Working Affirmation? Why? What? How? (Part 1)

A working affirmation? These questions came across my Facebook feed: why isn’t my affirmation working?  what can I do to make it work?

I laughed and then threw away all the judgment thoughts I was having. Most of them anyway.

As a devout applier of affirmations for 30+ years, I really liked the opportunity to write some more about affirmations, about the why, what, and how of working affirmations.

The phrase “working affirmations” offers two interpretations: those affirmations that work (like a working theory) and putting those affirmations to work (as in I am working the theory). The poser of the Facebook questions would probably prefer both: to work with working affirmations.

Why an affirmation?

I take issue with the several online sources that suggest that the reason for an affirmation is t to replace a negative thought. Certainly, one answer to “Why use an affirmation?” is to help you (and me) get beyond doubt, feelings of weakness or uncertainty, or dissatisfaction. However, it is a shame to limit affirmations’ why only to what is negative.

Affirmation working

Working affirmation

An affirmation can boost our positive thoughts. And who doesn’t want more of what’s good? Who doesn’t look for ways to improve a feeling, an ability, or an attitude? I believe an affirmation exists to produce more positive thoughts than to remove negative ones because it doesn’t have to achieve a 180° turnaround. It builds on an existing belief.

There are quite a few website offerings that view affirmations producing a positive frame of mind, no matter what your start-state is. And here’s what I wrote at the very start of my book Affirming What Matters

An affirmation shows or expresses a strong belief. An affirmation, in its spiritual sense, states a truth
which one wants to absorb in their life.

That truth may serve to correct something negative by stating the positive. If you procrastinate (I do!), an affirmation like this may counter that negative behavior:

I do what needs to be done when it needs to be done, without hesitation.

You may want to affirm a truth to increase something already positive. If procrastination is not on your short list of shortcomings, but you want to be even more efficient, this affirmation may serve you well:

I am becoming better at completing tasks quickly and accurately.

What does an affirmation do?

Sounds glib but I believe an affirmation does what you want it to do. Of course, to be a working affirmation, it must have someone working it. A car doesn’t move by itself. For the car to take you where you want to go, you have to drive it. (Although, technology may be rapidly changing that truth.)

A written affirmation that no one speaks aloud or they repeat silently is just words on a page. Merely speaking the words is not enough. That’s like sitting behind the wheel and not putting the car in gear or pressing the accelerator. So, there has to be faith that the affirmation is true for you.

The powerful, effective affirmations that really work are the ones that state an expected goal in its already fulfilled state. Those affirmations are not in future tense. “I will become…” is as futile as trying to reach the end of a turned-on treadmill. Learning is a pathway to believing. The human mind learns by repetition. By repeating to myself that I am becoming better at completing tasks quickly and accurately, I believe it. If I believe than I have the comfort and confidence to do those tasks with more gusto. Procrastination, be gone!

How do I use an affirmation?

The in-a-nutshell answer is Anyway you want to.

That is true because you know yourself better than anyone else does. And the more you work with affirmations, the better you will know how to make them work for you. But the truth beneath that is we all sometimes need assistance getting started. So here are 5 easy-to-follow steps that are intended to help you find comfort and confidence using affirmations. That means enough comfort and confidence for you to move on to your own personal way to make them work for you.

  1. Determine what you want to affirm. Think positive even if it means you have to get rid of some nasty habit.  Hint: don’t use negatives in your affirmation.
  2. Remember to express your affirmation in present tense. Hint: think I am or I do instead of I will be or I will do.
  3. Cut your affirmation down to an easy-to-remember and comfortable-to-repeat length. Hint: shorter is better.
  4. Practice speaking your affirmation aloud. Several times. Does it sound right? Do you feel good saying it? Does hearing it make you feel good? Hint: if your answer to any of those is “no”, repeat steps 1-3.
  5. Repeat your affirmation either x number of times (20 is a good number) or y number of minutes (5 is a good length of time). Say your affirmation that many times or that many minutes twice a day: wakeup and bedtime. Hint: commit to the number of reps or minutes because you must hear it to believe it and that may take repetition. Commit to two times a day because it will make your day better and your sleep sweeter.

Do that until you see and feel yourself being and doing what you’ve affirmed. Congratulate yourself. Frame your affirmation or put it on your monitor wallpaper. Then start another affirmation. Here’s to your working affirmation.

Praying to Our Affirmations

Loving Spirit, thank you
for the many ways and reasons we have
to affirm what we are,
what we do,
and what prospers in our lives.
With ease and joy we can know an endless bounty
of blessings that affirm our Oneness
and our spiritual essence and our mental activity
and our physical vitality.
We celebrate by reminding ourselves
through affirmations of our grace and fullness
of all that we can be
to realize all we are.
We love and bless that we are all we are
and that we are part of the All.
Thank you, God. And so it is. Amen.

Love & blessings,





19 March 2021

Posted on March 19, 2021 at 8:47 am by Tim · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Affirmation, Praying · Tagged with: 

The world: what do we pray for?

