Monday, October 19, 2009

Meet A Woman of Peace and Music, Dudley Evenson

Please welcome a very special friend and guest who has played an important role in my spiritual journey. She is also one of the twelve "Holy Women" featured in Your Truest Self,  Dudley Evenson.

She is a multimedia producer, photographer, harpist and co-founder of the independent record label, Soundings of the Planet. Dudley and her husband, Dean, along with the Soundings Ensemble, create the most centering, peace-inducing music I have found. In fact, I do all my writing to their music.

In Your Truest Self, Dudley represents the fourth Transformational Truth: I Engage in Daily Practices That Nurture My Spirit. When I met Dudley, I learned that she has a morning spiritual practice that roots her in peace. This is what she does:

"Before I even get out of bed, I do a set of eye and breathing exercises. Part of that includes fifty tummy rubs in each direction, along with eye squinting and rapid breathing. Then I raise my arms and offer a prayer of gratitude for all my blessings and ask that I may be guided to be used in the highest possible way during the day to help heal this world."

Dudley also incorporates yoga, affirmations, and a walk in nature. Today, she share her views on affirmations, how they work, and why we may want to incorporate them into daily spiritual practice.

 CD Giveaway!
Make a comment here and be entered into a drawing to win either Dudley's new recording of empowering guided affirmations OR the Evenson's award-winning ambient music CD based on the chakras. Two winners will be chosen!

by Dudley Evenson

Listening to the radio recently, I couldn’t help but notice how sad and bad the news was. I felt a knot of anxiety growing in my stomach as I tried to digest the constant barrage of bad news hitting me. Bad news paints pessimistic pictures of the world, coloring the content of our thoughts, affecting us all.

How can we overcome the tendency toward worry and negative thinking so rampant in modern life? How can we harness the power of affirmations to manifest our dreams and improve our lives?

To support and understand what affirmations are and how to use them to create a fulfilling and successful life, here are some common sense guidelines that will enhance their effectiveness.

An affirmation is a positive statement asserting that the goal to be achieved is already happening. It is a declaration to manifest a desired outcome. This desired way of being may seem far from the truth at the moment, but amazingly enough, with repetition and focused intention, it can become reality. Since the subconscious mind processes affirmations and suggestions as reality, it is important be aware of one’s thoughts and constantly edit out unwanted negative suggestions.

The fact is, we are constantly affirming in our mind what we believe. We can usually tell the quality of our subconscious mind by looking at the quality of our life. If we are not pleased with our life, we must look at the content of our mind to discover how we have been programming our existence to meet our belief structure.

The word ‘mantra’ in Sanskrit means ‘mind protection’ for it is through the use of a repeated phrase, prayer or affirmation that we can overcome the rampant thoughts and tape loops that tend to control us. By repeating a phrase over and over again, it becomes embedded in our subconscious mind and then the creative forces of the universe rally support to make it happen. In the negative aspect of the repetition principle, we experience inner ‘tape loops’ or ‘monkey mind’ that constantly replay a phrase or thought that is not in our best interests.

Affirmations only work when spoken in the present tense. The subconscious mind takes things very literally so if you say ‘I will be rich’ you will never experience prosperity in the present moment. It will always be just around the corner, in the elusive future.

Speaking affirmations out loud energizes them. Speaking them repeatedly creates habituation. Though the actual statement may be different from our current circumstance, when we put our feelings into words, we come closer to experiencing fulfillment of our desires. With perseverance and repetition, the words become a part of us and before long, we look around and realize we are actually achieving what we may have thought impossible only weeks or months before.

When we take hold of our thoughts and use affirmations regularly with an understanding of how they work, positive change is bound to occur in our lives. When we can truly visualize and feel the reality of the spoken word affirmation, we enter into a cooperative contract with the universe to make use of this powerful tool to manifest our highest dreams.

Have you used affirmations and to what success?

Dudley and I welcome your thoughts ... 

And don't forget to make a comment here to be entered into the CD Giveaway!

