Resiliency Skill: Denials and Affirmations- Part One

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In this blog, we will expand on the material in Redemption from Biblical Battering. One of the tools that rebuild strength in the woman who has been attacked by an abuser is the ability to mentally develop and rehearse denials and affirmations.

Using the power of your words to create your experiences can be very satisfying and stress relieving.  More than just positive thinking, denials and affirmations are a dynamic duo in managing our perceptions and feelings toward achieving satisfaction in relationships, work and other areas. They are based on the truth that the universe is supporting us and that love prevails in assuring us our good because this is the Divine Will for our lives. They create what Jesus called “the Kingdom of God within you”. If we think about what would the evidence be that Good prevailed, that is what Jesus meant. Harmonious relationships, happiness, fulfillment, peace, love, wisdom, kindness. We can create these through the power of our heart-mind-words.

Basically as I have practiced this technique, which has a long history in truth studies around the world, the dynamic involves creating space and affirming deeply. Some of the wisdom that supports this practice includes the idea of mind, idea and expression as the creative formula for our world; as in heaven, so below; living in faith; or practicing the presence of God.  It is not wishful thinking or a Pollyanna approach; It is not self-hypnosis because you cannot convince yourself against your will. It is based on the concept that we participate in creating our good by using our power of being made in the image of God, who made the world through the Word. They emerge from an integration of mind and heart that is life producing.

Denials and affirmations work hand in hand. Denials create space or release negativity so that a more positive experience can present itself. Then affirmations build improved conditions for living, whether materially, emotionally, mentally or in other areas.

But before I create or decide upon the wording of a denial or affirmation, I have found it important to do some depth work to identify as closely as I can what is really desired. I say this because I have had the experience of receiving what I had affirmed and then realized I was not specific or accurate enough in what I had affirmed! This is not to say that it was a negative effect; just that I saw what I had missed emphasizing that would have been even better. Good, better, best. But that is fine. I learned and did not lose out, a good growth process.

Or be prepared to find out that the results you desired showed up but in ways you hadn’t anticipated. For example, I may have been affirming that the sale process proceeds in Divine Order after my bid on a house is accepted. However the realtor creates so many problems that I never buy the house. So the sale did proceed in Divine Order. I was not supposed to buy that house. I find out later that it had many problems that I would not have been able to afford. So the difficulties that arose were not obstacles, but the process working out as it was supposed to. Continue to affirm, even when it does not appear to be working.  You will either learn how to modify the affirmation or denial to be more accurate or see the good in new ways. Repeat it daily and then go about your business, not giving it any more thought. Proceed with the assurance that it is coming to be.

So the depth work, either through journaling, counseling, talking, or other processing, helps me identify the core concern or issue I am dealing with because I don’t always know. Someone once asked if it was the problem or the feelings I had about the problem that was troubling. I thought this was an astute observation, similar to the idea of wanting money or wanting what you think money will provide. Money (tangible) is desired for what people think it will secure (intangible, such as security, fun, power, freedom, etc.).

In addition to accurate identification of the concern or issue, it is important to include the feeling desired and to associate an image with the desired outcome. Imagination plays an important role in creating denials and affirmations. In fact, it seems what is in most need of healing or fulfillment is exactly what denials and affirmations work most effectively to create. In other words the things that disturb us are usually signals from our shadow selves, some area we are not in touch with and which need resolution. Denials and affirmations are powerful tools for resolving these issues because they help us experience what filling the need feels like.

 We can examine this sample denial first. Let’s say that there is a particularly difficult coworker I am dealing with. After journaling about the recurring problems, I discover that the real issue that is disturbing my peace in interacting with this person is his apparent need to one- up me in every meeting. But the deeper realization is that this goes back to one of my trigger issues from when I was growing up of feeling “less than”. It is a core issue for me.

 I create a denial that says “No attempt to reduce my worth is effective.”

In the next post, we will explore Part II of this skill that rebuilds self-worth and confidence.

Three Free Ways to Connect with Calm

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Calmness has been linked to improved decision making, heart benefits, and more enjoyable relationships. But how to tap into it?

Here are three free ways to connect with a calming moment.

Slow Down

We don’t yet know all the effects of being in motion so much of the time, but the fast rate of the motion is being studied. Psychology Today reported on numerous mental and health benefits of slowing down. Processing fast moving images has been shown to alter brain behavior in children. Dimitri A Christakis reported on 30 studies in an October 2011 issue of Pediatrics showing executive functioning and other impairments or alerations.

