About a month ago I was in a serious rut. It had been dragging on for a while. I was indulging in self-deprecation. I was allowing myself to believe all the negative self-talk that is typical of someone in such a state. I gave myself permission to feel depressed, hopeless, unsuccessful and worst of all, unloved. Energy was thrashing out of my body at lightning speeds, attracting scenarios to fit my awful mood.
I went to my local library to seek out solace. Searching for books on meditation and healing, I found a plethora of literature on mindfulness, patterns of the mind and how to create positivity within. Checking out a stack, I headed home, sat on the floor and tried to let the words permeate my being.
A commonality in the practices I had read about suggested the use of positive affirmations and interrupting of negative thought patterns. One book by Richard Moss, M.D. suggested that rather than reprimand the one’s self for allowing negative mind chatter to multiply, instead simply say “Yes. Thank You. Forgive me.” Yes - for recognizing the rogue thought. Thank you for stopping it in its tracks and forgive me for bringing it about. It seemed simple and manageable, so I tried it.
The affirmations however would be a tad trickier. I had attempted affirmations in the past. I have a positive day journal where I try to write one joyful aspect of each day, one thing in my life that is a gift, one reason why I am blessed. The problem? I often forget to write in it. I had tried speaking affirmations out loud in the morning, but on days tired and rushed they did not come to mind. If my roommate was about in the AM, I was too embarrassed to say them out loud.
Glued to my iPhone as my portable music player for yoga classes, my e-mail access while on the road, my camera for beautiful vistas and my calendar to keep a hectic schedule on track, I decided to use the technological tool to my advantage. I was about to be happier- there was an app for that! I created a daily affirmation calendar of the person I am aspiring to be. The person I had briefly lost in my self-imposed gloom. “I am kind.” “I am generous.” “I am respectful.” “I am successful.” “I am loving.” I set each phrase as its own event and spaced them out every few hours. I scheduled alarms so that I would actually be texted with these words every day. In just a few short weeks, I started internalizing these notions. Shortly after, relationships with friends seemed stronger. New yoga job opportunities opened up, I actually felt like a better person and this made me happy. Really happy.
In my past few yoga practices I’ve noticed a huge positive change. When I lay back in Savasana, an automatic mantra has begun playing repetitiously in my head, “I am peace. I am love. I surrender to this moment. This is exactly where I need to be.”I made a mental note this evening in Savasana to jot down these feelings of empowerment.
Upon exiting the class, a fellow yogi caught my glance, “Did you know how negative the English language is?” “Oh?” I inquired, “Yes,” He continued, “We have more negative words than positive words in the dictionary. Do you know what the ratio is?” “No.” “Four to one. There are four times as many words with negative connotation in the dictionary as there are positive ones.” I laughed feeling as if he’d almost completely revealed to me why I had been so down in the dumps - perhaps it was a case of too much vocabulary, “Huh. We have more words to describe our misery than we do our elation.” I remarked. I shared with him how I had made auto-affirmations, a daily positivity bombardment, and how I’ve felt changed for the better. I thanked him for sharing his findings with me, smiled and headed home. This conversation was not just coincidence. The energy I was emitting was metamorphosing and he somehow sensed it.
My iCal affirmations have been the best thing for my self-esteem since the stunning ombre maxi dress I bought last summer - okay that was a tad sarcastic, but for realsies, setting automatic affirmations via text message is helping me become a kinder person each day. I highly suggest it. If you aren’t sure what to write, try this: words given to me on a tiny piece of cardstock by a kindred soul I met briefly while traveling, “You are loving, loveable and loved. Never forget that.”