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.

TRADITIONS

The Holiday season is almost upon us. At local stores decorations are starting to go up, I even heard a Christmas song on the radio the other day. With the holidays coming up we can find our minds turning toward traditions. There are many different kinds of traditions. There are traditions based on our different faiths. This can encompass many different things from fasting, praying, style of dress and many more. These traditions are very important for cultural reasons. The connect us as a faith-based community and refresh our spiritual nature. There are also different family traditions. These can include shopping for holiday gifts together, creating a holiday meal together or just gathering at a certain family members house for great times. The traditions here can be as unique as the family itself.

The tradition I would like to discuss today is more individual. It can be between spouses, brother and sister, friends or even an individual tradition. The picture I used for this blog post is one of Margie and me at one of our favorite breakfast places. We have been going there since shortly after we met. Sadly, this day we missed another tradition of ours which was an event called ‘Cider Sunday’ in which a local nature preserve celebrates all things apple. We also have other traditions that we have began. Most of them both add love to our life, as well as keeping that love fresh and fun. Do you have something like this with the love of your life? Maybe a special place you go on a birthday? Maybe an event you look forward to attending every year? Do you celebrate the first day of spring by having a picnic in the park for example?

If you do not have a romantic tradition, or would like to include more, why not get together with your love today and discuss that? This also works with brother and sisters, friends, coworkers and anyone else you would like to include. My suggestion is this, create traditions that help that relationship grow. Maybe something that fosters a feeling of gratitude and appreciation in the relationship, or perhaps a way to grow and learn together? In the case of romantic partners, use Margie and me as an example. Create traditions that feed love and keep it fresh and growing.

Personal traditions may be something that is not as familiar with a lot of you, but I think they can have a great impact on our lives. Perhaps start a tradition of keeping a gratitude journal every night or at the very least once a week. A daily or weekly meditation practice could serve you as well. They can be traditions that add joy to your life. I do things to celebrate the first day of spring and summer each year. I also attend a bicycle expo every year as it helps me look forward to spring and being able to get out and ride.

Feel free to share any traditions you have with us in the comments below. Whether they are Faith, family, romantic or personal. This way we can all inspire each other with great ideas!

 

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.

THE RICHES OF GRATITUDE

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This is a quote from Oprah Winfrey, one of the wealthiest women in the world. In a day when we stop to give thanks she certainly has a lot to be thankful for. Before you start with feelings of jealousy or envy you may want to research her story. I’ll spare you the details but tell you she didn’t always have it all.
So what does this have to do with you and I? Are we saying here of you are grateful you will be as rich as Oprah? Yes and no. I cannot promise you the money, although that may very well come, but i can promise a feeling of wealth if you develop an attitude of gratitude.  How do you do this?
Here is a very powerful exercise i share at my seminar. It will literally change your life in a major way in a short time.  I know because i owe the turn around on my own life a great deal to this very practice. It is simple but extremely powerful.
Here it goes. Get a pen and paper and write five things you are grateful for and why. Ten sentences. Then read those ten sentences before you go to bed and first thing in the morning.  Takes all of 3 minutes at the most. Not too hard so far right? Here is where the magic happens. Everyday write one more thing you are grateful for and why. Then continue to read your list before bed and first thing in the morning. This does two very interesting things. One, it keeps you focused on what is working on your life and two, it trains your brain to be on the lookout for things to be grateful for. Do this for three weeks. Even take the
weekends off if you like. I promise you after three weeks your life will never be the same! I invite you to share your results in the comments below

DON’T BE A TURKEY!!

In the USA today we celebrate Thanksgiving. It is toward the end of the year where we reflect on all the things we have to be grateful for. Much like New Years, where we have a holiday set aside to specifically set goals and focus on our future. Thanksgiving should be a practice and not a holiday. So instead of a few quick words before devouring lots of food Why not take all of five to ten minutes of your day to just sit down with a pen and paper and reflect over the past year and think of at least five things that have occurred or that we have accomplished that you are thankful for. Write them down. List them under 2013. I can safely say that there are many things as I reflect on the year that I can be thankful for. I am thankful for the joy I was able to bring to the town of Franksville Wisconsin. I am also proud of the way I accepted my removal from that position and being able to see the good in that. Of course I am thankful for completing my first book, and starting my second. I am also thankful for meeting a new creative partner in my new friend Margie as well as discovering a close friend and source of inspiration in my friend Kim. I am grateful for continuing developing my relationship with my sister Michelle whom I had the pleasure of discovering only a few years ago. See that was five things right there and it took me all of 2 minutes to write them down here. I encourage you to right them down for a couple of reasons. One, it forces you to take the time to really think and focus on being grateful while you are writing or typing them. The other reason is you start to develop a record of everything you have survived, accomplished and appreciated over the year. More on this later. Next flip the paper over and write 2014 on top. I know this will take even a little more time out of your holiday, but trust me this will be fun. Number the paper one through five and think of five things you are looking forward to being thankful for this time next year. Think of how great you will feel a year from now. Here is a little secret. One through four should be realistic goals and things that you are working towards. number five should be a bit of a reach. Think of one big, exciting goal that gets your blood pumping! Do not worry about whether you think it can be accomplished in a year or not, that is not your concern at the moment. Just pick something that gets you excited, write it down. My examples from this year is as follows. I look forward to collaborating on projects with several of the new creative souls I have been blessed with. I look forward to help bring other people’s books to print and help them realize their dreams of becoming an author. I look forward to continue building the people I reach with this blog and my books. There are four, so what is my big exciting fifth goal? I am thankful for becoming a full-time author in the year 2014. There it is. Not only have I written it down for myself, but I have made myself accountable to all of you reading this blog. The thought of being able to write books that bring joy to people’s lives and change their worlds and to do so for a living excites me more than you can imagine. Now by place this list in an envelope and mark it 2013 (you can also store it on a file in your computer if that works for you) around New Years day take another glance at it. Looking at what you wish to be thankful for may very well help you set better resolutions. Plus it will reinforce the thought in your mind. I also recommend doing this at least one other time during the year. The middle of the year like in June would work well. Of course the more you look at this list and imagine how wonderful it will feel to be grateful the more likely you are to move toward them. Then next Thanksgiving let us all meet back here to discuss what we have to be grateful for

WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE…

In place of the usually bits of wisdom and inspiration we have a special announcement. Today marks the one year anniversary of the very first post on this blog. Today I am feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude to quite a few people. Ironically the first post I ever created was entitled ‘gratitude’ If you haven’t read it before I encourage you to scroll back and check it out. Several reasons this is good. One, is to see how much better this blog has gotten. Two, to see how full circle we have come and three because out of all the traits you can develop to turn your life around gratitude would probably be the biggest. it is impossible to feel fearful while feeling grateful. It is impossible to feel sad while feeling completely grateful. I just want to take a second and throw a few names out there that make this all possible. I want to thank Aileen who in her own unique way helped me discover my true purpose in life and get this thing all turned around. I wish to thank Kristina who not only continues to encourage me, but gave me great information and motivation to do both this blog and my upcoming book. Never would I thought we would have become such good friends, but I am glad we did. Alysa and Carmen, I know I have mentioned you a million times, but truly you have no idea how much your words that one fateful evening pushed me forward. To Kim who daily gives me so much feedback and insight which helps make everything I do that much better. you are amazing and honestly I’m not sure I would’ve kept this up without you. Kierston, thank you for reminding me of what is possible when we follow our dreams! Margie, thank you for being a recent blessing to my life. Your creative influence will only continue to be a greater blessing. Janell, thank you for all the well wishes. May your journey find it’s joy. Michelle, my amazing sister, not only do you give me great constructive criticism, but you are a better promoter than I will ever be. Love you to pieces. To my publisher Brooke, you must have the patient of a saint. I thank you for all your understanding! All the people who read this blog, take time to comment or share this site, or now our Facebook page with those you love and care about or just people you know are looking to improve your life, I thank you for coming with me on this amazing journey! I promise tomorrow we will return to the inspiration. As we look forward to all that we are going to become and accomplish let us have a moment to pause and be grateful for all we have learned and become wiser, healthier and more enlightened this past year!

A WHOLE MONTH OF IT!

We find ourselves in the month of November. Here is the USA we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving. Although I am no fan of cold weather I am a big fan of a holiday dedicated to reflecting on all we have to be grateful for. I have seen something happening on facebook that I would love to encourage all of us to do. A few of my friends have decided to post one thing a day that they are grateful for. If you have followed this blog for any length of time you know I am a big fan of creating lists. Lists of things that make us happy, lists of our favorite people, or a list of things to be grateful for. The problem with lists if twofold. First, it seems like a project to some people. Sitting down and having to come up with ten or twenty things can seem so daunting that many just skip it all together. Second, once the list is complete the process is over. Unless you look at the list every day it may escape your thoughts all together. By just picking one thing a day for a month not only is it not so overwhelming, but daily you are focused on maintaining an attitude of gratitude. Now I realize we are already at the fourth of the month, but that should not matter. We can go for 26 days or until the fourth of December. Just try this simple thing for 30 days. Whether you share it on Facebook, or simply write it down in a notebook be sure to follow your thought with a concrete action. Maybe a special section in your journal. After 30 days it will be exciting to notice the change in your life. Not only that, but you will now have created that list of thirty things you have to be grateful for. Gratitude is a powerful emotion. It displaces fear. You cannot be fearful while you are feeling grateful. It replaces sadness. You cannot feel sad while you are feeling grateful. So keep your list handy for a day when the blues come a calling. Second you will find yourself searching your life for things to be grateful for that you can pick as your daily item. By doing this you will have trained your brain to develop a grateful attitude. So why not try it. It takes all of 60 seconds a day of thinking and writing and can change your life for the better. How much easier and more powerful can we make it?

GRATITUDE

Gratitude, a simple word, yet few of us realize how powerful it can be. It should be fairly obvious that expressing gratitude t0 others can certainly make them feel appreciated. What many of us may not think of is what having a grateful state of mind can do for ourselves. Someone once said it is impossible to be fearful and be grateful at the same time. I would like to add ‘upset’, ‘angry’, ‘depressed’ and a host of other undesirable emotions to that list. I encourage you to challenge that theory. Compose a list of things you are truly grateful for. Make this a list of heartfelt items. Keep this list with you in a pocket or a purse for about a week. Read it upon waking, right before retiring and one other time during the day. As you read your list do your best to feel the gratitude as well as read the list. All three times should take around 5 minutes of your day. Try this for one week and let me know the positive changes you notice. Today is thanksgiving, a good day to start compiling your list. After a week you may wish to make every day thanksgiving. Live with Love my friends!