Bio: Dudley Evenson and her husband, Dean Evenson, are award-winning musicians, multi-media producers and co-founders of independent record label Soundings of the Planet which celebrates 30 years of creating Peace Through Music. They are sound healing pioneers and have produced over 60 albums since 1979. They teach workshops on meditation, music and healing.


Jan said...

Dudley, welcome, I am so thrilled you are here with us today! I do hope people will read more about you and your inspiring life journey in Your Truest Self. What a remarkable story!

I love the idea of using affirmations and do believe they are very powerful. In the early days of my spiritual unfolding, I found them very helpful to eliminate thoughts and beliefs that were holding me back from feeling healthy and whole, as well as orienting me towards Spirit.

Today, I think I actually think in affirmations because I do not engage in negative self-talk. In time, it seems affirmations can truly become a way of thinking and being in the world. :-) Then, as you say, we become the co-creators of our lives. And that is a joy! I look forward to stimulating discussion and input from others on this topic. :-)

see you there! said...

I'm not sure if they are affirmations as such but I like to create little visuals - things that remind/represent/release the affirmations I hold in my mind.

In general I operate best with visual clues.


PS - new to your blogs and know I will enjoy visiting.

Rebecca said...

Learning that the Sanskrit meaning of 'mantra' is 'mind protection' and to connect affirmations with mantra, well, it was like someone feather dusted my brain--an aha moment for me. Which may make me seem dense, but all weekend I was pondering how we affect our lives with our thoughts, how all the religious traditions even speak to this, but in the mainstream we don't hear about this more. Then Dudley's article comes along to speak so clearly to my ponderings. 'Ask and you shall receive.'
Thank you so very much, Dudley and Jan!

SpringTender, Ingrid said...

Hi Jan and Dudley, Sometimes I sing a little tune, with the words, "peace, peace, love,love, joy,joy, thanks.," This helps me to steer my mind. I do love the idea of "Mind protection." Thank you for this reminder. I think I'll start humming right now! Maybe clear a little of the problem hashing mind I started the day with.

Dudley said...

HI All - so glad to be joining you today. Often, things don't go as planned and I had hoped to log on sooner but my friend called early this morning with the news her beloved cat had passed away. So, rather than doing my yoga and meditation I came into town to help her through her process. But it's all good. Especially if we can learn to go with the flow and not be attached to what we think we want.
Darla - I agree that visuals are very helpful to support our affirmations. That's why we created the course A Year of Guided Affirmations on which includes Dean's beautiful nature videos with each of the affirmations.
Rebecca - I'm glad for the synchronicity in this article on affirmations with your weekend ponderings. We are what we think!
Ingrid- Your idea of singing a little tune with the words is perfect. Years ago when I created a healing mantra, I was able to myself to wellness.

Dudley said...

Oops, I meant A Year of Guided Meditations (on DailyOM) with the visuals and affirmations.

Jan said...

Welcome! Some of us are much more visual and visual do meditations work for us rather than words, esp. if we busy-minded folks. I am very visual too and will often meditate/affirm/bless with an image in mind (actually placed right in front of me). Works well, doesn't it? Please visit again soon!

So glad to hear you had an ah-ha moment because of Dudley's piece. I do love when that happens. :-) And I appreciate the meaning of the word "mantra." Powerful!

Spring Tender
Again, whatever works! Little songs are very helpful for many of the people I know. Believe it or not, I have a few lines from a song that pops into my head every time I need it. It's lyrics from a sixties song, "Slow down, you're moving too fast. Got to make the morning last. Just skipping down the cobblestones, lookin' for fun and feeling groovy."

Dudley, you may remember who recorded that??? It always reminds me to go slow, be happy, enjoy the moment. :-)

Nadia - Happy Lotus said...

Hi Jan and Dudley,

I learned about the power of affirmations about five years ago. Actually, I had heard about them before but was not ready for it. Then five years ago, the time was right and I started to work on affirming what it was that I wanted. Every single one of those affirmations came true in some form or another.

It was scary at first but then as I looked back at my life, I saw that every single thing that I wanted (good and not so good) had come true. As a result, I became much more careful about what it is that I want and visualize.

