Saturday, December 31, 2011

There is more to life than increasing its speed. Mahatma Ghandi

How well you handle the closing one year and the beginning of another depends in part on your frame of mind. For many, New Year's Eve evokes memories of the good times experienced through the year, while others dwell on all the bad that has happened. I like to think I am the former. I like to look at how far I've come and how much I have accomplished  - but that is only part of the appeal of New Year's Eve.

Before me lies an open book ready to be written in - a chance to start anew, to make positive changes and choose how I will spend my time. In the words of Mahatma Ghandi, "There is more to life than increasing it's speed."

This year, I intend to be ever mindful of the use of my time. Not because I'm afraid of running out - but because time is too valuable to squander. This year, I will guard my time and spend more time on the things that really matter and less on the mind-sucking activities that lead me nowhere.

This year, I will slow down and work steadfastly toward my goals and dreams without the distractions of events and activities that lead me down other paths.

Today, I am grateful for the completion of another year, for all that I have accomplished in 2011 and for the opportunities 2012 will bring. I am grateful for the courage and vision to follow my dreams - even when the world around me looks bleak. 
I am grateful for a warm home that keeps me safe, for soft pillows on which to rest my head, and for socks. I am grateful for the droning snore of the dog, the gentle purr of the cat, and for the twitter of birds as they stop for food to eat. 
I am grateful for family and friends who never cease to amaze me, for neighbors who make me feel safe, and for strangers who paths I cross. 
I am grateful for writers who share their view of the world, for artists who capture the essence of life, and musicians who create for the soul. 
I am grateful for the beauty of the earth, the rays of sun as it breaches the horizon, and starlight that punctuates the night sky. 
And, I am grateful for you, dear reader, as you stop and share my day. May you always remember, "There is more to life than increasing its speed," as you go forward in the direction of your dreams.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling. Margaret Lee Runbeck

If you are in the habit of thinking that you will be happy when you have more money - or when you reach your goals - and hold onto the belief that the circumstances of your life control your happiness, it's time to stop. Sure circumstances of your life may create momentary happiness - but that kind of happiness is always dependent on the outside world and can be torn away at a moment's notice. True happiness comes from inside you and doesn't depend on the circumstances of your life.

One way - and many may argue it is the only way - to find happiness in your life is by taking stock of your blessings and expressing sincere gratitude for them. Strive today to cultivate true happiness by expressing your gratitude for the good things in your life as you work to reach your goals.

Today, I am grateful for the brilliance of the sun as it casts its rays across the frozen landscape, for heat and hot water that bring comfort to my home, and for sheltered nooks that provide warmth and safety to the animals of the forest.
I am grateful for steaming coffee that fragrances the air, for the flickering flame of the pellet stove that adds warmth and comfort to the home, and for shelves of books that secret away their wisdom in silence.
I am grateful for Sage, my cat, who follows me where ever I go, nipping at plants, sleeping in the sun, and purring me a good night song each night.
I am grateful for family to share my world, for friends who lighten the load, and strangers who reach out their hand.
And, I am grateful for you, dear reader, as you stop and share my day. May you cultivate the art of finding true happiness as you go forward in the direction of your dreams. 

In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet. Albert Schweitzer

Often we become so focused on reaching our goals, that we forget to enjoy the journey. Guard against becoming so single minded that your goals and dreams take over your life and prevent you from experiencing what life has to offer along the way. Although it is necessary to keep you eyes on your goal and work steadfastly in the direction of your dreams, life is meant to be lived.

Take time today to enjoy the people and things around you and appreciate them for the joy they bring.

Today, I am grateful for the new fallen snow that envelops my world in white, for the soft glow of sunrise as the sun's rays try to penetrate the clouds, and for the mighty trees laden with snow. I am grateful for the muffled sounds of cars in the distance, for the quiet that descends when snow encases the world, and for a warm cozy home that protects me from the storm.

I am grateful for opportunities that come my way, for hope of a bright future, and for family to share my journey. I am grateful for my flower garden as it settles down for a long winter's rest, for the nearest of Christmas, and twinkling lights to light the storm.

I am grateful for healthy food to fuel the body, for hot coffee to warm to warm the soul, and for the fragrance of fresh-baked bread. I am grateful for lavender whose fragrance lulls me to sleep, for the scent of citrus to invigorate and inspire, and delicate roses that hold summer in their scent.

I am grateful for eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to feel.

And, I am grateful for you, dear reader, as you stop to share my day. May you take the time to see the flowers at your feet as your strive to reach the moon as you go forward in the direction of your dreams.

