Monday, August 24, 2009

Practicing gratitude... a quick "how to"!

If we want to be able to kick a goal or play the guitar well we have to practice but how often do you consciously choose to practice being grateful? Why would you? Of all the things I've read and crazy things I have tried this is the one simple trick I have learned that is not just instantly gratifying but, over time, profoundly life improving!

Maybe you don't feel grateful for very much? Life may have dealt you one too many hard blows. Plenty of people feel pretty knocked around by life, or ground down by the rat race or are simply heart broken or devastated in some other way. That's okay - with this little experiment it's good to start small! Ease yourself in...

This is not a mind game - we're not talking about spinning things so they have a positive twist, mastering your mind and learning to talk like some self-help apostle.

This is not about smoke and mirrors, positive self talk or any of that other stuff - which can all be useful and has its place. This is about tapping into and acknowledging a genuine feeling. Something that is already in you but does't get a lot of air play. A sincere honest "thank you" that you don't have to force or talk yourself into... we're just working at getting into the habit of actually acknowledging the good stuff that unfolds in your life. Even just the tiniest things.

Some easy ways to begin may be: "thank you for giving me that parking space when I was runnng late", "thank you for this glorious sunny day!", "thank you for putting such a sweet old lady next to me on the bus today", "thanks for letting me get inside the house before it started to rain", "thanks for giving me such adorable children", "thanks for letting me be born in this country", "thanks for saving me $1 a kilo for those tomatoes today" etc...

It's takes a little time - a moment of reflection as life unfolds - to get into the swing of practicing gratitude. It requires that as something good happens you take that time to go "Ah! Thank you!". Who (or what) you choose to thank is up to you - maybe God or Allah or the Universe or Mother Mary or Krishna or Isis or the Archangel Michael or... (you get the idea!)...

...but instantly, the moment you stop, observe and acknowledge that particular gift, big or small, something happens in you: you feel grateful... and peace and happiness follow close behind. Magic.

Allowing yourself to feel good
Quote - Alex Noble - spirit of the journey
Crazy playful silly ways to feel instantly happier

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Allowing yourself to feel good

There is a school of thought that suggests we have been put on this planet to feel good - so if happiness is our birth-right then why do so many people refuse to allow themselves to feel good? It's a tad pathological, don't you think? Ah but human beings! We are such contrary creatures - we get lost in a maze of duty, expectations, dreams and what, right here right now, makes us feel tremendously nourished and well. We lie to ourselves. We find excuses for not doing those things we love with the people we love when we want to... gotta go to work, gotta be a doctor or a lawyer, gotta tidy the house, return that phone call, mow the lawn, finish that presentation for the boss...

What if - today - you DIDN'T swallow the impulse to do something your heart is telling you it really wants to do ("get a kitten!"; "take the day off and go for a surf!"; "enrol in a dance class!")... what if - just for today - you ALLOWED yourself to hear what your heart is saying, didn't judge, didn't tell it to be quiet, and just went along for the ride. Just for today. Tomorrow is not your concern just yet.

Sounds scary? If you need a bit of inspiration take a look at the book by Danny Wallace called "Yes Man" - about a guy who, for a dare, started to say yes...

Crazy silly ways to make yourself happier
I love colouring in - what do you love?
Dinner with friends

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Quote - Alex Noble: "spirit of the journey"

I came across this quote today and although I have read similar things before for some reason this quote, today, resonated with me. "Success is not a place at which one arrives but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey."

Lately I have been thinking very carefully about the concept of intention and being careful how I apply it. I guess it is a type of "mindfulness". Before I repsond to an email, a text message, a comment I have been catching myself and checking in to see if the spirit in which I am about to respond is concurrent with my values.... in simple terms: is my intenetion good!!!!? Am I wishing that person well? Am I expressing compassion? Practicing gratitude?

If the answer is "yes" I proceed. If not... well... I consider why.

It's quite interesting taking the time to ponder the "not". I am learning a lot about myself, and suddenly I find I have choices I didn't have before. I can consciously choose what to work on and what I am putting out into the world.

As I get better at it, hopefully the good stuff I am intending will be amplified and the "not-so-good" stuff will fall away. And what a fun game to be playing! Goodness knows where it could lead!

Quote - Anthony Robbins - results
Allowing yourself to feel good