“Us” vs. “Them” – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday June 14, 2012

There is a dangerous virus that pervades many minds on this planet. It is s0 woven into the fabric of our conditioning that many don’t even recognize it in themselves. The assumption that “We’re right” and “They’re wrong” is a given to many people on this planet. There are the true believers who believe that their race, religion, political affiliation, nation, ethnic group, or point of view are unquestionably superior.

This virus is ancient and it is persistent. Do you remember this scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey? How different are many of our actions today from this primitive display?

Then there are many who fall into this mindset simply from conditioning of one kind or another. They come not see its bias and to assume it is perfectly natural. There are also those otherwise happy, positive people who, because of some traumatic or horrific event, have found justification for giving another group globalized characteristics. There are some who just flat believe humanity cannot change.

To me, this mindset limits us, keeps us in perpetual cycles of fear and violence. We feel justified, even righteous in shouting down or shooting down “Them”. I don’t pretend that this post is going to change all of this. My goal is to simply make you reflect on the degree to which you subscribe to an “Us” vs. “Them” mindset in your life.

These are a combination of Tweets from the past few years and some new thoughts as well. May we all continue to grow and transform this mindset in our lives.

  1. When the labels start, the critical thinking has stopped.
  2. Those who live in a world of “Us” vs. “Them” never contemplate that they are someone else’s “Them”.
  3. How arbitrary and fate-driven are the things that divide us. How conscious and choice-driven are the things that unite us.
  4. There is no greater impediment to the world we seek than the refrain, “But they…”.
  5. The tribe says, “Pick a side”. The wise say, “Been there. Tried that.”
  6. As long as your mind is divided into “Us” and “Them”, your world will be too!
  7. Those who divide the world into “Us” vs. “Them” miss the point. It always “Us” vs. “Us”
  8. Leaders who use “Us” vs. “Them” to secure their power deserve neither leadership, nor power.
  9. Hatred is a fire and its first victim is the hater.
  10. “Us” and “Them” are tyranny’s two favorite constituencies.
  11. “Us” vs. “Them” is a fear-centered world. A fear-centered world disempowers all of us.
  12. “They started it!” Two-year-olds in the sandbox or the mantra of world leaders in the “Us” vs. “Them” paradigm?
  13. The borders in our minds and the borders in our world are built of fears.
  14. Labels are toxic mental residue masquerading as critical thinking.
  15. There is no difference between a fundamentalist “Us” and a fundamentalist “Them”.
  16. “Us” vs. “Them” is a dead end mindset…literally.
  17. Whatever anger rules, anger destroys.
  18. Every time you think of the world in terms of “Us” vs. “Them”, you are empowering the dividers.
  19. Who you are born is fate. Who they are born is fate. Who we become is a choice.
  20. Many a king has kept “Us” together by creating a frightening “Them”.
  21. Those who divide the world into “Good Us” and “Evil Them”, must always avoid looking into mirrors.
  22. “Tastes Great” vs. “Less Filling” politics only conditions the mind of the people, robbing them of half their right to vote.
  23. The divisions we grow in our minds are the divisions we find in our world.
  24. We label what we refuse to understand.
  25. We live on a tiny blue ball in a great black vastness. How do we manage to convert that into division, rather than togetherness?
  26. In the mindset of “Us” vs. “Them”, peace is impossible and war is inevitable.
  27. But for fate, “They” would be “Us” and “We” would be “Them”.
  28. Every dogma that you hold, holds you. Every grudge that you hold, holds you.
  29. When you look for evil in others, you find it. When you look for goodness in others, you find it. That change is not in them. That change is in you.
  30. Labels are mental blocks that stifle discussion and critical thought, beginning in the mind and continuing out into the world.
  31. Open your mind to “Their” perspective. Walk a mile in the “Their” shoes. Read something you don’t agree with.
  32. Focus on seeing the “Us” in “Them” and the “Them” in “Us”. Soon you forget who is who.
  33. The unconscious superstructure underlying “Us” vs. “Them” is that I am part of “Us”. That, by default, makes “Us” right and “Them” wrong.
  34. As long as there are borders in our minds, there will be borders on our maps.
  35. See the world as “Us” and “Them and it is. See the world as We and it is.
  36. In the mindset of “Us” vs. “Them”, their evil justifies ours.
  37. Never was a greater money maker devised than war. Never was a simpler trigger for war devised than “Us” vs. “Them”.
  38. Every division on this planet is human-made and can be human-unmade.
  39. Let us transform fear into love and division into common purpose.
  40. Let us come out from behind our masks; come out from behind our labels; and live in peace as human beings.
  41. Let us create a world where fearing each other is ridiculous and loving each other is as expected as the next breath.
  42. Let us create a world where the adjective we are all most proud of is human being.
  43. Let us create a world where we love each other for our commonalities, rather than despising each other for our differences.
  44. Let us create a world where kindness is seen as a strength and violence is seen as a failure.
  45. Let us create a world where living in peace is as expected as the next breath.
  46. Let us get beyond our petty differences and move on to life’s bigger questions.
  47. Let us create a world where respecting our differences is as expected as the next breath.
  48. Let us each listen to our own heart and to the collective heart; both of which are calling us to greater things.
  49. Let us be quicker to love and slower to judge.
  50. Let each of us commit our lives to mending fences, rather than building walls.
  51. Let us live according to our hopes for each other, rather than our fears of each other.
  52. Let us remember the commonality of our human predicament and the things that connect us rather than those that divide us.

