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I am a believer in affirmations. I do them regularly. And I feel it when I don’t. But there seems to be some controversy over them. Do they work or not?

It depends on what you’re looking for. Affirmations are positive statements, generally stated in the present tense. “I am beautiful, capable and loveable,” for instance.

Some want to say that repeating affirmations does not make you any more beautiful, capable or loveable. Maybe not.

For me, affirmations help to feel certain things. Vibrate at that level, shall we say. In that way you can, if you’re good and consistent, attract things. And anything repeated enough times has got to change how you see things. That can be extremely powerful!

I cannot, however, attest to being able to manifest things in my life simply by affirming them. But I can say that affirmations make me feel like I can. They keep me going when I’m slipping. Affirmations remind me of what I’m doing and why.

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I believe in God. Not necessarily on Faith. I see plenty of physical proof of God’s presence all around me. If I but look.

In the present moment there are many things that give evidence of God to me. I can look into the faces of the people I love who populate my life and see God. The way the sun lights up the curtains next to my desk. My water bottle, beside me always. Like Masaru Emoto prescribes, I have a label on it that says Joy. I look at it and think joyful thoughts, thereby infusing the bottle with that emotion. That’s pretty strong evidence, I think.

How about the truly magical Modern Conveniences we have at our fingertips each and every day? Who but a benevolent God gives us such wonders? The computer and what it can do and all the places it can take me! My blessed Pandora, that sends me musical messages of guidance, brings me to tears, gets me up and dancing, or allows me a few minutes of breath and awareness during my favorite songs. It’s hot outside, I’m kept cool. It’s raining, I have light to work by. Cooking and cleaning are a breeze. I am connected by Internet or phone to almost anyone I please. With a few key strokes I can discover the answers to just about any question. Can you call this any less than physical proof?

What else could paint such Art out my back door – a plethora of golden sunlight and delicate shades of green, strong browns and blacks. In exquisite detail, moving in the breezes, playing with the light. Just the perfect mix of colors and textures. God is quite an Artist and generous with His works.

We could cite this amazing brain we have. Some more developed than others, of course, but still it work marvels. Our minds can think up the most incredible things. And boy can they can take us places! Any place we can imagine. The things we can create. And who knows what this amazing computer of a brain we have is capable of? To me, the incredible intricacies of our bodies and how they work scream God.

What a system He’s created! When I get a glimpse of how life really works, I am dazzled by its splendor, its simplicity, well . . . So God-like in its perfection. The cause and effect of energy is such an elegant system. Could this all have fallen into place by itself? The Cosmology of the Universe is so stunning. A wonder for certain! Endless Forms most Beautiful. Such grace and mystery.

The more I learn about the Universe, the more I’m convinced of the existence of God. That we are all made of the same stuff says that science knows we are all connected. The brilliant Particle Physicist and part time rock star, Professor Brian Cox, who might never speak of a belief in God said this,”We are the cosmos made conscious and life is the means by which the universe understands itself.” Which is precisely how God described the creation of the Universe in Conversations with God Book 1. Scientific proof!

The beauty we all seek, the peace, the feeling of being home is right there in front of us all the time. To stay alive, all we have to do is breathe and breathe out. Receiving and Giving. Staying aware in the moment, seeing what is and doing what works. Could anyone but God have thought this all up?

In any given moment if I pay attention, I see ample evidence of the existence (and Love) of God. Some might call it an Intelligence behind it all. Surely there is something. And even though the Universe may be destructive, I know Professor Cox can see the perfection and beauty of it.

I like to say that I think the Marx Brothers proves the existence of God. I just don’t believe so much talent and joy could exist in world without a God.

Asking is about getting clear on what it is we want. It is setting intentions. When education is working well, it opens the mind. A good teacher will invite questions and discussion to wake up the mind to possibilities. Asking questions clears the way for discovery.

Science begins and ends with a question. Can this be done? What is this? How does it work? What more can this do? Just think of the things we wouldn’t have if someone didn’t ask a question first. When an hypothesis is set, isn’t that really a what-if question?

