Tag Archives: Power of Thought

“Affirmations Are B.S.” and Other Things You Shouldn’t Believe

UpwardBy Orion Talmay

“Affirmations? Yeah, whatever… I don’t do that new age B.S.! That’s only good for weak people with no self-confidence! The people I train don’t need that crap!”

I actually heard these words from one of my fitness mentors I look up to. His huge resistance to the idea of affirmations was kind of shocking to me. I, for one, believe in “that stuff”. Does that mean I am weak? Is it all a scam to make us feel better about life? Am I just a hippie dreamer?

In my free-spirited late teens, I read two books that really shaped me. One of them was The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Dr. Joseph Murphy. Murphy spoke about the power of our thoughts and how they influence what we manifest in our lives:

There is a miraculous curative force in your subconscious that can heal the troubled mind and the broken heart. It can open the prison door of the mind and liberate you. It can free you from all kind of physical and material bondage.

The other book was You Can Heal Your Life by the remarkable Louise Hay. Hay’s philosophy is similar to Murphy’s. In the book she described using positive affirmations to eliminate self-defeating thoughts: “What you choose to think about yourself and about life becomes true for you. And we have unlimited choices about what we can think.” According to Hay, an affirmation is anything we say or think, therefore all of our self-talk is a stream of affirmations. In order to change your life, you must pay attention to your thoughts and choose empowering ones. By choosing thoughts that make you feel good and stating a desirable intention as a daily practice, you are retraining your brain how to think and speak and you are reprogramming your beautiful subconscious mind.

Affirmations are the seeds of your dreams that you plant for later harvesting. By writing your dreams down and affirming them in ink, or vocalizing them out loud, you bring them into the physical realm and one step closer to manifesting. If you say a lie over and over again, won’t you start believing it? If telling a lie can affect you like that, why not tell a good “lie” – one that has the potential to change your life for the better?

Many times when I’ve gone back to read what seemed originally to be “impossible” affirmations, I actually found they had manifested in my life. Who cares if it seems weird and too “outside the norm”? Who wants to be normal anyways? Popular thinking usually turns out to be average thinking. Galileo Galilei was sentenced to spend rest of his life in prison for his ideas. He vocally supported the Copernican hypothesis that the earth is not the center of the solar system, but one of many planets revolving around the sun. Three centuries later he was called the “father of modern science” by Einstein.

When researching this subject, you will find that in this day and age, science is backing “new age” thinking more than ever before.

At the dawn of the twentieth century, the tidy, objective, mechanistic view of the world began to fall apart…scientists began looking into the world within the atomic nucleus, and they were shocked to discover that on the subatomic level, the physical world did not behave at all the way Newton said it should. In fact, the “atom” itself turned out to be a sort of illusion: The closer scientists looked, the less it really appeared to be there…And when our vision of the atom fractured, the foundation of classical physics fractured along with it. Our view of how the world works was in for a radical transformation. – John Assaraf & Murray Smith (The Answer)

Quantum physics nowadays include theories like parallel universes. It’s no longer science fiction that the power of our thoughts affect physical objects and create new realities. No longer are we in an age where meditation sounds “funny.” Today’s science backs up the positive sweeping impact of quieting one’s brain waves into lower frequencies. People are opening up to possibilities in the realm of the unknown.

The ancients knew that space is not empty; it is the origin and memory of all things that exist and have ever existed…[This insight] is now being rediscovered at the cutting edge of the sciences [and is emerging] as a main pillar of the scientific world’s picture of the twenty-first century. This will profoundly change our concept of ourselves and of the world. – Dr. Ervin Laszlo (as quoted in The Answer)

When I train my clients, my rule is: no negative self-talk. “It’s too hard”, “no way can I do it” are being thrown out the window in the first session. I know for a fact that the body reacts to what you tell it. What you affirm feeds your future blueprint. One of my favorite clients once said “OMG, I am so bad at lunges”. So I told her: “Let’s change your self-talk about lunges. I think it would serve you better to instead say that I am getting better and better”. She looked at me frazzled and really forced it out uncomfortably, saying: “I am getting better and better.” Guess what? She did get better and better, AS SHE WAS SAYING IT! She started listening to – and modifying – her self-talk outside of our training sessions and consequently improved on achieving other personal goals.

But affirmations are not enough! If you look at your dirty laundry and say all day long “My laundry is getting cleaner and smells great” nothing will happen… You have to take action. Say you can do it, then do it! Just like saying I am getting better and better, while lunging. Affirmations will put you in the mindset to take action. They will keep you focused on your goals and desires. They will keep your unconscious mind open to all great opportunities around you. Previously you may not have noticed your self-talk if you were not attuned to it; but now that you are aware of its power, you will know to leverage it for positive action.

