gratitude

The Universe Has My Back

Photo Credit: gabbybernstein.com

I awoke this morning to a steady downpour of rain and it is still coming. On top of that, it is dark and cold and the days are getting progressively shorter. Today, we will experience exactly 9 hours and 31 minutes of the sun’s light and she will be hidden behind clouds for most of that time. 

The world is also looking glum. The pandemic is raging just as the country’s leadership has gone into hiding and although we have hope of a new direction, it doesn’t look like it will gain substantial purchase until the end of January at best. In the meantime, all we can do is hang on, proceed with our best judgement and pray for a good, or at least less than catastrophic, outcome.

These feelings were haunting me this morning as I sat down to write this week’s blog.  I was finding it hard to pull up an inspirational and uplifting perspective. Then, I remembered the best way to assuage negative feelings is by looking for the positive and giving gratitude. 

This Thursday is Thanksgiving and in addition to being grateful for my health, my family and friends, my warm home, good food, and all of the love in my life, I am also thankful for the ability to receive information from the Universe. One such encounter happened over the weekend and I am convinced there was some sort of divine intervention at work.

For months, I had been trying to make some decisions about where to settle, what type of house to buy, whether or not to go in on the purchase with my new partner, to build a barn apartment or simply to stay put. My ideas had been a bit scattered and broad and I had been looking for clarification. Last week, I decided to take some action steps, to get more details about the barn and what it would take to build, to talk to the realtor about moving, to look at housing prices and availability in some of my top areas of interest. And then, on Saturday, the answer came. 

My partner and I made an appointment with someone who knew the town and the building process, and could give us advice on what we were thinking. As we listened to her talk, the entire puzzle came together and our plan took a complete turn. Everything she said seemed to point us in the right direction as it satisfied all of our needs and desires. It truly felt like the Universe speaking. I knew it was the right move because of the ease at which I was able to let go of my previous idea and the confidence and relief I felt moving forward with this new plan.

If I concentrate on an issue hard and long enough and release it into the ether, I usually get my answer, especially if I can remain open to the way in which it is communicated to me. Sometimes it comes as I am journaling or meditating. Other times, the answer arrives by way of someone else (like it did this weekend) or a seemingly coincidental occurrence. I love when this happens because it not only helps me to move forward in the right direction, but it gives me the assurance that I am not alone and that the Universe has my back. And that puts a smile on my face and inspiration in my heart. 

Wishing you all a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving.

Other Websites.   Body: https://www.inbalancetherapeutics.net/   Soul: https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/  Music: https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/

Voting by the Moon

Photo from the New York Times, Oct. 29, 2020

It is an important week. Human emotions are running high as election day approaches. Anxiety is mounting and we are contemplating the implications of either outcome, neither of which will solve our country’s systemic maladies. That we know will take more time. 

On top of that, we continue to face ongoing pandemic challenges and increasing seasonal cold and darkness. It has been hard to relax and move forward in an optimistic fashion.

We are also in the Full Moon phase (Oct. 31-Nov. 3) when our feelings have been known to heighten.

Last night (along with many other Americans I am sure), I awoke with a lot on my mind. I ruminated a while before deciding to get up and turn off the outdoor lighting. The brightness was peaking through the shades and preventing me from falling back to sleep.  On the third try at the switch, I realized the light was actually coming from the moon, and this got me thinking.

How interesting that there should be a full moon right now, coinciding with election day.

According to  Chani Nicholas (an LA astrologer) in a New York Times article (Oct. 29, 2020), “ It is a very significant full moon, and it is happening four days before the election and is sitting next to a planet with upheaval, change, surprise, excitement: Uranus.” 

Link to full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/29/style/blue-moon-wet.html

The full blue moon occurred on October 31 and we are still in its wake until the end of the day tomorrow, according to a system outlined by Yasmin Boland in her book, Moonology.  Much like the ancient (and many modern day) farmers, Boland believes that each moon phase offers a unique opportunity to perform certain activities. 

