30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #18)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

This question could be tricky. As with most of these items of gratitude, I find that I am grateful for a good many pieces of art. Also, much like the other questions in this series, I do not often stop and think of art and what I am grateful for. This has been the most pleasant surprise in all of this. Something I do not take time to think of, when I do I realize how much art there is that I am grateful for. The word art can be defined in so many different ways. Recently, I heard there was some work of art that amounted to a banana taped to a wall valued at $120,000. I also heard a comedian ate said banana…it is a strange world we live in. 

What art am I grateful for? I am a really big fan of music. I think it is one of the art forms that has the strongest emotional connection for me. There are certain movies I enjoy as well. Recently, I have been watching biographies of famous classic entertainers. Everyone from the Marx Brothers, George Burns to Liberace. I am interested in people who put their heart and soul into their creations. Being an author I would be remiss if I did not mention some of my favorite books. I am a big fan of A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. (side note, I sent Mr. Bryson a copy of my book as a thank you for creating such a great work of art…no response thus far)

Art often defines moments in history as well. I recall hearing of stories from World War II in which the Nazi government made a bid to gather all of the art in the countries they invaded. A good portion of that was recovered. Sadly, a good deal of it was lost or stolen. Art can be used as propaganda. Jim Morrison, lead singer of the band The Doors, is quoted as saying, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” He was right. We can get a jingle stuck in our head from the latest television commercial.

Art can also be used to inspire. The paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel has inspired believers of Christianity for as long as it has been there. Houses of worship of all beliefs are adorned with art to induce a feeling of reverence and to tell a story of that faith.

Art can be local. I am fortunate enough to know many artists of all different kinds. I have a friend Travis who uses his ability to put lyrics together to entertain. My friend Nicole does drawings that are amazing. She invited Margie and I to a party she had at her house where other artists displayed crafts, pottery and many other amazing creations. Of course, no discussion of art would be complete without discussing the love of my life. Margie creates so many different kinds of art it is almost impossible to list them all. She creates cakes that leave people’s hearts soaring and their jaws dropping. She made me a great necklace. (she took it back to adjust, I am hoping to have it back soon) She makes flower arrangements for weddings, funerals and because she likes to. She draws, she paints, she makes scarfs and a million other things. I heard rumors she even writes forewords to amazing self-improvement books, but I cannot confirm that at this time.

What art are you grateful for? In my life I have learned that there are so many things that are art. When I order a Chai latte at the local coffee shop, my friends Curtis and Danie create a masterpiece. When I visit West Allis Cheese and Sausage shop owned by my friend Mark, the dishes I am served are works of art. I have friends who cut hair that are great artists. I am grateful for all of these! Is there an artist you know that has created something you are grateful for?

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FIND IT EVERYWHERE!

Here is a picture of a leaf I saw while walking on a trail with my mother the other day. I took the picture because to me it looked like a heart and I was thinking of the love of my life who was working hard at home at the time.

This may sound a bit over the top for some of you, and that’s ok. My point here is you find and attract in the universe what you look for. In this case my mind was focused on the beautiful lady I love and so I happened to notice this leaf. There were other examples of love all around me. There were ducks in the stream and birds in the tree loving each other. The plants rising up to love the sun and soak up the rain that was falling.

There were also signs of other things around us that night. Signs of the plants struggling against the weeds, the shore struggling against the forces of erosion and many other signs of struggle. There were signs of death everywhere too. Insects killing and eating each other, birds killing the insects, even a worm that feel victim to a bicycle tire.

The funny thing is we either did not notice these signs or dismissed them as quickly as we noticed them. Instead we were lost on how the rain brought out all of the fragrant smells of nature. How it was quiet and you could hear the sounds of nature. The songs of the different birds, the leaves blowing in the wind, even the creek as it made its way along next to us.

This may sound like we were wearing rose-colored glasses and to some point that would be correct. Why were we not upset that it was raining? Why did we not feel very sad about all the animals that were falling victim to others or in the case of the worm a bike tire? Simple, we were on a different vibration focused on enjoying ourselves and finding things to be happy about.

Some may say this is foolish and didn’t change the reality of any of the bad things. In regard to the second part they would be right. The only thing our perception and attitude changed was how we felt. Which, in essence, is how we define our lives. What is wrong is always available, but so is what is right. What we choose to focus on is what we feel.

This week look for things around you that make you feel joy, happiness and love. As for me, I am already planning another walk in nature with my mom!

WHAT YOU ARE MISSING

I live in a nice city called West Allis. I work in a different city about a 40 minute drive away. This can make for some exciting days especially in winter. In many ways I have learned to relish the drive as it gives me time to think, or listen to audio books. I love learning and am grateful for the time the drive affords me to do so.

Recently, I have been listening to the book The Power which is the sequel to the popular book The Secret. Both are books on the law of attraction. I recommend both of them. Not to ruin any plots for you, but The Power is about the power of love. Not just of the romantic variety, but how to apply and reap the benefits of the power of love in your own life.

One of the fun things the book advocates doing is finding what you love about certain situations. In doing so you remain more present and aware of your surroundings. One of the ways they mention in the book is asking yourself the question “What do I love?” Asking questions is a great way to take control of your thoughts. Giving your brain a question to find an answer to can give it direction and keep it from going somewhere you might not want it to go.

I was interested in giving my brain the positive task of finding things to love and bring me joy. The 40 minute drive to my day job at the Post Office seemed like the perfect time to give this idea a try. Certainly, the prospect of showing up at work in a great mood was appealing. Let me voice a disclaimer here. Although the idea did appeal to me, I had never really made a conscious effort to do this and kept an open mind. I figured it may be rough going at first and I may find it difficult to find things to love. I could not have been more incorrect! One thing after another seemed to leap to my attention and I could not notice them fast enough! Despite the unexpected nature of this, it was not the most surprising development on that trip.

Every day I take pretty much the same route to work. I reached my decision on 60th street, which at the moment closely resembles a demilitarized zone. Here is what I found so surprising. Even though I take that street at the very least 5 days a week, I was amazed at how much I miss! I decided to try again on the way home. The same result followed. Even just being on the opposite side of the street a whole world I had been missing unfolded before me.

When I got home I began to ask Margie, “Have you seen that building on 60th with the multi-colored bricks?” and a million other things. After taking a few moments to make sure I had not stopped off for some rum after a hard day at the Post Office, Margie had to confess that she too had missed most of these things as well. I then began to tell her about what I have been doing and how the idea came from the book I was listening to. It is here I must tip my hat to Margie. While she also loves to learn, she is very patient and does not complain about the seemingly endless stream of audio books I have playing in the car as we travel here and there. She has even given me the gift of one of my favorite audio books A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, one of my favorite authors.

Here is my suggestion for you. As you travel along today, ask yourself, “What can I find that I love on this journey?” You will be surprised at how much we miss. I have found new restaurants I would like to try, stores I would like to shop at and even a nature trail I would like to hike on. I would love to hear your results in the comments below.