Gratitude

 

gratitude

[grat-i-tood, -tyood] 
noun
1. the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful
Synonyms
thanks, thankfulness, appreciation, gratefulness
Why do we find it hard to focus on the positive?
Why is it difficult to identify what we should be giving thanks for?
Why does it feel unnatural to say thank you?
Just in time for Thanksgiving, and on such a special day like today, I realize I can exercise my gratitude muscle just as much as the next person.
I woke up today, worried that what I had in store for my daughter on her 11th birthday would not satisfy her expectation, that she would feel a void for what she hadn’t received, that she would be somehow broken by not receiving all that she deserves on a day like today.
I took a few deep breaths, to soothe my aching heart for my shortcomings. As I closed my eyes, I pleaded with the thoughts running through my mind, to let this weary topic rest.

When my eyes opened once again, they opened to the shadow of my daughter creeping through the doorway of my room, with the lights of the hallway emblazoning her silhouette.

She jumped in my bed and crawled under the sheets, her body warm from a long night’s rest. She whispered in my ear “Good morning, mommy.” I could barely utter this greeting back to her, with the tears welding up in my eyes. In that fraction of a second, I had been slammed with the heaviness of the Universe ripping my chest open. The rawness of my reality too foolish to define. My heart sang with the beautiful melody of Chopin’s Complete Nocturne.

It was in this moment, I realized, how grateful I was to see this day, to recognize her figure walk through my doorway, to hear the love in her voice and to feel the glow of her presence.

 To share this day with her is more than I could ever ask for.

Here I was concerned about not being able to lasso the Moon in for her to hold, or to catalog all the stars in our sky for her alone to concede.

 Could she understand the relevance of this moment?

Children, surprisingly enough, are capable of so much more than we could ever hope to be. I never knew unconditional love until I met my daughter. She accepts me as I am, here and now. She has shown me what true gratitude is.

Gratitude is natural to children. We are born with the innate ability to feel thankful. Over time, we forget, because we’re shooting so high! We don’t realize how many blessings we’re overlooking on our way to the stars. Luckily, enough, gratitude is a muscle, and can be strengthened. How?

 Start by giving thanks for 3 small things in your life, every morning. Don’t you dare get out of bed before you do so! Do this for the next 30 days, and write me off completely, if you’re life doesn’t change for the better.

You don’t have to look too far, You can start by giving thanks for the comfort your bed provides when you wake, or the way the sun peeks through your window in the morning. One of my favorite things to give thanks for is the smell of my daughters hair when she nestles her head on my chest. Among the seemingly strangest things I’ve given thanks for are the words I’ve shared with my favorite pen, finding mini post-it’s in an old book, and the unfavorable taste of the last cold sip of Cuban coffee in my cup.

So, this Thanksgiving, make it worth while, forget all the fluff and get down to what truly brings purpose to this moment with your loved ones, whether they be kin, furry, or of the plant species.  Enjoy their presence with all the pleasant and unpleasantness that bubbles up within you. There will come a day when you’ll miss that twinge within your being, a day you’ll look around and find that no one is left to accompany you. Even solitude has a time and place, so don’t forget that we are all temporary and none of this truly matters unless you will it so.

Thank you for passing through, I hope it was worth your while.

 Here are few references, if you feel inclined to continue reading on gratitude:

Enjoy!

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Your body is a vessel

 

How is my body a vessel?

Your vessel is a hollow container for traveling this vast ocean we call life.

When you think about your body parts, do you consider yourself to be your body parts or are your body parts, part of you?

Think about it.

For example, I have a hand. I am not my hand.

Well, if you’ve ever jumped in bed, only to notice that you’ve got pain radiating throughout your neck, back or legs, then we are very similar! Sciatica has been a familiar pain in my a**, literally.

When we lay down to rest, our aches and pains seem amplified. Why is this? This is due to how busy our minds have been, focusing on everything outside of us and in our heads. Once you’re alone with your body, it speaks volumes!

You can connect with your body, like an old friend listening for a way to help. Use this body scan to explore every inch of your body and get familiar with the language that it speaks. Befriend your body.

The body scan is a tool for getting in touch with your body and allowing it to relax in a safe setting.

In this body scan, Linda Naini does a great job of describing the body scan and she has such a tranquil voice, who can resist!

There are also many other resources online, including YouTube. Here you can find body scans that last no longer than 3-5 minutes. This is helpful, if you have a hard time settling down for too long.

Try it out, and leave me your feedback below!

wtf is Balance anyway?

The New Year’s celebration brings up mixed feelings about our lives and lack luster goals. New resolutions can start strong and end in flames by second quarter. It’s easy to forget the point of it all.

Honestly, I cant even remember 2017 Resolutions.

It takes more than New Year’s resolutions to create lasting change, though. Don’t forget why you decided that change is necessary!

