A Winter of Gratitude

During the winter season (for those that live in the "seasonal changes" zone) winter can be a time when not all seems so happy and sparkly. The holidays are over, there may not be as much to look forward to, even our outdoor winter activities seem like too much "work".

The cold, over cast skies, wind and ice tend to bring on a negative outlook. How do you keep an attitude of gratitude when things seem so bland. The beauty of winter has many things we can grasp to be in the moment of natures rejuvenation. A fresh coat of snow covering the landscape can be absolutely gorgeous, the gratitude of a warm house during a snow storm, knowing that nature is sleeping to rise to the spring resurrection are all things we can embrace and give gratitude for during these days that seem to go on forever.

When the snow is gone, the ground is brown and muddy, trees look like brown sticks, our bushes and flowers appear dead, step outside, take a deep breath of the crisp air and you might be surprised to see the appearance of new growth and green sprouts arising from the rich earth. Be grateful that you are here, in the present moment experiencing these miraculous, timeless cycles that bring us gratitude and love. 

Turn up your favorite music, dance to your house work, laugh at yourself and be grateful that you have ears to hear the music, you have a house to clean and that nothing can make you feel more alive than having a good laugh at yourself!

Most importantly keep your daily gratitude practice. Embrace your Rock of Gratitude anytime during the day when you're feeling a little overwhelmed, give the gift of a Rock of Gratitude to your loved ones so they too can experience the healing power that it holds. 

Always in Gratitude 

Politics and Gratitude....Like Oil and Water?? A Bipartisan Blog....

I, like most of you reading this, have experienced a tornado of vehement emotions that has permeated every fiber of our being during this unprecedented election. Never in our history of politics have we been held captive by more negativity, hateful words, finger pointing and blaming. All the negative ads used to just be on our network media, now it's everywhere. Social media likely the most prevalent, enticing hateful opinions,  condescending words, finger pointing and blaming. As many have expressed on social media, they are feeling anger, disbelief, fear and downright depression. Many have disassociated themselves with family and friends and experience profound sadness over what we have been made to believe, that America is broken and divided by virulent feelings from both sides.

How in the world do we embrace gratitude during a time of such profound negativity? It is possible AND it takes INTENTION! Lets see how we can accomplish this seemingly impossible task.

A good place to start is to define the WORD gratitude, according to Webster gratitude is: “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.’, but let’s go a little deeper.

The true MEANING of gratitude is to FEEL and LIVE with a grateful heart every day.

This election has brought up many buried issues and frustrations from both political parties, of our society and government but in spite of all the discontent it’s very apparent we CARE about our country and politics does matter to us! We love our country and that is GOOD. We can’t let the discord engulf our hope and confidence.

“Of all the universal themes that have been transmitted through perennial wisdom, the expression of gratitude continues to be the glue that consistently holds society and relationships together; its opposite – ingratitude – contributes to societal dissolution and separation. The expression of gratitude is essential to humankind’s sustainability and survival. Gratitude’s stabilizing and healing effects, which have been researched from multiple standpoints—cultural, psychological, physical, spiritual, and even financial—have made it abundantly clear that the benefits of living a grateful life are irrefutable. ~www.Gratefulness.org

 

  • In its simplest terms Gratitude means giving thanks. Are we thankful for America? Of course we are and in a bipartisan group (which we are) let’s focus on what is GOOD about our country, the things we have accomplished and what we have done right.

 

  •    Another quality of Gratitude is humility. According to Webster humility is: “the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people: the quality or state of being humble”. Being humble understands that the good in our life is a gift and we need to feel gratitude for all that is good. Many people of all races, religions, sexual orientation etc..fought and lost their lives to give us what is good about our country and The Constitution. These people “gifted” us with these liberties, we didn’t earn them…

 

  • Gratitude is trusting and hopeful. Gratitude is trusting in that it helps us see what is strong and right. It doesn’t reside in weakness or negativity. We must trust enough to build on our strengths and what is right, good and positive in order for us to move forward TOGETHER.

