Category Archives: Gratitude
Yesterday was a very windy day at the Hollywood Beach in Florida. I experienced Mother Nature’s ferocity while being repeatedly whipped by her gusts and blasted by her sand. Until I changed my perspective.
I decided to reframe my circumstances in that moment: instead of feeling the wind thrashing me, I imagined the wind caressing me. Immediately I felt calmer, more peaceful, cared for, and content. Amazing.
When a gust of wind sent sand flying my way, I laughed and imagined being the recipient of a very special massage.
Struck by a BFO (blinding flash of the obvious), I realized that changing my perspective – and thus my experience – was simply a thought away.
I asked myself (and now you), “How and where might changing our perspectives bring more joy into our lives?” I first considered several people in my life. Might it be equally easy to shift my perspective about them and, in turn, create even more enjoyable relationships? Of course! I do it whenever I practice the Revolutionary Agreement “to see the best in myself and others.”
What about troubling circumstances? To shift my perspective about those, I realize all I need to do is apply the Agreement “to look for blessings in disguise.” Could it be that simple? Why not?
While taking my sunrise walk on the beach, it began to rain and then pour. I headed for shelter. Wet but safe from the cloudburst, I contemplated what the blessing in disguise might be for this morning’s interruption to my peaceful walk. The answer appeared immediately: I might be fortunate enough to witness one of Nature’s stunning rainbow arches. I eagerly headed back to the beach as soon as the rain subsided.
As I looked around, I thought about the people who wouldn’t see the rainbow because they weren’t looking for it. That led me to ruminate about visitors who don’t stand still long enough to gaze unhurriedly at the ocean and yet they say, “I haven’t seen a whale yet.”
Whether we wish to see rainbows, whales, prosperity, love, or any other heart’s desire, we must be looking for them. At least that’s what I thought. Until today.
Continuing my walk along the ocean, my mind went on to other ideas, and I forgot about looking for a rainbow. Just then, a nice-looking, fortyish man approached me smiling. “Did you see what’s behind you?” he asked. Oh my! There it was. Nature’s palette in the sky.
My mostly healthy 95-year old mom has what doctors call “mild cognitive impairment.” I call it “no more sticky cells for new information.”
After one of my brother’s visits to mom, he called me to vent his frustration. “She asks me the same question over and over even though I just answered her!” he exclaimed.
I asked, “How is she feeling?” “Great,” he replied.
“I’m really worried about her,” he continued. “I told her ten times how to do what she asked, and it was as though I hadn’t told her once.”
“How are her moods?” I asked. He replied, “I don’t think I’ve seen her this happy since before dad died 18 years ago.” A blessing in disguise perhaps?
My husband and are living in Florida for a few months to be closer to mom. I visit her every couple of days and must say I haven’t seen her this content ever. She is truly enjoying her every moment. I captured one of them in this photo I took of her savoring a donut yesterday. I suppose at 95, you can eat whatever you like!
One hundred years ago, Eleanor Porter brought 12-year old Pollyanna to life. Years later, someone twisted Pollyanna’s gift of infectious optimism into a perversely negative connotation. Now we often hear people say with scorn, “Don’t be such a Pollyanna.”
My contention is that the world needs more, not less Pollyannas.
The character of Pollyanna is neither blindly optimistic nor without struggle. Instead, she is a model of living two of the Revolutionary Agreements: seeing blessings in disguise in the midst of adversity, and seeing the best in others—releasing the light and love buried in the hearts of even her most crotchety community members. (You can enjoy her book free online: http://www.literaturepage.com/read/pollyanna.html)
I knew someone like Pollyanna in real life: my dad. He rose above seemingly insurmountable struggles to become a beacon of light for all those who were blessed by his presence. And today, on Father’s day, I honor him with all my heart.
“Honest Abe” was a model of positive thinking in action. Because I never heard him complain, I had no idea what a challenging life he had had until his sister sat me down to tell me some stories when I was in my thirties.
