Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How many times do we congratulate ourselves. How many more times do we criticize ourselves? Congratulating ourselves is energizing; criticizing is debilitating.
Often at the end of the year we look back and laminate that we haven’t accomplished anything. From the perspective of others we have done amazing things in wonderful and courageous ways.
If we look back on our year with a critical eye and give ourselves a gold star for each of our accomplishment we will soon be amazed at how much we have accomplished. Our attitude of self-criticism will change to one of self-congratulating. We will laugh more, feel excited, energized, and empowered.
We need to be a good friend to ourselves. We need to have the courage to stop the criticism that cripples us and learn instead to compliment and congratulate ourselves. We can make it a habit by doing it day after day until we are empowered to become our better selves.

I congratulate myself for the good things
I do, say, and think.
I congratulate myself on the person I am,
And the person I am becoming.
I deserve gold stars . . . . So do you.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tending Our Inner Garden

Gardening is a soul-feeding activity for us. We nurture and care for our flowers, vegetables and trees by watering, weeding, and feeding them.
Many of us even talk to them.
Many studies have been done to demonstrate how plants react to our voices.
When spoken to in a soft and soothing voice, the energy around the plant expands and brightens. The plant will even lean towards the voice.
When spoken to in a harsh voice or approached in a threatening way the energy field around it will shrink, the color of the plant will change and lean away from the perceived threat.
What kind of Gardner are we to our inner gardens? Do we cultivate kindly? Prune with patience? Encourage and appreciate our flowering? There is no other flower like us. We are unique and beautiful, worthy of the finest care. Our compassionate inner self allows us to bloom more readily and more exquisitely.
By allowing the image of a flower to come into our minds we make it part of us that is thirsting for appreciation and care. See yourself being watered from a beautiful pitcher. Imagine your flower lifting its head to accept the refreshing sprinkles. Feel its to your roots. Be thankful for as you absorb the sustaining and empowering water. Soak in the sensation of being nurtured and encouraged to grow.

I compassionately tend my inner garden.

I gently and courageously prune

Limiting beliefs and actions from my life.

I appreciate the unique beauty

I bring into my world.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Expressing gratitude is transformative, just as transformative as expressing complaint.
Imagine an experiment involving two friends.
One is asked to spend ten minutes each morning and evening expressing gratitude (there is always something to be grateful for), while the other is asked to spend the same amount of time practicing complaining (there is, after all, always something to complain about). One of the subjects is saying things like, "I hate my job. I can't stand this apartment. Why can't I make enough money? My spouse doesn't get along with me. That dog next door never stops barking and I just can't stand this neighborhood." The other is saying things like, "I'm really grateful for the opportunity to work; there are so many
people these days who can't even find a job. And I'm sure grateful for my health. What a gorgeous day; I really like this fall breeze."
These two friends do this experiment for a year.

At the end of that year the friend practicing complaining will have deeply reaffirmed all her negative "stuff" rather than having let it go, while the one practicing gratitude will be a very grateful person. . . Expressing gratitude can, indeed, change our way of seeing ourselves and the world."

Seven Tenets for Refining Gratitude

1. Gratitude is independent of one's life circumstances.

2. Gratitude is a function of attention.

3. Entitlement makes gratitude impossible.

4. When we continue to give gratitude on a regular basis, we recive it back ten fold.

5. Our deepest sense of gratitude comes through hope and faith.

6. Gratitude can be cultivated through sincere self-reflection; and

7. The expression of gratitude (through words and deeds) has the affect of heightening our personal experience of gratitude.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear

of falling or catching fire.

I choose to inhabit my days,

to allow my living to open me,

to make me less afraid,

more accessible;
to loosen my heart

until it becomes a wing,

a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed

goes to the next as blossom,

and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Soil In Which Virtues Grow. . .

Gratitude is the soil out of which other great virtues grow.

Cicero said: "Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."

Gratitude is a journey of accepting and appropriating the giftedness of life. Gratitude is the journey of discovery of meaning and purpose within all creation from the subatomic to the ever expanding universe of general relativity.

Gratitude is a life intentionally dedicated to the service of others. Gratitude has become my friend and mentor. I give thanks for my life as an opportunity to give serve to my family, friends and others I meet on this journey.

Pastor Rinker, a seventeenth-century German minister, wrote this prayer:

“Now thank we all our God With hearts, and hands, and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done, In whom His world rejoices;
 Who, from our mother's arms, Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, And still is ours today

O may this bounteous God Through all our life be near us,
With ever-joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us,
And keep us in His grace, And guide us when perplexed,
And free us from all ills In this world and the next!

