Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Research

Day 22/365: I am grateful for the research being done that shows that practicing gratitude creates benefits in almost every aspect of life.

Steven Salt posts an interest article that introduced me to the term "thanks-living" and offers this snippet:
Mary Baker Eddy once asked a thought-provoking question, "Are we really grateful for the good already received?"  She added, "Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessing we have, and thus be fitted to receive more." Counting our blessings instead of inventorying our troubles is sage advice that promotes added benefits.
Click here for the full article.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Learning

Day 21/365: I am so grateful for the abundance of learning resources available to us in today's world. In addition to books and libraries, we have the Internet, made useful by Google, Wikipedia, a multitude of online university courses, and millions of websites created by subject matter experts (and non-experts, of course).

The Internet is our version of the Royal Library of Alexandria with its hundreds of thousands of scrolls. We have the extremely good fortune, though, to have all this information at our fingertips, largely free, and available to almost everyone.

We have unlimited choices in what we choose to learn. May it lead us toward being a kinder, smarter, more peaceful species.

More thoughts on learning:

"Still I am learning."
 -- Michelangelo, on his death bed

"Learning without reflection is a waste.
Refection without learning is dangerous."
-- Confucius

"Learning is perhaps the only pleasure that might replace increasing consumption as our chosen mode of enriching experience. 

Some day, the joy of recognizing a pattern in a leaf or the geological strata in a cliff face might replace the satisfactions of new carpeting or more horsepower in an engine, and the chance to learn in the workplace might seem more valuable than increased purchasing power or a move up the organizational chart."
 -- Mary C. Bateson, from Peripheral Vision

Journal Giveaway - to Friends

Goodreads just completed a giveaway of Gratitude Miracles.

It was a great experience. 853 people entered the giveaway ... unfortunately, none of my friends won. ;-(

Fortunately, I've made some new friends. ;-)

Anyway, I'm going to do another giveaway of 5 copies of the journal.
Remember *practicing* gratitude benefits almost every aspect of life ... from health, relationships, happiness, success, creativity and almost everything else.  See the benefits listed in the right column for more details.
Here's how to get in the drawing: Two simple steps!
  1. Leave a comment below indicating something you're grateful for.
  2. Click here and LIKE the Gratitude Miracles Journal Facebook page.
 Winners will be chosen using a random number generator and notified by a Facebook private message. (BTW, if you already have a copy, feel free to enter ... you can give it away to a friend.)

And, for all my friends outside the US and Canada ... unfortunately the cost of international shipping is prohibitive, so until I can figure out a way to do this electronically, I'm afraid you can't play. 

Giveaway is now closed - delighted to send a journal to Ed Gillum.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

New Beginnings To Do List

Quiet Moment
To Do List: 
Mend a quarrel.
Seek out a forgotten friend.
Dismiss suspicion, and replace it with trust.
Write a love letter.
Share some treasure.
Give a soft answer.
Offer encouragement.
Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.
Keep a promise.
Find the time.
Forgive an enemy.
Apologize if you are wrong.
Try to understand.
Flout envy.
Examine your demands on others.
Think first of someone else.
Be kind; be gentle.
Laugh a little.Laugh a little more.
Deserve confidence.
Take up arms against malice.
Decry complacency.
Express your gratitude.
Welcome a stranger.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.
Speak your love.
Speak it again.
Speak it still once again.
 --Reverend Lee Reid Nov-Dec 1996 Newsletter, 
Unitarian Universalist Society of the Palisades

This was shared by Amy Taylor who says, "Reverend Reid was a woman who lived peace.  She died unexpectedly in  a car accident several years ago, and a collection of her writings was published posthumously in her honor - Saints and Souls. This list is from that book.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Reflection

This morning starts a new cycle of gratitude focused on energy.

Day 20/365: Reflection
However, first I get to reflect on the past cycle which focused on success. It is said that reflection is the key to learning. For me, reflection is another form of gratitude, a reinforcing of the gratitudes I’ve already acknowledged.

At the end of each four week cycle, the Gratitude Miracles journal asks us to think about what was learned, what was surprising, and what wants to be changed.

As I look back and reflect on the past four weeks of gratitudes, I can see patterns and growth, as well as paths leading in new directions. I also see the continuing dance between two poles: the desire for community and connection and the love of solitude and contemplation. At the present moment, my life leans toward solitude and I feel the pull toward community. As I enter the next cycle, I want to connect more, have more conversations with fascinating people who are following their passion.
In the past four weeks, I recorded 19 miracles, some tiny, some truly significant. Without this pause for reflection, though, I would have rushed into the next moment without truly savoring the gifts that have already been given to me. I am so grateful for this process that slows me down long enough check in with myself, to make sure I’m leading the life I want to lead.

I am falling in love with creating gratitude “memes,” such as the one above and want to continue putting quotes together with my photography and art.

More thoughts on reflection:

Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh offers this --

Whatever you are reflecting on, the following points are important:
Reflection is an exploration and explanation of events – not just a description.
Reflection often involves revealing anxieties, errors and weaknesses, as well as strengths and successes.

It is usually necessary to select just the most significant parts of the event or idea on which you’re reflecting. Don’t try to tell the whole story, or you will end up only describing rather than reflecting.

