Gratitude: Honoring the Good Stuff

Each day is an opportunity to face life in a renewed way. Our waking thoughts can set the tone for everything that follows. Think about your first thoughts on the days you overslept or didn’t sleep well…what is your mood like?

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  • Cranky? 
  • Irritable?
  • Quiet?
  • Anxious?
  • Unmotivated?

 

 

If you are anything like I was, these days could have disastrous consequences for everyone.  I didn’t want to be a person with a whole range of less than stellar emotions, which directly impacted others. This daily grind wore on me and I knew there had to be a better way.

As a lifelong student of self-improvement, the journey of personal growth has been a path I’ve walked much of my life.  The rollercoaster of emotions felt like an opportunity for improvement, to become more aligned. This new awareness became a research project.  I dug in and devoured the work of many great thought leaders, vowing to start of each day in a renewed way. Quickly, I discovered that most practices weren’t sustainable for me because they took more time and energy than I was willing to commit.

On the day’s I took the time to plug into myself, things went more smoothly.  I got positive feedback from others and knew I was onto something.  I kept looking for a practice I could commit to. Then, almost all at once it clicked and a light came on.

CONNECTION

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A connection was the key link of these practices. As humans, we are wired to connect to ourselves and others. My old morning routine was anything but.  This new awareness was eye-opening. I searched for ways to become more connected and discovered a common thread in the work of many others was gratitude.

Gratitude changed EVERYTHING!  

So, now what?

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To be completely upfront, this new awareness had a complicated beginning. I set an intention to replace dread with gratitude, which was easier said than done!

From the start, I began with an expectation to practice gratitude perfectly…perfect words, perfect requests, expecting some perfect outcome. It was steeped in mantras and prayers from a groggy or rushed state. It was just too much and quickly became the easiest thing to push off my plate.  I was quickly defeated and retreated to my old unpleasant morning routine.

NOTHING IS PERFECT…there had to be an easier way.

I took some time to regroup and slowly began to adapt to a simple plan that worked for me.  What evolved has become a recipe for success that has only changed everything.

Here are my three simple steps to living a grateful life:

  1. Start by thanking God, or whatever your individual Divine source is. First, be grateful to your source.
  2. Next, think of at least 5 things you are grateful for.  Even in dark times, I can find something worthy to honor. Personally, I prefer to write them down to empower them, but it can be a practice in your head.  This step sets the tone for what follows
  3. Make an “I am” list.  I will admit this step usually happens in the shower after I am more awake.   Simply, it goes something like this… 
  • I am happy
  • I am radiantly healthy
  • I am love/loved
  • I am kind
  • I am Divinely guided
  • I am authentic
  • I am free
  • I am… you fill in the rest

I use these simple “I am” statements to set an intention.  Even if I don’t feel completely nurtured in the ways I am claiming, it becomes a practice that

THAT’S IT! For me, it really is that simple.

In the beginning, this wasn’t a practice I was wholeheartedly committed to and my follow through was lackluster at best.  I would go days without remembering to complete the simple steps listed above. As I began to see positive results (quickly), I became more diligent in my journey of gratitude. It actually was working, other people even began to comment on my improved mood state.  That was a bonus!

Looking through the lens of gratitude has changed everything.  Now, I notice things I never used to see before.  I see beauty in so many things in a more profound and beautiful way.  It could be the sky or flowers on my evening walk, maybe it’s the moon in its fullness. Sometimes it’s just breathing in beautiful air. There is so much beauty to see when we become open to it.

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Are you willing to commit a week to practicing three simple steps?  

It just might change everything for you too…

 

 

 

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Telling YOUR Truth

Life has a way of putting us in exactly the right place at the right time. Our lessons and experiences become the stories we live. Each of us is a beautiful and richly woven tapestry, made of the good, bad, and everything in between…it all matters.

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This individual journey can dictate how the path unfolds. Unfortunately, the road isn’t always smooth, instead, it is often filled with unexpected twists and turns. Yet, one certainty is a requirement to adapt and respond. So often, that comes in a beautiful package of painful experience.

