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Posts tagged ‘Gratitude’

Stillness

“To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.” – Eckhart Tolle

“The dog is the god of frolic.” –  Henry Ward Beecher

Worry serves no purpose but to steal our days.
Light. Flavor. Color. Frolic.
That’s what we are built for.
Be still. Listen. Then move.

Harmony

“Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful, and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

Agreement is defined as harmony, as a contract, an arrangement. As I was on a long run yesterday, I downloaded Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast with Don Miguel Ruiz on one of my favorite books The Four Agreements:

  1. Be Impeccable with Your Word.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
  4. Always Do Your Best.

I have the four agreements posted on my desk at work to remind me. Simple yet difficult rules to follow when others don’t do the same, when we want to be right, when we are self-absorbed. Each of us is responsible for our own happiness and it comes from within. When we carry and show our innate joy, we invite others to do the same. Take the high road and be a source of harmony.

“I am here and I’m alive. That’s enough.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

Change Your Explanations

“While you can’t control your experiences, you can control your explanations.”― Martin E.P. Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

We want things to be different but are unwilling to change. When we shift our energy and effort from trying to change other people and circumstances, we can focus on the only thing we can change – ME.

Studies have shown that optimism and gratitude improve our health including preventing chronic disease, improving our immune system, reducing stress and increasing life longevity.

And, yes it can be difficult to be optimistic when other people are pessimistic, complaining, gossiping and chirping. But with attention and practice, you can strengthen your optimism muscles and be healthier and happier. A worthy pursuit to be sure.

In her article How to Be Optimistic When the World Around You Isn’t, Amy Morin, LCSW offers a few suggestions:

  1. Optimism is a choice – turn your mindset around and think positive thoughts;
  2. Decide to be optimistic – it’s a daily decision, start each day reading, thinking and saying positive things. Force it until it takes hold;
  3. Avoid positive energy vampires – boundaries and limits on toxic people and the news;
  4. Recognize your negative thoughts – catch yourself in the act, reframe and flip it;
  5. Bestow positivity on others – share positive feedback with others – BONUS – it returns to you!;
  6. Imagine a positive future – dream big;
  7. Practice gratitude – an instant boost of optimism.

There is no risk, only reward in becoming optimistic. Changing your perspective, old stories and explanations = happier life.

 

Another Good Day!

“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.” – William Barclay

If we do it right, our birthday should be just another day of gratitude, light and joy. Happy Birthday to me and to my golden retriever Abby who’s 3 years old today – my birthday mate. This girl was one of a few bright lights in 2016. Liam, my little Lion King, was the other gift that year.

Celebrate each day like it’s your birthday and last day on this earth. One day, you will be right. No “do-overs,” this is it. Let go of what’s behind that’s holding you back and savor each day.

Discover why and pursue it vigorously. Gratitude is a gift that keeps giving and expanding at the same time. Make it another good day.

“Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.” – Ausonius

The Lion King of Joy

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises.” – Leo Buscaglia

Kids have optimism and joy mastered. It’s impossible to be around Liam without smiling and feeling deep joy and gratitude.

Surround yourself with people who bring that kind of joy and make sure you offer it as well. If you need some instruction on how to proceed, look at the delight on kids faces next week on Halloween and you’ll get a full course in fun, frolic and frivolity.

We take things way too seriously. Lighten up and dare to see the bright side. There’s plenty of it to find.

Find your light and bliss. And cast it out into the world.

Ordinary Deep Joy

In Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly, she writes about foreboding joy, which is driven by a scarcity mindset. We go to disappointment first thinking we can beat it to the punch. So not only do we experience disappointments in life when they happen, we experience dread daily to prepare for it. No way to live.

“Scarcity and fear drive foreboding joy. We’re afraid that the feeling of joy won’t last, or that there won’t be enough, or that the transition to disappointment (or whatever is in store for us next) will be too difficult. We’ve learned that giving in to joy is, at best, setting ourselves up for disappointment and, at worst, inviting disaster. And we struggle with the worthiness issue,” she summarizes from her research.

