IT ALL STARTS WITH GRATITUDE

A year and a half ago I began a journey that has led me to a place of happiness that I thought had slipped away. I was asking those questions we all eventually ask. Is this it?  Now what... and not that anything is bad, but you know there is another phase, and what that next phase will be is the question, how can I enter this second part of my life and be the best I can be. I came across an article on Gratitude. I actually began to feel relief just reading it. The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless, and you can do it all day every day. If you're at a place in your life where you are ready for change, healing and...yes that word...HAPPINESS, then I'd like to share with you how my life has changed with one word...  GRATITUDE

 I was on my way to Bristol Farms from doing a blog post, and I found this message as I drove by. I had to get out of my car because this message was Loud & Clear.

I was on my way to Bristol Farms from doing a blog post, and I found this message as I drove by. I had to get out of my car because this message was Loud & Clear.

I began every morning setting my alarm for early in the morning. For fifteen minutes I sat quietly, took deep breaths and began to think of  anything and everything I could be grateful for. In that space your mind becomes flooded with things that can be taken for granted of, waking up, your heartbeat, hearing birds chirp, breathing, my bed...and then I began to ask what would you (God, Universe, Higher Power etc..) have me do, I asked for a creative solution for everything... to guide me, help others, show me your way, not my way.  I didn't receive an answer right away but by staying committed to my morning ritual, and you do need to make a commitment, and boy is it worth it. Slowly the habit presented an awareness. A friend suggested I begin a blog.  How could I do that?? I'm not a writer, I don't even read blogs, I can't do that, all of those negative voices came rushing in. Then I thought, wait...I've been asking, it's time to listen. I also begin to feel butterflies and nerves the minute she suggested I do this. Instantly I knew it's exactly what I needed to do. After committing to figuring it out, this "blog thing" I then began to notice hearts everywhere and almost everyday no matter where I was. Because my heart was opening up so was my life. I felt I was on the right path, in that moment I knew the Universe had my back. The photos I'm sharing with you I have photographed all over and every day I continue to see more and more. 

 Tahiti Bora Bora

Tahiti Bora Bora

Our family loves to travel and last spring we decided to get certified for scuba diving together. We chose Tahiti and it was a magical vacation in all kinds of ways. On our last day as we were coming up I took this photo with my underwater camera. 

 A piece of bark can open your heart.

A piece of bark can open your heart.

Make a game out of noticing new things each day, you will be amazed at what your minds eye will see along your path. The feeling that comes over you fills you up and melts away all fear.

Being excited about the benefits of gratitude can be incredible because it gives us the motivation we need to start making changes. When we can make positive changes, we can then assist others. 

 Cheese platter I was making for my friends, and this slid off the knife.

Cheese platter I was making for my friends, and this slid off the knife.

Why not keep a gratitude journal by your bed. It slowly changes the way we perceive situations by adjusting our focus. What we focus on is what we get, so let's focus on the good. Don't forget... worry is a form of meditation, make a conscience decision to not let worry pick up momentum.

 It's written in stone.

It's written in stone.

Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness, it allows us to see that there are good things in the world. When things around us can sometimes be unkind and chaotic, having gratitude will encourage us to open our eyes to some amount of goodness in our life.

 I saw this on my cutting board while cleaning up after dinner.

I saw this on my cutting board while cleaning up after dinner.

Expressing gratitude allows us to search out where that goodness comes from. Acknowledging that there is something way bigger than ourselves, I think I was about three weeks into my morning ritual and there was literally a lightness that came over my entire body. I had been asleep far too long...meaning I wasn't living to my full potential, I wasn't acknowledging the true gifts life had in store for me.  

 When you walk with this guy, your bound to come across multiple signs.

When you walk with this guy, your bound to come across multiple signs.

I can honestly say I experience higher levels of positive emotions - I'm way more alert, I have joy, I wake up energized and I feel alive. Practicing gratitude is literally reprogramming your brain and it's a choice. No...life is never perfect but it's a great choice to get in the habit of looking for the good. 

