Affirmation of the Week

10/12/2012

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“I MEDITATE”

For years now, I have received the message to meditate regularly… whether that be from dream messages/analysis, from articles that appear in my daily in-box, from what I see dropping into newsfeeds on my various social media accounts… and even down to bits I read in books… which isn’t necessarily a “self-help” book, it could be fiction book in which someone is meditating. Messages everywhere. Which I duly note and have the intention of sitting down and doing religiously. And I do… I start… and then something gets in the way and I end up stopping. Usually at the first hurdle. I put anything and everything ahead of the need to meditate, to find that quiet space.

Yet what is 10 or 20 minutes out of one day? There are many reasons behind my evasiveness and non-commital to meditate. Many of which I am aware of, and probably some I’m not. Yet what I want, crave and need to manifest… well that aint gonna happen without taking time to sit and be still. It’s like, you want the qualification without doing the learning behind it! Lazy and naughty *grin*.

The majority of us have routine in our lives, and while some of it can appear to be monotonous and boring… routine in fact helps us to streamline necessities in our life to make better use of our time. We work out the quickest way to get to work and back home at the end of the day. If you go to the gym, you probably go to the same exercise classes on certain days of the week. If you have a gym routine (ie weights etc) you probably have certain repetitions to achieve a desired result. Some people even shop on certain days of the week, eat certain foods on a regular basis… some even do their cleaning on certain days of the week so as to leave most of the weekend free (that used to be a pre-requisite necessity when I would be partying most weekends *grin*)… but what of our spiritual needs? What benefit can meditation bring to our live ? Google brought forth:

Reducing anxiety attacks
Building self confidence
Increasing serotonin levels – did you know that low levels of this have apparently been linked to depression, headaches and insomnia?
Can lead to an increase in energy
Can lead to an increase in strength
Can help to balance blood pressure
Reduces stress
Reduces tension
Can lead to a state of deep relaxation
Can improve feelings of well-being
Can assist with losing weight

There are loads of sites out there with so much information on the benefits of meditation for those who care to surf around for a few minutes.

Now these benefits I would take as physical benefits, that affect day to day life. Then of course there are the emotional benefits, and psychological benefits… and that’s before we’ve even touched on the spiritual benefits.

I know that when I get busy, the first thing I drop is the “spiritual” stuff… because *real life gets in the way*. But surely spiritual needs are part of life. So in effect, dropping that aspect, means ignoring a part of life itself. As I read in part of a DailyOm email:

“The truth is that nurturing ourselves spiritually is what gives us the energy and grounding that we need to make sure that our lives stay on track.”

For me, meditation (when I can actually be bothered to do it) gives me a present. That’s right, a gift. I get a gift of 10-20 minutes where I don’t have to think, I don’t have to be *doing* (and *doing* is something that takes up the majority of my day – it can get very tiring being so busy so much of each day!), and where I don’t have to worry about what jobs need doing, what I haven’t done, what really needs to get done or even worse, when I chuck one of the thoughts in with the word *should*. The majority of which are really just self-imposed burdens. So also the gift of relaxation, of peace and quiet, of space, of healing, of solitude, reflection… to mention just a few. Which also brings to mind a quote I read from thoughtfortheday (whose quotes I share regularly on my Facebook page):

Meditation
Though the mind often asks for what is visible or material, its needs are deeper and cannot be met by anything superficial or short term. Meditation leads to a meeting point with all that is true and eternal.

All this and more, for 10 to 20 minutes a day. Isn’t it worth it?

So… my questions this week are:

What does meditation mean to you?
What does meditation bring into your life?
How do you feel after meditating?
Why are you avoiding meditation (if you do)?
How do you feel when you think of meditation?
How can you improve your meditation practice?
What benefits would meditation bring to your life?

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

Image origin: Unknown

© 2012 Michelle Payne

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Affirmation of the Week

03/12/2012

Calm

“I AM CALM”

Life. For the majority of us it can seem to be somewhat of a treadmill even though, these days, we have more appliances and services to help us get things done. There never seems to be enough time in the day, and often it seems to be slipping through our fingers like slivers of water. I don’t know about anyone else who visits here, but I know that I have a never-ending list of things that need to be done, which of course never gets fully completed and which could then lead to me getting stressed. When that happens, I know it’s time take some deep breaths 🙂

I know that when I feel rushed, I have the potential to get stressed. Likewise when I don’t get enough sleep or when it feels as if I haven’t had chance all week to just sit and be. Stress of course, to some degree, is good. It keeps us alert, helps to keep us motivated and pushes us to not be lazy. But of course there are also many downsides to stress, including health, attitude and behaviour to others… however I’m not going to focus on those aspects because that’s not what this affirmation is about.