Let’s face it. Love and money are two things everyone wants — except that we love love and when we think about money, sometimes it’s paired with the word “evil.”
I remember how uncomfortable I used to be about being prosperous. I would make myself feel better by justifying all the hard work I did to earn that money. How many people I served. How much of that money I contributed to good causes.
Then one day while paying a cashier in a grocery store, I had an epiphany. My money just paid her. It paid the people whose farm produced the food I just bought. It paid the workers who tended and harvested, cleaned and prepared the vegetables for shipping; it paid the truckers and the shelf stockers. With that small exchange, I was contributing to countless people along the way who got the food from the farm to the grocer to me.
I realized that whether I’m buying food or a luxury item, I get to thank numerous people for their creativity and hard work by exchanging money for their time and talents. I was elated! At that moment, I knew it wasn’t love of money that is “evil”; it’s stopping the flow of money that does not serve anyone. Including the flow to (and then through) me.
My brother recently spent the night at our condo on Hollywood Beach in Florida. When he entered the bathroom to shower, he discovered my Kindle lying near the sink. He quickly came out to say, “You shouldn’t keep your Kindle in the bathroom. The steam could ruin it.”
I said, “Ok.” He asked, “Where do you want me to put it?” I replied, “On my dresser.”
Seems simple enough, yes? So why has this replayed in my mind several times since?
Because my response to Stephen was unusual. Highly unusual. For most of our lives, the interaction would have sounded more like this:
“You shouldn’t keep your Kindle in the bathroom. The steam could ruin it.”
“No it won’t.”
“Yes it will.”
(As our voices elevate, they take on that singsong “I’m right, you’re wrong” tone.)
“I’ve kept that Kindle in the bathroom for three years and it hasn’t been a problem yet!”
“You’ll see (I’m right).”
In the past, I would have expected an antagonistic exchange with my brother (and then would have met my expectations, by golly.) But this time I felt differently. I felt no animosity, no need to prove I was “right” even though I knew I would return my Kindle to the bathroom after he left.
StressLESS this holiday season
and throughout the New Year!
Do you ever find yourself reacting negatively and emotionally to what someone says or does (especially someone close to you)?
Would you like to know how to disconnect from negative reactions immediately – and restore relationships with ease?
Enjoy this lively conversation with Liz Sterling, host of Sterling Spin radio, as we share ways to make the holidays – and every day – less stressful by playing T.A.G.: Truth, Acceptance, and Gratitude.
“I loved the interview. It reminded me to enhance the precious moments I have with my beautiful family by accepting any differences, trusting the flow and being so much more grateful for having them in my life.“
Laura Whittemore, Author, Speaker, Life & Relationship Coach
In less than 30 minutes, learn how to:
- instantly remove “triggers” that cause you emotional upsets
- transform inner/outer shouting matches with loved ones into peaceful, loving conversations
- bring out the best in everyone around you (including yourself)!
Download the mp3 and give it time to open. Make a cup of tea (optional). Then put your feet up, relax, and learn how to enjoy great relationships during the holidays and forever more by playing T.A.G.
Our 22-year old son shared this prayer with us yesterday. It was given to him at St. Anthony’s Hospital where he serves in the emergency room as a critical care tech.
Lord, some days, serving others
Seems especially challenging.
Thank you for reminding me today
That when I serve others
I am more than just Your hands and feet,
I am a mirror of Your Love . . .
Help me to seek understanding
Of their point of view,
So I may reflect your personal interests
In each of us . . .
Help me to have a grateful heart,
So I may reflect how great are
Your gifts to us . . .
Help me to listen in stillness,
So I may reflect Your compassion and care for us.
Help me to have a giving spirit,
So I may reflect Your abundant generosity.
Lord, thank you for reminding me today
That I serve others because you placed me here to serve,
That I am Your hands and feet
Because I chose to serve,
And that I am a mirror of Your Love
Because you first Loved me.
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