Thursday, August 28, 2014

Following Your Destiny

Affirmation:  I am following my destiny.

At 7:00 p.m. on September 9th of this year, 2014, at Barnes and Noble in Cary, NC., I'm going to have a book signing of my book, Creating PositiveAffirmations, Living an Intentional Life.  It's my first event of this type and I've been asking others for advice about what to say.  Most people tell me to explain why I wrote the book.  The book has developed from writing this blog, Creating Positive Affirmations.  Why did I begin writing a blog?  I didn't know how to blog and to be honest I'd never even read a blog but I understood the concept and I had found such strength and peace by creating my affirmations, I wanted others to have that same sense of well-being.  I began writing with the hope that I would make a positive difference in other lives.  I decided that even if my writing only helped one other person, I would consider it a success.

Have you ever had the seed of an idea that you nurtured and then saw it grow?  I believe we all have had the experience of getting an idea and wondering if it's worth investing in.  I'm sure there have been both good and bad ideas that people came up with and went ahead with.  Have you seen the movie or the play The Producers?  It revolves around two men whose idea it is to produce a flop of a play in order to keep all the investment money.  To them it seems like a great idea and they go to all sorts of lengths to make sure the play will not succeed.  They buy an offensive musical script about Hitler, hire a terrible actor to play the lead and get a group of inept performers for the chorus.  It's so bad, it's funny and it becomes an immediate success.  Now, they are in trouble.  It's one example of a bad idea.  Certainly, there are many other examples of bad idea especially those terrible ideas that injure another in any way.   

There are, however, many many examples of good ideas.  Have you see the car commercial when they show all the great businesses that began in a garage?  Amazon, Apple, Google, Disney, Hewlett Packard, Mattel and Harley Davidson are just a few, not to mention all the famous bands that began in garages.  I find it inspirational that some people are willing to listen to those inner urgings and follow through with creating something new and wonderful.   

I've had at least two obvious times in my life, other than when I chose to marry Sandy, when I followed that inner voice, or maybe God's voice and seen something wonderful come about.  The first of these was the creation of the Pink Ribbon Yoga Retreat.  At the time of this entry we are just finishing our tenth retreat, thirty four women breast cancer survivors attended for four days at the NC beach.  The seed of the idea was planted in me and it must have been meant to be because once it began to take root, it grew and grew until we now have this wonderful yearly event to benefit any woman who wants to come who has been treated for breast cancer.  It's been miraculous. 

The second time was when I kept writing this blog until I had enough entries to put together into a book.  I've listened to many people share their desire to write a book.  I never had that desire.  While I love to sit and journal, that's just for me.  It's my way of centering, clearing and focusing.  I don't concern myself with the grammar or the punctuation.  I just write.  I love the feel of the ball point pen on the paper and watching the miracle of the words appearing on the paper.  Writing for an audience was never part of my plan but here I sit   Sometimes there are things we are simply supposed to do.  I am supposed to write about affirmations.  I am supposed to share with others my failings and fears and challenges and how I've come to not just handle those imperfections, but how I am able to neutralize them or perhaps even turn them into blessings.  I consider myself to be a fairly normal average person and I believe if I can make myself better off because I've found a way to perceive life from a positive perspective, most people will also be able to accomplish that and if I can be of service to even one person and maybe to many more, then that's what I'm supposed to do and so I write. This is my 185th blog post.

I write with the hope that I lift the spirits and the hopes of anyone who chooses to take the time to read these pages, who chooses to read my book.  I write because I feel like it's my responsibility, my mission, my destiny.  I know I cannot cure the world but I can offer what I have learned about hope and about the the tools necessary to live a fuller, richer more blessed life.  May these words and stories do just that for you.  May they give you the gifts of peace and strength and make the world seem less onerous and more beautiful.  May these words empower you and may they help bring you to a place of serenity and hope. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Being Worthy

Affirmation: I am worthy.