We are creators of our reality and thank you so much for spreading this awareness to others. Blessings to you both!

Dudley said...

Jan - It was Simon & Garfunkel who sang 'slow down you move to fast, got to make the moment last.' This song reminds me that in addition to being overly busy, too often we are dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
We know that lyrics of songs or commercial jingles often stick in our minds, inhibiting us from truly living in the now. We also need to realize that those inner tape loops that we say about ourselves are also sticking in our minds and preventing us from living a happy, joyous life.
Nadia - It sounds like you were blessed to have a personal experience learning that your thoughts truly do create your reality. So we all need to be vigilant of the content of our consciousness. Hooray when we can use affirmations to help us live in the present moment!

Anonymous said...

Oh my. I'm a big believer in the power of the spoken word. What I speak manifests, whether good or bad, so I do my best to pay close attention to the words I speak.

I make my living as a commissioned salesperson and one affirmation I've been practicing for a while now is "I am the #1 salesperson on the Gallery". If a colleague has a great sale, I celebrate it because it means that I too will have a great sale. I don't know how it works, but it does. That's the wonder of it all.

SusieQ said...

Hi Dudley and Jan,

I have used affirmations in the past. I had several affirmations taped to my mirror over the bathroom sink at one time. Each morning I said these to myself. For some reason I dropped the habit. Think I'll return to it.

I believe there is power in affirmations if only to help set my mind on a certain path for the day.

My question for you, Dudley, is can we use affirmations on behalf of our loved ones who are in need of something and do these affirmations then have the same amount of power? I want to think so.

I believe that saying the affirmations out loud is important. I have learned that prayer I have spoken out loud seems to be more powerful than prayer I have said in my mind.

Rich Gorczyca said...

I have personal affirmations I've developed for myself for specific situations where my default reaction was not my preferred response. I'm talking about reactions that I once thought were just me and that I was powerless to do anything about them. I later learned I can choose alternative responses and that I can trigger them by using a specific affirmation aimed at the alternative response. Of course, I had to become aware of the stimulus that would serve as the automatic trigger to the undesirable default reaction and condition myself to pause whenever it might come to pass. The pause would allow me to insert my affirmation for the alternative response. For example, when anything undesirable happened to me my self-talk would be "this shouldn't be happening ... It really sucks". Now when something undesirable happens, I pause and tell myself "Nothing absolutely nothing is worth getting stressed about. No matter what happens I can handle it". Depending on the severity of what is happening, that may defuse the stressful reaction or I may have to keep repeating it to myself along with deep breathing. I have other affirmations for other situations but the general idea is always the same.

Dudley said...

Susie - great question about using affirmations for others. In fact, that is a form of prayer. I believe that affirmations are beneficial when we say them for others, but frankly, it is our own mind that we are changing. We teach a process called 'Changing your telepathic agreement' which helps to shift the energy we are projecting toward another person. For instance, if you see a friend or family member having problems and you are worried and concerned about them, then you may be enhancing their problems by projecting that thought toward them, about them. A more helpful thought form would be something like "I see you in a state of joy and fulfillment" or whatever you are hoping for them. As long as it's positive and supportive, it can't hurt.

Dudley said...

Rich - oh good, I see you figured out how to leave a comment. Thanks so much for sharing your process of using specific affirmations to override your default reaction when problems come up. It's almost like we need to overcome our basic human instinct of feeling bad when something we perceive as bad occurs. We can actually retrain ourselves to live in a higher state where we wisely affirm our ability to handle whatever comes up. As my daughter used to say 'This too shall pass.' The only thing I might suggest is trying to reword the statement to remove the negatives. You could slightly modify your statement to say 'Everything is just fine. Whatever happens, I can handle it." But please, if your current affirmation works for you, then don't change it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Jan said...

It seems you had powerful awarenesses early on about the power you have to create reality. What a gift! So it is impt to be mindful about what we focus on. I was just trying to get this point across to my teen daughter: What we focus on expands. Well, I am still trying :-) and perhaps she is a bit young to get it, but I trust someday she will.