One by-product of me getting stressed is my temper! Just like anyone else, I can get more than a little fiery. In fact I have been known to blow up a furnace in the past and when that happened, watch out to anyone who got in my way! Thankfully the ignition button has slowed down a lot over the years, life, experience, understanding and taking responsibility has tempered it and also removed a lot of the trigger buttons.

I would ask… what do you think when you see someone get stressed and fired up? When you see them lose their temper? When a man or woman gets so angry, so riled up or so upset that they start ranting and raving? If it’s a stranger or someone you don’t know very well… doesn’t that just make you want to back away, doesn’t it make you look at them in a different way than if they had been talking in a calm and rational manner? What about if it’s someone close to you? Their ranting then would probably affect you differently, but does it affect how you see them, think about them, feel about them at that point in time?

What about if the person losing their temper is you? How do you think you’re coming across at that time?

What about if you see someone acting in a calm and dignified manner? Dealing with something that is obviously awkward or even painful, but they are dealing with it in a quiet and considered way? When I see people doing that, I used to think, I wish I reacted that way. I wish I was that way. And over the years this is something I’ve definitely tried to incorporate into my life, and think I’ve rather successfully become!

You know what, at the end of the day we can be calm, if we want to be. Because it’s a choice. Our reactions can be changed, automatic defence mechanisms unlearned, new responses learned. If we choose to do so. And if we really really wanted to be able to do so, we can be calm, to be able to think about our responses before flying off the handle, to speak in a careful manner so as not to hurt someone else because really, aren’t we just subconsciously (thereby automatically) lashing out… and aren’t those “reactions” due to something we perceive as negative such as rejection, fear of failure, hurt, expectation, attachment or ultimately a lack of self worth, belief and esteem? If we choose to be a more loving and kind person overall who considers, feels and therefore behaves in a calm manner, then surely we should be able to (eventually) become such?

Questions for this week are:

How calm a person do you believe you are?
When do you fly off the handle?
Why do you fly off the handle?
What small step can you take to calmness?
What benefit will calmness bring to your life?
How will your calmness benefit others around you?

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

Image origin: Unknown

© 2012 Michelle Payne


Affirmation of the Week

26/11/2012

“I AM SUCCESSFUL”

Life, is mostly about being in the *Now*, enjoying each moment to its maximum and getting the most out of it. As is often said, the past has been and gone, and the future has yet to arrive. All we truly have, is this moment in time. But… yes, there’s a but with it… I think it is also good to have goals, dreams and hopes for what we would like to be or become in the future, else wouldn’t we just drift along and have no motivation to change things let alone take responsibility for how our life is shaped, anyone else agree? As Elbert Hubbard said

We work to become, not to acquire

This is not to say that we are not successful now, for we are. I truly believe we are where we are meant to be at this point in our lives. But as each day brings new experiences, we change ever so slightly and become *more*. What then of our future? Do you really want to be roughly in the same place, doing the same thing, being the same person you are now? Or do you wish to increase your knowledge, your wisdom, your heart, your love… or anything else that you may want to add to that list… a list that’s as unique as the person who creates it!

How do I define success in relation to this? To me, it could be choosing to do something new, or speaking in a different way, how I interact with friends, family and strangers… and then acting upon it. That’s it. Whether I continue doing it or not, I will have done it at least once and I will learn from that experience. If I’ve learnt that I don’t want to do something again, then that is not failure… it’s giving myself knowledge and learning from it. That’s success.

But how to achieve it? Baby steps, one little step forward at a time. OK, so you may take a couple of steps back from time to time, but pushing forward in this way will also take you where you want to go, which is just what I read in some emails from thoughtfortheday:

“Winners make big things happen a little bit at a time.”

“Your determination pulls success towards you, and your focus pushes obstacles away”

“Think Big Rise above little things. Be a big thinker. You are what you think. So just think big, believe big, act big, dream big, work big, give big, forgive big, laugh big, image big, love big, live big. Carry that list and you’ll start feeling big. Be a believer and you’ll be an achiever.”