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray

Extraorindary Thinker or Ordinary Thinker? – The Affirmation Spot for Friday May 16, 2012

We all have choices in life. One important choice is to decide if you are going to be an ordinary thinker or an extraordinary thinker. What’s the difference?

Man and Dog Running on Cannon Beach, Oregon. (Click to see larger image)

  1. Ordinary thinkers are fear-driven. Extraordinary thinkers are love-driven.
  2. Ordinary thinkers believe they are victims of fate. Extraordinary thinkers know they are choosers of destiny.
  3. Ordinary thinkers approve the status quo. Extraordinary thinkers improve the status quo.
  4. Ordinary thinkers strive to be cool. Extraordinary thinkers strive to be themselves.
  5. Ordinary thinkers are tenant farmers in the paradigms provided by others. Extraordinary thinkers are constantly planting new and exciting paradigms in their lives and in the world.
  6. Ordinary thinkers trust experts. Extraordinary thinkers listen to experts, but trust themselves.
  7. Faced with adversity, ordinary thinkers give up. Faced with adversity, extraordinary thinkers give more.
  8. Ordinary thinkers expect little and receive it. Extraordinary thinkers expect much and receive it.
  9. Ordinary thinkers employ labels. Extraordinary thinkers seek understanding.
  10. Ordinary thinkers believe in chances. Extraordinary thinkers believe in choices.
  11. Ordinary thinkers think life happens to them. Extraordinary thinkers know life happens through them.
  12. Ordinary thinkers allow their doubts to rule them. Extraordinary thinkers allow their dreams to rule them.
  13. Ordinary thinkers believe one setback can stop everything. Extraordinary thinkers know one great idea can change everything.
  14. Ordinary thinkers conceive the world as “Us” vs. “Them”. Extraordinary thinkers see only we.
  15. Ordinary thinkers are comforted by easy answers. Extraordinary thinkers dare hard questions.
  16. Ordinary thinkers conform to the tribe. Extraordinary thinkers transform the tribe.

Let us all commit to extraordinary thinking today. Ordinary thinkers become extraordinary thinkers every day. Why not you? The hero you’re waiting for is waiting for you in the mirror.

Stay inspired!

Ray

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Cool Change – The Affirmation Spot for Monday June 29, 2009

Ray’s Daily Affirmation:

“Monday Affirmation: “Monday sets the tone for my whole week and I make it count!”



This is a great way to start your Monday morning! For those of you who remember The Little River Band, you’ll appreciate this. For those of you not quite old enough, you’re in for a treat.

One of the bands biggest hits was a laid back ballad called Cool Change. A YouTube user was kind to put this inspirational song to some cool images.

Stay inspired!

Ray

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The Promise of New Life – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday December 11, 2007

Check Out Our Cool New Affirmation Apps:

Check out our new affirmation apps for Apple devices or search i-mobilize on the iTunes store. The Affirmation Spot is developing these motivation apps in partnership with i-mobilize. Click an app to view it – Love Magnet, Sales Booster, Confidence Affirmation, or Full Body Scan.

 


grass_through_snow.jpgToday’s affirmation is:

 

“Difficulities are doorways to something better than I had planned.”

“The entire cosmos is made up of clashing forces and polarities, yet without this seeming conflict, the universe itself could not exist. Life is a dance of opposites that involves destruction, rebirth, pain, and joy.”

~ David Fideler

The powerful symbology is important in Fideler’s quote. We have many of familiar aphorisms that confirm this idea such as, “It’s always darkest just before the dawn,” or even that famous gym affirmation “no pain, no gain.”

It is certainly a very old and very common human concept that out of pain, difficulty, and death comes new life. The Hindus recognize this interplay in their personification of Shiva, “The God of Destruction,” who is also recognized as the “Bringer of New Birth.” The Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Naht Hanh talks about the cycle of the beautiful rose that dies, becomes garbage, and then can be used as fertilizer to grow a new rose.