 Heart in Croatia.

Heart in Croatia.

Opening your eyes to more of the world around you can deeply enhance your gratitude practice.  When we're practicing gratitude  we are celebrating the present and we're less likely to take anything for granted. increasing our conscious awareness of gratitude requires that we train ourselves to think differently. We are all programmed from a very young age, good and bad. It's never too late to reprogram ourselves. Our brain and our will are stronger than we will ever know.  

 Parking lot in Death Valley

Parking lot in Death Valley

You cannot feel envious and grateful at the same time, they're incompatible feelings. If you’re grateful, you can’t resent someone for having something that you don’t. Remember...you are you, and that's a wonderful thing. You get to create your life, It's a choice to choose gratitude.

 Capri

Capri

There are a number of studies showing that in a time of serious trauma, adversity, and suffering if people have a grateful disposition, they’ll recover more quickly.

 Parking meter in Brentwood

Parking meter in Brentwood

Grateful people have a higher sense of self-worth. I think that’s because when you’re grateful, you have the sense that someone else is looking out for you. Let go...

 Inside my car after I got in, and I had an ice tea with me and it dripped this heart.

Inside my car after I got in, and I had an ice tea with me and it dripped this heart.

Once you start to recognize the contributions that other people have made to your life—once you realize that other people have seen the value in you—you can transform the way you see yourself. It's important to see yourself in a positive light because that's what is intended for you. When you shine everyone else around you shines too.

 Hiking in Utah

Hiking in Utah

You will begin to see the good in people, you will find yourself more forgiving and way less stressful. You will feel empowered and a feeling of certainty guides you through each day.  Not only express gratitude when you feel it, but give thanks especially when you don't feel it. 

 Koi pond at the Amangiri 

Koi pond at the Amangiri 

You will sleep better - less stress - you will boost your immune system - you will have more energy - you will improve your leadership skills - you will become more creative.  If you saw the movie "The Secret", you are aware of the Law of Attraction. The Law of Attraction states that whatever you think about or talk about will be drawn into your life.  

 Another walk, another sign.

Another walk, another sign.

Gratitude changes the chemistry in our brains, thoughts can actually turn into physiological changes in our body that affect our mental and physical health. Basically, what you think affects how you feel (both emotionally and physically). So if you increase your positive thoughts, like gratitude, you can increase your over-all mental health. When you get in the habit of feeling the gratitude than everything around you changes.

Seek and you shall find, Ask and it is given...Even in Buster's dog food, there are hearts...not surprising.

 Saw this heart in the bottom of my coffee cup. Pretty amazing.

Saw this heart in the bottom of my coffee cup. Pretty amazing.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Begin giving your thanks now, there is no better time than right now.  For me hearts were my message and you never know what your message will be, but if you stay present and in conscience awareness and ask, you will receive your own personal signs and when you do you will know. It does take commitment, it takes you believing in what you cannot see, having faith, and self-love. 

 On my street

On my street

There are beautiful Jacaranda trees on our streets that bloom twice a year. I shaped the petals into a heart. We can begin to shape our world the moment we choose to focus on gratitude, abundance, our heart, our breath...the universe is just waiting for you to choose, and when you do...watch out.  Goodness comes tumbling in.  All you have to do is take the first step, and you never know what follows from that. Remember; The Universe is on your side.

                   To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kindness that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude. -- Albert Schweitzer

 Hiking in Utah with the husband in the background...love

Hiking in Utah with the husband in the background...love

 

If I can answer any questions please send me an e-mail. I would love to assist in any way I can. Believe in yourself, never give up on a dream, never worry about what anyone will think...

    Thank you, Lindsay, for our conversation one evening in my kitchen. Thank you for opening my mind to an idea I would have never thought of for myself.  I am grateful for you...