I love you because you exist. In physical form, in thought, as an idea, you exist.
I get to relate to myself through my experience of you.
You give me the chance to evolve. Whether you give me strength, challenge my tolerance, make me question myself, cause me to experience a great sense of loss, or remind me that I am indeed lovable and loved, it is through you.
It is through you that I get to check my own beliefs, attitudes, generosity, reactions, boundaries, compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, patience, depth of service, and I am sure there’s more.
The word Valentine was derived from valens, which means worthy, strong, powerful. In that we exist to remind each other of our light, our humanity, our worth, our strength, our power, you are my Valentine. Thank you. No matter what is happening, I will always try to remember our service to each other. And even when I have trouble remembering, I am certain that, at some level, I know I love you.
If you do not deliberately plant flowers and tend carefully, weeds will grow without any encouragement at all.
Positive affirmations work. Sometimes. When it does not work, it is because our thoughts are not aligned with our feelings. I may want to believe that “I love myself” and “I deserve happiness.” But somewhere inside, as I say it, a monster (I don’t know who put it there) says, “bullshit” and cancels out my affirmation. Just like that.
But you gotta fake it til you make it.
You just can’t walk around telling awful lies about yourself, to yourself, that you suck. That the other person’s happiness is more important than yours. That prosperity is just not in your cards. That you aren’t smart or beautiful enough. So it’s best to stop telling the story.
Truth is, you are incredible, lovable, beautiful, unique and deserve to be happy. It just may not feel true. Until it does, there is a technique that I believe is more effective than repeating affirmations that get canceled out by inner monsters. Until “I love myself” can roll off the tongue without the “bullshit” that follows, add something else that your monster doesn’t know what to do with.
Adding can be easier than subtracting.
For instance, some find it easier to add healthy foods into their diets than to subtract the bad ones. Focus on the healthy foods you added long enough, and the healthy habits can prevail as the cravings for junk food diminish. When the focus is on subtracting the junk food, the urge persists and eventually wins.
Similarly, if positive affirmations are difficult because you resists them, then use the same addition technique by repeating words that inherently seeds Self love and fearlessness, only you don’t fully know that it does. Because it’s not in your native tongue. Which is good, cause then your ego can’t go into full sabotoge mode. It can tell you to stop, but it can’t shut you down with the “bullshit.”
Any time your story comes up, immediately replace it with any of these three (there are many, many others, but 3’s a good start, right?):
Ek Ong Kar Sat Gur Prasad, Sat Gur Prasad, Ek Ong Kar
Raa Raa Raa Raa Maa Maa Maa Maa, Rama Rama Sa Ta Na Ma
Try it. Repeat often. See what happens. Here is how it sounds like on repeat. So you’ve got this story going on in your head that sounds a little bit like blame, shame or justification, and you say,
As I was writing this blog, I received a sweet phone call from a friend who stopped by this morning. He said, “This morning, I woke up very early with wonderful thoughts on my mind. And my navigation went to where my thoughts were going...”
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” —Mohandas K. Gandhi
Many years ago when I was in sales, I bought this cassette tape (I said many years ago) on how to be persuasive. It was all about the words we use. Nothing else. Use and instead of but; share what is possible instead of what is not; focus on what works instead of the obstacles. When I found yoga in search for a sense of peace and happiness, I found that, at the end of the day the same principles applied. With the exception that the ultimate goal was not to persuade others but to be happy with myself. Turns out I’m more persuasive being happy. Funny how that works. And when I am not, the world lets me know. A little bit of awareness opens the floodgates to messages all around us with feedback and opportunity to adjust ourselves before we stray too far.
Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.
How do we do that?
What I found to be the most powerful tool for shifting thought and gaining control over my own thoughts is mantra. Mantra is what you say over and over again, day after day. And the essence of that single phrase repeated gets embedded vibrationally at the cellular level and becomes who we are. Examples of mantra:
I am sensible and in control of my finances.
I am perfect just the way I am.
I’m not smart enough.
I am too old.
It’s his fault.
I’m an idiot.
I am sexy and I know it
Ek Ong Kar. Sat Nam. Siri. Wahe Guru.
And when we say, think, or feel something over and over again, it enforces the pathway towards like action.
What I like about yoga mantra is that I can stay neutral with them. I don’t have to know what Ek Ong Kar means, and when I don’t know what it means, I am less likely to project my own stuff onto it and sabotage my efforts. I can simply say it over and over again and let it do its work.
Because of its power, mantra as a spiritual practice –spiritual meaning to know oneself- is an excellent way to reduce stress and anxiety and quiet the chattery monkey mind, which can help relieve insomnia or depression. It can open up the mind to see the gifts of life. It can bring a sense of abundance, calm, neutrality, oneness, self-empowerment, connection, and groundedness, as well as enhance creativity, spontaneity and love of life. Try it.