Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I came to YOG late, invited to round out a shifting Gratitude Team. What an opportunity for big soul work! Thank you, Ms. Kat, for inviting me. And thank you, Ms. Barb and Ms. Angie, for welcoming me so warmly. High fives all around.
There are two key things I believe I have learned in this process: 1) Gratitude is a choice; and 2) Gratitude opens you to peace and joy. Peace and joy also kick ass.
I like math and think numbers are chronically underestimated. They are interesting and expose dynamic layers of the universe when tapped. I like that a -5 and a +5 are equal distances from zero; the concept implies that every number contains two parallel frequencies. Likewise, I think of each moment of my life as a point, a distance from zero, and therefore containing equal opportunities for negativity or positivity. With this acknowledgment, I can no longer believe that life is a series of events that happen to me. I can choose: wallow in the negative frequency; or celebrate the positive. I am learning there is joy everywhere -- in every moment -- if I only choose to look.
My friend, Mary, introduced me this year to a mantra inspired by Morrnah Simeona's teachings of an ancient Hawaiian healing system, Ho'oponopono. Simeona taught that we are all connected and therefore all responsible for one another. The external world is a projection of our internal world, and so the more peace we feel, the more peace there will be. (And the more peace there will be, the more peace we will feel.) The mantra, explained in Joe Vitale and Hew Len's Zero Limits, goes like this:
I love you.
Please forgive me.
I find it appropriate that the last line is "Thank you." There is a particular openness and peace that is communicated via gratitude. It is acceptance and surrender to something bigger than our immediate understanding. This concept is alive in every spiritual walk. Saying thank you for everything -- the bad and the good -- is an important acknowledgement that we are part of the universe, not separate, that the universe is ultimately good, and it is providing what it must. (I think it works just as well to say "God" instead of "universe.") I feel a lot of my own personal turmoil comes from resistance. There are things in the world I do not like, people I do not like, things about myself I do not like. When I do not accept these elements, I close myself not only to them, but everything else -- including love and joy. When I am closed, I feel isolated and angry, even superior.
Even in times of sadness, when I sense and accept my rightfully small place in the natural world, I feel open and connected. There is peace in this tiny shift, and sadness reconfigures. It hops frequencies and becomes joy.
So for 2009, I wish for you:
to choose joy
to choose peace
to choose gratitude
...in response to all things.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
By spending so much time writing/thinking about, and steeped in being grateful, I hope the attitude has become an ingrained habit that will rest on my shoulders like a soft beautiful shawl for life. No matter what comes (and especially if it's bad, hurtful or sad), I think the lessons I've learned will continue to take away some of the chill. I hope I have added to the uplifting perspectives and interesting views of my fellow YOGgers.
I'll leave you with these thoughts, as I once and for the last time publicly, count blessings brought about by a year of focusing on being grateful:
- Above all, I've realized life is all about how you choose to see things.
- Rain will inevitably spoil the parade now and then, but grateful, joyful thinking makes one heck of an umbrella.
- Gratitude is contagious.
- Gratefulness is not only a state of mind, but a way of living.
- When things are at their worst, a dose of gratitude can change things around, or at least assure you that tomorrow is definitely a new day.
- Gratitude begets more gratitude.
- Focusing on the goodness of life increases joy and health.
- Thankfulness can bring people who have nothing (or very little) in common together.
- It is just as easy to be glad as sad.
- Perspective is an awesome and powerful thing.
I will always remember 2008 as the Year of My Gratitude. Thank you, Barb, Kathryn, Patresa and Nannette, for sharing your company and thoughts with me.
May all we've learned by concentrating on gratitude never be far from our hearts and minds.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Looking back over the past year, it both seems as if it flew by and seems as if it is a distant dream. There were constants in my life, and this YOG is one of them. Days the words spilled and then gathered on the YOG page; and then, the days where I struggled to find words to fill a post. Like now. Now that the time has come for my last YOG post, for me to say “Goodbye” to this year of gratitude within this forum, I am at a loss for the perfect words. Oh, how I wanted this last post to be perfect.
I leave you with a bit of my words from a year ago. I think I said it best then, and it still applies almost three-hundred and sixty-five days later.
Simply by the act of saying, “Thank you,” I am released from old demons. I am unchained from fear and worry. From the comfort of my couch where I am snuggled under a throw while the wild wind rushes over and across the mountain ridge, whips the bare branches, pushes against my log house, from this place of security I sigh as if an old dog on a porch and breathe out, “Thank you.” Does it matter who or what I give thanks to? No, it is only important that I breathe in the air and breathe out the gratitude.