She offers three important reminders about joy:

  1. Joy comes to us in moments—ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary;
  2. Be grateful for what you have;
  3. Don’t squander joy.

Embrace joy that is available to you today in ordinary moments. It is a guarantee that challenges and disappointments will happen in life. Joy and hope are the threads that pull you through those seasons.

First step to joy? Smile!

“Gratitude is one of the strongest and most transformative states of being. It shifts your perspective from lack to abundance and allows you to focus on the good in your life, which in turn pulls more goodness into your reality.” – Jen Sincero

 

Art of Memory

“We do not know the true value of our moments until they have undergone the test of memory.” – Georges Duhamel

“The true art of memory is the art of attention.” Samuel Johnson

We are doing the final clear out of my Aunt’s house to get it ready for sale. She passed away September 3rd. I stopped by a few days ago by myself, looking at the few things that remain and found this little guy in the corner of a shelf.

Instantly, it brought me back to her house on Earl Street where we spent many family holidays. It’s funny what triggers memories and where we are instantly transported by small momentos.

In the midst of loss, we suddenly get our buoyancy and pop to the surface of gratitude. As Dr. Seuss so poignantly said, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” We find our way back to joy, to delight, to the present in small things.

When we are immersed in the moment fully aware, we get double blessing in the present and later when it becomes a memory that we treasure. The true gift of loss is a keen awareness and deep gratitude for this day. In this very moment, you are creating memories. so pay attention and actively participate in your life. Make today a memory worth remembering.

Good Reminder

“Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin

I found the perfect rug to put on my garage doorstep where I pass through several times a day to let the girls out to the backyard. It reminds me that I’m blessed and to acknowledge it by noticing.

We need reminders, prompts, smacks to the head to be mindful and fully present in now. When we practice gratitude daily, it becomes a habit and second nature. When our “inlook” changes, our outlook changes as well.

Carry deep gratitude and thankfulness across each threshold you pass and leave kindness as you journey through to the other side. Kindness spreads gratitude.

“Whatever we are waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance – it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

Seedling, Tree

“The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.” – James Allen

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

What we sow, cultivate, prune and feed is what we reap. Plant hope, optimism, good thoughts, reap a good day, a good life.

Sow seeds today. An encouraging word. A smile. An eye to eye encounter. Notice others. We long to be seen. Give that gift and it returns to you. Leave light behind. Walk lightly. Let go of the unnecessary. Make room for joy.

Sow, reap. Plant, harvest. Seedling, tree.

“Talk unbelief, and you will have unbelief; but talk faith, and you will have faith. According to the seed sown will be the harvest.” – Ellen G. White

Preparation

“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.” – Paul Theroux

“Wisdom is nothing but a preparation of the soul, a capacity, a secret art of thinking, feeling and breathing thoughts of unity at every moment of life.” Hermann Hesse

We need to prepare for the inevitable – snow, inconveniences, detours, delays, loss – all that life weaves between the victories, joy, growth, happiness and love that lasts beyond this world. There will rarely be long stretches of problem-free living. While we can’t control some circumstances, we can prepare how we will react to them.

I bought a new snowblower yesterday to be ready for winter, which in Minnesota can happen anytime now. My Sears snowblower lasted 20 years.

I remember the day that my Dad and I bought it like it was yesterday. I just had been diagnosed with melanoma in February, 1999 and had surgery in March with three lymph nodes removed under my arm. I couldn’t lift my arm for about a month. A  week after surgery, we got a few feet of snow. I usually shoveled and didn’t have a snowblower.

When I saw my Dad and neighbor digging me out, we went out the next day and got a snowblower. As I said good-bye to my tough old Sears model, I thought, as I do daily, how much I miss my Dad. And I am deeply grateful for many good years with him. He was my best friend.

A lot has happened in the last 20 years and the past three has been intense at times. As Gretchen Rubin says, “the days are long and the years are short.” If we are wise, loss gives us a deep appreciation for what we have right now and to not take one day for granted.

Prepare for joy and be open to discover it daily.

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