Thanks for filling me in on the group. I did listen to a lot of their music in those days...

I LOVE your thought process. To frame affirmations the way you have is quite enlightening to me. Thank you for that. (And I just bet you ARE the #1 salesperson, or if you are not now, you will be. :-)

The fact that you have personalized (and adapted) the use of affirmations to suit your journey is great to read. Their is flexibility in all of this because, after all, we do shape our own thinking. Thanks for stopping by in support of Dudley.

Susie Q,
Love your question and was so eager to hear Dudley's answer. I truly appreciate her response and like the term "changing your telepathic agreement. I hope this helps you, too.

And Dudley, the practice you describe here is very similar to my "blessing" practice of metta (lovingkindness) sourced in the Buddhist tradition. Thank you!

Wilma Ham- she who looks beyond said...

Oops, for a while I wrote affirmations off as another mind trick to deny what was going on.
I had become so suspicious of anything I heard in my head.
However like your teen daughter, Jan, I had to learn to discern what is useful and what is not.
As my mind is strong though and want to penetrate even good thoughts, my confirmation is simple so even in times of upset I can find it :)
Mine is based on my birthright as a child of God, which is to be the love that I AM and that seems to work for me.
The mind cannot say that that is not true because if for example I was Carolynn and I would say that I was sales person #1, my mind would have a ball in telling me why that is NOT so.
I am exceedingly amazed at how we have lost these wonderful calming methods and how I am so grateful to be learning them again.
Thank you Dudley and you Jan, thanks for introducing yet another wonderful friend.
Love Wilma, she who looks beyond (finally)

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

OK, I'm just all giddy inside reading this and the comments/responses. So exciting! I've only done affirmations haphazardly in the past, but now I can see that I will be doing them with more focus. I often use "I am perfect just the way I am", which was given to me by a friend/guide, noting that "I AM" begins and ends the affirmation. :-D I use "Stay on my own mat" quite often, to affirm to myself not to judge (oh, when will I stop?) but to simply note and accept. Years ago, when I was working on patience, I prayed each day "Lord, teach me patience." Then a friend pointed out that I was asking to be taught again and again each and every day. And so I was.

It's an important distinction that an affirmation be done in the present tense. Earlier today, I was thinking about my job hunt (unemployed nearly 7 months) and I realized that I'd been saying that I was "looking for my next great job." Oops! I guess that keeps me looking, not landing. Then I had the truth flashed into me: I already have my next great job; it's just in the future and Now hasn't caught up with it yet. So ... today my affirmation is "thank you for my great new job." It's already there. :-D

btw: I'm soooo excited about having a chance at one of the CDs. woo-hoo!

Dudley said...

I just love all your comments. It's great to see these ideas being understood and applied so quickly.

Wilma, you said your mind is strong. Yes, The Mind is incredibly strong which is why we need to train it to behave! When I speak of our Monkey Mind, I am talking about that rascal of a mind that wants to tease and taunt us and argue with us against our best interests. All the more reason to have the mind serve the soul rather than the other way around.

Rose, it sounds like you have learned the power of speaking affirmations in the present tense. You can also join your affirmations with a strong visualization of the perfect job for you. Feeling it with every cell of your being will help you to attract that job that is already there for you. Of course, taking actions every day in the direction of your dreams is important too.

And to all of you, may your highest dreams be manifest in the here and now!

Julie G said...

Affirmation and Affirming myself have been very difficult for me over the past few years because I was hurt badly by someone I love dearly. Affirmation was at the core of my deep hurt.
I have read this post over and over again, trying to find a way back in. Then today, in my daily readings, I found the way.
I must FORGIVE to find my PEACE. I must forgive myself to forgive and accept others. With love and forgiveness the hurt is dissolved and peace returns. Affirmation begins now in my life. Thank you both for being here. All Love, Julie

Jan said...

So glad to hear that Dudley's slant on affirmation helped you make a shift too. Isn't this wonderful that we can do this for one another?

