Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanking and affirming

I am in favor of affirmations. At a certain period in my life, I did not think much of selp-help gurus who were pushing them. I still have major reservations about affirmations that seem to be pitched from the head instead of the heart, and either project ego-driven "gimme" agendas or , alternatively, are shackled by received notions of what is spiritually correct. But I am greatly in favor of starting the day with a statement to the universe that affirms the intention to live as fully and creatively as possible, and return thanks for the gifts of life, especially when life seems hard. To affirm is literally "to make firm", or strong. To make a conscious affirmation, on any given day, is to firm up our whole approach to life. Whether we know it or not, everything is listening, in our conscious universe.

In the United States, we just celebrated Thanksgiving, an all-American holiday I generally enjoy, though it was completely foreign in the country where I grew up. At Thanksgiving, I rarely think about the Pilgrim Fathers getting through a rough winter with the help of red people who did not yet understand what the irruption of pink people into this continent would mean for them. But I often think about how, for the First Peoples of America, prayer is often a practice of returning thanks for life, and all that supports life in our conscious, inter-connected universe, and how this is not just a part of one big turkey day, but of everyday affirmation.

I like to come up with fresh affirmations as often as possible. But I also find it good to voice "default" affirmations on any day they feel right, including those on which "fresh words" are lacking. Here's a simple affirmation that came to me long ago, when my dreams and visions drew me into the imaginal realm of a Native American people - the Onkwehonwe, or Iroquois - for whom returning thanks is part of what keeps the world turning:

I return thanks for the gifts of this lifetime
and for its challenges
I seek to walk in balance between earth and sky

I would love to hear affirmations from others, in words old or new, in our Comments thread.


Worldbridger said...

I use 260 different affirmations. This is today's ...

I dissolve in order to beautify
Releasing art
I seal the store of elegance
With the spectral tone of liberation
I am guided by my own power doubled

Unknown said...

For the first time, I actually wrote my Thanksgiving Blessing. I read it aloud and my two younger children did not receive it well. They were silly and hungry and not inclined to hear my long list of things I am grtateful for. It included the Sun and Moon and probably get the picture.

But~ the part that was the most poignant for me was:
I am thankful for my adversaries. They taught me how strong I can be, who I am, and what I can do. Now that is a Really Big Gift.

I imagine it might be a blessing a hawk might consider if it were being irritated by other birds in a tree, rooted in a park, on a cloudy November day.

Robert Moss said...

Hi Susan - I love your affirmation about how we can learn and grow by the tests our adversaries pose - maybe evene, with time and healing, to the point where they are no longer adversaries.

And I like the connection you make with the hawk holding its perch in that leafless tree, under the squalling and croaking and batting. I held that image in my mind when I had to deal with a conversation that might have turned adversarial - but instead, evolved into a wonderfully fresh mutual sharing - later that same day.

Lou Hagood said...

Hi Robert, Good idea. My affirmation was the line from the rock song, "Thank God for the people I have found!"

Robert Moss said...

That rocks, Lou! You are reminding me that something we want to do - when not stuck in literal Headphoneland - is to check our inner soundtrack to see what's playing (and change tracks if necessary).

Karen Kay said...

Hi Robert,

One of my favorites is
'Gracia' .
Just this one word conjures up so much in my imagination. It begins with thank you and grows into grace.
I also often see a woman dancing sometimes with sweet harmony sometimes as a ballerina and sometimes wild flamenco - it reminds me to dance both with my own life and life itself. Spanish has always felt rather wild to me as a language and this 'thank you' takes on very earthy mulchy juicy wildish proportions. When I say 'Gracia' my body breathes deeply of its own accord.

Sweet dreams

Robert Moss said...

"Mulchy juicy wildish" grace. That certainly perks up the day! And simple is always good. Muchas gracias, Karen.

Aylee said...

This Thanksgiving we watched the Wizard of Oz for the first time in many many years. I was so thankful to hear the line in the last scene where Dorothy says "It isn't a dream, it is a place"!

Carol Davis said...

I often return to a favorite: What is needed will be provided.
When I say this I have no room for worry or thinking small. I stand in trust and co-operate with the abundance of grace and love that flows.

Robert Moss said...

Hi Carol - I love the simplicity of this affirmation, and the trust in the powers that support life that it expresses. The truth that lives in us and is heard by the conscious universe is the truth we remember and embody and enact. "What is needed will be provided" speaks from that kind of truth, and will be heard.

Justin Patrick Moore said...

A prayer before food that I learned from the poet Gary Snyder when listening to one of his lectures:

we are thankful for this food
the work of many people
and the sharing of many forms of life

Adelita Chirino said...

What a wonderful and provocative musing on affirmations and thanksgiving. Thanks, Robert.
My favorite affirmation happens when I'm moved to burst into "Gracias a la Vida" a favorite Spanish song by Chilean singer/poet/artist/activist Violeta Parra.
You and the dream bloggers here have reminded me to sing it more often.
Here's my favorite verse:
Gracias a la Vida que me ha dado tanto
me ha dado la risa y me ha dado el llanto,
así yo distingo dicha de quebranto
los dos materiales que forman mi canto
y el canto de ustedes que es el mismo canto
y el canto de todos que es mi propio canto.


Robert Moss said...

"Thanks to life that has given me so much
That has given me smiles and salt tears"

Eso me encanta, Adelita. Gracias!