Posts tagged #gratitude

An Attitude of Gratitude

Photo by  Roland Epple  on  Unsplash

Well, it is Thanksgiving again for us Canadians but anytime of the year is a good time to practice an attitude of gratitude.

William James said, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. "

So many times people become discontent with their lives and surroundings and is it any wonder?  There is a whole industry set up to make us feel inadequate.  We are not thin enough, or not rich enough, or not hip enough because we are not buying the latest products on the market. The message rings loud and clear: We are not good enough!

How many times have you found yourself saying, if only _________  then I could be happy? The problem is that if we get caught up in this way of thinking we will never be happy because there is always something more we will think we need to complete our lives.

Paul Reid said, "Poverty is a state of mind often brought on by the neighbours new car. In other words, when we see our friends and neighbours acquiring things, we often feel poor because we cannot afford these luxuries.  But, in reality we are not poverty stricken, we only think we are poor." This state of mind is purely relative to whom you are comparing yourself to.  If you were to change your thinking and look at the homeless, then you would realize how truly rich you are.  You have a roof over your head, and food on the table. Okay, so maybe it is not your dream house and maybe you are eating peanut butter sandwiches and not caviar, but you are sheltered and fed.  Believe it or not, some people do not even have these basics. Be thankful for the comforts you do enjoy on a daily basis and try to remember not to take anything for granted.

Most people do not realize the benefits of gratitude. When we sit and think about all the things we want but don’t have we set ourselves up in a downward spiral of disappointment and negative thinking which can lead to overwork, and depression. Gratitude, on the other hand, lifts our spirits and gives us a clearer focus on life as it really is.  We will be content with what we have and therefore our attitude will bring us a spirit of peace and contentment.

You may say to yourself, but I don't have much!  Well then be thankful for the little things you do have.  Do you have a roof over your head?  Do you have someone who loves you?  Do you have someone you love?  Do you have food on your table? Do you have your health?  Do you have a job? Do you have a pillow to sleep on?...a blanket to keep warm? Do you have your sanity?  These may seem like small things but there is nothing small at all about good health, a nutritious meal, a warm bed, a lucid mind or the love of another human or even a pet. Just ask somebody who doesn’t have one of these things. And if you don’t have them all, you can still be grateful for the ones you do while you chase the ones you lack.  

Someone once said, If you haven't all the things you want, at least be grateful for the things you don't have that you wouldn't want. There is always something we can find to be grateful for. Be grateful for your health. Appreciate your ability to move and feel the wind in your hair and the grace of your own movements. 

Try not to let the shallowness and unreality of social media trick you into thinking that others are living a better life than you are. If you can recognize and savour each beautiful moment of your life - and I’m not saying that every moment is beautiful but I’m sure there are a few lovely moments each day - then you are wealthy beyond measure. You don’t and shouldn’t need others to validate your joy…doesn’t that actually detract from it?

I know this sounds simplistic and I know that there are always things that many of us truly need but if we start changing our attitudes and develop an attitude of gratitude then we will be in a better position to allow our positive thoughts to direct us in a way in which we can achieve more.

“You won’t be happy with more until you’re happy with what you’ve got.”
— Viki King

Gratitude is the first step in achieving the things you want to achieve in life.  

Let us make every effort to get rid of the negative thoughts that hinder our life's journey and learn to develop positive thoughts that will help us achieve our goals.  

Don't wait until Thanksgiving rolls around each year to be thankful.  Make it a point to develop in your daily life an attitude of Gratitude.


International Day of Acceptance

Today is the 7th annual International Day of Acceptance. 

It all began in 2007 when Annie Hopkins made the above symbol as a tool for others to embrace diversity, educate society, and empower each other to love life. Annie was a vibrant young woman with spinal muscular atrophy but didn't ever want her disability to limit her. Before her untimely passing in 2009 she was an advocate, entrepreneur, artist, and student, who fully demonstrated what is possible when you love life. You can find out more about her life and the social entrepreneurial experiment she started here.

