Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Power of Gratitude

"It is not joy that makes us grateful; It is gratitude that makes us joyful." -- David Steindl-Rast
Gratitude is something that we hear about all the time. In the United Stated we even have a whole day dedicated to being thankful, but the question is, how often do we stop to actually be truly thankful in our every day lives? If we slowed down just for a moment to notice all the things that we have from shelter, food, water, to blessings that come in disguises, love, the sunshine, the trees, chocolate, perhaps that morning cup of coffee... there are so many gifts to be thankful for. Gratitude is something we can talk about until we are blue in the face however, most of the time we get so busy we forget to feel it, to actually feel and notice the things we are thankful for. We get wrapped up in sending an email, a deadline, kids, school, there are a thousand distractions and I am sure we can get a running list going of those as well. However, when we slow down, take a deep breath in and get still, we are able to feel and connect to the life we live-- to the simplicity and gratitude of what it means to simply be alive. In a recent Oprah video a group of panelist talk about gratitude. One of things mentioned is that gratitude connects us to the divine. When we are in gratitude there is no room for fear, or separation. Gratitude is calming, loving, it negates fear in a world where some how along the way we have become fearful-- afraid of each other, afraid of feeling, afraid of loving, afraid of feeling. Fear, anger, stress, are isolating feelings. When we are in gratitude our hearts are open. We are able to give and receive freely, without attachment to the outcome.  It also helps us to connect with each other. When we are in gratitude, we come from a place of love. There is a recognition of something bigger, greater, a shift in perception. 
Gratitude is the seed at the root of joy, love, courage, connection, a sense of belonging-- these all in some way connect us back to ourselves. Tonny Robbins says, "Gratitude is the reset button. It is the cleanser of the soul. In giving thanks, the "you" disappears and you are reconnected to the divine. Another panelist on Oprah's team mentions that everything you see, touch, feel is a gift and where there is appreciation there is duplication. Deepak goes on to say that "gratitude is abundance consciousness." Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life, and reminds us that we already have everything we need, the key is to simply slow down, get still and notice. 
Notice the things that make you smile. Notice the joy that comes when you breathe into your lungs knowing that the breath you just took is a gift. Every day, find something to be grateful for. It's there. 

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude."- Denise Waitley

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Beauty in Stillness

How easy it is to get caught up in everyday life. So often we go about our day without thinking too much about it. Maybe we wake up at the same time, go to the same office, look out the same window, and do it all over again, or maybe our day is always different, but we are so focused on the task at hand that we don't take time to slow down, to notice, to watch, to see what is so often right in front of us. The beauty of life is that it is always unfolding. Everyday is a miracle when we stop to look around, and truly get present. When we allow ourselves to get quiet and take in the gift of life, we realize how precious it is. In stillness, we allow ourselves to feel, to see and to experience the magic of the everyday. Take time right now, to close your eyes. Take a full breath in and slowly exhale it out. That breath is a gift, but we so often do it without even thinking about it or noticing. When we come to really get present and notice all these little gifts, they add up to experiencing all that is sacred around us. Stillness is different from solitude, different from aloneness, stillness is something you can experience when you're by yourself or amongst people. You can find it where ever you are, and it can always be accessed. It is a place within, you don't have to go looking for it or searching, just close your eyes, take a deep breath in and relax. You have everything you need, and the magic is always there. However, it's up to us to see it.

"Our miracles and life's magic don't appear when we're restless and frantic. The miracles and magic happen when we're still, quiet, calm and trusting. Find the power in stillness. It's one that comes gently, like the morning sunrise or the evening stars. Let your mind and soul be at ease. When you reside in stillness, the joy, the miracles and the magic you're seeking, will find you."- Melody Beattie, Journey to the Heart

Here's a little video by Louis Schwartzberg to remind us to take time to notice the little things in life... the beauty in the everyday. You can view, here.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Your Life. Your Choice.

We often hear the phrase that we are not our thoughts, however we also hear how impactful our thoughts are on how we feel, what we think and in turn what we believe we can do. Our thoughts, although they are not defining can often times be a driving force behind the choices we make. Each day we have a choice in how we respond to our environment and how we let our own thoughts and feelings shape our perceptions. Often times, whatever we believe we are, we become. This can work for us, but we also might find it working against us depending on how we treat ourselves, and view ourselves. John O' Leary says, "You can't always choose your path in life, but you can always choose the manner in which you walk it." We can't always choose what happens to us every day, in fact more and more, we recognize how so many things are often out of our control, the only thing we actually can control is our response to the situations and environment we live in. We can choose whether to be a victim of our lives and circumstance or actually be in our life, living it, with purpose and a grateful heart. No matter what shows up in life, we have choices and taking time to recognize our responses is a key element in how we feel on a daily basis about our life. We have a choice, and no one can make it for us.

"The best day of your life is the one in which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours- it is an amazing journey- and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins." Bob Moawad

The gift is yours- whatever you can dream, you can do and whatever you believe yourself to be capable of, you are.

So go out, and make it the best day of your life.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Leading from the inside out.

Have you all seen this Ted Talk with Simon Sinek? If you haven't, take a few moments to check it out. In the video, Sinek dissects key points in the reason why companies like Apple are successful and leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. have influenced so many. When we start looking at why people do the things they do, we start analyzing one of the key reasons why humans respond to certain things, while other times, we don't. Why do we buy one thing over the other even when the quality of both products might be very similar if not equal? Simon Sinek points out that many companies come from the angle of, here is a great product, it's innovative, cool and pretty, want to buy it? While companies like Apple simply say, we believe in innovation, we believe in people, we believe in what we do, we believe in you, now here is a great computer, want to buy it? And the answer probably feels a little different. 

Humans relate to each other through connection. When we start doing things that come from our core, living our passions, we stop concerning ourselves with the outcome and therefore we usually let go of any sort of fear that might keep us from doing something. The task itself, whatever it is, is already the reward. When we start to live from the inside out, we cannot fail. Our purpose becomes greater than the outcome, because it comes from somewhere deeper inside ourselves, and because of this we are able to put ourselves out there, in a way that is endearing, in a way that every human being can relate to. As people, we are all much more alike than we are different. We want to be appreciated, feel love, be supported, be heard, etc. When what we do starts to reflect those needs of others, there becomes an awareness of connection. There is an understanding and a level of trust because the relating is there and is authentic. As Sinek mentions in the video, we follow people not for them, but for us. We buy the product not for them, but for ourselves. We either believe that something they produced may enhance our lives, or we feel connected with someone because of what they believe, or do or support. There is a resonating that happens. To be successful, it isn't about being perfect, it's relating, connecting, establishing a sense of what is real and true for you, based on either your experiences or what you have learned and allowing that core part of you have voice, because when we speak from our core, we automatically speak to someone else's. So let your passion, be your guide. Live from the inside out.