The “Why?” that wakes us up outta bed and keeps our heads in the game when coffee’s spilled on your blazer, the school nurse calls about your child’s seal-like cough and the b*tching coming from colleagues about their spouses lack of support, precedes any actual work getting done!

When I feel disconnected from the BIG PICTURE and find myself wallowing in the monotony of everyday life and my need for a connection to that which is greater than me… I stop.

Burn some sage, pour some tea and curl up with my journal.

It’s time for reflection. Why am I sulking? What needs am I ignoring? What happened to my inspiration?

Work-Life Balance? wtf is balance anyway?

Is it internal, external, or both?

Does it mean checking off all my to-do’s, responding to those emails and finally returning those calls, I haven’t been looking forward to…or what?!

No way! Balance is a sense of tranquility, calmness. Not completion.

 

What are your needs? They must be met. Well-being is an important part of living a purposeful life. Living with purpose and direction guarantees satisfaction and ultimate happiness.

The Life Balance wheel offers a birds eye view of your tank and if your running on empty, you better stop and fuel up or get burnt out!

The life balance wheel has helped me decide what change will make the most impact on my level of happiness and what can wait.

Life Balance is having a sense of well-being in the different areas of your life, and having clarity about what makes our experience of these different areas satisfying.

When are we in Zen mode and how can we re-create it when things fall apart?

Imagine your life is a tasty Pizza Pie! I love pizza. Each slice of pizza represents a different area of your life, for example: your career is a slice, your finances are a slice, etc. Well, in breaking life down this way we can gain a birds eye view of what is working and what isn’t.

Draw a pie chart with eight slices. Label each slice.

pie chart

If these labels don’t work for you try some others: personal development, retirement, emotional health, community, environment, partner/romance

Now, spend some time reflecting on these areas.

Rate your level of satisfaction in each area of the pie chart ranging from 1-4, 1=dull, unsatisfactory and 4=exciting, very satisfied.

On a scale of 1-4 how satisfied are you with the Fun part of your life? How about family and friends? Your physical health? Etc.

Once all areas have been rated, take a step back and just observe what thoughts and emotions come up.

Identify the (3) areas where you are most satisfied. Give yourself some credit. You’re doing great in these areas!

Identify the (3) areas where you are least satisfied. Time for some self-compassion, these areas need attention.

Now answer the following questions for each of these (3) areas:

Area Satisfaction Level What could be different? What do you want to create in this area? What is one step you can take to create this in your life?
Fun        
Family & Friends        
Physical Health        
Finances        
Spiritual        
Self-Care        
Career        
Retirement, etc.        

Commit to make a change in the (3) areas your least satisfied with, over the next 3-6 months.

No need to go wild, just set an intention to be more mindful.

If you’re Type A, like me, then create SMART Goals:

S=Specific

M=Measurable

A=Achievable

R=Realistic

T=Time bound

You have the power to create amazing things in your life!

I believe you are creative, and committed to your excellence. So let’s fuel up and live with purpose and direction!

So, comment below if you have had any experience with the life balance wheel and what this exercise has done for you. What changes will you make for your well-being? If not the balance wheel, what tools do you use to address your needs in these different areas?

How well do you know yourself?

We spend so much of our precious time educating ourselves about the world around us…but, how well do we know ourselves?

Am I what do? Am I what I have? Am I the role I play?

You may play the role of son, daughter, mother, father, brother or sister. Perhaps you are the CEO of a business, or the clerk at the market. These are the hats we wear. So who, exactly is wearing the hat?

Do you recognize yourself without the hat?

This may seem like a daunting task, but who you truly are shows up in all the roles you play.

Immanuel Kant calls this the transcendental ego. You’re not the thing in the world the way there are other things in the world, you’re the thing experiencing other things-putting it all together to form a play , of sorts.

When I saw the image of the bullfight above, I thought about my life as the bullfight. I began to question what role I play? The bull? The bullfighter? Am I the crowd watching from the stadium? I identified with all three.

I then began to question my nature beyond the roles I play. What am I really made of?

Socrates challenged philosophers to Know thyself before knowing anything else.

Plato, one of the most widely know and studied philosophers wrote that “the essence of knowledge is self-knowledge”

So do you know yourself?

No…

No need to fear. I got you!

Self-awareness is key.

Gaining a clear sense of who you are helps you develop your self, your goals and the strategies that are right for you. No matter what your purpose here is.

Self-awareness has brought me the tranquility and freedom I needed to step up and start living purposefully, in a world designed to distract you from your mission.

Here is a list of activities, with links to develop self awareness:

  1. Mindful Breath Meditation
  2. Analyze past experiences, and how you responded to them
  3. Clarify and understand your personal values
  4. Identify your interests and motivations
  5. Understand your strengths and skills
  6. Assess your personality traits and characteristics

Let me know how these resources have helped you, or if they haven’t.

If you need further help, message me, I work with clients who are ready to discover their true selves and live intentionally. Warriors in this realm, ready to take on the purpose of their placement here on Earth.