A single affirmation on a wall can be a powerful thing if it’s well chosen. A few days ago I consulted for a client and every wall of her home was littered with affirmations and positive words—and to no effect that I could tell. There was no place that felt visually quiet and calm. Every wall was screaming, “Love,” “Trust,” “Be Positive,” but it all felt like confusion and disorder. It seemed that she had bought every wall affirmation that Ross Dress for Less ever sold. It was one of the most depressing and negative consultations that I’ve ever had. The client’s mantra throughout the consultation was, “No can do…no can do…” Well, of course she could have made some changes in her living space, but she just wasn’t going to. Every time I’d make a recommendation, her face would harden and she’d look angry. So much for those positive thoughts on the walls. By the time the consultation was over, my bright spirit had sunk down to my toenails.
Years ago, my dear friend Noreen Riley told me that she did calligraphy. I asked her if she would copy an old saying onto some beautiful gold-flecked paper that I had. I put it in a gold frame and kept it up for years. It’s now in a file, but I take it out occasionally and my spirit soars.
“The removal of a portion of old habits is the gain of a portion of brightness.”
It’s from one of the very few books that I’ve ever read twice—the amazing autobiography Empty Cloud by the Chinese zen master Xu Yun.
My mother, whom I adore, is age 94, living in a veterans’ home—she was a five-stripe Marine sergeant in WWII—and she loves it there. I recently sent her a beautiful cloth wall hanging with this quote on it:
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power—the world will know peace.”
It’s by Jimi Hendrix, who she had never heard of. Her eyesight’s not great so she can’t even read it, but it’s a splash of color on an otherwise bare wall. I sent it to her so that the people who come into her room would know the kind of spirit that resides in her frail old body. (I got this from INE Imports, a company run by a very nice couple, the Samuelsens, who have graciously agreed to sell this one item direct to customers referred to them by this blog post. Be sure to mention my name and my blog, as they are otherwise a strictly wholesale business.)
Hanging scrolls with Japanese calligraphy are splendid examples of powerful wall affirmations—simple, elegant, and not always there. They are often rolled up and put away. Then when they are on display—they feel fresh and powerful. The example here speaks of sitting in meditation on a mossy rock on a mountain.
Words have power—I wrote an earlier post all about that. If you have wall affirmations, choose them carefully. The best ones are usually not the ones that you buy in a store, but ones that you make yourself by finding a quote that resonates with you and then spend effort applying in a visually beautiful manner on your wall. (That earlier blog post relates the case of one I found especially wonderful.)