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Living In Gratitude: Desiderata

The passing of decades does not change what fundamentally makes us human, what values and attributes make us good people or the way in which we should treat one another.

The poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, was written in 1927. Despite being written 90 years ago, it’s words of wisdom still hold true, even in the 21st century. It reminds us to be kind, respectful, tolerant and honest, both to ourselves and to all those we encounter.

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Positive Outlook = Good Health

Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.

Researchers are discovering that thinking optimistically can not only raise a person’s spirits but can even improve their health and allow them to live longer.

Science has proven that there is a direct link between our brains and our bodies. Studies have shown an indisputable link between having a positive outlook and health benefits like lower blood pressure, less heart disease, better weight control and healthier blood sugar levels. Cultivating a positive mental attitude, especially when we are facing ill health, can boost our immune systems and ward off depression.

Nurturing an optimistic outlook can be beneficial even in the midst of an incurable illness, helping improve quality of life.

Dr. Wendy Schlessel Harpham is the author of several books for people facing cancer. Twenty-seven years ago, she was a practicing internist when she learned she had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. During her 15 years of treatments for eight relapses, she set the stage for happiness and hope by surrounding herself with people who lifted her spirits, keeping a daily gratitude journal, doing something good for someone else, and watching funny, uplifting movies. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Show Gratitude To People Who Challenge You

We all have people in our lives who challenge us.

These people can be overly critical, always think they are right, take credit for other’s work or successes, bring drama to every situation, blame others, or act like they know absolutely everything.

As is human nature, we often react negatively to their behaviors, actions and personalities because we find them aggravating. But instead of getting pulled into their whirlwind of negativity, try the following ways of showing them appreciation. Because, if we think about it, they are teaching us things about ourselves and how to better handle difficult people and situations. They push us, test us and stretch our boundaries of patience, all which, if we react with kindness, tolerance and gratitude, can make us a better person. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Feel, Be, Spread Love

Love is our true foundation, inborn in all of us.

Last week, our blog talked about The Four Agreements and how they can help us let go of fear and embrace an authentic life. With Valentine’s Day only a few days away, of course, this week’s topic is love.

But rather than focusing on romantic love, we are instead discussing about how to live life from a place of love. Just as when we transform our internal beliefs, when we live life based on love, this also empowers us to live authentically.

Living a life founded on love embodies three parts: Feeling love, being love and spreading love.

Feeling Love

Each of us is born from love. It is our foundation and the essence of who we are. Over time, we lose site of that and instead form a base of fear, which shrouds and overpowers the underpinnings of love. To overcome this, we first need to learn to truly love ourselves. We are all worthy, deserving and valuable no matter our faults and foibles. Loving ourselves fills us with compassion, abundance, appreciation, happiness, understanding, acceptance, forgiveness and kindness. When we love ourselves unconditionally, only then can we begin to be love and spread love.  Read more

Living In Gratitude: Listening to Understand VS Listening to Reply

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. ~Stephen R. Covey

Listening is an important part of communication but is also one of life’s most difficult skills.

When someone is speaking to us, there is a delay between what we hear and what we understand. During this time, we begin listening to our own internal conversation and as a result, our ability to comprehend what the speaker is saying declines.

This lag time can be a result of our physical or emotional state but odds are, it is due to our own thoughts and opinions that we seek out of every conversation to support our own personal beliefs. Called confirmation bias, this tendency causes us to only listen for what we want to hear.

Often, people also employ competitive listening in which they hear something they believe to be false. This causes a negative reaction, listening ceases and communication breaks down. Read more

Living In Gratitude: A New Year, A New Appreciation

Be in love with your life, every minute of it. ~Jack Keroac

Every moment of life is an adventure and January 1st holds the promise of a fresh start. Many of us choose this day to start ‘over’, to make changes in our lives.

For those considering making a New Years resolution, nurturing one’s gratitude can provide profound and life-altering changes.

Feeling and expressing appreciation spills over into all areas of life.

It enhances our relationships, creating stronger bonds among family, friends and coworkers.

Gratitude nourishes our bodies, boosting our immunity and our overall health. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Let Joy Happen

Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are. ~Marianne Williamson

When we cultivate gratitude, we feel true joy and contentment, despite what we have or don’t have in our life. The Law of Attraction states that like attracts like. This means, when we are grateful for what we already have, we naturally attract more to appreciate. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Simply Grateful for Today

Each day, we have 24 hours. That equal 1,400 minutes or 86,400 seconds. Throughout each precious day, we make choices on our attitude, our behavior, our thoughts, actions and words.  These can be hurtful or helpful, both to ourselves and others. During each of those 86,400 seconds, we choose.

Make the choice to simply be grateful for today. Notice how that gratitude spirals both outward and inward, embracing others as well as lifting us up as well.

Buddhist monks begin every day with a gratitude meditation. This helps to awaken their joy, kindness and compassion in spite of everything, reminding them of the blessings of being alive. Read more

Living In Gratitude: 6 Tips To Composing Heartfelt Thank You Notes

Saying thank you is more than good manners.  It is good spirituality.  ~Alfred Painter

People like being appreciated. Every gift deserves a thank-you, whether it is a material object, a referral, or to express your appreciation for someone’s friendship, acceptance or support.

Although occasionally a thank you email or text message will do, a handwritten note expresses a completely different level of appreciation. It takes added effort and planning (but not much) to actually pen and mail a thank you card, letter or postcard. Even if your handwriting is poor, still hand-write your notes. Do not type them or use a word processor.

Writing thank-you notes is easier than you remember them being as a kid (when your mom had you write thank you cards for every birthday gift received).

The 6 Points for a Perfect Thank You

  1. Greet the Giver

Dear Aunt Maye,

Although it’s the easy part, you’d be surprised how many people forget it.

  1. Express Your Gratitude

Thank you so much for the delicious homemade berry pie you brought to dinner the other night. 

  • Avoid beginning with, “I’m writing to thank you…” That’s stating the obvious
  • When thanking someone for money, use phrases like, “Thank you for your generosity,” or “Your kindness is greatly appreciated.
  • When writing to thank someone for an intangible (such as allowing you to stay with them for a weekend), define what the intangible thing is:  ‘Thank you for your hospitality last weekend.”
  • Don’t worry if it sounds too simple; the point is to create a simple expression of a heartfelt sentiment.

Read more

Living In Gratitude: Graciously Accepting Compliments

Everyone appreciates a compliment but many of us don’t know quite how to accept them gracefully.

Compliments can make us feel uncomfortable. We don’t want to appear as though we are ‘tooting our own horn’ by accepting a compliment yet at the same time, we want to enjoy it.

Below are a few tips to graciously accepting the gift of compliments.

Compliments are gifts. 
The best response when someone compliments you is simply: Thank you.

If that doesn’t feel like enough, try to keep your response short and sincere.

“Thank you, my parents gave this to me and it’s always been one of my favorites,” or 
”Thank you, I really enjoyed presenting to your group,”
 or “Thanks so much, that means a lot to me.“

Accept All Compliment
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When we deflect or turn down a compliment, we are basically insult the giver.

Giver: I love your outfit. It was the perfect thing to wear to this event.

Receiver: Oh, this old thing? I grabbed it out of the back of my closet.  I don’t really like it, but it was too late to find something better.

That response informed the person who complemented you that they have poor taste. Now they are wondering why they offered you a compliment to begin with.

What should you have said? Thank you. Read more