Attitude of Gratitude

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Attitude of Gratitude

When I find myself struggling in some way, whether having difficulty accepting a current situation, having a day that just doesn’t seem to be going my way, or experiencing stress, I feel better immediately when I stop for a moment to identify a few things for which I’m grateful. Having an attitude of gratitude goes a long way, both to alleviate frustration and to attract the things I want.

One thing that always helps me to sit in that place of gratitude is to think of others’ struggles. Regardless of what I’m dealing with there is always someone who is coping with something more difficult. As my compassion for another grows, my frustration and stress dwindle. It becomes easy to laugh at my own struggle. Sometimes I even feel quite silly for feeling irritated or upset when I compare my situation with what could be.

Sometimes the most profound sense of peace and happiness comes from gratitude for the smallest of things. Sure, I’m grateful for my health, for always having more than enough to eat, for having a cozy home with plenty of warmth, for family and friends, and for an abundance which allows me to travel and take time for myself, donate to and help causes I choose.

At times, though, I feel amazing love, acceptance and joy by noticing and being grateful for a tiny flower growing along the creek, a ray of sunshine in the midst of a rain or snow storm, a trip to town in which I cruise through every intersection with a green light. These things help me reorient myself in the big picture: nothing is really that important if it won’t matter tomorrow.

So what’s good about today, right now? What am I lucky to have, to experience, to be able to do? What am I fortunate to NOT have or need to do? These things can be written down or spoken aloud, thought silently, shared or not, but the important thing is that they are acknowledged, and that I feel that gratitude, which will help them persist.

 

 

 

 

The Secret of Health

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The Secret of Health

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.        Buddha.

This is a wonderful quote for centering and generally being mindful. In light of the current state of our nation as a result of the election, regardless of who you voted for, I think this is especially helpful now. May we all rally up and be wise and earnest as we move forward to build community, one step at a time.

My grandma was my hero

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My grandma was my hero

 

My grandma was my hero. It’s taken me 50 years to really learn to follow her example, and I’m still working on it, but she was always there guiding me. Had she not experienced the heart break of losing her love, my wonderful grandpa, at 93, I and all of my family have no doubt that she would have surpassed the century mark. Those who live to such benchmark ages are often asked how they did so, what were their secrets. There have been many answers, but I think the main path is healthy thoughts and mindfulness.

Research has shown that parts of our DNA, which shorten as we age, do so much earlier when under high levels of chronic stress. Stress can actually age us more quickly, or lead to greater illness. Worth note here is an emphasis on the word ‘can’…because the key to this occurring is actually how we respond to the stress, not the stress itself. Someone who is chronically unhappy and feels stressed much of the time and reacts intensely to external events will age much more quickly than someone who is less reactive, more easy-going and less judgmental. Those who can stay in the moment rather than rehashing the past and anticipating or fearing the future will not only be happier, but healthier.

This was my grandma. She was queen at rolling with the punches. She always gave the benefit of the doubt and was slow to find fault with anyone. She was an, “Oops!” gal, rather than a “Crap!” or “Damn it!” gal. And she was pretty much always happy. We never talked about mindfulness, but through her actions I could tell that she was very good at being in the moment. Every little thing was important to her and she loved to recount it all to others so they could partake in her joy and wonder of it all. She ‘busied’ herself with activities, but she focused on each one wholeheartedly; she didn’t flit from one thing to the other randomly without care and was obviously completely content with what she was doing at the moment. This was a woman who still ironed EVERYTHING at age 93, because it was important to her that she, and especially her loving husband, had nicely cared for things, like napkins and pants and yes, even underwear! And while she ironed these things, she was content as could be.

While I miss her terribly and wish she were still here to share in life’s experiences, small and large, I’m ever so grateful that I had her to enjoy and guide me through nearly 49 years.

Things she taught me that I try to remember on a daily basis:

~Never take anything for granted and say “thank you” often

~See the best in everyone and give them the benefit of the doubt

~Approach everything from the tiniest flower to a Christmas present with the delight and excitement of a child

~Say “I love you” often

~Ask others how they’re doing then share your own experiences and feelings

~There’s nothing more important than family

~Do what you love and love what you do

~Smile

Thank you, Grammy. I miss you so.