The full moon is the ideal time to release and let go, especially of people, things, and situations that are no longer working. Boland emphasizes that it is important in this phase to forgive, because “when you forgive, you release the karma and when you do that, you exit the situation.” It is one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves. It’s detoxifying and helps us move on.

Once we let go and forgive, it is crucial to fill the void with gratitude. Focusing on the blessings in life and the things that are going right will help set the intention and direction as we move forward towards our dreams (the new moon phase is best for designing and focusing on goals).

Whether or not you believe in the moon’s ability to influence human behavior, it does seem like a good time to embrace its energy, to get rid of things we don’t need, to forgive, to extend gratitude, and to get out there and vote. 

websites:

https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/

https://www.inbalancetherapeutics.net/

https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/

Everything Grows

Pruning BlogEverything wants to grow.

The importance of this idea came to me the other day as I witnessed a tree being pruned in my neighbor’s yard. I realized that every living thing seeks growth and without the proper attention, like the kind being given to the tree, my life could end up somewhere I didn’t want it to be. 

I had been feeling unsettled and couldn’t quite put my finger on what was causing it. True, I was experiencing the pangs of empty nest syndrome after spending a week with my adult daughters in Maine and then having to say good- bye. I was also at the end of a divorce and there were still some unanswered questions and new decisions to make. 

I reflected on my current situation and couldn’t find anything really wrong. I had landed on my feet. My children were healthy, accepting and independent. I was financially secure with a steady income. I was in good health. I had developed a friendship with my former husband and was in a new relationship that was supportive, loving, and fun. 

There was no reason not to be celebrating my liberation and good fortune. 

Then it dawned on me that the thing that was causing me the most angst was my uncertainty about the future. I have a lot of options, but haven’t yet pinned them down. And, without this future plan and an idea of how to get there, I was worried that my life might go awry or I would lose all that I did have. 

I have been working on my vision. I practice the Law of Attraction, Pam Grout’s Manifesting Magic and Miracles, and Mike Dooley’s Playing the Matrix and am becoming clearer on the importance of visualization, taking action, listening for the universal cues, practicing gratitude and believing in the outcome.

 I also realize that for anyone to flourish, they must be nurtured and in an environment conducive to their unique needs. Like a plant that requires pruning, a person must eliminate the areas no longer beneficial to move in a more specific direction. 

In addition, we all benefit from the help of outside sources like the sun, rain, or a good friend, and thrive best when given time and space to move where we may, as there are forces more wise than ourselves helping to guide our path. 

And there is another even more difficult practice to adopt that will help us move more fluidly towards our life’s goals.

Embracing change. 

Growth is change, and change brings about fear, uncertainty and discomfort (almost always) and so we avoid it at all costs. Yet, the truth is that everything grows whether we want it to or not, and it is up to us to nurture, prune, and guide the growth towards our unique vision.

What the World Needs Now is Self Love

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 5.11.03 PM

As a woman, mother, wife, and healer, my tendency is to take care of those around me. I have always felt a responsibility for the happiness of my children, husband, friends, family members and clients (really, anyone significant in my life). Whenever things get difficult emotionally, I fall into action and begin the process of consoling, re-arranging, compromising, supporting, comforting, rescuing. I do whatever I can to assuage the anger, sadness and hurt, even when it means sacrificing my own needs. 

I have been under the assumption that by keeping everyone around me in a state of joy, I would secure my own well being. It’s taken me over 50 years. I’ve been through a divorce and experienced my children leave the nest, but I’m finally seeing that this is not at all the case.

I have realized that I had been shouldering the emotional baggage of my family for years and had grown tired and resentful. What’s more, the pain and discomfort always came back. In attempting to solve the problem, I was actually preventing my loved ones from learning and growing, and I was sabotaging my personal journey along the way. In trying to make everyone else happy, I was missing the point. 

Recently, I have been thinking about the concept of self love. What would it mean to treat myself as if I were worthy and loveable? What would it feel like to console and comfort my inner being with soothing words when I was upset? What if I spent time and energy rearranging my schedule so that I could do something that meant a lot to me? 

According to an article in Psychology Today by Deborah Khoshaba, (March 2012), “when we act in ways that expand self-love, we begin to better accept our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts.”