Asking acknowledges that we can’t know everything. From this place, there is more room for learning to take place. The Buddhists talk about being in that place of “Beginner’s Mind.” Where you know you don’t know it all and the mind can be a-light with questions.

In one of the Gawain stories in the Arthurian and Celtic legends, Gawain finds himself in a strange castle where a warrior is laid out as if he’s dead, with a sword in his heart that continues to bleed. Later, Gawain is witness to the Grail which floats through the hall serving everyone present. Gawain, however, fails to ask about the Grail and instead asks after the warrior. (You kinda can’t blame him for that, being a warrior himself.) However, though the land began to heal, the king still suffered. It wasn’t until later, when Gawain saw the Grail for the second time, that he remembered to ask about it. And then, finally, all was healed. This story carries a side note to me that you get more than one chance to ask. But the key is always in the asking. You don’t have to know all the answers, you just have to ask.

Seems you don’t even always have to hang around for the answer. Ask the right question and things can start to change instantaneously. The answer comes in a holy instant. You might not need to do anything more about it. Including discovering what the answer was.

We might balk at times about putting our lives in God’s Hands. After all that work to figure out what we want! But when we ask for what we want, aren’t we in a way, giving it up? Handing it onto someone else? What if we ask ourselves if we could think of it as handing it over to God? Is there much more powerful a thing to do than that?

It’s a shame we can’t treat ourselves more like we would a lover. We take good care of them, we are concerned for their well being. But ourselves, we usually ignore, or demand we live up to inhuman standards of excellence. To help us all feel a little better about ourselves, to practice treating ourselves more like a beloved, I offer six sexy ways ~

1) Admire yourself. Check the mirror once in a while and pause to note something you like about yourself. Your hair might look good today. Or maybe you notice a shine in your eyes. Perhaps you’ve been losing (or gaining) weight and like the results. Just take a moment to compliment something nice about yourself. Smile and nod. Done.  Some people find this hard to do. They feel self-conscious about it. Just try it . . . no one’s looking. A little praise never hurt anyone.

2) Dress up. Just because it’s casual, doesn’t mean you have to be. Use accessories to make you feel a little more formal. Find and wear clothes that feel good when you have them on. Clothes do make “the man.” The right clothes can uplift your mood, boost your confidence, and make you feel better about yourself. A simple trick might be to chose a color you don’t usually wear. Even a small change can send yourself a message that you care how you look.

3) Take yourself out on a date. Seriously. It’s a really wonderful thing to do. Walk by yourself or go to a museum. Julia Cameron, Creativity Expert, thinks it’s crucial to a creative life, to refill your well. The key, really, is in planning it. Taking the time is treating yourself like someone special. Julia encourages weekly dates by yourself. This is, after all,  a date with you. No one else.

4) Get yourself a present. Especially if you’re feeling blue. We all need a pick-me-up. If someone you loved was unhappy, you might bring them flowers or chocolates. Why can’t you do that for yourself? Inviting yourself out on a date is a wonderful gift! This doesn’t have to be expensive or cost much money at all. I have a little stuffed koala bear that I must have bought as a present for a child many years ago. For whatever reason I never gave it and he was too cute to throw out. I decided he represents the child in me. He now sits on my desk as my gift to myself, reminding me to take more gentle care of myself. A recycled gift. We all need to feel special – as often as possible, really. Like you might say thanks to a helpful spouse or partner. Just a token to say, I appreciate you.

5) Forgive yourself. You are more likely to excuse mistakes in someone you love. See if you can do the same for yourself! The next time you slip up and commit a small infraction, immediately forgive yourself for it. Tell yourself that maybe you needed to do it, to learn never to do it again. You could say it was just a silly mistake or that maybe it was the right move after all, or because of it . . . The point is to make yourself feel better about it, instantly. Especially for the little things that don’t really matter. Forgiveness is very sexy. It’s release, it’s the easing up of holding fast to things. Instead of thinking it should have been this, but it was that. When you can quiet that down, aren’t you more sensual, more easy and languid? Pretty sexy stuff, forgiveness.

