I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I first begin using affirmations that other people write, I hesitate just before I read them. Truth! But we all have to start somewhere. I’d like to take a minute to explain how I created my own personal mantra that helps me wherever I am, no matter the situation and that I begin each day with.
Here is mine: LOVE. HONOR. TRUTH. FLIGHT. LIGHT.
These words of my unique mantra represent my journey, my family, and my core spiritual values. They came to me in a dream and when I awoke they made so much sense that I started using them together that day to see how they sounded as I spoke them. Elements of each are represented in a beautiful tattoo on my right upper shoulder. I kept drawing this Dia De Los Muertos skull with flowers around it, over and over again for 3 yrs I kept thinking about words, symbols, and what I wanted. Then on 11/2/11 I went and got the tattoo. My mantra was already heavily used by then, but it was a great day of new starts. I was 28 and starting a new cycle in life. I had finished grad school, spent a few good solid years being single, and got to know my deepest, darkest, and best qualities. I was ready.
So what does this have to do with you? Well, while I’m being honest with you…it always has to do with you. You heard me. ALL YOU. But why? Isn’t this against what we are drawn to believe? Yes. But let me clarify. Being selfish can help you be more selfless in the times others need you. As long as YOU are filled and taking care of yourself, you are then able to care for others. Oh, you’ve heard that before? Yep, so have I, but I still find myself balancing self-care and caring for others…and I always will. Okay. So, the MANTRA. Why is the mantra important to self-care and why must you create it and make it yours?
A “mantra” by wiki definition is “a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.” Why is it smart to have your own? Using a personal mantra can center you, keep you calm, bring you back to focusing on your core values or your essence in a heartbeat. I’ve used my mantra in emergencies. I’ve used it when traveling. I’ve used it in times of deep depression and great joy. It’s a part of me and because I created it with care, it works for me. So, how do you create yours? So glad you asked.
Step 1. Spend some time writing.
Write about your biggest accomplishments, goals, characteristics, fears, and truths.
For the record “writing” can include audio notes on your phone if needed. But know that physically writing helps you to be deliberate or to organize your thoughts more slowly and more purposefully. Make this exercise specifically for your mantra. Keeping a journal is a great practice, but stay on track with your mantra in mind.
Step 2. Take it in.
Spend some time looking at what you write. Draw or doodle ideas about your words. Write some song lyrics that match some of the sentiments. Notice if your words connect to create a theme.
Step 3. Decide on the format.
A mantra can be one word for some. For example when facing a journey that came to fruition at a destination, one could sum up that journey in one word like: Austin.
My days of living in Austin were some of the greatest growth periods and experiences of my life. Grad school, buying, renovating, and living in my Vintage Airstream trailer…exploring the depths of being alone, being a roadie for my artist friends, etc. I can say, “Austin” and it registers in my being as a journey of growth, development, and expansion of knowledge.
A mantra can be a series of words that represent a journey, a practice, and knowing.
For example my mantra represents how I live my life, but also a mechanism for analyzation of any situation.
I live to love. I honor myself and honors. I strive for truthful and sincere interactions. I want to fly high in life, success, & happiness. I want to be light, spread light, and always represent goodness in my heart and share it with others. I can use these same words to check my behavior or situations to see if I’m acting in accordance with my core values and the way I want to live. If my actions or other’s actions do not align or match the vibration of my mantra, I can change my behavior or remove myself from the situation. Using my mantra for both purposes is extremely helpful and I’m a person who loves efficiency and streamlining processes, so it works great for me.
Step 4: Test out some phrases, words, or even a sentence that feels good to you- right now.
Your mantra can change as we all change and expand over time. My mantra just so happens to be something I built to be timeless. (It better be timeless, it’s tattooed on my arm! 🙂 ) Go easy on yourself and let your mantra stew if needed. Use it for a week. Post it on our mirror, make it your screen-saver. See how it feels, notice if your self of confidence, security, or calm changes because of it.
Step 5: Once you have your mantra for right now established, start using it!
Write that puppy on post-its. Get a cool calligrapher to make a custom piece for you and frame it! Write it in sharpie on the bottom of your shoe. Make a magnet and keep it on your fridge. Craft it into your own life musical jingle! Make it so your mantra feels amazing to say. Wake up and try to think of your mantra first…how does it feel to have it there waiting for you, always there for your? Comforting. Peaceful. Secure. Calm. Rewarding. Delightful. Blissful. Amazing? I promise once you start using it, you’ll know if you need to change a word or try again. But after you make it a daily practice it will change your life for the better.
Where to use your mantra:
* When your day isn’t so good.
* When you need to calm down and get centered. Say the word out loud if needed. Say it over and over if you feel it calms you. keep saying it until you are back to where you want to be.
* When you are in meditation, use it mixed in your your Om’s and chants if you have them. Make it similar so it fits into your routine. If you don’t have a chanting meditation practice, NOW YOU DO! Repeat your mantra 108 times if you can. See how you feel afterwards.
* When you are in a situation that is disorienting, you can excuse yourself to the restroom or write it on your notepad in a meeting, or silently say it in your head and check in with yourself about what is going on and whether you can make changes to deal with whatever the situation at hand is.