Tag Archives: positive thinking

G is for Gratitude

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” –Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some.” –Charles Dickens

It’s difficult to maintain a positive attitude when we are constantly bombarded by negativity. Just watch the evening news. It’s enough to make anyone depressed. Social media isn’t much better. Since I’ve been trying to adopt “an attitude of gratitude,” I now limit the viewing of both of these sources. Appreciating the gifts we’ve been given isn’t always easy, but creating a gratitude list is an effective way to develop and sustain a positive outlook on life.

I’ve started a “30 Days to Happiness” challenge, and the first thing that’s required is to list three things I’m grateful for every day. By day five, I’m finding it harder to do. I trudge on. My brain benefits from searching for the good in life.

So today, I’ve decided to give thanks for my five senses, which are so often taken for granted. The older I get, the more I realize how lost I would be without the ability to see, hear, feel, smell  or taste.

My eyesight isn’t as sharp as it used to be. I no longer have 20/20 vision. I need reading glasses for fine print. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without being able to read a book, watch the next season of Game of Thrones, or immerse myself in nature’s vibrant colors and beauty.

I’m grateful I still have my hearing, even if it is a bit damaged from listening to loud rock-n-roll during my youth. I need music to lift my spirits, to energize me or lull me to sleep. I would be as frustrated as my father without his hearing aids if I could not follow a conversation or hear birds singing in the distance.

I recently became a grandmother, and let me tell you, there is nothing sweeter than the feel of a baby in your arms. I just want to kiss all over her soft, smooth skin, rub her baby Buddha belly, massage her little legs, and caress her tiny fingers and toes. Doing so calms my nervous energy. There’s also something soothing in petting a puppy or kitten, or curling up with a silky blanket or lounging on cool bed sheets.

My sense of smell has always been strong. I can spot a foul odor a mile away. If it’s coming from within my house, I hunt it down to eradicate it. Before I leave town, I clean my house so that upon my return I will be greeted by fresh scents. I use essential oils, incense, and scented candles to cheer me.

As for the sense of taste, mine has never been overly picky. I’ve always been a fast eater, never lingering on what my taste buds might have to say. I know I need to slow down and savor each bite, but eating always seemed to be an inconvenience to me. I used to wish there were pills I could take to bypass the whole process. Now I know I’m missing out on what the French have always treasured: making mealtime a pleasurable indulgence. A glass of red wine with cheese or chocolate are some of the few treats I truly cherish.

Yes, I am thankful for these gifts. Not everyone has use of all five senses. As a child, I was fascinated by Helen Keller. I read every book I could find about her. For a woman who was deaf and blind, she accomplished more than many of us and appreciated what life had to offer her. I would like to be more like her. By acknowledging my blessings every day, I hope to shift my mental state and respond to life from a place of strength and sensibility.

Be grateful for the good in your life.

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C is for Courage

“Come to the edge,” he said.

“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.

“Come to the edge,” he said.

“We can’t, we will fall!” they responded.

“Come to the edge,” he said.

And so they came.

And he pushed them.

And they flew.

–Guillaume Apollinaire’

C is for Courage. The ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, or uncertainty. Ernest Hemingway referred to it as “grace under pressure.” There are days when it takes a tremendous amount of composure to face the present. The past may be poking and prodding at your back while the future is screaming in your ear, “Take action!”

Philosophers through the ages have professed that dying is easy; it’s living that’s difficult. This is especially true if your life isn’t going as planned, and you’re stumped about what action to take. It seems that the older you get, the more courage you need. You have less time to waste and feel pressured to find and/or fulfill whatever dreams you may have once envisioned. You may have to accept that dreams from your youth will never be obtained and have the determination to create new ones.

No one goes through life unscathed by some sort of crisis, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Sorrow is a part of the human condition. But with courage you can do more than survive misfortune–you can learn and grow from it. You may begin questioning every belief and notion you have staked your life on. Were you living a lie? Were you a fool? If you are unafraid to look deeply and answer honestly, you might find a comforting message: you were doing the best that you could at the time or you would have done otherwise. Stop beating yourself up. By letting go of fear and regret, you let go of the past. By embracing the present, you give yourself a gift: a chance to heal and an opportunity to be your authentic self.

A little bravery is necessary to overcome everyday problems. You must face reality, the here and now, even when feeling inadequate and uncertain. Take time to reflect on what is important in your life, and afterwards, surrender and concentrate on your breathing, being mindful of each inhalation and exhalation. All you have is this very moment. Savor it, looking only for the good. It is there. It may be hidden deep within the folds of your consciousness, but it’s still there. Keep looking. Never stop.

We are constantly evolving, moving from what is to what could be. If we are fearless and receptive to ourselves and to others, we become responsive to the process and transcend all the spheres of existence. With our eyes open, we are free to fly, to choose new paths, to let go of any negative energy and embrace the positive as it occurs.

Courage allows us the choice to appreciate the true beauty called life.

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