You often hear in the media about how someone has suddenly achieved some great success, and how wonderful everything is, how lucky they are, but what is not reported very often is the years of struggle that that person has gone through to get to that point. Each moment a learning experience, each moment a choice of continuing down the path they want or doing what they know is meant for them. And every single baby step of the way is as important as the other.

Who comes to mind when you think of someone successful? These days, more often than not, a celebrity or media person would automatically come to mind, because society seems to deem money and status as the necessary items to have in order to be classed as successful.

But what about a person who has had a car accident and been hospitalised for a year? Been told they won’t walk again… and then proceeded to push themselves… until one day they are walking down the aisle towards their loved one? That to me is success.

Or the Mum who builds a loving and supportive relationship with her child? What about someone who has dyslexia and is told they will never amount to anything and go on to be a writer? Or the person who uses their most painful experiences to help someone else who undergoes a similar experience, get through it, learn from it and become a happier human being with less pain? Again, these examples shout out success to me.

A quote which I love in relation to this is:

There are no secrets of success. Success is doing the things you know you should do. Success is not doing the things you know you shouldn’t do. Success is not limited to any one area of your life. It encompasses all the facets of your relationships: as parent, as wife or husband, as citizen, neighbor, worker and all of the others. Success is not confined to any one part of your personality but is related to the development of all the parts: body, mind, heart and spirit. It is making the most of your total self.
~~ Wilfred A. Peterson ~~

So, some questions for you to ask yourself in relation to this week’s affirmation are:

How do you define success?
How successful do you feel?
What barriers to success do you have at present?
How can you help yourself be more successful?
What secret success do you wish you could have?

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

Image origin: Unknown

© 2012 Michelle Payne


Affirmation of the Week

19/11/2012

“I LISTEN”

Like everyone else, I have some bad habits… some more annoying than others… and one that I used to have in abundance was when confronted with someone’s problems, try to give them solutions, when that is not what they need. Nowadays I know better thanks to all that counselling training 🙂

One of the things I hope I’ve achieved over the past few years with studying counselling is a much improved listening ability and that this has not just culminated in a new professional career, but has rippled out so that my everyday listening skills have improved too.

Listening often seems to be seen as such a “passive” thing these days, we talk about problems and have solutions thrown at us left, right and centre. Very often these solutions include material things, which is not what’s really needed and in today’s material, driven society, such passivity seems to be classed as a weak thing. Well that’s how it comes across to me at times. Yet don’t you think that listening can be such a strong tool… and one that we all possess if we can but still our own minds a bit more?

One aspect of listening is when others need to talk or cry on our shoulders: listening shows that we care about them, their feelings and their thoughts. By providing a listening ear, we allow others to vocalise their thoughts which in turn helps them to validate themselves, their thoughts, feelings (and who doesn’t need that at one time or another)… we are then showing them receptivity, help and thoughtfulness.

Then there’s another aspect that by listening we learn things… like learning in school, or from parents, from colleagues at work… chatting or gossiping with friends, learning likes and dislikes of others… it means we can debate and discuss political, ecological or societal issues.

These are some external examples.

“You get wise from listening and regret from speaking.”
~~ Thought for Today ~~

We can also use listening for inner work. By quietening the mind, sitting with silence, we listen to our bodies, our minds, our nerve endings… our intuition, our gut feelings. By listening to the “Inner”, this can help us to hear more in the external world… like silence, air, birdsong, wind, trees whispering, music playing, conversations, trains, animals… and so on.

Or how about when we listen to what someone tells us about ourselves… when people don’t like what they hear, they very often just close down, filtering out what doesn’t fit in with their perspective, their reality… their “inner world”. Sometimes, being open and listening to someone else’s opinion could facilitate healing and growth when we need it the most.

For myself, I’ve learnt to love listening… that it isn’t weak, that it is in fact a strength and that by doing so, I can help others when they need to vocalise. And that by actively listening, I can hear what’s being said in reality, both explicitly and implicitly… instead of making assumptions or filling in gaps that have appeared when my brain decided to go wander off somewhere else mid-conversation.

Some questions this week to ask yourself this week would be:

What does the term “listening” mean for you?
How do you feel when people listen to you?
How good are you at listening to others?
What can you learn from listening?
What do you listen to? Or For?
How can you improve your listening skills?
What benefit will listening bring to your life?

