We are on week four of “The Artist’s Way.” One task is to write morning notes…free form, unedited, unreviewed thoughts every morning. The book suggests positive affirmations each day as well….I am a great artist…yada yada. The affirmations in the book don’t strike home with me, so I have come up with my own. Somehow in the course of reading the Momslists and coming up with positive affirmations I decided that each week I would add a single word to a list of my “affirmations” which have evolved to something else. More of a mantra. Something I can think about when I’m swimming laps. Add to that the fact that Stanford published a study about behavior change being much more effective in very small steps (duh, nothing new there, but somehow when I retired everything I learned about behavior change flew into outer space.)

Smile: I started with this simple step. If I smile at people, like I used to, instead of walking with my eyes to the ground or my head in the clouds, I feel happy.

Laugh: The second week I added laughing because I was so stressed with all the very serious internet and social media topics. I needed jokes. I needed funny poems. I need to spin around in circles and feel four years old again.

Be Strong: Week three was when I hit a wall with my new medication. The one that is not supposed to make me feel like my arms and legs weigh a thousand pounds. I decided I really do have to go with it…to work out, to swim, to hike, even with all that extra weight in my limbs.

Listen: Within the coming year I am going to be spending a lot more time with my spouse. (Retirement time). I decided that I really need to quit reacting and to listen. Not only to what he is trying to say, but to what my soul is trying to say.

Forgive: Working on this one now. Trying to decide what this actually means to me. How I move on, because Forget has been my mantra in the past.

My goal is to add a word each week. To move forward from my current developmental stage–Generatively vs. Stagnation–to the next. Integrity vs. Despair. (See Eric Ericson’s developmental stages)

What is your mantra?