Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Word Gratitude

There are times when we get caught up in daily activities and feel the stress that comes with just moving through each day. How we end up at the end of the day depends upon how we manage things as we go along. And our thoughts have more influence than we realize. Thoughts have energy, and we can't have an emotion without a thought preceding it. Sometimes our hands are busy and we're not aware of what our mind is doing, but it may be leading us into a lot of unnecessary stress.

It's easy to take things for granted or drift into ain't it awful thoughts or get into a worry mode without knowing you're there. But there's one word that can trigger a change in direction. The word is gratitude. It's as if you're riding down an uncomfortable bumpy road with no peace in sight when suddenly saying the word smooths out the bumps, and the ride becomes pleasant. You can actually feel a shift in your emotions when you choose to appreciate instead of criticize or resist with your thoughts.

When you find yourself in worrisome thoughts, think of the meaning of gratitude, and say the word in a strong, firm way with conviction. You don't need to think of something for which you're grateful. Just say the word, and feel the sudden peace and joy that replace the discomfort. This feeling may not last all day, but you can pull yourself back to where you want to be each time you say the word.

I recently returned from a trip to Dallas to visit my daughter and her family. I found myself comparing the way I felt there versus how I feel at home. I was amazed at some of the differences. I love my children, and I had a wonderful time with them, so of course I felt calm, fulfilled and grateful during my stay. But I have to admit that I sometimes feel like climbing the walls at home.

I've always known the difference gratitude can make, but at my daughter's house I became fully aware of the power in this word. Now I intend to use the word more often at home. And I'm grateful for this visit with my family.

I wish you fewer bumps and more peace on your journey.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Taking Stock Part II

In order to create the life we want, we need to take some quiet time each day to see if we're just spinning our wheels. Sometimes unexpected challenges come up and interfere with the direction we've chosen, and we need to recognize their potential for getting us off track.

These challenges can come in any form, affecting any part of our life. A few years ago a serious car wreck took months out of my normal activity. This took some taking stock of where I was and what I needed to do to recover and keep my life in a healthy direction. Most of the time, our challenges are not severe situations, but they can still affect our health, our finances, our relationships, or just a daily activity. Someone gets sick, money fails to come in, the boss chews us out, company arrives unexpectedly, plans go awry, the car won't start. We know the story. This is life. But if we just react without awareness and neglect what's going on inside, these challenges can affect our general quality of life.

The first thing to do is back up and check your feelings about the situation. Do you feel angry, impatient, scared, sad, frustrated? Maybe you need to take a few deep breaths, cool off and take a non-judgmental look at the situation and how you're reacting. There could be a beneficial lesson to be learned.

Be patient and flexible, and try to lighten your attitude. Changing your attitude from negative to positive can lead to a better outcome. If you can't find ways to resolve the problem, accept what you can't change and adjust your direction. Change is part of life too.

The point is to stay aware of what you're doing, so you don't miss the big picture of where you want your life to go. A healthy life takes mind and heart. You can't turn off one or the other and expect a full, happy life. Take each day as it comes. Take stock of your feelings, your actions and reactions, and remind yourself of what you want to be on the inside and what you want to create on the outside. Then move ahead with love and wisdom.

I wish you joy in each day.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Taking Stock Part I

Do you ever ask the questions Where did the time go? How did I get to where I am now? Could I have come another way? Any regrets? From time to time, most of us have questions about our life, but we still tend to drift through today the same way we did yesterday without valid answers. Maybe we need to stop and take stock of where we've been, where we want to go and contemplate a better way to get there.

We live in a busy world, and we usually meet whatever comes up each day in a reactive way rather than proactive. We focus on the exterior and rarely give thought to our pattern of living or where it's taking us. How often do you look at your life and question your direction? Or do you just let the years pile up without the care they need to bear the fruit you want?

Self-awareness is vital to making sound decisions, and that can only come if we open our heart and look at what we're doing and how we're doing it. So how can we do that when we spend our time just reacting to outer stimuli and paying little attention to what's going on inside?

Some form of self-analysis needs to take place to keep us on the best path.
l. Find some quiet time each day to go within and see what's in there. What are you feeling? Are your needs being met? Are you on the right or wrong track? Should you pursue a different direction?
2. Journaling is a good way to get in touch with the space you're in. Let your thoughts flow--any way, any thing. This will give you an idea of what's going on inside and if changes are needed.
3. Ask your inner Self for wisdom and guidance, be open and receptive to it and do the best you can with it.

We can't always have all the facts about anything, so we'll make mistakes and have some regrets, but taking stock of where you are on your journey will produce a better life to look back on with fewer regrets. There are many ways to develop self-awareness. Choose one that's comfortable for you, and work on it. Your life is yours, so create the kind of life you want.

Next week in Part II I'll discuss how you can stay on target when unexpected challenges enter your life.

I wish you a warm heart and keen vision.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Recently, a book found me on, The Root Of All Healing, by Misa Hopkins. Yes, it jumped right out at me and said, "Pay attention." Every once in a while I get something like that, and it always helps me in some way. This book speaks mostly of healing physical, mental or emotional illness, but it reminded me of how often something in our life needs healing.

Nothing is totally healthy, because being in the human condition puts us in the realm of negative conditions and situations. We can't be human and escape all discord and pain. We don't live in Lala land. So we need to know and use whatever means is available to bring about healing and harmony, inside and outside of ourselves.

The first place to look is inside, because that's where it all begins. Each of us has an inherent power within us to create the kind of life we want. But first we have to know what we want, because what we envision is what we'll have. We live in a world that contains positive and negative energy, and we can't escape either, but with our thoughts we can influence how much of one or the other we experience.

There's a saying, "Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right." If I believe I won't have money to pay a bill, I probably won't; if I believe I will spend the rest of my life lonely, I probably will; and if I believe I will never recover from an illness, I probably won't.

Challenges come into our life everyday, but learning to use denials and affirmations can retrain our mind to envision and expect the outcome we want rather than the alternative. We can't deny that a situation or condition exists, but we're not doomed. We can firmly deny that it has any power over us. Then we can affirm the truth of each situation. An empty pocketbook can be filled, caring people can alleviate loneliness, and illness can pass, or at least improve.

Each challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow, and we have the power within to use each challenge as a means to a better life. Over time, instant affirmations will outnumber the denials, and life will become more of what we want it to be.

Be kind to yourself. You're worth it.