30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #23)

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.

As we continue our journey of gratitude into the new year, we take a look at traditions. This is something I think changes a little as we age. When I was younger I used to find certain traditions archaic at best and ridiculous most of the time. Fast forward many years to my current state looking over this keyboard as I watch the sun set as I write. Now, I find myself looking forward to taking part in certain traditions and even creating others.

To me, traditions offer us a chance to mark time when it comes to certain aspects of our lives. When you are younger, you have little or no choice in what traditions you take part in. I think parents could benefit greatly by allowing their children to have more of a say in the creation of traditions the family observes. As we grow older, however, we more or less choose what traditions we wish to observe and which ones no longer serve us.

When it comes to creating traditions these days, I focus on those that bring joy and togetherness. One of my favorite yearly traditions is the Wisconsin State Fair. Not only to I literally jump out of my skin when the first day arrives and it is time to go with the love of my life, we found ways to create traditions throughout the year. I enjoy taking a day off of work and going with Margie to purchase our tickets in advance and then go out to breakfast. We make rough plans for the things we look forward to seeing and doing together once the time arrives. In the summer there is a 5k run that Margie, her daughter Siraya and I have done the last few years. It is great fun and gives us chance to see where we are at physically. It also gives us something to work toward in these cold winter months.

Another tradition I love is the yearly bike expo here in April. By this time my Seasonal Affective Disorder has usually gotten the best of me and quite often there is still snow on the ground. When I walk into the expo hall to attend this great event held by local bicycle company Wheel & Sprocket, it is as if the warm weather has arrived. There are many bikes to choose from all at good values. There are clothes, helmets, and accessories to purchase. There are also bicycle clubs to join and rides to sign up for. It gives you hope and something to look forward to in the warmer weather. Walking hand in hand through this event with Margie gives me the resolve to make it through the remainder of the cold weather.

What traditions are you grateful for? Being that we are reading this in the beginning of the new year, what traditions would you like to start this year? How do you think traditions can be used to positively affect our lives and bring more joy to them?

30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #21)

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.

For anyone who has read my books or followed this blog for any length of time, you know music is a very powerful tool for self-transformation. It is also a medium that conjures up a lot of emotion. When you are feeling down, listening to the right song can give you just the strength you need to carry on.

I have several playlists on my phone for different occasions. I have a list of songs that bring a little cheer to me. That was how I started. I also have a list of songs for working out to give me energy. These, along with a few other playlists are available to change my state at a touch of a button. There are many different artists and genres that I enjoy.

To the specific question as to what song I am grateful for, that could change daily. We will look at the ones I am grateful for as I write this. The song Lush Life performed by Nat King Cole is one of my favorites. Lately, I have been enjoying a lot of songs by Chris Janson including the appropriately titled Good Vibes. The song Born for Greatness by Papa Roach can always motivate me as well. If you ask me tomorrow, or maybe even later today, what songs I am grateful for, the list will probably be a little different.

All of that being said, I am grateful for songs that artists have taken the time to write and perform. Songs that I can relate to. Songs that make us happy, songs that make us think. Songs that make us fall in love. Songs that pick us up or motivate us. If you haven’t already, I suggest you take ful advantage of the benefits of great songs. Find a few that you are really grateful for and make a playlist.

I would love to hear some of yours as I am always looking for new songs to add to my own playlists.

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THANKSGIVING TO GRATITUDE TO GRATEFUL

Six years ago on this very day I began this blog. It was Thanksgiving of 2012. A lot has changed since then as you might imagine. My post that day in 2012 was about gratitude. In the six years since that post was written I have learned, and experienced, a lot more about gratitude. It’s power to transform how you feel and perceive life. That, in turn, ultimately transforms the quality of your life. I have included a special section on gratitude in my upcoming book Living the Dream.

Recently, I read an article that gave me a whole new outlook on gratitude. It including something even more powerful and life altering – being grateful. Today, as we all hopefully are spending at least part of our day focused on what we have to be thankful for, allow me to introduce you to what I learned in this article. It will allow you to take what we observe on this most wonderful of holidays and use it to create a life that is far more rich and rewarding.