Please comment below and share your questions, stories, and experiences with affirmations. I would love to hear your thoughts; I greatly appreciate the feedback!

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picOrion Talmay is a fitness expert and life coach who helps her clients transform their bodies and their lives. Her fitness skills include yoga, weight training, kick boxing, Aikido, MMA (mixed martial arts) and Krav Maga. Orion completed the Tough Mudder, a 12-mile extreme obstacle course with an ice pool, electric wires, buttered monkey bars, and more. She’s not all hard-core though; she is also a woman of the arts — loves to dance and sing, went to acting school, and speaks three languages. She is a graduate of the American Academy of Personal Training and is AAFA, AAPT, KBA, and Zumba certified. She is currently working on an online coaching program for weight loss and self development, designed to empower people across all aspects of their lives: physical, mental, social and spiritual. Orion is also working on her first book, about transformational change. Originally from Israel, she currently lives in sunny Santa Monica, California.

Super Thoughts: 5 Ways to Make Yours Empowering

Beata Zita“Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers, or you can grow weeds.” ~Author Unknown

I’m a long-time believer in the power of our thoughts, and I tend to focus on the positive. But, sometimes, those darn thoughts just spin out of control and go on their own little tangent, taking us along for the ride. This happened to me recently, but it served as a good reminder of just how powerful our thoughts are.

I was messing around online when an article caught my eye. There was a local headline about a fatal motorcycle crash. Eeek, bad news, for sure. Normally, I would avoid clicking on such an article just because I prefer not to fill my conscious with the gruesome details of the unfortunate things going on in the world. However, I couldn’t help but click this time. You see, my father sometimes rides a motorcycle and the crash happened within a few miles of his home. I felt a strong urge to read more. When I clicked on the article and started reading the details, my heart sank. While the identity of the motorcyclist was not released, the details of the crash had it taking place on a road, in a direction, and at a time that could have easily been my dad. I gulped. Very aware of my own body, I could suddenly feel my heart rate quicken and my breathing become more shallow as my chest tightened up. It was an uneasy, although not completely unfamiliar feeling. I started to feel a deep sadness and worry. I did not like it at all.

“Okay, wait a second,” I said to myself. I had no idea how many motorcycles drive down that road on a given morning, but it had to be a lot. It was a very busy intersection, after all. Plus, I didn’t even know for sure if my dad drove his bike that day, or if he even took that route. There was no real logic behind the sudden panic feeling. I was being crazy, and I knew it. In fact, I did confirm shortly thereafter that all was well with my father. Phew.

This example of the human mind at work is something we can all relate to. It’s just how we’re wired. From back in the caveman days, we were programmed with a “fight or flight” trigger, which used to have a very real purpose (you know, running away from dinosaurs and such). Though we have evolved quite a bit since then, our brains are still wired very similarly. The reaction I felt in my body was actually a defense mechanism. My brain was preparing me for danger. And, despite the incredibly low probability of that bad news actually pertaining to me, from a logical perspective, my brain treated it as if it was actually happening to me. In fact, the feeling was so real that it was indeed my reality for those few moments while the feelings took place. I had created my own illusion just like each and everyone of us go around creating our own illusions on a daily basis. Our perception is our reality.

I tell this story to help others become more acutely aware of their own thoughts and just how incredibly powerful they are. Isn’t it funny how our brains work? From worrying about something that hasn’t even actually happened to reliving a moment in the past to making assumptions that what other people do or say has anything to do with us at all – these are all ways that our mind likes to create illusions for us! And, yes, we are ALL a little bit “crazy” like this at times.

The good news is that as powerful as our thoughts are, we can work to take control of them and harness that power for good. Here are a few pointers on how to do just that.

