photo: NeoGaboX on flickr

Affirmations may seem all light and fluffy, but they’re not. In fact, I think they should come with a warning label.

You heard me right. A warning label.

Anyone who starts using affirmations – positive, present-tense statements designed to train one’s consciousness in a specific direction – should be cautioned about what they’re getting into.

What would such a warning label say? I’m glad you asked!

It would say something like this:

Danger! The use of affirmations can cause extreme shifts in the reality of the user. Side effects include temporary discontent and acute paradigm shifts. Prolonged use of affirmations can cause old beliefs to surface and wreak havoc in virtually every area of existence.

In other words, affirmations are not for wimps.

photo: greg westfall on flickr

I’ve been using affirmations for decades. I started in the early 80’s when I read Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life. Little did I know at the time, Louise Hay got her start in what’s now called the Centers for Spiritual Living (CSL).

CSL teaches a spiritual practice called affirmative prayer. This form of prayer puts affirmative statements in the framework of alignment with the Divine. In other words, you plug into the Infinite, and then you say your affirmations.

It’s a powerful way to rearrange your consciousness.

I’ve been using this practice for over five years now. Affirmative prayer is like affirmations on steroids. But without the acne and bursts of anger.

photo: Seth Woodworth on flickr

I’ve used this form of prayer to affect every area of my life – health, relationships, vocation, prosperity, and alignment with the Divine. But, like I stated above, such work comes with a price.

The use of affirmative thinking has a tendency to flush out what’s not wanted.

It’s like cleaning a dirty, greasy cooking pan. In the process of getting the pan clean, all the grimy, yucky gunk has to come to the surface to be washed away.

It’s not pretty, but it’s part of the process.

photo: (F)oxymoron on flickr

In my case, a lot of the gunk was in the area of intimate relationships. This was a part of my life that was the most baffling and problematic to me.

Seven years ago, I started affirming a new relationship.

I had spent four years healing from a painful breakup and was finally ready to let in someone new. I started envisioning a new relationship as part of my daily affirmative prayer.

And guess what?

It started to work! Right away!

Except not how you think.

All my old, gunky thoughts about relationships started to manifest. They started to manifest in the form of real, actual interactions with real, actual people.

Like the straight, married woman I met at a work conference who flirted with me shamelessly, then ran away the minute I tried to talk with her about it. This experience prompted me to add the word “available” to my affirmative prayer.

And then there was the beautiful, confident lesbian who sparked my fancy. Unfortunately, she also sparked the fancy of every lesbian within a fifty-mile radius. I added “monogamous” to my affirmative prayer.

Oh, and let’s not forget my crush on a gay guy. This seriously stretched my already-flexible sense of gender identity and sexual orientation. I took out the “she” in my daily prayer, just to remain open to whomever the Universe had in mind for me.

After four years of weeding through the external manifestations of my limited beliefs about relationships, I met Melissa. Finally, someone who was completely in alignment with my affirmative prayer!

photo: Michael Corsentino

But it didn’t happen overnight. Oh no. It took four years of confronting and releasing my old beliefs until I was ready to be in the relationship of my dreams.

So for those of you who are frustrated that your affirmations and prayers aren’t manifesting right away, let me say this:

Don’t give up!

photo: Jonny Hughes on flickr

The fact that everything falls apart when you start saying affirmations doesn’t mean they’re not working. It means they ARE working.

If you start to attract exactly the opposite of what you want, that’s just the dirty, gunky stuff at the bottom of the pan, coming up to be cleared away.

Welcome it. Learn from it. And then let it go!

Affirmations and affirmative prayer are powerful tools. What’s important is knowing how to channel and appreciate this power.

Recognizing the gunk is a key part of this process. When you can do that, you can clear away your old patterns and live a life of joy.

So don’t stop praying and affirming!

Take the information you’re getting from the gunky manifestations and use it to alter your affirmations to be more in alignment with what you want.

The Divine has your back! Always.

Indeed, a powerful part of any affirmative practice is to claim a clear connection with Spirit. That way, you’re always open to guidance and support, no matter what’s happening.

Even if it’s gunky.

So keep praying and affirming! Just don’t forget the dishwashing soap!

photo: peapod labs on flickr

What’s your experience with affirmations and/or affirmative prayer? How have you dealt with the gunk?

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