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

© 2012 Michelle Payne

Image origin: Gregory Colbert
http://www.ashesandsnow.org/en/home.php


Affirmation of the Week

12/11/2012

“LOVE IS THE ANCHOR IN MY LIFE”

We all have many things that we would take to be an anchor in our lives, be they children, parents, homes and even our jobs. However, what I’m thinking of this week is more along the lines of our emotions and inner selves!

We all absorb lessons from the moment we are born, every single day. Yep, even up to and including the very moment you’ve opened up your webpage to read this! And those lessons, especially the ones absorbed as children help us to live our lives, and react to events, circumstances and people around us on a totally subconscious level. Get a bad feeling about someone who just walked past? It could be that they’re giving off a *don’t come near me* energy, it could be that they’re wearing a stocking over their face just having robbed a bank or it could be that something about them reminds you of a person who was nasty to you when you were a kid. And of course the opposite applies – see someone who looks like your loving Nanna, well you’re more likely to think of them as kind and cuddly than an overzealous and ruthless bargain hunter shopper who wants to trip everyone up with their walking stick!

The thing is, we all have choices as we get older but let’s be honest, how many choices do you really make that are done on automatic pilot? And if you really look at those choices, how many of them do you make out of love or fear?

We can do no great things;
only small things with great love.
~~ Mother Theresa ~~

So while people, events and even our jobs can be *anchors*… what really underpins everything is how we emotionally and subconsciously react to everything and everyone around us. Of course, I could be wrong… this is just my personal opinion.

But if there is a glimmer of truth in what I’m thinking and believing at present… then we can choose that solid place within that we operate from, the *thing* that we cling on to when the going gets rough… and what we jump up and down on when things are great and full of celebration. And what more deserving a platform than Love? Seeing with love, being with love, acting from love, thinking from love, feeling from love… and everything else that generates, like compassion:

Compassion is the basis of all truthful relationship:
it means being present with love—
for ourselves and for all life,
including animals, fish, birds, and trees.

Compassion is bringing our deepest truth into our actions,
no matter how much the world seems to resist,
because that is ultimately what we have to give this world
and one another.

~~ Ram Dass ~~

I know that when all is said and done, the overwhelming thing I have that motivates me, moves me and inspires me… is Love. I’m not daft enough to think I’m ever going to be able to achieve that 100 per cent. of the time, I’m human and here to learn many lessons as are we all… but I do think it’s a great thing to strive for, to be aware of (as much as possible) and I also deeply believe, that by having Love as an anchor within, it can also help to heal and affect those whose lives I interact with. It can mean that even when the going gets tough, I can look at what motivates myself and others and not blame, not hold grudges and be able to let go and get on with my life, knowing I’ve done all I can and been the best I can be.

This morning take a few minutes to reflect on how
you give of yourself to the world.
Often we get caught up in the frenzy of buying
and giving things. Look at the ways you give
appreciation, friendship, energy, time,
love, and affection, and give of your own
special talents and abilities throughout the year.
Acknowledge yourself for having enriched
the lives of others. Spend some time loving
yourself for the giving light that you are.
~~ Shakti Gawain ~~

Being Love, breathing Love, absorbing, acting in, from and emanating Love… all of this brings light, happiness and hope, not just to our own lives, but others too.

This week’s affirmation questions are:

What is the current anchor you are operating from consciously?
What is the current anchor you may be operating from un/subsconsciously?
How strong is love anchored in your life generally?
What can you do to strengthen or build more love into your life?
What benefit will this bring to you in the short-term?

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

Image origin: Unknown

© 2012 Michelle Payne


Affirmation of the Week

05/11/2012

“I LOOK IN THE MIRROR”

Mirrors.. it took me a while to understand what mirrors can mean, in a literal, physical, metaphorical and hypothetical sense. I know someone who literally cannot look at themselves in a mirror… well, they have to when they shave, but when I talked to them about everyday and life stuff, I’ve often asked whether they’ve looked at themselves in the mirror. And they can’t. It produces such a feeling of aversion and yet, no matter how strong a character they are, they just can’t do it. They are not ready.

Mirrors to me denote quite a few things. There are the real-life physical mirrors, the ones I look in when I’m brushing my teeth, putting on make-up or wiping over when I’m doing the cleaning. There is the mirror that I show to the world, and for many years it had a huge cover on it, because I couldn’t bring myself to let what was hiding inside out into visibility where anyone could see it because if you do that, you are judged… which can be a painful experience. Then there is the mirror for what we see in the world… you know the one, where what we see is merely a reflection of what’s actually inside us.