One of the women in Your Truest Self, Iyanla Vanzant, goes through a long list of "I AM" statements each morning— very unique affirmation process sourced in the "I AM" that is God. As she describes it, the I AM presence is the creative God presence and when I can tap into that I am part of that creative energy also and can re-create myself. I really liked that...

This is a huge awareness and I will be so excited how you shifting your language may open you up to new things. You sound so energized just receiving this possibility. And I know that job is there for you. In fact, it might be being created right now!

I do believe that even when we think WE are ready for the job (or living situation, or relationship) other things have to happen—line up—because we are interrelated with all beings. What if, for example, the job that will be yours has not been vacated yet but another? Make sense?

Another powerful learning! Forgiveness frees US up, not the other person. We are the one who remains imprisoned by our thoughts and feelings. So, yes, forgiving is always a good first step to bring in healing on any level...Blessings!

The Other Laura said...

Jan, thanks for finding me and my blog - and leaving such a gracious comment - so I could come over here and find you and yours!

I sneak affirmations into my daily conversations with my husband and son. Now, they say them too!

Jan said...

Thanks for visiting. I like that idea of sneaking affirmations into conversations. It's quite amazing what others can pick up from us. :-)

Thank you again for being my very special guest. Your answers and suggestions have given us all deeper insight into affirmations and how they can support our personal/spiritual growtth. I am so glad our paths crossed all those years ago! Blessings as your beautiful journey continues to unfold. You are a gift to so many. Dean too! Peace and joy...

Annie said...

I agree affirmations are powerful. A while ago when I was not my own boss, I said the affirmation "How wonderful I now have a big bonus from my boss" He came to work 5 minutes later and indeed gave me a big bonus. I say affirmations to myself every night before I go to sleep.xoxo
Thank you Dudley for your post.

Lisa (Mommy Mystic) said...

Jan/Dudley, As usual, I am late to this party, and you are probably in bed! The price of being on the West coast. But I did enjoy this post and all the comments. I agree with what most have said regarding the power of affirmations to break through subsconscious conditioning that we have. Connecting mantras and affirmations got me thinking too, because I do use mantra meditation, and hadn't really thought about it in terms of affirmation. But it is in the sense that when we use 'Om' or other mantras with spiritual meanings/vibrations we are affirming our connection to the divine, our essential self, and reprogramming ourselves to believe that is who we really are, not the usual thoughts that run through our heads...

Jan said...

Perfect example of how affirmations open us up to receiving more -- living in possibility. I bet that raise was so nice to receive! Affirmations before sleep sound delicious too. That is why I do metta...Calms, soothes, and places us in the lap of the Divine. :-)

No worries, not late. I like the correlation you have drawn between mantra (sacred syllables) and affirmations. This may be exactly why they have the power they do. I just started doing a new manta-based meditation practice and it is having the effect of which you speak. Especially the "Om" and the vibration that accompanies it. Aligns us with the highest available to us--"qualities of Spirit" I'd call them. Thank you for this!

Sharon said...

I welcomed Dudley's thoughts on affirmations for others. I am learning to not worry but to use affirmations that everything is as it is meant to be. I am less stressed, and I am better able to focus when I am with that person because I am not preoccupied with worry about them. It's a good thing all around.

Dudley said...

Well said everyone. One other thought. WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE I say this to remind us that everything we say is an affirmation of some sort. Therefore we need to be mindful of everything we say, not just in our conscious meditations but especially in our daily conversations. Notice when we say things like 'I'm always late.' or 'Something always goes wrong,' You get the gist. We need to catch ourselves in these moments and gently rephrase our words to be a positive awareness of what we really want our lives to be like. I hope that makes sense.
Thanks to all of your for commenting and a special thanks to Jan for hosting this blog and for writing her wonderful book YOUR TRUEST SELF. If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, get it now and give yourself a real treat of inspiration.

Jan said...

This is just wonderful to hear. I am so pleased to learn that affirmation really resonate with you and are making a big difference in your life. Yes!

And Dudley, thanks again for being such a great resource for us all. You delight and inspire...Blessings for the journey. xxoo