6) Celebrate your victories in style! So often we neglect to appreciate our own accomplishments as we would someone we love. In whatever way you can, the bigger the better, be sure to acknowledge your successes. Have a party. Go out dancing or to a show! Cook yourself something special or go out to eat at your favorite restaurant. Raise a glass of whatever you’re drinking. Make note of your successes in whatever way you can or see fit. (Indulge yourself once in a while as you would a loved one.) That more you do that, the more you water the victories of the future, paving the way for more. Saying, “Yeah, I like this. Could I maybe see you again?”

I contend that we need four supports in our life in order to feel balanced and keep ourselves in good shape. Balance is so important in life. It is how we maintain and persevere.

Time
We need time to tend to our own care: to eat well, take exercise and nurture our spirit (Whatever that may mean for you – attending church, visiting art galleries, reading good books . . .) What is a good life without time with loved ones? Hearth and Home provide the heart of a balanced life. Time to ourselves for quiet thought, is equally essential.

Money
It is a fact of the life we live, that most of us need money. We must have it for our very survival in this hurry up-keep up world. No hearth, no home without it. Money fuels us. It makes things happen. It creates a comfortable life around us. Money can be very handy for generosity, too. We give more when we have more to give.

Connection
We are all passionate beings at our core. And we crave connection to fully express our love. We truly need each other. Susan Jeffers, PhD. said, “I believe our craving in life is not to be loved, but to love…ourselves and others.” I’m calling this the gravity that holds it all together. Without it life is flimsy and can more easily topple (or turn upside down).

Purpose
There is no more stable ground than purpose. To be of service is what we are all meant to do. Purpose drives us and without it we feel lost. Purpose runs on faith. With faith, belief in something, our lives make sense.

 

1) Ask For It
You can’t expect anyone, not even God or the Universe, if you prefer, to give you what you want if you don’t ask. Getting clear on that is half the job. But if you don’t ask, it’s unlikely to make it past the dream state.

Getting clear is not always easy. It can entail some soul and heart searching. Choosing whether you want a blue  or a green one can have an effect on the asking. The clearer you are, the better your chances of getting what you really want.

It does work better if you can divorce yourself from the concept and feeling tone of “want,” which indicates lack. Upgrade it to something more like a wish or a desire. Wanting adds a note of desperation which lessens the power in asking.

In mythical legends, there are often questions that must be asked before the hero can proceed. Asking is often more important than getting an answer.

Get your asking right and you are well on your way.

2) Be Sure
This is a more difficult and less concrete step. Sometimes I will ask God for something that I’m not entirely sure I want, or not completely convinced I deserve. “Be careful what you ask for” often holds me back. This is tantamount to not asking at all. The Universe cannot deliver on a request that is not sure. God cannot give you what you don’t really want. You might say, I really want this amazing job, but what will it do to my life, can I handle it? If there’s a conflict inside of you, it can stop your asking from being heard.

I’ve seen this in my life. When I have that kind of surety in me, it came a lot faster and with far more accuracy. When you direct unsure asking to the Universe, It may not always understand your request. If you’re not wholehearted, there’s not much It can do. We do have free will and you can’t be given something you don’t really want.

In spiritual circles we talk about moving into knowing whatever we’ve asked for is already here. That’s the fastest path. The deeper your belief in this, the swifter the delivery will be.

3) Take It
This may seem obvious, but is often overlooked in the process. So many of us ask God for something and He tries to hand it to us, but it’s not quite what we asked for . . . and so we dismiss it. Not a nice thing to do, is it? If God is trying to give us something, can we have enough grace to accept it? The good news is, God will keep offering until we take hold of it.

If you ask with clarity, are sure as heaven of what you’re asking for and you gratefully accept it when it comes – whether that’s healing or a new bicycle – there’s nothing you can’t have!

 

Last week I wrote about One (see below). Today is Two.

I contend that enlightenment comes out of the small things in life. Listening to my beloved Pandora, I came across a song I’ve never heard before. It’s by a group called The Deele and the song is “Two Occasions.