For whatever reason, adversity is often the birthplace of the best things in our lives. Think about your own past. Even though you dread the pain and struggle that comes with tough times, were those times not the seeds of some of your greatest triumphs?

So, am I extolling the virtues of pain and suffering? Suggesting that you should go looking for difficulty as a kind of initiation experience leading the greater joy? No.

As the saying goes, “Into every life, a little rain must fall.” We all face the proverbial winter in our lives. Things seem bleak, lifeless, maybe even hopeless. Yet, even on the coldest day of winter, the signs of new life are only inches below the surface waiting to emerge.

This is just a reminder – in case you are experiencing one of those times right now or for when you experience it in the future – to always be looking for the spring sprouts of new life. You can count on them always being there, if only you look closely enough.  For as surely as the seasons come and go in nature, they come and go in our lives.

Hope everyone is enjoying spring in their lives today, but if not be looking for its signs.

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray
The Affirmation Spot

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Interview with Andreea Ayers of Tees for Change – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday November 28, 2007


Thank you for visiting The Affirmation Spot. Your comments on the blog or this article are always welcome. Please click here to comment on today’s blog.




ray_launchpad.jpgWhat Ray’s reading right now:

April and I are reading A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. This is the latest Oprah’s Book Club selection. Oprah and the author Eckhart Tolle are hosting a 10-week online course covering this book beginning Monday March 3. They recommend reading the book before the class. You can register for free at Oprah.com



March Affirmation Sale!

Beginning February 28 Download any two affirmations during March from The Affirmation Spot.com and get a third affirmation free. There are no limits! You can download 20 and get 10 free. Simply type the word “blog” into the coupon field at checkout. Thanks for getting your audio affirmations at The Affirmation Spot!



Today The Affirmation Spot begins a series of interviews with and articles about inspirational people. These are people making a difference in the world by demonstrating the courage to share their gifts and pursue their dreams. My hope is that their stories will inspire you to begin taking steps in the direction of your dreams.
tees_for_change1.jpgThe first installment is an interview with Andreea Ayers, Founder of a Boulder, Colorado company called Tees For Change. Andreea started the company in early 2007 and it is already transforming her life and the lives of everyone wearing her products.

Her company is something special. Tees For Change is very eco-conscious – all their products are organic, they use low-impact eco-friendly dyes, and they plant a tree for each t-shirt sold. Her t-shirts proclaim emphatically positive messages such as, “today matters”, and “choose happiness”.

In a recent interview with on makethemostofu.com, Andreea is quoted as saying, “I am hoping that my tees will impact the person wearing them and also the many people he/she comes in contact with. Words are so powerful, as are thoughts, and a slight shift in your thoughts can make a difference in your day.

Our tees really make you think. What does “live mindfully’ or “today matters” mean to you? It’s probably different than what it means to your friend, sister or co-worker. My goal is to get people to at least stop for a moment and think “hmmm…” I want people to have conversations (with each other or even within themselves) about what the words on our tees mean to them.”

The following interview was conducted with Andreea by e-mail.

The Affirmation Spot:  Andreea, thank for your time. Can you share with us a little bit about your professional background and how your path led you to create Tees For Change? And, please tell us about Tees For Change and your goals for the company.

Andreea:  My background is in marketing for ‘green’ companies. I have a degree in Marketing from Cornell University and my first few jobs out of college were in market research and analysis. In 2001 I started to work for a non-profit publication called The Green Guide and, because the company was so small, I did everything but editorial and fundraising.

That was a great way for me to learn all aspects of online and offline marketing, customer service and the publishing industry. Then in 2004 I branched off on my own and self-published a book called The Green Apple: Organic coupons for healthy living in NYC. It was a guide and coupon book to everything eco-friendly in the Big Apple. However, I felt that I wanted to do something more national in scope and reach out to more people, so I did not re-publish the guide in 2005-2006.

In late 2005 I became a marketing consultant for Ideal Bite, a great company that sends out free, daily eco-living tips by email. I did their affiliate marketing, online marketing, and set up marketing partnerships, so I had the chance to learn more about ‘green’ marketing and building an email list.

Then, in 2006, after a brief stint in direct marketing at New York University, my husband and I moved out to Boulder, CO. I got the idea to start Tees For Change while I was in a prenatal yoga class. My goal for Tees For Change is to grow the company and reach out to as many people as possible. Right now our tees are available for sale in nearly 50 yoga studios across the US, but it would be great to have them available in every state and hopefully, one day, to have our own Tees For Change storefront or showroom.

tees_for_change_men.jpg

TAS:  Unfortunately, we live in a world bathed in a lot of fear and unhappiness. I’m sure you’re aware that many people see “positive thinking” as somewhat unrealistic in the face of realities like war and famine. In your experience, what tangible difference does thinking positively make in our lives and in our world?