Top of the world
As the world turns
The world on a string
Around the world

In his 1873 novel, Jules Verne took us Around the World in 80 Days. Less than 100 years later Mercury satellite (and television) took us around the earth in 88 minutes. Today the internet takes us not only around the planet but also anywhere on it and back in less than a few seconds. When our Wi-Fi is not shaky.

The world on a slip of paper

The World in the prayer box

My curiosity about how we see the world started with trying to nail down how I feel about it. About 1/2way through the pandemic we’ve known thus far, I wrote “The World” on a paper slip and added it to my prayer box. Been praying about it ever since. And wondering what does it mean to me? Which got me to wondering what it means to you.

I still carry the childhood perception that the world is “so large”. Some of the time. Other times I think of it as becoming ever smaller, perhaps because “globalization”, a buzz-word of the ‘90s, has become reality.

The world: a pale blue dot

Our pale blue dot

It was 1990 when the Voyager 1 satellite, heading for the boundaries of our Solar System, turned long enough to photograph Earth. The picture is from 4 million miles away. Carl Sagan’s speech in which he shared the picture and introduced the “pale blue dot” is still powerful.

Sagan’s phrase signifies our uniqueness, our miniscule presence, and our helpless strength. Perhaps more poetic is his statement that our planet is a “mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam”. Surely that is what Maya Angelou referenced in her “A Brave and Startling Truth” to celebrate the United Nation’s 50th birthday in 1995.  She so poetically prays that “We, this people on this mote of matter” will come to learn the brave and startling truth and be able to release our fingers from the fists of hostility.

Each morning, as I come to “The World” among the other 50 or so slips of paper, I wonder if my prayer is huge enough. Or I wonder if I can personalize my world enough that it will accept a smaller poem. Most days I let confusion pass, and I say the prayer I’ve used for years.

Living, loving God,
together with you, the World, and all of your creation,
we affirm and praise and give thanks
for your blessings of peace and love and joy,
of health and well-being and prosperity,
from your power and your presence
now and continuing for the world.
So it is and so we thank you, God.

I don’t know that any way we pray can be too big or too small. I do know I aim to pray for the world more, more often.

Today’s Praying for the World

Power and Presence that is All.
All that created all that is.
And All that you created from your All,
from the Spirit that is the being–
the love and joy and peace,
the grace and good and harmony–
of All the World.
Spirit, we welcome the energy that come from praying
for the good of the world and all it contains,
and the peace among all being that is of the world,
for the joy of feeling it
as our intimate home and as greater than the universe.

And, World-maker, we welcome giving to the world
our respect and protection, our kindness and blessings,
and our gratitude for the liveliness, security, and beauty
that it offers us.

If the world is but the pale blue dot of earth,
or if it is All that is, beyond the sunbeam, beyond all matter,
the thank you that it is.
And so we recognize our world. And so it is, however we may hold it.

Love & blessings,



5 February 2021

Posted on March 5, 2021 at 3:13 pm by Tim · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: God, Grace, Gratitude, Joy, Love, Peace, Prayer · Tagged with: , , ,

About stress

About stress, psychologist William James said this:

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.

I sort of stopped by to read a post by J.D. Meier (Sources of Insight). It was an OK piece about dealing

A short walk away from stress

Finding out about stress

with stress. Didn’t make me feel any stress. Since I didn’t feel any, I can’t say that it helped me release any, either.

I can say that it got me to think about stress. Reminded me of the William James quotation I have long admired. Then out of nowhere I realized that stress and rain have 2 things in common.

First, you/I/we cannot prevent either one of them. If it’s meant to, rain or stress it happens. If I am planning to play golf and it rains, both happen.

Second, while you cannot prevent either, you don’t have to hang out with either. Coming in out of the rain is not rocket science. And letting stress go isn’t either.

Some of you are probably thinking that a third commonality between stress and rain is that either one can have positive results, no matter how we feel about it when it happens. Rain grows things and it fills reservoirs. Stress increases our attention to whatever’s causing it, and we feel better when it’s gone. That’s for a later post, maybe.

Back to talking about stress

There are a large number of specific practices to release or relieve stress. Check Google.

I believe all those practices can be placed in 4 anti-stress categories. Avoiding. Denying. Defusing. Dissolving. Having gone so far as naming the categories, I will add that the categories have different rates of success.

Avoiding stress gets the lowest score because avoiding it merely means that it’s still around and may (likely will) return.

Denying stress almost ties with Avoiding for the lowest score simply because denial is not truthful and it’s not healthy.

Defusing stress can be reasonably successful. Allowing distractions or intense concentration or meaningful efforts to work the stress out can be productive.

Dissolving stress is a close but more successful cousin to Defusing. Dissolving stress is seeing it for what it’s worth–usually nothing–and viewing it as morning fog as the sun rises.

So the above was on topic but a little off target. Excuse me for that.

Some knowledge bits about stress

By the way, you may know there are two kinds of stress, one positive (eustress) and one negative (distress). All this is about the latter.