The lyric says, “I only think of you on two occasions. That’s day and night.” What a wonderful way to practice! Out of a song comes a beautiful sentiment.

I only think about God on two occasions, that’s day and night.

I only pay attention in the present moment on two occasions, that’s day and night.

Recently I’ve begun listing the things I have to be grateful for when I get up and before I go to sleep. That’s doubled my gratefulness! If you can do it day and night, you are doing it. Pat yourself on the back. Good job.

I believe it was the great Maria Nemeth, author of The Energy of Money, who said that if you can do it right 75% of the time, you are doing well. If you give your best 37.5% of the time in the day and 37.5% at night, that certainly adds up.

If there’s anything you want to do, try practicing day and night and you will make excellent progress. Two times the fun!

The world seems a little obsessed with “5 Hour Energy.” I’m a little concerned about the long term effects of this drink. I don’t know what’s in it and do not mean to endorse it. But I like the concept. Being in the zone is critical in sports and helpful in just about anything you take on.

That zone is really only about focus. Directed energy in the present moment. This attention keeps you looking in one direction. What could you accomplish if you were willing to give energy in the present moment to one thing? “I choose this.” That’s all focus is. You are in the zone when you say, this is all I’m doing.

Multi-tasking is okay now and again. When necessary, it’s helpful to be able to do it. But when you really want to get something done, be a success, do your best at something, the more focus you have, the better your chances for a good outcome.

No wonder everyone wants this drink.

There’s a lot of scattered energy these days. Multiple e-mails and conflicting demands are coming at us all the time and encourage that helter-skelter focus. On the contrary, anything that keeps our attention on a goal we can wrap ourselves around with energy and passion is far more productive. And it doesn’t have to come in a bottle!

Can’t we generate focus on our own? Without taking something? Think more about what you could do if you were willing. Choose one place you really want to put your energies. Make a commitment and focus your attention.

What human beings can do! Combing energies with others, we can give generously, do phenomenal things in sports, generate money, save the planet. Wow!

This week I saw the movie 2 Days in the Valley, which I talked about in Rants and Raves.

It got me thinking about the story-telling technique it used that I could write about for On Writing. The movie showed several disparate groups of people, revealed the connections between them as they crossed paths and then brought them together for all kinds of exciting consequences.

That led me to think about how combining people from various parts of our social networks opens us to new things. Everyone can grow from the experience. I wrote about that in On Business.

Taking the concept another step further, On the Path, I see that when there’s a confluence of energies, we end up with a lot more than what we bargained for. Fusing these energies, we expand our collective vision.  Viewing situations from varied angles, different perspectives, separate personalities, new clarity can be reached.  Illuminating more understanding and creating more refractions to see life in a new light.

It’s fusion!  It’s kismet!  It’s magic!  Brilliant discoveries come from seeing the connections and putting our collective heads together.  Great things happen when people’s energies are fused.

Look at all the refractions from one simple, every-day Hollywood movie from1996 in plain English!  My seemingly unrelated Blogs have a common thread running through them this week.

There are new ways to see life everywhere, all around us, everyday, ready to reveal themselves to us.  All we have to do is look.

On this path, as you relinquish your judgements and realize that things are not inherently right or wrong, it makes it harder to choose.  It appears that we, as a species, or at least a country, tend to be lazy about making choices.  We all face so many in a day!  There’s this beautiful thing about life, though: You can make a choice not to choose and life will still go on.  If you don’t make a choice, one will be made for you.

But I want to be at Cause in my life, I want to co-create and in order to do that, I have to make choices.  But, how do I know what to do?  It’s hard to know exactly what’s best for me in all situations. What is right? The answer to whether something is “right” or “wrong” lies within.  Not in what happens, but in how I feel about it.

It must come down to the fact that it doesn’t really matter what I choose.  Any choice is fine.  If it turns out not to be for my best good (and I will know that by the way I feel) I can just make another choice.

Maybe it’s just that simple.

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