The past several months have been an extremely busy time in my life. And I am grateful for all of the work, opportunities, challenges, setbacks and people who have been placed in my path.
The good news is that I was fortunate enough to take a short vacation on one of the Caribbean islands last week. The weather was perfect, the sand was soft, the water warm and inviting, the breeze singing through the palm trees, and all that combined with a good book was enough to help get me to that place of vacating all the tension, stress, and tiredness that had accumulated over the prior several months. That is, I thought it was enough, as it turned out I had one more blessing that would take place each and every day while relaxing on the beach.
There were many locals on the island who walk the beach talking with the guests and trying to sell their tours, fishing trips, snorkel trips, a ride or taxi into town, jewelry, aloe, and some other items that they carried with them. However, there was one local man who was selling foot massages. He carried a sign and his T-shirt read, "Just Feet." Although I didn't take advantage of a foot massage, many of the other guests did.
However, what I did take advantage of was listening to Sam, as he walked the beach. As he walked, he would speak out loud. He wasn't trying to sell his services, he was counting on his sign, his T-shirt, and word of mouth to bring him business. What he was saying out loud while walking were daily positive affirmations. He had a different word for each day we were there. Sam would say something like, "Today I am happy. All my thoughts and all my actions today will build upon my happiness. I will share my happiness with others hoping I can give them some of my heart and happiness." And he would repeat this over and over again while walking.
This took place every day. The next day Sam walked by saying, "Today I am grateful, today I count my blessings instead of my curses, today I am grateful for my family, my country, the food I will eat, the people I will meet, today I am grateful."
Now if I were a cynic, I might have thought that this was just Sam's way of getting the attention of the resort guests so that they would read his sign or T-shirt and request a foot massage. But the more I watched him, and the more he walked the beach away from the guests, he continued saying out loud, softly, almost in a whisper sometimes, but still proclaiming his positive affirmations out loud. He wasn't holding them inside, he wasn't keeping them to himself, he was just sharing what seemed very natural and a very big part of his life and reason for contentment and happiness.
I was only there for several days, so I do not know how many positive words and affirmations Sam has in his affirmation bucket or in his positive word bank, But I do know that happiness, gratitude, contentment, love and forgiveness were the words I heard Sam use. I don't know that I had a favorite as they were all speaking directly to me, but I think the most memorable was his positive affirmation about love. Sam was causally and peacefully walking through the sand and saying, "Today I choose love. I choose to love others as I have been loved. I choose to love even those who do not love me. I hope that someone may hear or see my love today and that it somehow makes a difference in their lives. Today I choose love." And he recited it over and over again.
Sam's positive affirmations added to what was already a relaxing vacation, and his words reminded me just how powerful the spoken word is, especially when we are using them to positively affirm ourselves or others.
So how about you? Do you have a positive word bank or affirmation bucket you can draw upon that drives your belief system for each day? It doesn't have to be a big list or large bucket, maybe you just have a few "go-to" words that inspire you. My encouragement is that you try speaking them out loud, softly, almost a whisper if it gives you greater comfort, but to try the power of the positively spoken word for yourself. Even if you speak it in private, speak the words and thoughts out loud and let me know if it makes a difference at email@example.com. And when we can start each day and live each day through positive words of affirmation, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the former president of the Zig Ziglar Corporation, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.