As I mentioned briefly in a previous post, my beloved mother-in-law Carlota has recently been paralyzed from the waist down for reasons unknown. She is still in the hospital but will soon be released to a rehabilitation centre in the Toronto area to learn how best to manage her life to regain as much independence as possible. Carlota is a feisty 80-year-old woman who until this past fall could be found running a large rice and mango ranch in Peru when not in Canada visiting her 5 children and 13 grandchildren. She had so much energy she unintentionally but honestly made me feel guilty sometimes for not being able to match her in vim and vigour and downright lust for life. Whenever we spoke on the phone she was ALWAYS laughing and overflowing with positivity. Indeed, that spirit remains unbroken and her grit and gumption is a testament to her beautiful soul. During the first few weeks in hospital, when her children were understandably devastated and angry, Carlota looked at her new situation as a challenge and an adventure and urged her family to do the same. 

Carlota's first husband and the father of her children died 40 years ago, leaving her a widow with 5 kids age 15 and under (4 of them boys). She found herself in a difficult situation made harder because she spoke broken english and had been living a life of relative luxury prior to her husbands death. She, however, remained undefeated, picked up any jobs she could get and raised those children to all be loving, responsible and successful citizens who love their mother more than anything in the world. She never found any work beneath her saying that "there is no shame in hard work". She has been proof in my life that the power of love is stronger than anything else in the universe. It transcends time and distance and can warm you on the coldest days and give you light and hope in the darkest nights.  I have been witness to it over the years, time and time again, and even more so now that her love is coming back to her through her family. Each of her grown children visits her every single day and makes sure she is being taken care of, has her favourite foods, plenty to read and everything she could possibly need to make her hospital stay as painless as possible. 

It's all too true that many things in life don't mean that much to the average person until they are directly affected by it. That is true for me and my family now that somebody we love dearly is disabled. We have begun to notice the many obstacles in her way (literally, as many older establishments are not disabled friendly) and emotionally and socially. So, on this day, and every day moving forward I hope to find myself more accepting and benevolent to all the brave and disabled souls in my community.

I hope you will too. 

Nobody knows what the future holds for any of us. Let me leave you with the idea that you should embrace what you have for as long as you have it.  Run free while your legs are strong. Enjoy yoga while you body is still supple and compliant. Swim. Give big and hearty hugs to those you love. Appreciate the little things because they truly are the big things and never miss an opportunity to


Gratitude Every Day

Now that 2016 is in full swing I hope it is unfolding well for everyone. 

Perhaps some of you are struggling and this new year has not started as well as you had hoped. Personally I have been faced with a dear family member who has been rendered paralyzed for reasons unknown and there seems nothing can be done to change that. But through all this mystery and confusion, one thing I know for certain is that even though some days may be tougher than other, some sadder, some more painful; there is always something good to be found in each day. Simple things - the majesty of a beautiful sunrise, affection from a pet, the bright colour and hope that comes with a new flower blossom, a new and unexpected taste sensation, the mere act of taking a walk in nature  - can have the ability to elevate ones consciousness and mood. Of course some reasons for our gratitude can be quite profound like love, hope, loyalty and kindness. 

For that reason, I decided to start a gratitude jar for 2016 to remind myself of all the blessings, big and small, that I should take the time to enjoy and be thankful for. The idea is that each day, I take a brief moment to write down what exactly it is that occurred that day that made me stop and smile and appreciate. 

My 17-year-old daughter saw me making my jar, asked what it was all about, decided it was a great idea and so she made her own jar.  I love that she's aware of all her good fortune and wishes to honour them this way. 

All you need is a clean and empty mason jar that you can decorate if you wish. There are some free printables on the world wide web for just such a project and you can find some pretty ones at Happi Empire and Christine Trevino. Choose either of these or do a google search of your own and find something you like, print it on a piece of sticker paper, cut to size and simply stick it on your jar. Or you can use a label maker if you have one, like my daughter and I did. Embellish your jar further if you wish using stickers, ribbons or whatever strikes your fancy but remember that by the end of the year the jar will be full of your gratitude notes and the important things are inside and not on the  outside, (like most things of value). For my daughter's jar (pictured above) she added a pretty hair tie around the rim of the lid and attached a pen and some blank pieces of colourful origami paper that she had with a decorated clothes pin. She reckons that this way everything she needs is at her fingertips and there is nothing stopping her from capturing her joy and appreciation.

Every day take a piece of paper and write down something that happened that filled you with gratitude, however big or small that something may be. 

At the end of the year you will have a lovely momento to cherish and read at your leisure. 

Doing this will help you remember that:

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
— Eckhart Tolle

Posted on January 12, 2016 .