  1. What are you thinking? Notice whenever your mind starts reeling and also take note of the physical changes in your body. Knowing really is half the battle. A mentor of mine, Angela Jia Kim of Savor the Success, says there are really only two types of thoughts: empowering ones and dis-empowering ones. Simplify it to that level, and learn to ask yourself in any given moment, how is this thought serving me?
  2. Check Yourself. Don’t get me wrong sometimes we really are in danger … but, usually not. Is there really a “dinosaur” chasing you? Is it really about you? Give your self an ego-check. In addition to trying to protect us from (often imaginary) danger, our ego likes to make us feel really special and like everything is about us. But, upon a little logical reasoning, we can realize that whatever dis-empowering thoughts we are having are not actually about us or even real at all. With this awareness in hand, we can then work towards changing them.
  3. Just breathe. This simple nugget of wisdom can be applied to just about any uncomfortable situation. Breathe it out. Deep breathing actually has a physiological effect on our nervous system that sends out neurohormones to basically tell the stress hormones to take a chill. Visualize as you practice breathing. Inhale peace slowly and deeply through your nose into your diaphragm and exhale stress slowly and completely out through your mouth. Continue this until you feel calmness restore.
  4. Fill your consciousness with positive and uplifting ideas. Since thoughts are energy and they turn into our reality, why not feed your brain with some good stuff? From the articles you read to the people you hang out with, to the TV you watch (or not), you are setting the stage for what kind of thoughts will go into that beautiful little noggin of yours. Fuel your mind with knowledge that empowers you. Surround yourself with people who lift you up.
  5. Practice Mindfulness. I can’t recommend a mindfulness practice enough. It helps us become so much more aware of our thoughts and what’s going on with our bodies. It keeps us connected with our core being and intuition. While meditation is definitely at the top of the list of becoming more mindful, there are many other ways you can practice. Yoga is another wonderful one. However, it can also be taking an introspective walk or doing your favorite in-the-flow activity: maybe painting, sewing, or playing an instrument. Regularly practicing these mindfulness enhancers will help you stay grounded, and to keep those crazy thoughts at bay.

Learn to harness the power of your thoughts and enjoy the reward of unlimited peacefulness and joy!

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photo by: ckaroli

Channeling Love

I think...

Sometimes, I get stuck thinking about Emily Rapp. I don’t want to do this. Her life has been undoubtedly painful of late. I know this even though I’ve never met her. She lost her son recently. He had Tay Sachs’ disease. He died the day after Valentine’s Day — near the tender age of three. He did something similar to what my mom did. He unwittingly, cruelly and slowly degraded right in front of her. She had no choice but to let him go. It’s one thing to lose your mother this way; I can only imagine that it’s quite another to lose your child. As a mother, I shudder when I think of this. My heart turns heavy and it feels like it’s bleeding lead. It’s painful in every way.

And then, my thoughts turn to one of my friends. Our sons are the same age. I hate to say this but at times her child can be a bit of a nightmare. It is difficult to have him over for play dates and over nights. But this boy worships my son. And as such, he clings to him. He demands his attention. He wants to be my son’s very best friend. So we occasionally have him over. From time to time, he’ll burst out with something highly, shockingly inappropriate. It’s bewildering. Often, I feel very uncomfortable around him. When he leaves, everyone breathes a sigh of relief. It turns out, he has Asperger’s syndrome. His mom, my friend, she just found out. Oh! My heart goes out to her. She was crying as she told me. She said now she could start to readjust her expectations for his life. She could get used to knowing that he was never going to have a “normal” life. I just wanted to hug her. So I did. Again, this just breaks my heart for her and for him.

Abraham-Hicks says we should not think about that which we do not want to occur in our own lives. And so, I don’t want to think about these things. I know, this is a controversial opinion. I think it’s worth noting: I’m not saying we shouldn’t address major world issues. But I am saying, when we address those issues, it’s more effective to focus on solutions than the gruesomeness of the issue itself. For example: I am all for finding a cure to ALS, as my mother died from this wretched disease. That said, I am more focused on teaching people how to love themselves wholly and completely rather than to give way to self loathing as I believe in my bones that self loathing is a huge part of auto immune disease. I am also active in raising funds for research to find a cure, but I am more focused on impacting individuals around me to learn to love self.

All of these experiences of late have illustrated one huge point for me: I am grateful for my life. Sometimes, I get caught up in the “stuff” game. I wish I had better “stuff” (ie house, bathroom, drawers in my bathroom, more storage space, nicer kitchen, fewer cockroaches, no rats, a driveway with concrete pavement, a carport or even a garage, a bigger yard for the dog, a pool, a fence, a bathroom for the kids and one for me and my husband instead of everyone using the same one, a budget to travel by so that we could go back to the beach — I’ve never been away from the beach for this long in my life, it’s making me crazy). But in reality, none of this stuff is as important as the health of my children, my husband and myself. I am so lucky that I can say this. My children are both remarkably healthy. So are my husband and I. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

I do not want to attract atrocities into my life; no one does. I want to attract love, abundance, prosperity, joy, beauty, kindness, happiness, laughter, travel, openness, hope, support, health, vitality, and strength. This is what I want to focus on.

