Sunday, November 16, 2014

Keeping it Simple during the Holidays and Beyond

I had planned to write a special column all about gratitude for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. I had great ideas, too. I would cite the wisdom of ancient sages and modern mystics. I would add profound quotes and detailed segues with enriching examples of the value of appreciation. Ah, yes, I had it all mapped out in my mind.

Don't take anything for granted
But then I gave it more thought, and decided in keeping with the wisdom of this month’s Tarotscope and its warning about not getting lost in the grandiosity of our ideas, ADD LINK HERE a less-is-more approach would be much more effective - especially at this busy time of year.

So instead of adding a bunch of superfluous and unnecessary fluff, I will very simply provide an explanation of the importance of expressing gratitude as well as some easy ways to do it this season and throughout the year.

With that in mind, here goes:

Why should we show gratitude all year - throughout the good times and bad?

1. Regardless of how bad things are, there is always something for which to be grateful. Don’t believe it? Look around. You may think you have it bad, but chances are you would not change places with 95% of the people whose life you observe on a daily basis. Why is that? Most likely it is because at some level you realize the extent of the blessings in your life.

      2. Studies show that people who express gratitude regularly are better able to handle stress, have healthier immune systems and feel mentally more alert. So, if you can’t be appreciative for simple reasons, then do is with selfish motives. I have faith that eventually, you will start to feel its power.

      3. Gratitude activates positive thoughts within us and raises our energy vibration. When we elevate our energy, this allows us to attract better situations into our lives.  It’s a positive revolving cycle.

      4. Gratitude pulls us away from a “me-centered” approach to life and into an outwardly-focused life. When we are grateful, we realize life isn’t all about us, our wants and needs. We then connect with a reciprocal energy that shows us how others experience gratitude, and reminds us of our power to bring happiness to others.

      5. It’s just the right thing to do because it connects us with the productive energy of the Universe.

How can we connect with gratitude in everyday life?

      1. Remember the little things are really not that little in the big scheme of life. We tend to prioritize our careers, our possessions and the things we think we need to make our lives better. We forget that the real reason we want these items is to enhance the true gifts of life – our family/friends, our inner spirit, and our health.

2.  Create gratitude moments throughout the day where you stop what you are doing and thank the Creator for the things in life you often take for granted. These can be big things like our well-being and our loved ones. It can also be less-obvious things like a safe trip to work, a warm-bed to sleep in or a walk on the beach on a pleasant afternoon.

3. During stressful situations, attempt to shift your focus to any possible underlying gift this issue may bring. For example the loss of a job could be an opportunity to begin a new career path that fuels your true passion. Or, helping someone combat an illness may allow you the chance to slow down and really get to connect with that person on a deeper and richer level. This is not meant to be a ‘Pollyanna’ and unrealistic approach to dealing with a problem. Instead, connecting with gratitude this way allows you to experience some control over a situation that may cause you to otherwise feel very powerless.

      4. Remember the Law of Attraction tells us that we attract that which is like ourselves. In order to attract ‘good’ things, we need to stay positive and show appreciation for something – anything - regardless of how horrendous the circumstances may appear. Our ‘attitude of gratitude’ is exponential, and is a powerful tool for bringing promise into our lives.

      5. Contact someone who needs a pick-me-up or who would benefit from kind words, and tell them how much you appreciate them. It could be as simple as a text, a phone call or email. If you want to be extravagant, go to the store and grab a card. When you talk, give a specific example of something they did that meant a lot to you. Your sentiments will be a nice surprise and are sure to produce a ripple effect in the world.

      6. Create a gratitude jar. Everyday list one thing for which you are grateful and put the paper in the container. At the end of the week, review the comments and feel a renewed appreciation for all you have been given.

      7.  Be open to the wonders of life, and observe things from a new perspective on a daily basis. Allow a childlike enthusiasm to swell in you as you look for, and discover situations you have never experienced before.

      8. Make every stranger a friend. This does not mean letting your guard down and walking blindly into trouble. Rather it means to greet people in the eye. Smile at them. Say hello. Realize that the vast majority of people are just like you – trying to make their way through the struggles of the world; grateful for any kindness and assistance that is offered to them.