So how to access this benefit? Moving fast can become automatic. We rush when it is not necessary but is simply a carryover from having rushed in the previous activity. Being aware of unnecessary rushing is the first step. Pausing to consciously shift between activities allows us to decide whether we still need to rush.

We can also modify our self-talk about the pressure or need to rush. Before answering machines, many felt panic if they did not get to the phone ring on time. Some people still let out an expletive if they pick up the phone too late. Rarely is this a crisis but our autonomous nervous system may still react as if it is an emergency. Instead, take steps to arrange other ways to handling incoming pressures to carve out a space to shift pace.

Imagine rushing to catch a bus. Once you are on board, you can sit down and relax. It would not make sense to still rush up and down the bus aisle after boarding. Just as senseless is our maintaining a breakneck pace for every task in front of us. Make conscious decisions about your pace.

Sharing

The pressure of keeping disturbances bottled up inside works against a state of calm. Sharing can be as simple as keeping a journal or attending a support group. Sarah Townsend, assistant professor at University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, reported in Social Psychology and Personality Science (December 2013) that taking with someone we perceive to  have the same feelings reduces stress.

We all need to release self-imposed impossible expectations. Self-talk plays a role in accessing calm here as well. Reject the assumption that you are so unique that no one has been challenged like you are or has never met this problem. That gives permission to share it with someone else who is trustworthy and understanding.

 Even making a voice memo gets your frustration out of your body and allows your brain to restore serotonin and dopamine levels. Your brain does not know whether you are talking to a real person or not.

Silence

Perhaps the least favorite or most overlooked way to calm down, silence is the easiest to achieve. Pricey noise-cancelling headphones are not required. Simply walk away from time to time from an intensively noisy environment to a quiet one.  

What happens most often is that we are unaware of the stress buildup from noise. Omnipresent music and broadcasts in the background have become a wallpaper of sound around us. The impact is still entering our mind and bodies.

Hypertension, high stress levels, tinnitus, hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and other harmful effects have been linked to noise pollution, enough to make it part of the Clean Air Act.

Besides the washroom, sometimes simply shutting the door if we have an office or walking to another quieter room can do the trick. Pause, breathe and return when you feel a greater sense of calm within.

Christian Science Reading Rooms join libraries in a testimony to the need for quiet. Take lunches in a quiet place. Decide to delay turning on news or music when you get home to enjoy quiet. If you are not the first to get home, avoid having news or music automatically on in your car.

It will be surprising how many places we can remove noise from around us once we become aware of its intrusiveness. The growing popularity of meditation aides attests to an increasing appreciation of stilling the chattering mind that results from an environment overloaded with sensory pressures.

Slowing down, sharing, and silence can give us immediate access to calm. Share a comment on your favorite free way to increase calm in your day.

You at Christmas

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There’s a lot of talk about the value and need to be giving at this time of year. We have slogans like “It’s better (or ‘more blessed’ some say) to give than receive” that in our materialistic society seems a challenge. One charity boasts they are “Doing the most good.” Or we worry about the price of gifts that are out of our range.

Is giving supposed to be a competition? If so, what’s the prize? Or the measure?

  1. The Calculated Giver.

My sisters and I were always amused that our mother kept a Christmas Card list from Continue reading

I’m Inconvenient. Are You?

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Al Gore’s film about climate change, “An Inconvenient Truth”, made a big splash and was aptly name. But increasingly human beings are considered inconvenient because of two bullies: greed and speed. Watkins Glen State Park NY

There are days when I feel like a character in The Matrix. Others would be pleased if they could just strap me to a table and hook my bank account up to their tubes.

More businesses want me to just set up online accounts which siphon money directly from me to their account. They never have to see me, talk to me, or deal with me at all, unless it’s the nanosecond requirement for me to click “I agree.” Nor is it possible to explain a situation that does not fit their parameters over the phone.

Phone trees and websites are designed to Continue reading

Some Women Have Fat

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woman girl fat fitness

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

I started to write “Some Women are Fat” but that’s not the main issue. More men are becoming weight conscious, but for women fat phobia is a way of life. “This Is Us” has won an Emmy in part for including the lifetime pain of a large woman in its story line. More prevalent are shows like “The Biggest Loser”, featuring weighty men and women abusing themselves, often gaining the weight back because of their underlying medical problem.