The world is a looking-glass,
and gives back to everyone the reflection
of our own faces.
Frown at it, and it in turn will look sourly on you;
laugh at it and with it,
and it is a jolly, kind companion.
~ William Makepeace Thackeray ~

Then there’s the hypothetical mirror… what do I want to project today? Going for an interview, dress and act the part of someone confident, who believes they deserve the job, firm handshake and all! Actually, for many years I used this one and it worked brilliantly!

I’ve also found mirrors to be excellent when doing inner work. Has anyone else done this? When you need to truly know something deep within… no matter how good or bad you are feeling… even with tears streaming down your face… standing in front of that mirror and letting those feelings out, those thoughts out… fear, rage… and very often PAIN… mirrors can be a huge help with such a carthatic process.

And last but not least, mirrors are one of the best ways I’ve found of doing affirmations, especially when they are connected to self-esteem. Standing in front of them… repeating the words like a mantra… staring into your own eyes… and working on getting those beliefs and feelings flowing in harmony… of course that can then also cause the tears and pain mentioned above, because deeply-rooted issues can then be released and come to the fore.

So this week I would ask the following:

What does looking into the mirror mean to you?
How does looking in the mirror feel to you?
What issues come floating to the surface?
How much can you see in the mirror?
Is there anything you are avoiding seeing in the mirror?
If so, what are you avoiding?
And why are you avoiding?
What are you reflecting into the world?
How genuine is that reflection?
What benefit would looking into the mirror bring to you?

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

© 2012 Michelle Payne


Affirmation of the Week

29/10/2012

“I EMPATHISE”

Synchronicity is a wonderful thing and it always amazes me when a theme will keep repeating itself. I usually find that’s because there’s a message I need to hear. It’s not always pleasant I have to admit, I mean… who among us wants to be constantly reminded of the areas we need to work on, let alone be sent enough messages for lightbulbs to start flashing!

I’m talking here not of being empathic in a healer’s, reiki or psychic sense (where we pick up on another’s emotions and/or feelings and literally feel what they are feeling), but more like what Wikipedia has to say in its definition of empathy:

Empathy is the capability to share and understand another’s emotion and feelings. It is often characterized as the ability to “put oneself into another’s shoes,” or in some way experience what the other person is feeling. Empathy does not necessarily imply compassion, sympathy or empathic concern because this capacity can be present in context of compassionate or cruel behavior.

When people come to us for help and/or advice and we listen, we give them a shoulder (whether literal or not) to lean on. We do not judge them for whatever has or hasn’t happened, rather we give them time and space to vocalise their feelings and thoughts …. and hopefully this in turn will allow the person concerned to feel as if some of the weight has been lifted, that someone cares… that they matter. Always an important aspect in my opinion.

But how can we do this if we have no real experience of what they are going through? This is where I believe Wikipedia’s definition of empathy comes in. As it states, we try to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, or to at the very least look at problems as if through their eyes, their perspective – to walk alongside them as it were. We can then try to visualise how this would make us feel, what our automatic reactions would be and how we would react. Yet because we are emotionally distanced or not physically involved (albeit slightly if it’s your best friends or possibly close family) we can then offer a different and more detached perspective to the person concerned, which in turn, may then help them to not take things so personally, to not hurt, to learn to react differently… or just give them pause for thought.

As Eleanor Roosevelt states: “No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent

I always thought I tried to empathise with people, but at one point in my life when I was faced with some difficult situations, I realised that I didn’t empathise enough! And as a result of that, when I then had discussions with some people, those conversations degenerated because both parties were operating from an emotional and self-motivated point of view. Neither were empathising with the other. As a result, I learnt when to spot the warning flags rearing up… and when that happened… to detach, take a few steps back and try to look at things from the other’s perspective… I tried to empathise 🙂 It’s amazing what that can do, how much it can help you learn about yourself, about others… and how it can change your relationships! And when these lessons started appearing for me, personally, quite a few years ago, I never realised quite how important it would be to me professionally… today it’s obviously a fundamental part of my counselling and coaching work!

So this week, I would ask:

How do you view empathy?
How do you currently empathise with others?
In which situations do you empathise the most?
In which situations do you empathise the least?
What can you do to improve your ability to empathise?

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

© 2012 Michelle Payne


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