Thursday, November 11, 2010
EVERY now and then our lives can feel totally out of control. With the amount of stimuli and stress that surrounds us, it is very easy to feel off kilter, lost and overwhelmed. When this occurs, we must center ourselves and bring our attention back to our heart. In essence, we must take our life back. With all our attention being focused out into the world, we can lose sight of what is most important and essential.
We can see this process easily in physics. Just imagine that you are reaching toward something. If you don't support yourself properly, you will topple over. It is the same way when we reach out into the world. If we don't bring our whole self with us, we can feel off balance and unsafe.
When life gets especially busy, we forget to look at nature. In fact, we forget to look at everything. All the beautiful nuances in life get overlooked. Our focus goes directly to our problems, and we begin to miss our opportunities and dreams. Our vision gets blurred as we swirl around in our heads. This is when it is essential to drag ourselves away from our desks and all electronic media and devices, and go some place where we can see a sunset, dig our feet into sand or walk in a forest.
When the sun rises and the sun sets, it is a very auspicious time. We are able to move between the inner and outer world with more ease.
When we see the sunset, it reminds us to settle down. it shows us how miraculous the world is and how we are a part of it. It signals to our bodies to let go and trust. When the sun sets, we are reminded of our own inner rhythm. This rhythm must be honored or else we feel out of sync and out of time. So this week, whenever you feel overwhelmed, go outside and replenish your spirit and reconnect with yourself. Take your life back. These rituals happen for a reason and they are there for us everyday, a gift to us. The sunset is an experience that we all share. It brings us together. Tomorrow as the sun rises allow it to lift your spirit and hope and enthusiasm and as it sets let it fill your heart with peace and trust.
These words from Michele Bernhardt reminds us not to dwell on the negative, and simply enjoy and find comfort in the beauty around us.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Courage doesn't always roar.
Sometime courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
"I will try again tomorrow."
M. A. Radmacher
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Have courage for the great sorrows in life
and patience for the small ones;
and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily tasks,
go to sleep in peace.
God is awake.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
T.G.I.T.!! Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, now does it? I doubt you’ll hear the question, “Is it Tuesday yet?” repeated much around the office, either. THAT, my friends, is precisely why I’ve decided to write a story in defense of Tuesday! (That, and the fact that apparently it lacks the conviction to stand up for itself.) I truly believe Tuesday has not been fully appreciated in the lives of many…most, I’d venture to say.
Tuesdays have simply been overlooked. However, considering that Tuesday literally represents 1/7th of our lives, or slightly over 14%, (I did the math myself after Googling how to convert a fraction into a percentage!) I’ve begun to change my thinking and have been, as of late, anticipating and celebrating my Tuesdays! Let’s face it, Tuesdays have gotten a bum rap. Whether negative or positive, all of the other days during the week have a role, a position, a niche in life. In my mind, Tuesday conjures up images of that skinny guy on the beach who always got sand kicked in his face by the bodybuilder. (If that commercial was before your time, my sincere apologies.)
Monday – The first day of the work week. It may not be the most anticipated or enjoyable day of the week, but at least it has that going for it! Many times Monday is included as part of a holiday three-day weekend, thereby forcing Tuesday to step up as a pinch-hitter and take the wrath as the dreaded funsucker day after the long weekend. (It was also the host of Monday night football, a noteworthy trait whose reason for mention in this article remains undetermined.)
Tuesday – uhm… well. (I couldn’t even give it enough accolades to deserve a bold font.)
Wednesday– This day holds the deed on some prime real estate whose plat lies smack dab in the middle of the work week. The day even has its own nickname: “Humpday,” used in the context of climbing a proverbial hill to get through a rough week. (Tuesday doesn’t have a nickname.)
Thursday – Though it isn’t the end of the work week, people look forward to Thursday due to its proximity to Friday. Thursday has it made. Many times when Friday is included in a three-day weekend, Thursday becomes the pinch-hitter for Friday and therefore, receives all the awe and admiration usually bestowed upon that day.
Friday – This lucky day holds esteem and power. It is equivalent to the CEO of the work week. (I believe if Friday were to take on a life form, it would have tremendous confidence and an inflated ego.) There are few who don’t relish Friday, being the last of the five days that makes one work weak. Even the famous nursery rhyme, chimes: “Friday’s child is loving and giving…” (Probably because it’s typically a payday.)
Saturday – Need I say more? Just repeating the word makes your mouth curl in a subconscious smile. Saturday – I even smiled as I typed the “S” anticipating the letters that were coming afterwards – quite possibly is the most popular day of the week. That is because the wordSaturday has become synonymous with the word fun. Fun happens on Saturday. Weddings, parties and picnics are planned on Saturday. In fact, I’m surprised they didn’t just go ahead and name it, Funday. (This may have been a deliberate oversight to avoid confusion, as it would have then rhymed with its successors…i.e., Friday, Funday, Sunday, Monday.)