The steps Khoshaba prescribes are; be mindful, act on what you need, stay away from automatic patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self love, practice good self-care, set boundaries, protect yourself by bringing the right people into your life, and live intentionally. 

Full article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/get-hardy/201203/seven-step-prescription-self-love

The Law of Attraction.com also recommends that we practice the art of self love by having fun by yourself, travelling once a year on your own, forgiving your mistakes, starting a journal, taking a break, making a list of accomplishments, creating a vision board, pursuing new interests, challenging yourself, giving yourself credit where credit is due, and working on self trust.   Full article: https://www.thelawofattraction.com/love-yourself/

Learning to self love is a process. It takes time and consistent effort to nurture our own growth. It takes regular practice to change the negative internal dialogue, to let go of perfectionism, and to find the beauty in all that we are. It takes effort to change old habits and beliefs.

I have begun to pay attention to my own destructive patterns and negative self talk. I have realized that I am harder on myself than anyone else in my life.  I have noticed that when I am angry with something I’ve done and my self esteem is low, I take it out on others. I become angry quicker. I make hurtful comments. 

I am a better person when I am loving myself.

Sometimes I wonder what the world would be like if everyone practiced the art of loving themselves more.  Would there be as much hatred, anger, defensiveness, hostility, and aggression? Perhaps if we each loved ourselves more fully, there’d be less room for injustice, violence, abuse, and inequity. 

I wonder. 

If the hate that feeds on human weakness is replaced with love, it will have nowhere left to go. Once it loses our attention, its power will diminish, and the next time it comes knocking, we won’t even notice. We’ll all be too busy enjoying our own company.

The Benefits of Daily Gratitude

Gratitude Blog

I woke up today feeling a bit blue. I’m not really sure why. Maybe I didn’t sleep as soundly as I should have. Maybe the pandemic restrictions are getting to me, or maybe it was something else all together. My mind began to wander to the circumstances in my life which could be getting me down, all the things that weren’t perfect, and the more I ruminated, the worse my mood got. 

Some days there seems to be a part of me that wants to wallow in the negative. It feeds on any detected sadness (no matter how small) and blows it up, way out of proportion. It sabotages my efforts and at the extreme, leaves me feeling worthless and doomed.

I know that I have a choice. I can continue to feed this negative voice or I can turn it around by changing my thinking. I have witnessed how my thoughts create my reality and affect my mood, and so I began to search my mind for ways that I might pull myself out of this funk.

I quickly remembered a practice I used to follow faithfully but which has recently fallen from habit. It consisted of the daily writing of at least three things I am grateful for. I had created a special journal for this purpose and set aside time each day, usually first thing in the morning, to make note of a few of the things I was grateful for in my life. I recalled how the act of identifying and recording these blessings consistently brought me more happiness, a positive perspective, better focus and improved relations.

In an article from Psychology Today (April 3, 2015) entitled, “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude,” Amy Moran points out that daily gratitude can improve relationships, physical and psychological health, sleep, self esteem, mental strength, empathy, and patience. It can reduce depression and play a role in the overcoming of trauma. She cites a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being which reports that “15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.” She also adds that a 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that “Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post traumatic stress disorder.”  

All good results that are surprisingly easy to conjure.

Full article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201504/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-gratitude

After pulling out my old journal and beginning to list all that I am thankful for (my health, my children, an amazing living situation, extra time to mountain bike and write this blog, access to good food, daily talks with my mom, the flowers in my garden, a job), I immediately felt better. The fog lifted and I could see a much more appealing reality. 

There are many ways you can enlist the benefits of daily gratitude. You can journal as I do or simply set aside time each day to reflect on all you have. You can say a prayer at night that includes at least 3 things you are thankful for. Additionally, you can spread the gratitude to the people around you by thanking them for ways in which they may have helped. This will not only make you and them feel better and more appreciated, but it may also open up new opportunities, now and in the future. 

Whatever method you choose, filling your mind with thoughts of gratitude will push out the negative saboteur and lead to a happy, healthy, and more fulfilling life.