Life has shown me how adaptability is directly tied to the relationship with ourselves. The ability to go with the flow is normally proportionate to the suffering we experience. In my blog, The Journey of Being Kind and Honest, I shared three steps to living a more enriched and fulfilled life.

  1. Showing Up: Taking action to cure fear
  2. Discovering Authenticity in Struggle
  3. Telling YOUR Truth

For me, each step has offered valuable lessons that shape who I am today. I make no claim this journey has been easy. In fact, it has not been for the faint of heart. Although, what I can assuredly report is that it has been the birthplace of overcoming struggle and laid the foundation of my Unshakeable Truth.

So, what does it mean to Tell YOUR Truth?

The answer begins with honest self-reflection. Each step is built upon the other, but it really came down to acknowledging and letting go of our best self-preservation tool…CONTROL!

It had been my life’s work to anticipate and dictate the outcome. Control played a leading role in just about every action and allowed me to expertly craft a life built on false narratives. I became what I believed everyone wanted me to be, which only left me depleted, depressed, anxious, ashamed, alone and isolated. More importantly, it made me resentful when no one seemed to notice or appreciate my wholehearted efforts.

My endless need for control kept me stuck in a loop of unworthy and not good enough. Daily, I would show up in a put together way but really felt like a complete mess on the inside. I constantly feared someone would see the cracks in my façade, revealing everything I believed. It was like an unending rollercoaster of highs that pushed me forward to achieve and lows that left me nearly unfunctional.

Fortunately, this unhealthy recipe wasn’t sustainable and life literally brought me to my knees. Through a series of unfortunate reversals, I found myself exiled in a self-created desert, completely alone and undone. Unending grief encompassed me. I was paralyzed as years of work lay in ruin.

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The good news is that everyone isn’t meant to go to the desert to find their truth. Each of us has a unique journey. From the place I came, it likely was the clearest path to the lessons I needed to learn. I don’t wish that on anyone, but in reflection, it all served a purpose and I have no regrets.

Is there something you trying to control, that isn’t yours to control?

My own undoing became the birthplace of everything that was meant to be. It was a divine place that literally brought me to my knees, stripping away what was no longer relevant, leaving only what was necessary. My humbling journey revealed many opportunities for real sustainable growth. I allowed my pain to change me, asking my higher power for guidance and direction.

This flow has served me beautifully. It is only when I try to step back in the power seat that I get a lesson that shows me I am not the one in charge. Letting go of control has allowed me to find my true north with faith that the next steps will be revealed in perfect timing.

packaging-2481462_960_720.jpgThe best gift of this solitary journey has been finding my own truth. An evolved version of me that is directly plugged into my Divine source of passion and purpose. I feel more aligned than ever, telling my truth from an authentic place. I can step back and let life unfold in its beautiful and magical way without trying to navigate the outcome. I don’t resent failed outcomes, rather accept something better is meant for me. It feels amazing!

Are you willing take one step forward to let something flow that you have previously tried to control?

Perhaps it is letting something flow in a relationship or friendship, or choosing to heal a resentment you have about something that hurt you.  It could even be stepping back from a project or assignment and asking your Higher Power to lead the way. By relinquishing the reigns, what is truly meant for you can fully show up. Try it and see.  It might just surprise you…

Of course, in my humanness, there are times I stumble and my good friend control sneaks in. I use those times as an opportunity to grow from. They serve as a place to recognize and honor my gifts, using them to empower myself and others. I now realize that I can’t be all things to all people and am amazed at how many years I spent trying to adapt to my beliefs of what I thought I should be. I cannot say it was a waste because all of those steps mattered too. I needed to climb the mountain to fall off into my own personal abyss.

From this more recently aligned place, I can show up in any given situation and speak from my own place of truth, the one I fought to learn the hard way. The journey of being kind and honest isn’t always the easy path, but it certainly is the most authentic. By not adapting to what others want and expect, it’s just a rhythm. that seems to flow with more graceful twists and turns. river-2743967_960_720.jpg

Are you ready to tell YOUR truth?