What determines the worthiness of a human being?  In 1997 the movie Gattica came out staring Ethan Hawke.  It was a sci-fi film about genetically altering the human fetus towards a specific occupation.  A child who was born without this alteration was considered "imperfect" or "inferior" and that human was deigned useful only for menial jobs.  Ethan was one of those children born without the advantage of the sophisticated science of the time.  He was not happy with his pre-determined role and the movie revolves around what he needs to do to give the illusion of being one of the perfect people.  As we all know, the science fiction of today has often become the reality of tomorrow.  With genetic testing widely available and with the mapping of the Gnome, the theme of Gattica may not be too far removed from the very near future. 

When I've facilitated programs about creating affirmations people are encouraged to create phrases that do not have any negatives in them.  A few years back, however, I had one person who had had a very difficult childhood and she decided she was going to use "not" in her affirmation because it was the best phrase to help her feel better and so she did.  Most of the time when we use a negative in an affirmation, our brains ignore the negative and we wind up doing or feeling exactly the opposite of what we had intended. She decided she did NOT need to do anything more or be anyone other than who she was to be of value.  When she shared her affirmation it was obvious to everyone present that it was going to have a powerful impact for her even with the word "not" as part of it.

Recently I was involved in an activity that was more than humbling.  I was actually embarrassed by what I perceived as my poor performance.  (If you've been following this blog you can probably guess what I was doing.) I then became annoyed with myself for judging myself so harshly.  For me this was another experience that made me wonder, what determines the value of a human being? 

When someone is asked, "What do you do?" the answer generally generates a visceral response in both the questioned and the questioner.  Have you watched the physical response of both parties as this question is presented, have you observed yourself?  I've seen the persons being asked sometimes "puff-up", stand taller, perhaps their shoulders go back.  I've watched some people slump over, maybe step back as if they're preparing for battle.  Then there's the person's response when the answer is given.  For example, if the answer is, "I'm a brain surgeon" most people would probably have a different response than if the answer was, "I'm a trash collector."  We generally judge and many times value an individual based on what they "do." 

I am fascinated by society's value determination of occupations.  As far as I'm concerned if people were financially rewarded for their services based on how they benefit society, sports persons would not be making millions of dollars while teachers eek out a living.  Movie stars would not be some of the richest people in our country while those who care for the sick and elderly barely make minimum wage. 

Where am I going with this?  I want everyone to feel valued simply because they are a human being.  My friend was right.  We don't need to do anything more or be anybody special to be worthy.  We need to value each person simply because they are a creation of God.  If we don't do that it would mean that the sick, the infirm, the elderly, the mentally ill are of no value.  It will mean that someday society will allow science to genetically alter or design a human being and those that don't come out "perfect" will be relegated to a subservient place or even worse destroyed.

My faith, the Catholic Church, promotes the sanctity of life from the womb to the tomb.  I know this is not a popular concept and I understand how people because of dire circumstances sometimes want to be in charge of who lives and who dies and when, but it seems to me it's a slippery slope towards devaluing the human being and life itself. 

Several years ago I was invited by a dear friend, Ann Baucom, to join her and a group of women in developing a personal "charter of compassion."  I came up with six steps: Pray, Embrace Silence, Listen for God's voice, Affirm what is important to me, Release it into God's care, and Love, non-judgmentally, non-graspingly and unconditionally.  When I shared this charter with a friend, she thought it was too self-centered and not enough other-centered but I feel I can't affect any change in the world until I change myself. 

Each human being is a masterpiece, no matter what the flaws.  The flaws can add color, depth and texture.  We are each a precious treasure and with that concept we should know that we are worthy; worthy of respect, worthy of love, worthy of all the good and prosperity of a Divine creation.  Once we believe in ourselves, we will posses the wherewithal to give back to the world.

We can be of service by simply knowing God is always with us and She is leading us and guiding us.  If we are listening we will do it with love and honor and compassion.  We are of service if daily we rise with the intention to bless the world in our thoughts and words and deeds. We can impact the world regardless of what we do or, are unable to do if we simply hold our fellow man or woman in our thoughts with blessings and love. I am a perfect being created by a loving God regardless of what I do or don't do and so are you!