"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." Brother David Steindl-Rast

Friday, April 28, 2017

Love Harder

Today I am grateful for the filling out of our trees with leaves, and for my sense of hearing. What gifts my senses bring to me when I pause to notice.

After my post yesterday on "Keep on Loving," this quote was in my email inbox from www.gratefulness.org

"When it gets harder to love, let's love harder." (Van Jones)

We have all been there. Our feelings are hurt by others. Or we have just done a number on ourselves with our negative thinking and overthinking.

Redoubling the effort to show compassion to others and ourselves, even when we aren't yet feeling it in our hearts, does make a difference.

Tolerance and acceptance are great companions to love. I will carry all into my day today.

I am taking a blog break and will be back writing early next week. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Keep on Loving

Today I am grateful for the love that I feel in my life, and for the easy and tasty overnight oatmeal Darcy and I had for breakfast.

Love. All we need is love. Keep on loving. Love is all around. Love takes two. Love takes time.
Love matters. Love heals. And on and on . . .

I am so grateful for the love of many others in my life, and for the self-love that has transformed me in my adult life, though the work of daily recovery from alcoholism and regular gratitude practice. I am deeply appreciative of the love of my husband Darcy and how our marriage has evolved and strengthened over the last 19 years.

Love from others, from an ever-compassionate Great Spirit, and that growing self-love have helped me through difficult times, and helped me soar to new heights.

People I love are facing true challenges, real tragedies, this very day. Let's keep on loving one another and sending the positive energy of love out in to the world around us. It does make a difference. It does heal and transform.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Other Forms of Life

Today I am grateful for wisdom shared in many ways by family, friends and colleagues. I am also grateful for time for meditation practice with others.

Yesterday's quote from the Dalai Lama is still lingering in my thoughts:

Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of Universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life. 

I am thinking this morning of the last portion; human responsibility to other forms of life. Our cockapoo Oliver comes to mind. We just returned from our morning walk in a cold rain. We love Oliver and we do what needs to be done to make sure he is well-cared for. I'll walk in rain or freezing temperatures or uncomfortable heat with him. 

He brings much to our loves in terms of smiles and comfort. His personality and presence are part of our family.

I think also of plants, trees, the worms on the trail in the rain, the birds singing. I try to appreciate them all and do little things like recycling, not littering, using fewer chemicals, etc. that help protect all those forms of life and also helps us two-legged creatures.

It starts by noticing my surroundings, noticing who and what I am sharing those surroundings with.
That means starting with mindful presence. When I can exist in the present moment, I tend to be kinder and gentler with myself and everyone/everything else.

Start right here. Today I will appreciate life and the many forms it takes, starting with my own breathing in and breathing out. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Universal Responsibility

Today I am grateful for recovery friends and the laughter we can sincerely share. I am also grateful for the written word and how it enhances my life-both as a writer and as a reader.

Speaking of written words, I found these quite thought-provoking:

Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of Universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life. 
(His Holiness the Dalai Lama)

There is much to be gleaned and garnered from these brief lines. What hit me first this morning is the "human to human" portion of this Universal responsibility. There is much suffering in the world. There is also much compassion and loving-kindness. 

Some of the suffering is brought on by forces beyond our own control. And if you are like me, some of it is brought on me by my own thoughts and actions. I was long my own worst enemy. I am less enemy and more friend to myself now. Progress, not perfection. Only healthy habits and actions make progress possible.

When I contribute less to my own suffering, I am better able to see the suffering of others and be of support and assistance. I become more compassionate and able to give consideration to others.

That is what I strive for today. Compassionate consideration of others and the world around me.

How about you? What part of this quote struck you when you first read it? 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sitting Between

Today I am grateful for the beautiful weather that fell on the weekend so we could enjoy it more fully. I am also grateful for the hope and healing that can happen under any circumstances.

I am especially thinking today of friends and family who are facing difficult days, from grieving the death of a child to awaiting pathology results. Hope and healing.

I am sitting in one of my favorite places-our front patio on a beautiful morning. Thank you to my husband Darcy for making it our own little peaceful haven to enjoy. The birds are singing. The soothing sound of the fountain and running water joins in. The sky is transforming. It all energizes me.

Sitting between dawn and daylight-one of my favorite times of the day. In a few minutes, I will shift gears, go get ready for work, drive 25 miles, and head into what will be a busy day at school.

Sitting between calm and hectic, between simply being and too much doing. I will enjoy the being a bit longer. It will help me keep a more sane and human tempo the rest of the day.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Pristine

Today I am grateful for legs and arms that allow me to do so many different activities. I am also grateful for the beautiful weather that fell on a weekend so we have more time to enjoy it.

One of the activities I most enjoy with my working limbs is running. Yesterday on our run, Darcy and I took in the stunning early morning scenery on a newer stretch of trail near here. I paused to catch the view from an overlook along the trail and here is what awaited me:


Pristine. That's the word that came immediately to mind. The new morning and the untouched surface of Spring Lake along the Mississippi River. It was calming to see in person and the picture is still bringing me peace as I sit here and look at it.

Pristine. Fresh greenery in the leaves and plants emerging after their winter's rest. It is one of the things I love most about spring--the rebirth and transformation of life most evident in the green grass and leaves.

Pristine. Each day starts the same way. Fresh. New. Untouched. I have some say in where it goes from there. My attitude and my actions can either mesh well or mesh poorly with the day's unfolding.
They tend to mesh so much better when mindful gratitude is included in my start.

Enjoy the newness of today. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

God's Curriculum

Today I am grateful for a successful mock crash and speaker event at my school yesterday, that the weather held for us, and for the many people who pitched in to make it possible.

I am also grateful for this quote:

"Everybody is unique. Do not compare yourself with anybody else lest you spoil God's curriculum."
Baal Shem Tov

Celebrate uniqueness and that no one else on earth is exactly like another person. Our differences make us each special and worthy of honor and dignity. Stop the comparing. Young people do it. Adults do it. Social media feeds it. Stop. Pause. Celebrate you and me. Celebrate the variety of people we each know. 

Too much comparing and everyone comes up short in one way or another. You are enough as you are. I am enough as I am. Just for this moment. Just for today. That is what God or the Great Spirit wishes for us.

I love the idea of "God's curriculum." Call it Higher Power, Supreme Being, whatever you wish. The important part for me is to acknowledge that in life I am the student far more than I am the teacher. I need a curriculum to follow that is better than any curriculum I could write. 

My humanness gets in the way of good lesson plans. If I step back and approach today with an open mind and heart, willing to do the footwork, it is amazing what I learn. If I relinquish my need for control, and make my learning objective acceptance instead, more is revealed as needed. 

We are all students of life. Let's see what today has to teach us.