The Power of Gratitude – Phase 1

Personal-Development-The-Power-of-Gratitude-Phase-1

A simple little thing called the gratitude list actually transformed my life.

Has your life ever been turned upside down?  You know what I mean – when you are faced with the kind of challenge that is so great it feels like you’ve been socked in the stomach and you can hardly breathe.   You don’t know how you’re going to get out of bed in the morning to even put one foot in front of the other.  We’ve all been there, whatever your challenge may be.

For me, it was a 15 year relationship that suddenly ended, and through a series of circumstances, it lead me to losing my business, losing my home, and worst of all, losing myself!  I don’t have to tell you that my belief in myself and my self-confidence were shaken to the core.

But life has twists and turns, and years later my life took another turn that helped me to recreate myself and start over again.  I now have a successful career, welcoming home, and a loving marriage.  I can honestly say that a huge part of my transformation came from using a gratitude list every day.

During my darkest moments, it was really hard to find anything I was grateful for.  As awful as that may sound, it’s true.  I couldn’t think of anything good in my life– I could think of only what I had lost.  So every day for 30 days – that’s the trick – 30 days, I took out a pad of paper and pen and wrote down everything I was grateful for that day.   And as the days passed, I found that my list got longer and the things I was grateful for came easier to me.   At the end of the 30 days, I actually felt better.   And that’s all I wanted – to feel better.

I’m not kidding you.  This gratitude list really works.  So if you find yourself in a sad place – or even a happy one, try writing down what you are grateful for every day for 30 days.  Let me know how it goes.

I do believe there are three phases to gratitude and writing your gratitude list every day is the first phase.   I will share my thoughts on the other two phases in my next two blogs.

Happy writing; happy new discoveries!

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The Power of Gratitude

Personal-development-the-power-of-gratitude

I choose to live in gratitude.  That means being grateful for the good things that come my way, and also the not-so-good challenges of everyday life.

You notice that I use the word “choose”, because that’s exactly what you have to do.

Right now, because of the severe storms that just passed through my area, my back yard is one huge puddle.  And I can’t open my back door without being attached by mosquitoes.   I can complain and moan but at the end of the day, my back yard is still one huge puddle and I’m still eaten alive by mosquitoes.

So, I’ve made a conscious decision to “flip the switch”.  That’s what I like to call it.  When you take a good look at the negative and find something positive.  Sometimes it takes a little effort, but you can always find some good.

Today, I “flip the switch” and I find these beautiful yellow flowers in my back yard.  I choose to see the beauty that all this rain has brought.  Of course, a heavy dose of bug spray helped a LOT!

I believe that gratitude comes in three phases.  In the next three weeks, I’ll be talking about my experience with gratitude and how it truly transformed my life.  Please let me know your thoughts on gratitude – whatever they are.  I’d love your honest comments.  I’ll be happy to add some of your thoughts to my upcoming blogs.

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The Fear of Asking Questions

Personal-Development-The-Fear-of-Asking-Questions

Taking time for yourself, whether it’s going on vacation, spending a week-end with your favorite person, or just taking a “time out” for a day of fun, can end in memories that last a lifetime.  Often, the pictures we take make us smile and laugh out loud.  That’s what happened to me.

As I was going through my photos from my recent trip to England, I came across this one and I just had to smile.  I remember it so clearly – just like it happened yesterday.  It was a glorious day, about 70 degrees with the sun shining  – such a beautiful blue sky.  I decided to travel to this nearby town called Henley on the Thames.  What a perfect day to explore.

I had no idea what I was going to find, but off I went.

As I walked through the main street of this lovely little town, I saw a building that was so quaint, I was drawn to it.  It turned out to be the Visitor Center, so I decided to check it out.

There was a woman standing behind the counter.  She seemed so busy – and I assumed she didn’t have any time to talk to me.  I almost turned around to leave, then I told myself:

“No – you’ve come all this way.  Now turn around and talk to her”.  So I decided to ask her one question:

“I have one day in Henley.  What do you suggest I do?”

Her face lit up and she gave me enough info to fill my day.  That one question made all the difference in the world, and because of it, I learned about a river cruise down the Thames River.  What a wonderful experience!  One I would never have had if I didn’t take the time to ask that one question.

So, the next time you have a question – just ask.  Don’t assume that the other person is too busy, or that your question is silly.  By asking, you will find new adventures waiting for you.

And if you are too shy to ask questions, let me know.  I’ll share some hints on how to make it easier.

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Find Happiness in Life’s Contrasts

I’m a city girl.  Always have been.  Always will be.

I was born in a big city, raised in a big city, and lived 63 years of my life in that same big city.

But the last couple of years have introduced me to a life that is a total contrast – 360 degrees – from what I’m used to.  Two years ago, everything changed and my life took a turn that lead me to a totally different lifestyle.

It’s interesting how some things can be so different, yet ultimately they are the same.

For instance, when I lived in the big city, traffic had me creeping along at 10 miles an hour until I was ready to scream and abandon my car.

Now, with no traffic, I still find myself creeping along at no more than 10 miles an hour because I’m stuck behind a huge piece of farm equipment and I can’t pass it.  I see all that open road ahead and I can’t get to it.  Again – wanting to scream and abandon my car.

In the big city, I couldn’t sleep at night because of the constant sirens and car horns beeping.  Now, in my quiet community, the frogs, crickets and owls keep me awake.  You may think that the later is more desirable, but if you can’t sleep, no matter what the reason is, it drives you crazy!!!

So what has all this contrast taught me?  One huge lesson – that there is a side of me that I didn’t even know existed.  This different way of life brings me new experiences every day, helps me grow, and become a more interesting, fulfilled person.

What contrast do you have in your life?  If you live in the city, do you take time to venture out into nature and enjoy something different?  If you live in a smaller town, what about stepping out of your comfort zone and experiencing the excitement that a city can offer?  Try it, and you will find things about yourself that you didn’t even know existed.

To prove it, here’s a photo of me, the city girl, actually picking strawberries that were grown in my own back yard.  They are delicious!  Yes, this is me, enjoying the contrast in my life.

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There’s Good and Bad in Everything

This past week-end I was going to take a “time-out”.  Yes, I was going to hit the refresh button for two full days and not feel guilty about it for one minute.  I was looking forward to relaxing, sleeping in, and just plain lounging around.

Saturday morning I am greeted by a very loud bird right outside my window at 6:00am.  Yes, 6:00 AM!!!!!!  He is so noisy and loud that he wakes me up.  UGH – how can I shut him up?  It’s driving me crazy.  Doesn’t he know this is my morning to sleep in???

I can’t go back to sleep and I’m annoyed and irritated.

That is – until I decide to flip the switch, change my mindset, or whatever you would like to call it.

I realize I can’t change his loud chirping, so I decide to embrace it.  Just like clockwork, he’s back Sunday morning at 6:00am sharp.  But this time I decide to really listen that that little rascal.  He’s not going away so I decide to “hear” him differently.

I’m amazed – this annoying noise has turned into a sweet song.  I guess you could even call it a love song.  I’m lying in bed, imagining him singing to attract the love of his life.

It’s actually very beautiful – and I decided this is a lovely way to wake up each morning.

What is irritating you right now?  What are some of the things you encounter every day that you just can’t change?  When you are faced with those annoying, “I can’t stand it anymore” situations, think about flipping the switch.  Find the good in the bad – then point your finger straight at it and say: “You can’t bother me anymore.”

If you have trouble finding the good, leave a comment.  Maybe I can help.

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