Sunday – Day of worship for many, and rest for most. Sunday has a reputation as a respected, revered and well-regarded day. Fine lunches are often planned on Sunday. If days were coins, Sunday would be the most valuable. It is, after all, the only one of the seven days whose first syllable commands such respect on the celestial sphere that others must orbit around it.
So, aside from casting votes for politicians we will later regret, what does Tuesday own that is special and unique? A travel site states that, according to their web site statistics, Tuesday seems to be the most popular day amongst office goers for daydreaming about their next holiday or vacation. That, in itself, says a lot about Tuesday.
Of course, there is always the voter’s Super Tuesday, history’s Black Tuesday and Mardi Gras’ Fat Tuesday…but what about just plain ole’ Tuesday? It doesn’t have a reputation of its own based purely on the generic day itself. It wouldn’t even qualify for a decent parking space in a workweek parking lot — it would probably be the space in the back…under the trees…where the birds congregate.
Given that the average life span is estimated anywhere between 70 and 80 years, that grants us approximately 3,900 Tuesdays. Following this pattern, I’ve spent around 2,444 Tuesdays with about 1,456 remaining, if I’m so blessed. (I’m wondering how many of my readers are trying to calculate my age at this point…)
My point is, from now on, I intend to look forward to each and every Tuesday. I intend to make special plans on Tuesday. I plan to make the next 1,456 Tuesdays so memorable that they make up for the 2,444 Tuesdays I’ve simply overlooked or counted the hours until I could mark from my calendar. In fact, if I was granted a wish, I’d ask to have all those Tuesdays added back to my life’s account…and take the opportunity to live them once again.
I vow, on this lovely Tuesday afternoon, to never take a Tuesday for granted again!
Linda Ellis 2010
Linda Ellis 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
What if you began and ended each day with an expression of gratitude for the blessings in your life? Through prayer, journaling, or a phone call, how might that intentional ritual affect the quality of each day? What if each experience of gratitude was like a drop into the pool of your life, sending ripples in all directions? How far might those ripples spread? In contrast, what if gratitude was an infrequent blip on the radar or it was expressed only in times traditionally recognized as occasions to “give thanks”? How would that lack of gratitude impact your life?
If I were to name one thing that has transformed my life, hands down it would be a deep experience of gratitude. In one of the darkest moments in my life, I began a practice of gratitude. It served as a life line, pulling me toward the light. At that particular time, I could have endlessly thought about what was not working in my life. I could have moaned and declared to the Universe that I was justified to complain. But it occurred to me when I did, that I only felt worse, and I seemed to perpetuate the hardship and pain., The shift into grateful living began simply, one intentional word, one feeling at a time. It was as if I planted seeds, and each day I watered the seeds with my words, intentions, and feelings. Now my life has grown into a bountiful garden, filled with color and amazing possibilities.
So, What is Gratitude?
A response of your heart. A feeling of thankfulness and appreciation. Think about your life in this moment. Perhaps you could fill endless pages with glowing words of appreciation; perhaps it is difficult to get past a blank page. Whether you are experiencing one of life’s brilliant pinnacles or slowly traversing a dark void, you get to choose. You may choose a feeling of lack or a feeling of abundance, choose a state of complaint or a state of gratitude. Here is the edge that comes when you complain: no matter how much you complain, you never feel satisfied. As each word flows out of your mouth, it is as if you are greasing a slide that takes you farther down into discontent.
I love the words of Wayne Dyer when he writes about being a love-finder rather than a fault-finder. Are you focusing on what is not working in your life or are you focusing on what is? The reality is that we all have some of both. What sets some folks apart, with a sparkle in their eye and a generous heart, is that they live their life as a love-finder. The ripples from their grateful heart can be felt by everyone around them. The rewards of feeling a deep sense of gratitude are extraordinary. You will feel more joyful, more attractive, more vibrant, more satisfied, and more present to giving and receiving love.
Now take a deep breath, settle yourself for a moment and then complete the following sentence which will help you begin right this moment your shift into more grateful living: "I feel so very grateful for...." It is that easy.
Now let’s really dive into play. Brainstorm ten outside-the-box ideas of ways you can express your gratitude to others. Watch the people in your life unfold into big smiles when you express just how very grateful you are. Be creative in that expression.
Write a gratitude letter to yourself or to someone you know.
Make a list of fifty things you are grateful for and keep it handy to look at when you find yourself sliding into a complaining mode.
Create a Gratitude Journal. Set aside time everyday to think about, to feel, and to write down what you are grateful for.
Be open to listening to the language of your heart. What a gift to feel a big open heart, to bask in your blessings, to choose consciously, intentionally to live a life of gratitude. Let gratitude ripple within you and joyfully out into your world.