Saturday, September 10, 2011

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder

If you are like most people, you probably take the little things in your life for granted. Not because you don't appreciate them, and not because they aren't important, but because they've always been there and you have come to see them as "normal" parts of your life. Deborah Norville refers to it as Thank you Power in her book entitled Thank You Power, others refer to it a gratitude and still others call it thanking God--but it all boils down to being thankful and showing appreciation for the good things in our lives.

The simple act of expressing your gratitude releases tremendous power in your life as it forces you to shift your focus from what you do not have to what you already have in your life. It's normal (and even desired) to wish for bigger and better things for yourself and your family, but how you do that matters.

What we focus our attention on determines the results we reap. Because the human mind works to bring about the images we feed it, focusing on the lack in our lives often magnifies the lack. When we focus on the things we do not want in our lives, such as financial difficulties, health problems or struggling relationships, our mind becomes stayed on those and works diligently to create the image we have provided.

The trick, of course, is to feed the brain images of what we want in our lives. Cultivating the habit of taking a stock of your blessings is a powerful way to do just that. Not only does it set the stage of the things that give meaning and value to your life, according to an article published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2001) it improves the immune system, helps you handle stress and may extend your life up to 10 years. Other studies indicate that positive thinking and gratitude improve your attention span, promote creativity and expand your ability to think in divergent ways.

Get into the habit of expressing your gratitude or saying thank-you for those things in your life that bring your joy and you will soon find yourself feeling better about yourself and better able to tackle any obstacles that loom in your way to realizing your dreams.

Today, I am grateful for my cat that lies calmly in the morning sun while I work, for snoring dogs and the brilliant blue of the sky. I am grateful for wind chimes that make music in the breeze, for blades of grass that blanket the lawn and for little dirt roads that meander out of sight.
I am grateful for sunflowers that stand tall and strong, for wood vines that creep along the fence and for birds that sing. I am grateful for good books to read, for the echo of laughter and the sound of the loon.
I am grateful for family that keeps me strong, for friends who teach me much and for strangers that I may never meet but who touch my life in indiscernible ways. 
And, I am grateful for you dear reader, as you stop to share my day. May you cultivate the art of expressing your gratitude as you go forward in the direction of your dreams.

Friday, September 9, 2011

"When we are no longer able to change a situation... We are challenged to change ourselves" ~ VIKTOR FRANKL

Many of us spend our days looking to others and thinking if only "they" would change, my life would be better, without realizing that life isn't about changing others to fit our needs. If it seems that those around you are in need of drastic change, consider the fact that it might be you that needs the change, not them.

Refusing to accept your part in creating the conditions of your life is no different than refusing to change to clock from daylight savings time to standard time and then lamenting the fact that those around you are never on time.

So often, I hear others lamenting the fact that the world around them is filled with ungrateful, spiteful people who work diligently to make "their" life miserable--yet, never realizing that their dissatisfaction with others is merely a reflection of their inner selves.

If it seems that those around you are unappreciative or lack the compassion you desire in life, try expressing appreciation and compassion in your own life. You may be surprised by how much others appear to change.

Today, I am grateful for the soft rays of morning sun, for fresh clean air to breathe, and for the dew that sparkles on the grass. I am grateful for the hoot of the owl, the dance of leaves in the breeze, and soft, cool grass against bare feet. I am grateful for the brilliant sunsets, proud tall mountains and flowing fields of hay.
I am grateful for healthy food to eat, for clean water to drink and for caterpillars who creep along the garden wall. I am grateful for the sound of the lone dog's bark in the distance, for wispy smoke from wood stoves that settles heavy in the air, and the smell of leaves that forewarns of fall. 
I am grateful for my family who makes me proud, for a husband who supports my work and children who have grown strong and always stand for what they know is right. I am grateful for bothers and sisters, for my parents who have gone before me and for extended family that makes me who I am today.
I am grateful for the people in my life that challenge my thinking, for those who lend a helping hand and those who serve as examples sharing their goodness and kindness with the world. I am grateful for artists who capture life's beauty, for musicians who touch the soul and for writers who bring the word to life.
And, I am grateful to you, dear reader, as you stop to share my day. May you be the change that is needed in your life as you go forward in the direction of your dreams. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"To reach a port, we must sail - sail, not tie at anchor - sail, not drift." -- FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT

So many times, we set our sights on a destination and then sit ourselves down with the expectation that we will somehow reach it without even setting the sails for that direction. We cast our hopes and dreams to the wind, thinking that the wind itself will power our path--never entertaining the thought that in order to sail we must harness its power.

Cultivate the habit of setting your sails. You may not always be able to determine the direction of the wind, but a skilled sailor knows how to use it to his advantage. Be a sailor today, as you determine the direction you shall go.

Today, I am grateful for the approach of fall, the smell of leaves and the cooling of air. I am grateful for fall winds, sunflowers and the tiny hummingbird that gathers energy for its long flight. I am grateful for fresh, clean rain; for white, puffy clouds and for the energy that only fall brings.

I am grateful for children as they head off to school, for teachers who provide their care and parents who adapt to the seasonal changes in their lifestyle. I am grateful for the renewed expectations of another school year, for eager learners and for knowledge available to our children.

I am grateful for family and friends who bring me joy, for strangers who challenge my thinking and for  writers who share their knowledge via the written word.

And, I am grateful for you, dear reader, as you stop to share my day. May you cultivate the habit of setting your sails to harvest the power of the winds to lead you 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...