I call it Channeling Love, not only towards the universe, self and spirit for my own life, but also to those I know of who might be suffering or challenged. I truly believe, and yes, again, I know it’s controversial — but I believe every single positive thought we have makes a difference. And so, in my thoughts, I engulf Emily Rapp in a cocoon of love. I swaddle my friend who’s son is beginning a whole new path in life in love from my heart. And I recommit to creating a life around me free of self loathing, focused on uplifting all of those I can help, and resting in the knowledge that this is the best representation of self that I can currently embody. Channeling Love feels right to me. I offer this practice to you humbly.

photo by: Vince Alongi

Act As If: Using Attitude To Truly Transform Yourself and Unleash Your Potential

 I first heard the phrase "act as if" about fifteen or twenty years ago.  I remember learning that if we "act as if" we already have something we want, "act as if" something is already occurring in our lives (even if it’s not), or "act as if" we know how to do something (even if we don’t) – we create the conditions for it to manifest in our life with greater easy and probability.

In recent years, this concept has been popularized and even mainstreamed by books, films, and teachers talking about the "law of attraction" (i.e. like attracts like, thoughts create things, we get what we focus on, etc.)

This past week, Michelle and I watched a wonderfully inspiring documentary film called Act As If which had a profound impact on me.  The film is about Kathy Delaney-Smith, the head women’s basketball coach at Harvard University.  Kathy, who comes from a working class background and didn’t have much basketball or coaching experience, used the power of "acting as if" to become a very successful coach at one of the most elite institutions in the world.  She has also used her "act as if" philosophy to teach, train, and inspire her players both on the off the court for the past thirty years.

Most poignantly, Kathy used the power of her mind and her thoughts to act as if she were healthy and strong as she successfully battled through a life-threatening bout of breast cancer.  Her story, strength, and attitude are inspiring and courageous.

The message of this film spoke to me on a few different levels.  First of all, it brought the worlds of sports and the power of our thoughts and intention together in a meaningful way, which I appreciated.  Second, Kathy’s personal story and her approach with her players are both important things we can benefit from, learn from, and take to heart (in business, parenting, teamwork, relationships, and life in general).  And, finally, it reminded me how important it is to be conscious of my thoughts, my intentions, and my beliefs.

As I’ve been reflecting on it more, I realize that although I understand the concept of "acting as if" and I write, speak, and teach about how we have the power to create our own reality, in certain areas of my life – especially the ones that are most important to me or the ones where I feel the most cynical and resigned, I often pay "lip service" to acting as if, while simply hoping things will get better, worrying that they won’t, or allowing the outcome to determine how optimistic or pessimistic my outlook and approach will be.

This has been a sobering, but important realization for me this week.  There is a big difference between knowing something and living it.

"Acting as if" is about believing in things that don’t currently exist and that there may not be much evidence for.  This is about living a "faith-based" life, not an "evidence-based life."  The term "faith-based" often gets used in a political, social, or moral context when talking about initiatives or organizations that are connected with the church or some specific organized religion.  However, being a faith-based person, while it can and often does encompass our religious beliefs and our spiritual practices, is even broader than this.

When we choose to live with a strong faith in things not seen, not proven, and not guaranteed – we tap into the power of the possible and we supersede the literal and predicable.

Wayne Dyer wrote a great book a number of years ago called You’ll See it When You Believe it.  So many of us, myself included, live important aspect of our lives with the silent mantra of "I’ll believe it when I see it" and in doing so we hold ourselves back, limit what’s possible, and negate the power of our mind, imagination, and intention to allow and create things, situations, experiences, and outcomes that are new, unpredictable, and even miraculous.

For some of us, the idea of "acting as if" is basic and fundamental, for others of us it may be new and/or more difficult, and for still others it may seem out there and quite esoteric.  Regardless of how we relate to this idea, we’ve all experienced it in our lives in big and small ways.  Kathy Delaney-Smith demonstrates it in the Act as If film in a powerful way through her coaching, her battle with cancer, and how she lives life.

The question for us to ask ourselves is, "What am I acting as if will happen in the most important areas of my life right now?"

We often get exactly what we expect – which is a pretty powerful concept if we take time to let it in and live with that awareness.  Instead of waiting to see how things turn out, hoping that they will get better, or simply allowing the circumstances and situations in our lives determine how we feel – what if we acted as if we had everything within us and around us that we need to be successful, happy, and fulfilled already – which we do, by the way!

What can you do to "act as if" in your life right now in a way that will release stress, create peace, and help you attract what you want? Share your thoughts, action ideas, insights, and more on my blog here.

 

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