If (when!) you have stress to deal with, it can help to keep in mind that the ubiquitous cause is uncertainty. Think about the last time or the last 20 times you felt stress. Probably really originated from some sort of uncertainty. About getting someplace on time. Whether you would pass the test. If you had enough money in the account. When the guests would arrive.

Uncertainty is not an emotion. Stress isn’t either. Fear is. Uncertainty is a situation and from that situation we react with the emotion of fear. We’re afraid of being late or failing the test or not having the money or if the guests will be late…or not even show up. Stress is the physical reaction to the emotion, fear.

Love is a pushover

Pushing love

Love is an emotion, too. Difference between love and fear is that one IS and the other ISN’T. Love is a truth, a reality, even a presence (a Presence). Fear is the absence of love. When love is not present–better said, when we perceive that love is not present–we generate fear in love’s absence.

So, the simple truth is that love is key to releasing stress. But we need actions to motorize the love, to express the love, to return the love to our consciousness so that fear is ousted.

Some what-to-do actions

May I offer five very simple, easy actions. Don’t be surprised that they have “pray” in common.

And though I would love to take you on a walk, pipe in some music and coloring book a prayer for you here and now, the “reality” of time and space doesn’t let me. So I offer my prayer of thanks for all the ways we can pray the fullness of love.

Thanks for Praying about Stress

Loving Source of Love,
How thankful I am to understand stress
as something natural
and something I can release in many ways
more than the few listed here.
Thank you that communicating with you, with the universe,
with the spirit of All, with your continuing creation
brings my consciousness of love to the beat of my heart
and to the front of my mind.
It doesn’t matter if I pray aloud, with my eyes wide open
or shut, walking through the woods, or sitting in traffic.
The simple, sweet act of praying lets me know love.
Love lights away the darkness that fear brings,
the darkness where stress resides.
Thank you, Spirit that is Love.
And so it is. And so we’re glad it is. Amen.

Love & blessings,



25 February 2021

Posted on February 25, 2021 at 9:46 am by Tim · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Inner Peace, Peacefulness, Prayer · Tagged with: ,

Let it go! How do I do that? How does he?

Let it go!

Let it go!
by Jonathan Sebastiao on Unsplash

“Let it go” were words I started saying to myself right after the election November 3. I said “let it go” again the days after January 6. And now that the second impeachment trial is over and done, I am once more encouraging myself to let it go.

It is not easy.

Facebook has become for me a less pleasant activity. Differences of opinion began to arise 5 years ago, have risen and fallen and risen again in the time since then. In the aftermath of yesterday’s vote by the Senate, my difference and disagreement with one person reached a peak.

Someone local, an associate rather than a close friend, and whom I’ve not seen in person during the pandemic, and I came close to name-calling on Facebook. Difference of opinion seems an understatement.

And it’s brought me to several questions. Questions I want to find my answers to.

How do I let it go?

How am I to release the judgement that has become harsher and harsher through all of this? As the political tension increased, I moved from the “he (everyone) has the right to his own opinion” to “how can he have that opinion?” to “what a stupid opinion!” How do I let that go?

I am working on it. That’s meant using all the stress release tactics I’ve learned in the last 5 decades. Now I am looking for more. I welcome your suggestions.

How does he let it go?

This is a question I cannot answer. Even if I could, it would be presumptuous of me to think I have the right answer. And it would not be my right or responsibility to share my answer with him. But I am curious as to how others of either side are working, discovering, succeeding at letting go of their stress regarding whichever is for them “the other side”. I am more than curious. I am sincerely interested in anyone’s answer to how they are going to let it go.

Is letting go a contest?

The partisanship began as a politically caused behavior. Through the last 5 years it moved beyond politics. It’s become a competition from our core. Right/wrong. Win/lose. Convict/acquit. I wonder if the competition will extend to, even taint, its own resolution.

Will we compete as to who lets it go fastest, most completely? Will we be proud that we hold on longest, refusing to let it go?

Can we move back to comfort? How?

Letting go is the essential first step. However, it may be the shortest step in the journey to move back to where we were and what we did despite our differences.

Letting Go by Holding On

Creator of Peace, Reminder of Prayer,
you give us both the peace and the praying to let go
the tension of being different from one another,
the anguish of seeing the same evil as another’s fault,
the frustration of feeling all the other is wrong.
We are grateful for the opportunity
to breathe in our peace embraced and breathe out our comfort shared.
The pleasure of accepting that conflict can end and competition can
be put aside. Although we may have different ways
of getting to the common end–what is good for all and good
for each one of us–we are thankful now to know the joy
of successfully collaborating to reach that end.
And to know that end will really be another beginning
of another chance to know and bless
the harmony we now can know
by letting go of anything that makes it seem impossible.
And so it is. And so we let it go. Amen.

Love & blessings,


15 February 2021

Posted on February 15, 2021 at 3:23 pm by Tim · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Prayer