It is often useful to reflect forward to the future – when you might do something differently as a result of reflecting – as well as reflecting back on the past.

At the end of each class at Gateway Community College in Phoenix, students are asked to reflect on what they’ve learned. The website offers these words on reflection.

Reflection, or thinking about our experiences, is the key to learning. Reflection allows us to analyze our experiences, make changes based on our mistakes, keep doing what is successful, and build upon or modify past knowledge based on new knowledge. Reflection also allows us to make connections between courses or between school, work and home. By doing this, we begin to see how all parts of our lives are connected and to understand that we are a part of the web of life.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Love

Day 19/365: I am so grateful for the outpouring of love of my two aunts Lerrea and Wanda in my childhood. Looking back through these long years, I realize that I learned how to love in large part from those two amazing women.

Other thoughts on learning love:

“Love, too, has to be learned. In the end we are always rewarded for our good will, our patience, fair mindedness, and gentleness with what is strange; gradually, it sheds its veil and turns out to be a new and indescribable beauty:—that is its thanks for our hospitality. Even those who love themselves will have learned it in this way: for there is no other way.”
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

"Some day, when we have harnessed the power of the sun and the waves and gravity, we will learn how to harness the power of love.  And then, for the second time, we will have discovered fire."
-- Teillard de Chardin

"Woe to the man whose heart has not learned while young to hope, to love - and to put his trust in life."    
 -- Joseph Conrad


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Peace

Day 18/365: I am so grateful for all the organizations and individuals in the world who work for peace, hold peace in their hearts and fully intend to have peace in the world.

As I head to Santa Barbara this morning for the "Pondering Peace in a World of Turmoil" gathering created by Pacifica Graduate Institute, I am thankful for my own journey into peace.

I found this piece of art that I did at some point in the past. It reminds me that my journey is more of a spiral than a road. I keep coming back to the same themes ... and I keep forgetting them ... until I remember them again.

I'm hopeful that the spiral is a gently upward and outward moving process. Creating art helps. My gratitude journal helps.

Other thoughts on peace that I am taking with me day are:

"If we want to see changes, first of all we need to be in peace inside ourselves, and then we need to be patient with the ones that have not yet arrived in that place of peace."
-- Grandmother Margaret Behan, Cheyenne Arapaho, 13 Grandmothers

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."
— Mother Theresa (1910-1997)

"Here then, is the problem we present to you, stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war?"
— The Russell-Einstein Manifesto, 1955


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Challenge

Day 17/365: I am grateful for the challenges that take me out of my comfort zone, stretch me in new directions, make me try things that I might not otherwise try, and give me confidence when I meet the challenge successfully.

More thoughts about challenge:

"Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth...
Tame the dragon and the gift is yours."

-- Noela Evans

"Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful."
-- Joshua J. Marine

"That we are either moving toward life or away from it is the heart of the human drama. To stand up and fight through the conflicts, confrontations, and disappointments we all encounter is the heroic challenge."
-- Dara Marks, Inside Story


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Poetry

Day 16/365: I am grateful for poetry and the almost magical way words and meaning flow together into a stream that takes you to unexpected places.

More thoughts on poetry:

"Poetry is the voice of the soul." 
 -- Carolyn Forche

Poetry is like "dancing on dynamite."
-- Hart Crane

"Poetry begins in delight and ends in wisdom."
  -- Robert Frost

"If I read a book [and] it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me I know *that* is poetry.  

If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know *that* is poetry.  These are the only ways I know.  Is there any other way?"
-- Emily Dickinson
Click here to order.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Is There a Limit to Gratitude

Squaw Weed
"Things happen. Things that we want and things that we don’t want. Being grateful does not ensure that we will live an easy life. It does ensure that we are alive, feeling the moment we are in."

 This thought comes from one of my articles that was published by The Change Blog, which offers new posts every week about happiness, mindfulness, and all things related to change. Check it out.

The question about limits to gratitude invites us to look at all aspects of our lives, the joyful and the painful to see what lessons or "gifts" come with those life events that are difficult or challenging. Read the full article here.

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Daily Gratitude: Beauty

Day 15/365: I am grateful for beauty in all its many forms: art, nature, loving faces, movement of the human body or an angry sea, steam rising from a cup of tea.

More thoughts on beauty:

"Beauty is not a luxury, nor an art. 
It is the soul's breath of life." 

 -- Joyce Wycoff

"Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul." 
-- Alice Walker

“What can we say beyond Wow, in the presence of glorious art, in music so magnificent that it can't have originated solely on this side of things? Wonder takes our breath away, and makes room for new breath.”
― Anne Lamott, Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers

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Friday, September 2, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Sight

Day 14/365: I am grateful for sight, being able to see the faces of people I care about, the vibrant colors of flowers, sunshine lighting up the leaves in the morning, words on the page that turn into stories that entertain me or information that enlightens me.

"Sunlight doesn’t just hit you. When you open the window, the sunlight hits everything in your house.

When you open the window of learning, you don’t learn just the specific thing you are trying to see. You begin to see everything that is now lit.

The real art is paying attention to all of the things you can now see. 

Now that the sunlight is pouring in."
--James Altucher, entrepreneur, investor and best-selling author of “Choose Yourself” and “Choose Yourself Guide To Wealth”

“To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower 
Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour.”
--William Blake

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