Gratitude for... This physical body that houses my unique spirit. This life force energy that propels me through the day. This mind that has thoughts both spacious and focused. These senses that absorb the world around me. These hands that work with dexterity. These feet that feel solid underneath me. This heart that has felt the spectrum of emotions, from complete desolation to boundless joy. For this life, I am grateful. I am complete.
My Latte Runneth Over
"Decorate yourself from the inside out." ~Waleed Basyouni
I like this quote at this time of year. We often get caught up in decorating our exteriors and not dealing with our interiors, especially during the holidays where positive and negative feelings bubble-up. In this case, it’s important to do some personal, internal decor. One way to “decorate” yourself is to find things in your life to feel grateful for. This is called cultivating a gratitude practice. There are gratitude journals, calendars, bracelets, etc. These are aids that can help you with your gratitude practice, but at some point you may need to go it on your own.
This is not to say that we aren’t allowed to feel the feelings that arise in bad situations. That is important work and must be done and felt. I am saying that it’s equally important to look beyond that source of pain and find what is still good. Even the smallest thing to feel grateful for can create a shift. And that shift is where the healing can begin.
This “decorating” from the inside comes from an open heart. A heart that feels the pain of humanity but at the same time can stay connected to the power of love. Life is a roller coaster ride. There are going to be extreme highs and lows. It is my belief that when you can keep gratitude in your heart, the highs will feel more joyous and the lows can be weathered with more ease.
My latte pictured above is in my Christmas pottery mug. We have a full set of Christmas dishes thanks to my dish-loving mother. Each year we swap out our regular plates and use these dishes in December. These dishes are at least thirty years old at this point. They have seen so many Christmases. There have been the Christmases after the loss of a loved one. Christmases spent with lots of family together and those with just a few of us. Christmases that have been a challenge to find the budget to get those “it” gifts and those where it was easier to fill all wishes. Present in each of those Christmases past is joy and love.
So when I hold my cup of joe in my hands, I connect back to all those memories and am filled with gratitude. It is my hope that despite all the sadness and grief of this past year, that you too can find some gratitude for your heart. Happy Holidays to you and yours.
"I don't know what to do! cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath, and making a perfect Laocoon of himself with his stockings. I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!" ~ Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens' " A Christmas Carol"
For each petal on the shamrock. This brings a wish your way Good health, good luck, and happiness For today and every day. ~Irish Blessing
What is Luck? We all have people in our lives that we consider lucky. What is it about them that gives off that aura? Many people believe that luck is when opportunity meets preparation, while others believe luck is more of a random occurrence. I think it is a little of both, plus how you view yourself and your life.
I watched a YouTube talk recently by Mel Robbins about positive affirmations and visualization. In this talk ,she refers to the recituclar activating system in our brains. It is a filter system that is programmed by you and the people who have had an impact on you. This filter can choose to embrace positive or negative beliefs. To improve this system, it is important to visualize what your life looks like when your self worth is improved. Then consciously think of what you will feel like in your daily life with this new vision. Will you be more likely to raise your hand in class? Will you be more likely to say yes to a new challenge? Will you feel lighter in your heart?
By changing the filter in your brain, also known as self-talk, you change the way you view yourself and your life. The brain doesn’t know the difference between what is real and imaginary. The more you visualize things in a positive way, the more confident you will feel. By visualizing positive outcomes your brain becomes reprogrammed. The science of luck says that lucky people make their luck by thinking optimistically.
Here are some ideas for cultivating more luck in your life from this Irish goat:
- Each night before you fall asleep think of something good that happened that day. No matter how small it is, find something positive to reflect on.
- Cultivate an attitude of gratitude throughout your day.
- Believe that something amazing could happen at any moment.
- Celebrate the success of others.
“When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, sure ’tis like a morn in spring. In the lilt of Irish laughter, you can hear the angels sing. When Irish hearts are happy, all the world seems bright and gay, And When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, sure, they steal your heart away.”
Lyric from “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” by Chauncey Olcott and Geo. Graff Jr.
Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life. ~Rumi
I like Rumi’s ancient wisdom. Because for me, Thanksgiving feels much different this year. It’s harder to find things to be grateful for, and might take more of a conscious effort. It may take looking around and noticing even the most basic of things to begin to cultivate that appreciation. Or it might require wrapping yourself in a favorite blanket, holding a favorite mug, or cuddling with a beloved pet to connect to the idea of comfort. Comfort can often become the gateway to the feeling of gratitude.
So, here are some things I am able to feel grateful for once I have donned my gratitude cloak. My family, which has increased by one this year with a new son-in-law. Friends nearby, and those far away that we are connected to via Zoom. My health and the health of those mentioned above. This blog which has been a wonderful outlet for my thoughts throughout this time. My followers and students whose support nourishes me more than they can possibly know.
I hope whatever your circumstances are this Thanksgiving that you can wrap up in your gratitude cloak and be conscious of some of the treasures that surround you. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." ~Thornton Wilder