The Universe Has My Back

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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.

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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.

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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.