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts; therefore guard accordingly. Marcus Aurelius

So many of us get into the habit of greeting the world with a running commentary of the lack in our lives that we forget to take stock of what we have, and get sucked into believing that we are unhappy due to the circumstances in our lives. We are so eager to believe that the world controls our lives that we simply forget to look to our contributions to our own unhappy circumstances.

Strive today to improve the quality of your thoughts that you may learn to experience joy in your life - regardless of the circumstances around you. As you improve your thoughts and begin to focus on the positive in your life, circumstances begin to change.

When difficulties arise - and they sometimes will - lift yourself above them by training your thoughts to focus on the the blessings in your life.

Today, I am grateful for lazy Saturday mornings, for French vanilla creamer in my coffee, and for clean blank pages on which to write. I am thankful for computers that make my life easier, for typewriters who set the stage, and for pen and paper that still tempts writers when inspiration comes.
I am grateful for the morning sun that I know lurks behind the clouds, for clean white snow that lingers on the ground, and for evergreens that transform into wreaths.
I am grateful for time as it stretches before me, for the wisdom to use it well, and for quiet moments that nourish the soul.
I am grateful for winter storms that will envelop my world in a quiet beauty, for rolling hills, and towering trees who withstand the passage of time.
I am grateful for family that I hold dear, for friends who lighten the load, and for strangers who share a willing smile. 
And, I am grateful for you, dear reader, as you stop to share my day. Strive to improve the quality of your thoughts today, that you may experience happiness and joy as you go forward in the direction of your dreams. 

One who understands much displays a greater simplicity of character than one who understands little. Alexander Chase

As Christmas approaches, many of us become so involved in doing all the things we think we need to do to make it through the season that we forget what pleasure simplicity brings. The smell of the tree, the twinkle of lights and mounds of new fallen snow that evoke memories of Christmas long ago are what bring me pleasure at Christmas. Yet, somehow I get get caught up in the hustle and bustle and forget to take the time to simply enjoy the season.

This year, my daughter suggested that we put up the tree early - of course, by early I mean the first of December. Instead of adding all the ornaments now, we opted to just add lights and enjoy them for a spell. It's not that we don't enjoy the ornaments. We do - but a simple tree with lights evokes a quiet charm that speaks to the soul. Later we will add the ornaments and enjoy the excitement of a fully decorated tree.

I strive to live my life with the same simplicity, that I may enjoy what it has to offer without the trappings of what the world expects of me. It isn't always easy, as I too, get caught up in the ways of the world around me. Today, I will take time to enjoy the simple things as I work my way toward my goals.

For today, strive to enjoy the journey as you go forward in the direction of your dreams.

Today, I am grateful for snoring dogs and purring cats, for white picket fences, and for rocks that hold the history of the earth. I am grateful for the sound of rain that brings peace to the world, the anticipation of the first blanket of snow and for Christmas lights that twinkle in the night.

I am grateful for candles that flicker, for houseplants that grow amid the winter, and for the crow cawing in the distance. I am grateful for cold winter nights and warm summer days for that add variety to life.

I am grateful to family and friends who have made me who I am, for parents who have long since passed but live on memory, and for children.

And, I am grateful for you, dear reader, as you stop to share my day. May you strive to enjoy the simple things in life as you go forward in the direction of your dreams.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails. ~Author Unknown

It's amazing how often we make our way through life thinking that if we but change the world around us, our lives will suddenly fall into place, without considering that perhaps we need to adjust our sails. The direction we will go and the destination we will reach depends on our ability and willingness to set the course.

Consider the journey you wish to take today and instead of fighting the prevailing winds -- adjust your sails to take you in the direction you need to go.

Pay no attention to the doom and gloom preached by those around you, as they are merely a reflection of the winds that blow. Take action today and harness the power of the wind to fuel your journey to a bright and prosperous future.

Today, I am grateful for bright winter sun, blue skies and white clouds that do not yet threaten snow. I am grateful for the glint of color as sunlight glistens off the frozen landscape, for the tinkle of my wind chimes, and for the blue jay who calls in the silent air. 
I am grateful for new opportunities yet to come my way, for a clear sound mind to start my day, and for the joy of beginning another December awaiting the arrival of Christmas. What a glorious season to close out the year! 
I am grateful for family and friends, for good health, and for the ability to feel joy in the softness of the wind or the beauty of the night. I am grateful for the freedom to choose which path I shall follow, for the insight to make good choices, and for the energy to sustain my efforts. 
And, I am grateful for you, dear reader, as you stop to share my day. May you adjust your sails as necessary today, as you go forward in the direction of your dreams.

Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things . . .

It is easy to express gratitude when things in your life are running smoothly, but a little more difficult when things get rough. We ha...