 

  •  Importantly..Gratitude is realistic. We cannot solve all of our problems in one election nor the world’s problems. We must step back and assess how to realistically move forward as a country because what we do DOES matter and is worth doing, not only to this country but to other countries in all parts of the world and their leaders.

 

  •   “Gratitude will change the conversation. Indeed, gratitude is not just about the big structures of politics that we often find so overwhelming and alienating — it is about our daily lives as individuals. We can use it to reclaim and humanize politics as we experience it. With it we can see other people as fellow citizens, not as ideological opponents. We can hold our elected officials responsible as stewards of the common good, not competitors in high-stakes robbery. And we can see political beliefs and partisan views as proposals for everyone’s benefit, not as dogmatic assertions about what would benefit ourselves.”~ httsp://thejesuitpost.org

 

 Regardless of the outcome of the election, we have cherished relationships and friendships that co-exist in spite of our political differences. We need to hold our leaders accountable to the same standards, but it must start with ourselves. We can change the conversation; gratitude doesn’t synchronize with negativity or divisiveness. Make it your INTENTION and embrace awareness to feel gratitude in your heart and be thankful for all that is good.

 Gratitude is not going to solve our problems but it’s an antivenin to all the hateful, negative, finger-pointing and blaming.

Let Gratitude Begin With You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gratitude of Motherhood

How do you place a value on gratitude for your mother and how does a mother place a value on gratitude for her children? It goes both ways. 

Being both gives me a little perspective at least from my own experiences of how gratitude, as the mother of my children and as a daughter of my mother, has impacted and changed my life. Becoming a mother has been the most challenging, enriching and amazing experience of my life that is hard to put in to words. At the first glimpse of your child the heart fills with an explosion of love that expands beyond anything words can describe. As the years zoom by, that love only expands more and the realization of the gratitude that your child brings to you, even during the challenging years and struggles of independence is something that will carry you through your old age. 

My children have taught me more about myself than I even realize. They have taught me patience, anger management, forgiveness, unconditional love, trust, joy, abundance, made me rethink some of my beliefs, to take risks, to explore the world, unbridled happiness....the list can go on and on. 

As a daughter I also struggle for words that express the gratitude I feel for my mother. How can a person deny the feelings of gratitude for the first person to ever hold you in the loving embrace of her arms, nurturing, feeding and taking the tenderest of care for your well-being? My mother taught me so much but most importantly made me feel safe, unconditionally loved and happy! She also gave me "wings to fly", the permission to find myself knowing that I would return to the foundation that she helped build for me and respect for the woman that I became.

Since I embraced the daily practice of gratitude and began to speak the words of the power of gratitude to my children they have also chosen to embrace the power of being grateful and the abundance of what that can bring into your life. Gratitude is contagious and the power it brings to me is one of contentment, peace and knowing that when things aren't always great I  ALWAYS have gratitude for someone or something. It's that power that inspired me to create the Rock of Gratitude and share it with the world. 

My Rock of Gratitude has brought the daily practice of gratitude to many people. My mother as well as my children and their spouses have a Rock of Gratitude, it's a special way to show them how grateful you are to have them in your life and it also gives them a conduit to bring more gratitude and abundance into their lives.

Cultivating Happiness Through Gratitude

I can't believe it's been so long since my last blog....I meant to do better! The good news is I've been busy doing the things I love and am grateful for;  camping, traveling, playing with my granddaughter, knowing my family in China is happy,  being with my friends and family and enjoying retirement with my husband.

Since my launch of the Rock of Gratitude and my daily practice of gratitude I have discovered that something deeper has changed in the core of my being. It's not just about feeling grateful, it's being grateful for my everyday existence and enjoying the things that are already in my life. In other words it's living with a grateful heart. 

It's also not being a "Polly Anna", it's accepting that not everything is perfect, acknowledging negative or frustrating feelings and then moving on towards being grateful in spite of the negative situation(s). It's amazing how being grateful can manifest more.

According to researchers learning to cultivate happiness through gratitude and awareness is a life long process! Keeping a list of Gratitude quotes and affirmations is an easy way to manifest this process. In my next blog I will post some popular Gratitude Quotes that when embraced and practiced daily can increase your happiness and cultivate living a life filled with gratitude.

