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Everyday Gratitude

Thanksgiving is hands-down my favorite holiday. There’s cooking and feasting, two of my favorite activities. But there is also togetherness. I hope all of you are with people you love today – family of origin or family of choice.

I decided to kick off my day with a gratitude list; written by hand and copied below:

Today I am grateful.

Grateful I have a safe home in a place where I enjoy living.

Grateful I have a Higher Power (HP) who loves me and guides me.

Grateful I have two sweet kitties that I love very much.

Grateful to be in a loving relationship that is helping me to grow.

Grateful I have a job I enjoy with good pay and a fantastic boss.

Grateful for the travel that has taken me to see the world.

Grateful for my intelligence and creativity.

Grateful that I see my value as a whole person – not just in “good qualities.”

Grateful for clean, hot, running water, reliable power, and an internet connection.

Grateful for my strong, healthy body and the willingness to take care of it.

Grateful for the bravery of those who are willing to live with emotional courage.

Grateful for what has been given, what has been taken away, and what has been left behind.

Grateful for the willingness to take down my own walls.

Grateful for my friendships and the dear people I’ll see this weekend.

Grateful for the time to write this.

Grateful for a long break from work and routine.

Grateful for the life I’ve created for myself, free from the self-induced pain and misery that I used to always carry.

Grateful for the knowledge that pain is temporary and suffering is a choice.

Grateful for a desire to live in acceptance and love vs. the self-hatred of “should.”

Grateful to know there is nothing I can’t handle with HP by my side.

Grateful to feel love growing and emerging within me.

Grateful that our travel was safe and we are home.

Grateful for my big American coffee maker and hair dryer 🙂

Grateful for the willingness to grow and change.

Grateful for the ability to steer clear of toxic people and situations.

Grateful that I can now allow others to feel their own pain and knowing I don’t have to take it on for myself.

Grateful that I can allow others their joy without envy or comparison.

Grateful for the willingness to listen for HP’s loving guidance.

Grateful for a life free from fear and free from want.

Grateful that I am exactly where I am intended to be.

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Before the Party … a Few Moments of Peace

NYE ritualsAs I write this, I am preparing for a very important ritual. I lit some candles, found some peaceful music. My home is suffering some “holiday chaos,” but I cleared and prepared and nice space before me for the ritual. After I write this, I will shut down the laptop, turn off the phone, brew a pot of tea, and spend a couple of reflective hours with myself. This isn’t a time for hurrying or for distraction. This is time I spend in the loving company of myself.

For the past several years, one of my rituals has been to write myself a love letter. Then, I open it on the following New Year’s Eve. This year, I’m doing the same, but with a twist – I am also going to write a letter to my Higher Power (which I call God), written as though all of my prayers for this year have been answered.

But this morning I was blessed to find this terrific New Year’s ritual from The Ford Institute. So I am going to embark on this as well – some writing, some prayer, some meditation. The ritual begins with taking a vow to myself and to the universe to find peace and blessings in the coming year, and to live in the best way that I can. After that, this is how the rest goes:

  • Make a list of 10 experiences that blessed and nourished you in 2013.
  • To complete 2013, write out why you chose the challenging experiences of the last year. Do this from the highest perspective so that you can find their gifts.
  • Notice if you’re carrying any dark, small or limiting thoughts into 2014. Write them all down. Affirm you don’t need them anymore. They’re not the truth. They’re just thoughts. Then rip them up into 100 shredded little pieces and throw them in the trash.
  • Choose one quality (e.g., love, peace, success, respect, etc.) that you most want to express and commit to in 2014. Write out 5 ways that you can give and share this quality with others.
  • Write down 5 goals that you feel inspired to commit to in 2014.
  • Read this vow or use one of your own each morning to reconnect with the power you hold to light up the world.

Whether tonight includes a festive gathering of friends, quiet time with a loved one, or a solo night relaxing, I wish you all a safe, happy, joyous, blessed, and peaceful New Year. Thanks for being with me on this journey for the last year. I am sending you all the love of the universe for 2014!

Grateful for: Past experiences

Today’s gratitude installment: I am thankful for past experiences, or specifically in this case, relationships that are no longer a part of my life.

I am trying to make a conscious effort to no longer say that a relationship “didn’t work out.” True, we decided we didn’t want to be together anymore in the capacity that we once were. That usually means no longer having contact with each other. But just because we aren’t together anymore doesn’t necessarily mean that things didn’t work out. It means that in the natural progression of things, our lives moved on, and as such, our paths diverged.

But in those times when we were a part of each other’s lives, we had some great experiences. We laughed. We supported each other. We had some great moments and memories together.

In ending things, it helped me to decide what I want or didn’t want in the future. It’s given me an assessment of how well (or not well) I was able to relate to another person from an intimate perspective. I could compare it to my education: Even if I never again used the lessons I learned in school, I don’t feel it was necessarily a waste of time for me to learn them.

All of these experiences brought me to the place where I am now. As I work to make peace with my past, release my resentments, and move toward a place of maintaining serenity and spiritual contentment, the lens through which I look at my past has a huge influence on that. It’s impossible for me to move forward joyfully if I keep trying to drag past baggage along for the ride.

Today, I am grateful for the people of my past, no matter what pain or sadness it might have brought me at one time. I am choosing to release them with loving kindness.

Grateful for: Ownership, and Disownership

Here is just one way I can tell that I still have healing to do in this lifetime:

When I see someone doing something that just doesn’t seem “right” to me; when I see someone expecting another person to take responsibility for them; when someone acts toward me with what appears to be unkindness or selfish intent; when a painful memory from years past pops into my head …

And it bothers me.

The anger, resentment, irritability, whatever … that is a sign of healing left to be done. Whatever is pushing those buttons, chances are the buttons are actually woundedness from long ago. It’s not something that exists in the present, but I’ve still carried it with me.

Today I am expressing gratitude for ownership. I am able to own my thoughts, feelings, emotions, and overall spiritual well-being. I can own my happiness and take responsibility for it. I no longer view myself as a victim of life’s whims, because in every situation, I have a choice – whether it’s to walk away, keep on going, or just to simply choose a better outlook.

In that, I reclaim my power.

I also express gratitude for disownership. The thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and actions of another person don’t belong to me – even if that person says that I caused them. That’s because they, too, always have a choice. That’s not an excuse to act like a jerk and then feel like I have the right to get off scot-free. It is, however, a sanity saver when I catch myself feeling I need to behave or think in a certain way in order to gain someone’s approval or avoid their wrath. It’s also a concept that has helped me to offload mountains of guilt.

I hope that you’ll own this day, and all days, and seize it with all of your power – for kindness, joy, peace, and happiness.

Andrew Hines

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