small and it was red and it was not, at that time, very unusual for a youngish child to want to own such a thing. I believe I was less than ten when I was gifted it by my father. It was not considered a weapon, although now looking back, I realize it certainly could have been used as one. No, it was a symbol of independence, of responsibility. It empowered and it emboldened! I could climb the highest tree and carve my name, my initials, and any symbol I created in the uppermost branches. I became eternal, hidden away among the swaying branches and soft leaves never to be discovered by another but always held in the heart of my childhood. Children were freer then. The neighborhood was my playground as long as I was home when the street lights came on. But, just over the cyclone fence was the forbidden territory, the huge expanse of grass and trees that made up the grounds for the local hospitals. Oh, once there, it was like escaping to Narnia, adventures unlimited, no adults to supervise or even witness our daring, especially if we were elusive and took care. Oh, sometimes, the tree resisted my attempts to mount it, but I, with my trusty tool, simply claimed it right where it stood, my name, the date, carved there for all passer-bys, witnessing my ownership, my power!
And I, but a girl, with the glimmer, with the hope, of what it would be like one day to make my mark on the world, on life.
Affirmation: I embrace the wisdom of my life’s experiences and let go of any emotional baggage.
Have you ever had something happen in your life that you could not let go of? Something that seemed to haunt you? Something that you were sure you had “gotten over” that kept appearing? Something that kept coming up even in your dreams?
Some things, my husband tells me, have longer tails than others. I liked that image. I could see it so clearly. Some things are simply fond memories; other things linger long after I believe they serve any purpose. They can be draining, unsettling. Sometimes, I can’t even imagine why these thoughts that keep coming up, have become so insistent, so obsessive. I have tried many tools to re-direct my mind. I can seem to implement them and they will help for a while, but then “pop,” up they come again. I haven’t always been like this. It seems to be something that has come with age or perhaps, the experience has come because I have aged enough to have it.
Recently, I picked up a book someone gave me a long time ago but to which I have not paid much attention. It’s one of those books that has daily readings. It’s called, Spiritual Insights for Daily Living.
The reading from January 21st brought me healing and I would like to share it with you.
“I am now ready for a cleansing–getting rid of debris that I have harbored much too long. Anyone who at any time may have contributed to causing disharmony within me, I bring into consciousness and I see them clearly and honestly. As I visualize them, I say with feeling and complete sincerity: “I fully and freely forgive you.” I see myself happy about this, and I release them and now go free. I breathe a deep sigh of relief. I WILL HAVE NO NEED TO REPEAT THIS. Whenever they cross my mind, I simply say, I HAVE DEALT WITH THIS. I send them a blessing and turn my thoughts to something else. As we are freed of our detrimental emotions, we are free to be healed and to become whole. ”
I love the, “I have dealt with this.” Truly, it has released me from the hauntings. The tail has slithered out of my psyche. I have finally found a way to embrace the wisdom of my life’s experience AND let go of any emotional baggage, at least for now and what else is there?
Affirmation: This is the day the Lord has made, let me rejoice and be glad in it.
My friend and fellow church member died this week. She had been fighting a recurrent cancer for about a year now. She chose to stop treatment. It was no longer helping her. I’d been by to visit her several times, over the last couple of months. I enjoyed sitting with her and discussing different ideas and sharing stories. I saw her on Thursday of last week. She was in so much pain. She was in so much pain and she was so worried about being “rude” to me. I was lucky. Before I left her, I leaned over and whispered, “I love you.” She responded, “I love you too.” Those were the last words she said to me. I am holding them tenderly in my heart now as I write and all through this week as we, myself and all those who loved her, go through the rituals of saying our final goodbyes.
We had been in the same church group for about 4 years. We meet twice a month. We also found ourselves at the same mass many times and we would sit together. Other than those occasions, we weren’t really close until she became ill again. One thing, I knew, she was a very faith-filled woman. She was always working for the poor, the homeless, those less fortunate than she was. Interestingly, to me, I found myself wondering if she needed an organ transplant and realized, I would be more than willing to donate. I never had to make that decision and I learned, I wasn’t the only one who was considering the donation.
I saw her again when I stopped into visit at the rest home where they had brought her to. They had given her 1 to 2 weeks more to live. I arrived to a group praying the Rosary. How comforting it was. She was unconscious. After a short while, her best friend and main caregiver, wanted to leave to run some errands. He asked me and another member of our group to stay with her. We both had plans but we let them go and remained. Our patient looked pretty good. Her color was good and she was breathing easily. Within 20 minutes, her color changed, her breathing changed and within another 20 minutes, she died., We were standing with her, my fellow parishioner and I, when she took her last breath. I can still see her face. She was at peace.
Something happened in that time, something profound and transforming. I don’t know yet, what the effect of this experience will be but I know, it has changed me in a miraculous way. I feel blessed. I feel honored. I feel grateful.
I believe, from previous experiences and from my education, that many people choose when to die; they chose when to let go and I believe our friend chose to die in our presence. I also believe that she took a piece of our spirit, our soul with her to heaven. I am closer to her now than I ever was before. I became her sister, her sister in Christ, in life and in death. I have been given a gift, a gift that will be with me for the rest of my life. And, with this gift, comes the responsibility to embrace life fully, especially each and every day, especially today!