The reality is that the medical community may not want to admit they don’t have an answer to all the fat conditions. They are as myriad and individual as the people struggling with fat. One doctor told a candidate surgery was the only way to reset her metabolism. Really?  The big secret is that bariatric surgery does not reliably produce weight loss.

Recently the role of our manufactured food industry has been recognized, but still the billion dollar diet industry rolls on. Women are assured the more they measure, the more they will never measure up with the appropriate body.  Ads for “health” are masks Continue reading

The Unwanted Mother

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Right now I have an 89-year-old friend who moved away from her lifetime residence and cadre of friends to a retirement home closer to her daughter. Her daughter wanted this move because it would save her expensive flights to visit her mother. Although they were not especially close, my friend wanted to be nearer to her daughter in case she became ill.

My friend spends her days isolated in the facility. Her daughter does not see or talk to her very much and it is difficult to begin making friends at this age, she says. It is now apparent that her daughter may not be there even if she is ill. She thinks she made a mistake but she cannot move back now. She is too old.pexels-photo-1051076.jpeg

The Institute on Aging reported in 2010 that older women are twice as likely to live alone Continue reading

At Home with Women’s History

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Otoe-Missouria Princesses Today

Inventions are just another way people are creative.  Women excel in creativity, and have focused it on whatever arena they have found themselves in.

We don’t know the names of Native American women who developed any of the pre-Columbian treasures that were found when Europeans arrived here. We know that the idea of democracy from the Iroquois Confederation and compulsory education were new to the explorers. They found Native Americans using  chocolate, aspirin, gold plating, rubber balloons, toy tops, chewing gum, hammocks, oil extraction, and a container like a baby bottle. Their knowledge of 2,564 plant medicines revealed uses as anaesthetics, insect repellants, and oral contraceptives, some administered through syringe-like devices.

Given the chance, Native American women did enter fields yielding inventions. Born on August 9, 1908 in Oklahoma, Cherokee Mary Golda Ross was the first female and the only Native American engineer at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in Burbank, California during the Space Race.

Many times we don’t know the names of the women who have created our benefits today. A cliché is a woman’s place is in the home. So women inventors changed what this  meant.  Tour a home with me and see how many ways women inventors have helped us with our work.

An innovation in solar heating of the home is itself a contribution of Maria Telkes.  Marie Continue reading

A Valentine for Your Inner Child

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“Every human person is inevitably involved with two worlds: the world they carry within them and the world that is out there. All thinking, all writing, all action, all creation and all destruction is about that bridge between the two worlds.” – John O’Donahue

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of connection. Sending heartfelt thoughts is a way to reach out, perhaps say what can’t be said, with a greeting already packaged.

Sometimes the day is not welcomed. There may be complex feelings, confusion or Continue reading

De-Stress Your Self-Talk

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screamOh my God, now I have to put up with this too. I can’t believe the nerve. What does he expect?! He never thinks of anyone else. It’s damned if you do or damned if you don’t.

Feeling better after reading this? Of course not. But each day many of us inflict barrages like this on our poor adrenal system voluntarily.

We can do ourselves and our nervous system a huge favor by recognizing the top three categories of stress talk and replacing or releasing them to the fiery pit from which they came.

Extremes:

In this sample, extremes are pushing you off a cliff fast. Phrases like “OMG”, can’t believe” and all-inclusive generalizations or abstractions box us in. There’s a reason for the phrase “two horns of a dilemma”- it’s a false choice.

We have probably been exposed to those tests where we have to make forced choices, Continue reading

Lighting the Mother Shadow

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For some women Mother’s Day is not an easy day. Daughters of mothers who could not nurture them experience emotional fallout that casts a shadow over this day and indeed their lives.2015-03-06-16-13-26

Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes about the Stone Child, stories and myths of the unmothered child. As women, we experience “collapsing” and a wild hunger that leads us to doubt ourselves, have difficulty seeing ourselves accurately, engage in risky or impulsive behaviors, and an inability to maintain healthy boundaries. We miss training in honoring our intuition, consciousness and common sense. To recover, women must grow their own internal mother to warm their hearts through meditation, connecting with nature, bodywork, and support from other women. We must come to terms with our mother shadow, for she never leaves us. We cannot escape the effects and should not. Our mother effect is the source of our creative energy. Our emotions are our guide to our next level for spiritual development.

Recently a group of women in my workshop Continue reading