Thank you all, readers. Thank you for visiting and reading and commenting and for just being. This is it. My last YOG post. Here's to whatever comes next.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
It’s hard to believe we’ve gone through a year expressing our gratitude on a daily basis, but here it is the end of December with a new year on the way.
I’m grateful that we were able to finish out this project. Life had its ups and downs this past year, but we kept on being grateful through it all. What a help it was to turn to this gratitude blog each day. I learned much from the ladies of the Yog, and because of their words it has become easier to be grateful. Like practicing an instrument or a language, the more I studied their posts, and wrote my own, the more gratitude I was able to express. The more gratitude I expressed, the better I felt, the more I wanted to be grateful. It’s more than a win-win situation, it's an avalanche of gratitude, a gratitude addiction.
We’re going to leave this gratitude blog and journal of the past year up for others to find. That’s one of the nice things about the net. Once something is out here in the ether, it can stay for a long, long, time and be found by new people who need a daily shot of inspiration.
Thank you Yoggers, readers, posters, and lurkers. We’re grateful! And I hope to continue being grateful for as long as I can.
Happy New Year!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
My family has taught me humility (repeatedly) and to regard myself lightly. We see humor in small things, and poking fun at one another is a sign of affection -- a celebration of quirks and imperfections:
--> Our mother is stubbornly naive and/or gullible about many things (forcing us at times to explain our jokes), sings harmony with rock songs, and snaps and claps in rhythm with music that isn't playing anywhere but in her head.
--> Our father has at least two of everything, compulsively buys us books we'll never read (at least 3 covering the same topic that none of us have expressed any interest in -- like marketing trends), and gives ordinary items strange names (Mustard becomes "banana juice;" a small water bottle becomes a "bucket.").
--> My oldest sister, Paula, never ever stops talking (Never. I cannot emphasize this enough.), makes odd and alarming noises when she gasps or sneezes, and has absolutely no immediate, regional, national, or international awareness of geographical properties.
--> Our middle sister, Pam, is stoic and reserved, is the world's most standoffish hugger, and spends ridiculous amounts of time researching everything she can think to research (juicers, online radio stations, fish oil vs. cod liver oil, the healing properties of cayenne pepper...).
--> The youngest, I require copious amounts of alone time, am egregiously grumpy at times for no apparent reason (which are my sisters' favorite times to deliberately do things that annoy me), and hate the telephone to an almost pathological extent.
We like this about us, although the endearment of it may not be readily noted by outsiders. We are the funniest people we know without even meaning to be. This brings me to my favorite moment across the entire span of Christmas celebrations this year: the moment I witnessed Paula giving a wordy lecture to her 7-year-old, Katherine, about taking care of her new American Girl doll.
Paula concluded her long, stern lecture with this very serious command:
"Don't write on her face."
Friday, December 26, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
As an adult, Christmas Eve takes on the special feelings of anticipation that differ from those as a child who wonders what she will get Christmas Day. Instead, she wonders at what she already has, and what she has given: me that is, grateful for what I have and what I have been able to give to someone else for Christmas.
Christmas Eve is that pause between. For I know once Christmas Day is here (as it is now, just as you are reading this and I will be eating a Christmas Breakfast and drinking Deep Creek Blend and opening a few gifts and smiling and wondering at others opening their gifts and imagining children's laughter...), it quickly slides away and then soon the new year is here and all the glitter and sparkle of Christmas quickly fades away, the tree begins to lose its needles, the gifts tucked away, the memories caught in snapshots of mouths wide in laughter and surprise. But don't let's go that far. Let's take this moment, this day, and stretch it out far and wide as a Smoky Mountain Sky.
On Christmas Eve, I like to stay up as late as I can, and all afternoon and into the evening I watch certain Christmas movies: Alistair Sims's "A Christmas Carol," "It's A Wonderful Life," "Miracle on 34th Street," "A Charlie Brown Christmas," and the halarious but heartwarming "Christmas Story."
When the last movie fades away, if I have been able to stay awake before a fire, tucked under a quilt on my couch, I stay there just a bit longer (and I also sneak in a gift or two into Roger's stocking - just as I used to sneak my son's gifts into his stocking and place his gifts under the tree) and just enjoy the quiet, the solitude, the last remaining moments of Christmas Eve--which most times does turn into very very early Christmas Morning.
Oh! Christmas Day! Oh! Joyous Day! Oh! Wonderful Beautiful Day!
I will snuggle in and remember Christmases that have come and gone. I will embrace the one that is here. I will not yet look ahead to the next days coming.
Christmas is here. At last, Christmas is here. Ding, Dong; Ding, Dong; Christmas bells are ringing... And so...
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas(song lyrics removed - just in case...but, you can sing it along with me....make up the words if you do not know them...)