MAY YOU START THE CULTIVATION TODAY!! 

 

Keeping a Grateful Heart when Life Throws You a Curve Ball

I have to think that in my journey of bringing more gratitude into my life that I have been "lucky" and blessed that my road hasn't been filled with too many potholes. Of course I've had my share of losses, disappointments, frustrations, fears and sadness but nothing that has shaken me to my core and turned my world into something unrecognizable. Not everyone can say that....so how DO you live with a grateful heart when facing serious illness, death or loss of a loved one, job loss, heartbreak, devastating acts of nature etc....When your life is shaken so deeply that it brings you to your knees, how do you not just stand back up, but stand up and have enough gratitude to go forward? 

It's easy to be grateful when things are going smoothly, life is good and easy. On this smooth plane we can celebrate and embrace these feelings of gratitude; life is good. Then with no warning the rug is pulled out from underneath us and life takes a different, difficult turn. How can we feel grateful when our life has just fallen apart? 

The book "Gratitude Works" by Robert E. Emmons states that *"not only does an attitude of gratitude help during difficult times~it's ESSENTIAL". He states, *"In fact, its is precisely under crisis conditions when we have the most to gain by a grateful perspective on life. In the face of demoralization, gratitude has the power to energize. In the face of brokenness, gratitude has the power to heal. In the face of despair gratitude has the power to bring hope." Gratitude does not come easily or spontaneously when our life is in crisis. No one feels grateful they lost a loved one or a job, their home or are ill. In the words of Robert E. Emmons: *"But it is vital to make a distinction between feeling grateful and being grateful. We don't have total control over our emotions. We cannot easily will ourselves to feel grateful, less depressed, or happy. Feelings follow from the way we look at the world, thoughts we have about the way things are, the way things should be and the distance between these two points." *"But being grateful is a choice, a prevailing attitude that endures and is relatively immune to the gains and losses that flow in and out of our lives. When disaster strikes, gratitude provides a perspective from which we can view life in it's entirety and not be overwhelmed by temporary circumstances. Yes, this perspective is hard to achieve-but my research says it is worth the effort."  

*"To deny that life has its share of disappointments, frustrations, losses, hurts, setbacks, and sadness would be unrealistic and untenable. Life is suffering. No amount of positive thinking exercises will change this truth."

*"So telling people simply to buck up, count their blessings, and remember how much they still have to be grateful for can certainly do much harm. Processing a life experience through a grateful lens does not mean denying negativity. It is not a form of superficial happiology. Instead, it means realizing the power you have to transform an obstacle into an opportunity. It means reframing a loss into a potential gain, recasting negativity into positive channels for gratitude." ~Robert E. Emmons

These are powerful words that when taken seriously and used consistently can change your life. If you know someone that is going through a difficult time be a good friend, and help them by sharing the gift of gratitude; it will change their life.

*http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_can_help_you_through_hard_times

Gratitude/Louis Schwartzberg/TEDxSF

I can't say it any better than this incredibly beautiful video!

Nature's beauty can be easily missed — but not through Louie Schwartzberg's lens. His stunning time-lapse photography, accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, serves as a meditation on being grateful for every day. (Filmed at TEDxSF.)

Gratitude in Unexpected Places

Last week I received an order for 10 rocks, the buyer needed them quickly, she needed them by Sunday and if I had shipped them they would not have arrived in time. She had purchased them to give to her group of women friends that had been college mates. One of the group had recently passed away from cancer, they were getting together to honor her and the Rock of Gratitude was to be given to each of the women to express gratitude for their friendship and support they all shared through many years.

We met at a restaurant for lunch and was served by a very outgoing and pleasant young man, Jonathon.  I had wrapped the rocks and placed them in a sheer organza drawstring bag and laid them on the table. As we were just about finished with eating, our waiter out of curiosity asked what was in the bag. So I began to explain to him how the Rock of Gratitude was born, how the daily practice of gratitude can bring more peace and less stress in to your life and given as a gift you are letting that person know how much they mean to you and  giving them the choice of starting a daily gratitude practice. He loved the idea and said he was a new father and his wife was all about gratitude. He said that she mentions all the time how grateful she is for her life. He asked if I had any of the rocks in my car, unfortunately I did not but my buyer graciously offered for him to purchase one of hers since she had ordered extras to use in the future. He bought one on the spot! I was blown away with gratitude!