Thanksgiving. It is more than just a holiday it is an observance. Many spiritual practices have rituals of thanksgiving. Taking time out to observe and make special mention of all that we have in our lives that is going well and that we can be thankful for. This can happen once a year such as we are doing today. It can happen during religious or spiritual ceremonies or on special moments when we get together with friends. It may change our way of thinking and feeling for that day, or even for a couple of days. Soon, the thought of what is missing in our lives creeps back in and we live in a state of lack until that time again next year. That is true unless…

We tap into the power of gratitude. Gratitude to me should be something that we practice daily. Several times a day as often as we can. Why? Because the more we practice gratitude the better our life becomes. The definition for gratitude is to be appreciative for all the good you have in your life. You have hot water? You have electricity in your home? You have a job to earn a living? You can express gratitude for all of those things. Trust me when I tell you there is always something in your life to have gratitude for. You may be so out of practice in looking for the good it may take you a while to find it, but it is there. When you start looking for good things in your life they start to become easier to find. This, in turn, causes an increase in good feelings. What does an increase in frequency and intensity in good feelings get you? A more enjoyable life. That is where a lot of people stop, and that certainly is a great state to be in, but there is something better.

Grateful. How is being grateful different from expressing gratitude? Being grateful does not depend on good things happening to you. Remember our examples above? Let us take a another look at them? What happens if your hot water goes out? Being grateful means you understand what a blessing it is to have hot water as a normal circumstance and being without is a great reminder. Being grateful means you are still thankful that the water is clean and you have means in which you can heat it. Electricity go out? Being grateful means being thankful not only that it is usually available, but there are hard-working people on the job 24/7 to help get it back on track. Your job not what you like? Perhaps you even lost your job? Grateful is a chance to improve your budgeting skills and yourself while you pursue something that will bring you spiritual as well as monetary fulfillment.

If that last state sounds a bit like looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, it kind of is. Do yourself a favor and imagine what your life would be like if you were able to find joy and the good in life no matter what the outside circumstances were? You would be in a state of bliss most of the time! What would that give you? One hell of a great life. Trust me when I tell you I know this isn’t easy. I am working to develop a feeling of being grateful in my life. What a goal to pursue. Everyday I become closer to being able to appreciate the joy in life even in the toughest circumstances. That does not mean there are not days in which I falter. We will all have them. The sooner you get them out of the way, and the more you learn from them, the closer you will be to living a life feeling grateful.

As you observe this wonderful day of thanksgiving, begin to ponder how you can foster that feeling more often. I suggest starting with having gratitude for all the good that comes in your life. Taking a moment and appreciating those things. Then strive to feel grateful even in the face of challenges. Celebrate the fact you are alive every day to experience all the world has to offer. There is even beauty in pain. When we arrive at the state in which we can experience that, life becomes a state of magic.

THE HIGHEST FORM OF APPRECIATION

Are you one who ‘talks the talk’ or do you ‘walk the walk’? As we approach my favorite holiday and begin to focus on what we are grateful for, let us think of this quote. Let us show our appreciation not just in words (although I encourage everyone to do that as well) but in actions. Let us not just speak our gratitude, but show our appreciation through our actions too.

Grateful for first responders? Make sure we are pulling over to let them pass and driving slow when we drive past them. Grateful for someone in your life? After you tell them, make sure to do something to show them as well. This is not just for Thanksgiving, but all year.

THE POWER OF CHOICE

If you were to print this list out and hang it on the bathroom mirror it would be a great way to start the day. In every day if we look hard enough we can find something to feel blessed, grateful, excited, thankful and happy for. Even if the world seems to be crashing down around you, which I know can happen, it is good to get into the practice of doing this.

Here is what I suggest. Print this out, or write it down. Place this somewhere you go every morning. The bathroom mirror is an easy idea because most people visit that room before they begin their day. Then ask yourself the questions, “What do I feel blessed about today?” “What am I grateful for today?” “What am I excited about today?” “What am I thankful for today?” and finally, “What am I happy about today?” Do your best to come up with answers for as many of the questions as possible. Do this every day. Make it a habit. Try this for 30 days and see how much better you feel.

A GREAT LESSON

Yes, you are about to witness another post involving the Wisconsin State Fair. It is my favorite place after all. Even while ‘on vacation’ I still notice things that we can all gain motivation from. Take the example in the two pictures above.

I found this display behind one of the barns housing animals. It was a place where the people exhibiting their animals could thank those people who helped them on their journey to the fair! A lot of the signs you could tell were composed by young people. What a great lesson to teach these children? Instead of focusing on whether or not your pig or cow came in first, to appreciate all the work that went into just getting there. To remind them of the sacrifice of a lot of people made so their chance was possible.