And praise and thanks to God the Father now be given, The Son,
 and Him who reigns with them in highest heaven -
The one, eternal God, Whom earth and heaven adore;
 For thus it was, is now, And shall be evermore.”

Gratitude is the experience of unconditional love and the hope and assurance that beyond death is life. Surely this is the greatest reason of all to be grateful.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cultivating My Attitude of Gratitude!

 Why should I show gratitude? Is it just the right thing to do, or does it have some other inherent value? Showing honest strength takes energy and thought. Having an attitude of gratitude requires the conscious effort of being thankful.

 When I express thankfulness, it not only impacts the person I am thankful to, but it also has benefits for me the giver of thanks. As I recognize the blessings in my life and act upon them my awareness increases and appreciation. Sharing my gratitude improves my quality of life because it can only result in positive emotions. Appreciating what I have also makes my life more valuable and meaningful.

 I have learned to Be Grateful to those who light the flame that is the heart of me. There are times in my life when my own personal light has dimed or even gone out, only to be rekindled by the spark from another person. We each of us have great cause to celebrate with deep gratitude those who have lighted the flame within us.
 AS I look around this place I call my life I see that I have hit a few rough spot now and again. Some of us seem to survive the avalanches better than others. More often than not other people have been sent to rekindle my faith and keep me from despair. These are the people in my life who deserve gratitude for supporting me when I needed it most.
 Each day I’m given a new chance to make a difference in the world. Until I’m gone there will always be hope of finding happiness, peace and good health. I truly believe that if the only prayer I ever say in the whole of my life is “thank you” and I’m “grateful” my life would have been sufficient.
 By maintaining an attitude of gratitude with each new day, I am developing the habit of appreciating what I have instead of dwelling on what I don’t have. I have more peace and joy because of this positive outlook. I also handle challenges differently because I now begin with a more positive mindset.

 I’ve come to realize that saying “thank you” isn’t so hard to do. Having a spirit of gratitude has also become almost second nature to me, almost!

 Acting on thoughts of gratefulness is a challenge some days. I realized recently that as I show my gratitude for others more openly I’ve stopped taking them for granted. I’ve stopped make assumptions about how my friends should treat me or others or what they should or should not do for me.
 Sometimes I think we get so focused on our “rights” that we forget to be gracious and appreciative of what we really do have. When I show gratitude, I become more keenly aware of and appreciate small everyday experiences. For example, I use to be quick to complain when traffic made it hard to get to work or my doctors appointments on time. However, I now appreciate days when the lights seem to all work in my favor. Frustration comes from unmet expectations, but gratitude results in not having unrealistic expectations and truly finding the joy in whatever comes your way. Showing gratitude has attracted others to me and has improved my overall attitude.
 I believe now more than ever before that as we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

 I am once again this year keeping a “Gratitude” journal where I will simply list those people and things that I am grateful for in my life each day of the coming year. This last year with the return of my cancer I started carrying it in my purse to make notes even when I was not at home. Sometimes when I would think of a person I’d like to give thanks for, I would make a note of it, including a nice way to express my gratitude. If I didn’t write it down, it would soon be forget the thoughtful acts of kindness done for and to me and than it would be as if they had never happen. This last week I took time to review my past year the last of a decade. . . I’ve been blessed. It’s easy to feel gratitude when you see your life in written words.

My Resolution for the year. . . 
Cultivate My Attitude of Gratitude!

Monday, January 4, 2010

. . . I Am a Butterfly. . . . I Am Free. . . .

Because butterflies are deeply symbolic of my struggles to grow into my unique wisdom and beauty. They have always brought smiles to my face. Like the swans which also grow in beauty and grace, butterflies are not very appealing in their immature larva stage. But following a deep inner knowing the caterpillar goes into seclusion to allow its destiny to unfold. Protecting itself from all outside distraction in darkness and isolation in its cocoon. In all due time as promised by its inner wisdom the caterpillar emerges as a winged creature and spends the rest of its life spreading beauty and joy as it gently flies from flower to flower. A symbol of hope and transformation.
As I move through the chaos, confusion and challenges of everyday life I remember that I have a winged and wonderful self within me, waiting to emerge from the darkness of cancer. Like those beautiful butterflies I need only to go into the stillness and solitude. . . to look within. . . to find my wise inner-self waiting to transform.
I know that I must be gentle and patient as I transform myself. I must have commitment and discipline as my transformation takes place. Each day I need to give myself a few quiet moments to just cocoon. I have the courage to have faith that I will emerge from my cocoon with spectacular fireworks.

It takes a while for our minds to become quiet enough for us to hear the fluttering of our inner wings.
I will trust my inner butterfly. . .
I will take a few quiet minutes each day to just tune into me. . .
As each day passes I am more able to hear the quiet whispers of my inner wings. . .