The buyer and I were practically giddy with wonderment as to how the laws of attraction can bring people, places and timing together! What were the odds that we chose that restaurant, on that day, at that time, got that waiter and he asked about the gift bag of rocks and shared the same thought about gratitude!

"There is no limit to what this law can do for you; dare to believe in your own ideal; think of the ideal as an already accomplished fact."~ Charles Haanel (1866-1949)

 

Who am I to know about Gratitude? How the Rock of Gratitude was born.

Let me introduce myself; I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, grandmother, friend and co-worker;  from my perception I'm  just an overall pretty average American woman. Why then am I ALL about Gratitude and embracing it into a daily living practice? 

Through my spiritual journey I am always reading and looking for my truth. I was introduced to the Law of Attraction initially  about 10 years ago through the DVD "The Secret". Gratitude was a recurring theme in "The Secret" as well as in other books and blogs I have read. Many writings spoke of a daily gratitude practice to bring more joy and peace into your life. So I decided "that's what I'm going to do!" I tried writing in a daily journal (I already had a journal, why did I want to write in two of them?), at end of day writing down on bits of paper everything I was grateful for that day and putting into a Gratitude Jar, (well after a long day that lasted about 2 weeks...), heard about the 100 day challenge on FB posting daily your gratitude (why would you just do it for 100 days or during the Thanksgiving season? I thought that was odd, why should you be challenged to be grateful?).  In my reading I came upon the idea of a rock, using it at your bedside as a reminder to express and FEEL your gratitude before going to sleep. I was inspired! True story...a couple days before I read this I was in my flower beds and noticed a very unique rock, I picked it up looked at it and threw it back down.  After reading about the rock I had an epiphany and realized I KNEW what rock I was going to use. I went back outside, found the rock that had caught my eye a few days earlier and began using it on a daily basis. 

This process of daily gratitude made me stop, reflect, express and FEEL the gratitude I had for that day. When I FEEL gratitude I get an overwhelming feeling of joy, peace and can  get teary eyed occasionally, it's very meditative.  Honestly,  as I began using it I didn't experience any huge, miraculous things happening in my life but.... as I began being grateful for all the things I had in my life, as meager as they might be, more positive things seemed to surround me. Don't get me wrong, I have sorrow, pain, anger and daily challenges like everyone else, but soon realized you CAN'T be grateful and "hang on" to those negative feelings. Gratitude cleanses your soul and opens your heart to the positive gifts from the Universe. I believe that to my core! 

Soon after I began using it I had an overpowering NEED to share it with others. How could I do that?? There are many rocks out there for sale that say the word "GRATITUDE" but there was nothing that I could find that helped people embrace and FEEL the true power of what a daily practice of gratitude can do for the soul. I am an artist and had a idea of a gratitude logo that could be engraved on a rock with guidance on how to use the rock as a conduit to the Law of Attraction to bring more peace and joy into a person life. It took me 2 years to get to this point of making a Rock of Gratitude.  By being grateful and then sharing the power of gratitude it can bring positive energy to relationships, schools, communities and ultimately our societies; that is my dream! If I can bring this to as many people as possible I will feel so humbled and purposeful. Soon after I started making them I gave them to my family and close friends, expressing to them how thankful I was to have them in my life. I felt the positive energy from every single person I gave them to, that they felt appreciated.  My sons,  their wives as well as my husband have experienced firsthand the positive outcomes of embracing gratitude.  There's nothing better than sharing with people how much they mean to you and that you wish for them to embrace gratitude in their heart and pass it on. It is "power in the palm of your hand". 

This is my first attempt at blogging, so I'm not an expert by any means but look forward to hearing from all of you that might be so moved to comment! In Gratitude!