Andreea:  In my opinion, thinking positively has a huge impact on our lives and decisions. I grew up in a communist country where people were constantly afraid and did not trust anyone. Then there was my grandmother who always instilled in us to think positively and look at the bright side. She lived her life that way, despite all the hardships she encountered during communism and despite the fact that her husband died when they were still very young. Today, she is 95 years old and still looks at the bright side of things. She taught me by example that positive thinking is the way to go.

I learned that you can’t be creative if you are constantly afraid. And if you can’t create, then you can’t advance. So, in order to grow as a person, a company or a nation, you can’t be afraid.

I don’t watch the news because all they report on is what is wrong with our neighborhoods, our schools, our roads, and our security. Can you imagine how different your evening would be if you turn on the news and you hear about all the good things people are doing in our communities and in our country? Just by being aware of people doing good things you feel better. Imagine if you walked around all day thinking good thoughts! I constantly challenge myself to think positively, even if I might not feel it at the moment, just to see what happens. It makes a huge difference!

TAS:  You’re a new mother with a new and growing business, I’m sure there are tough days. Who and what keeps you inspired and motivated? Do you have any role models, mentors, or heros?

Andreea:  There are definitely tough days, but I love what I do, so that makes my challenges a bit more manageable. I am definitely inspired by my family and by the natural world around me. I am inspired when my customers write to tell me about the difference that one of our tees has made in their lives. I am inspired by people who follow their dreams, whether it’s to be a doctor, entrepreneur, teacher, musician or plumber. I am constantly inspired by children – they naturally ‘think big’ and it’s amazing to see their drive and determination.
 
Everyone I meet is a role model, in one way or another. The ‘positive people’ teach me what to do and the ‘negative people’ teach me what not to do. Sometimes I feel that we all start out as role models and then, somewhere down the line, life takes over and we forget what it’s like to have dreams and ambitions. I think I’ll add two new tees that will say “be unrealistic” and “reclaim yourself.”

TAS: What does owning and operating your own business mean to you?

Andreea:  It means that I can be creative and follow my dreams. But it also means working long hours and taking risks (good and bad) that I would not normally take if I was working for somebody else. Having my own business has allowed me to constantly challenge myself and to question my decisions and actions.

TAS:  Many people have creative dreams or business ideas they want to pursue. Often, they feel paralyzed by the perceived risk or by other peoples’ opinions. If you could speak directly to one of those people sitting in a cubicle in corporate America reading this interview or to someone working a job that’s not advancing their dreams, what advice would you give him or her? What words of wisdom can you offer to persuade that person that following your bliss is worth it?

Andreea:  Well, I think that there is definitely a place for corporate America in all of us. I learned a great deal from working for other companies, small and large. There is value in learning from other people who know more than you do. But, having said that, I think that if the spark is there, you’ll know when you’re ready to pursue your dreams. For some people it might not make sense to quit their job and start their own business, but what if those people start their own business (part-time), while holding on to their job?
 
About five years ago I read a great book called Kiss Off Corporate America : A Young Professional’s Guide to Independence by Lisa Kivirist. I highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking of leaving the cubicle life. It inspired me to leave my corporate job and start my own market research firm. Even though the market research firm didn’t work out (there was still so much more that I needed to learn!!!), it was a great experience and it gave me the courage to start other things later on. I personally feel better when I know I tried something (even though it might not have worked out) than when I don’t try it at all.

tees_for_change_women2.jpg

TAS:  Finally, what’s on the horizon for Tees For Change? Do you have any new lines coming out? Where can people find your tees? Are you expanding beyond tees into other products or apparel?

Andreea:  I am currently working on sourcing the tees for the Spring 2008 line and I will be adding more styles (tank tops, sweatshirts) and colors. I want to expand to other products, especially eco-friendly ones like canvas bags and reusable water bottles.

Right now, people can find the tee at Tees For Change and at nearly 50 yoga studios and boutiques across the country. For an updated list, they can visit http://teesforchange.com/retailers.
 
Thanks so much for allowing me to share my story!

TAS:  Thank you, Andreea, for generously sharing your time and your insights on positive thinking and pursuing your dreams.
With the holidays fast approaching, there is probably someone on your list who could use or would appreciate “the gift of positive”. Tees For Change is ideal for that person. Here is a quick FAQ on shipping and the logistics of ordering a shirt from Tees For Change.
 
Peace…

Ray
The Affirmation Spot.com

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