Not all parents reading this have children in 4H or FFA, but in any case it is a good lesson to impart. Starting children out in the practice of gratitude early not only helps the parents have a more grateful child, but as the child grows into an adult it will help them to remain focused on what they have instead of focusing on what they lack.

What a great gift to give to a child, a tool to help them remain positive even in tough times. There is nothing, in my opinion, that can transform a life for the better than fostering an attitude of gratitude.

What if you don’t have any children or what if they are grown adults? The same holds true for friends and coworkers. Helping anyone become more grateful will make their life so much better. It will increase joy and decrease stress. A regular reminder of what we all are grateful for will help us all. What a great conversation to have as well. I would much rather listen to someone telling me what they are thankful for rather than listening to them complain. Let us all work together to help each other become grateful.

WHO WE ALL SHOULD BE

Anyone who knows me knows that I believe you should do your best to be who you are deep in your soul. So what is up with the title of this post? Well in case you didn’t catch the picture allow me to tell you. Whether you are a farmer or an artist. Whether you work at a coffee shop or the post office. Whether you are short, tall, black,white or some other beautiful shade we should all be somebody who makes everyone feel like somebody. 

What does this really mean? Let give you a great example of this in action. There was a class on successful business being given by a man who was a CEO of a successful company. After several weeks the final exam came. When the students reached the final question they were shocked to see it was worth 50% of their grade. The question? What was the name of the cleaning lady that worked until their class began every morning. 

The point of this was that as a business owner, and dare a day to be successful in any area of life, we must realize every person has great value. If that cleaning lady had not attended to their classroom it would have been filled with dirt, trash, possibly insects and other pests. 

This weekend take the next two days to stop and offer appreciation for the people you come across. Not only will you give them a good feeling, and thus give yourself one as well, but that is how we should treat each other. 

Make this an ongoing habit and you will find yourself surrounded by happy and loyal friends in great abundance. Feel free to share this post to inspire others and share your story of showing appreciation in the comments below. 

A MAGIC PILL

What if i told you there was a magic pill that was completely safe and legal? This magic pill would give you an immediate boost of good feelings. It would also improve your outlook on the future. It would improve your relationships and deepen the love and appreciation you both give to others and feel yourself. It would help your goals materialize faster and multiply all you have. In your darkest moments it will provide you with hope. When you are having a great day it will take you to new heights. It will keep you looking and feeling young.

How much would you pay for this pill? What if I told you that the pill was free? How far would you look for a dealer? Here is the great news, you have an ample supply of this pill. In fact, you could take a dose of it at anytime. More great news, you cannot overdose on this magic pill. In fact, the more you take the better it is for you!

Ok, so what is this magic pill and how can you start taking it? Let me caution you before I reveal what this drug is do not dismiss its power. This drug can be taken in many different forms. The more forms you take the better the effect. Perhaps you think you have taken this drug before, and maybe you have in a very mild dose. Here is what I suggest, take a very high dose of this pill and take it in several different forms. Do so for about a week and see what happens to both you and your life.

Ok, this magic pill is actually something we are celebrating today here in the U.S. It is the power of gratitude. Sounds weak? Perhaps you are thinking you have practiced gratitude in the past. You said thank you when someone opened the door or brought you coffee. Feeling grateful for the good in your life is very important and can increase what you receive, but it is merely a great first step. So take that dose. Make a list of 5 things you are grateful for each day for a minimum of 7 days. See what happens. The next dose which will provide you hope in the darkest of times. It will help you rise to the top in the face of chaos and challenge. That is being thankful for even the challenges in your life. Truly if we search hard enough everything has a blessing in it. Being able to find it gives you a super power. The last dose is finding a way to be grateful for your life in general. Just being awake and alive fills you with an almost overwhelming feeling of gratitude. By then you will be unstoppable.

You can take this drug in a multitude of ways. The list we discussed is only one. Sharing the drug with others only increases its power. Call a friend just to share what you are thankful for in them. Send out thank you cards to those you appreciate. I can assure you that people are not used to this magic pill and sharing it with them will not only make their day, it may change their life. Don’t believe me? Think of how you would feel if a friend hands you a card that contains handwritten account of everything they appreciate about you.

Today is Thanksgiving, which happens to be my favorite holiday. I have to confess only now am I truly beginning to appreciate the true power of being grateful and it is exciting! I invite you to join me. I also invite you to share any ways in which you express gratitude and share the feelings with others.