Living in Gratitude: 25 Principles for Adult Behavior

Living your best life is your most important journey. ~Oprah Winfrey

Grateful Dead lyricist, John Perry Barlow, was also the founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit leading the charge in defending civil freedom in the digital environment by championing privacy, free expression, and innovation.

Barlow, who passed away in early 2018, had 25 principles for adult behavior that offer an insightful checklist for moving through life gracefully and with poise.

  1. Be patient. No matter what.

It takes time to understand ourselves and others. It takes time for others to understand us. It takes time to learn, grow and change. Patience enables all of these things to occur in their proper time and in a healthy, open atmosphere.

  1. Don’t badmouth

Assign responsibility, never blame. Say nothing behind another’s back you’d be unwilling to say, in exactly the same tone and language, to his face.

The best feedback is a conversation that opens up into a dialogue, developing new insights and ideas. The worst feedback is the “you’re wrong”, with no insight and no invitation to get into a dialogue. Read more

Living In Gratitude: The Power of Hope

I don’t want to get my hopes up.

So many of us utter this simple statement without realizing the impact it is having on our lives.

Our rationale for not being hopeful is that we are being realistic and instead of setting ourselves up for disappointment when our hopes fall short, we instead have steeled ourselves against the worst (and in our mind, probably the more likely scenario).

According to psychotherapist Katherine Schafler, we validate this ‘emotional restriction as mature and disciplined.’ But what this avoidance of hope is really doing is dampening our decision-making, perspective on life and ability to creatively problem solve.

A quote by Zig Ziglar conveys how important hope is: “The door to a balanced success swings wide open on the hinges of hope and encouragement.Read more

Living In Gratitude: Change These Two Thoughts

Acknowledging the good you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. ~Eckhart Tolle

A few blogs ago, we discussed the importance of an uplifting morning ritual to begin each day on the right foot and in a positive state of mind.

For those of us who haven’t yet implemented any of the suggestions from that article, or possibly even those of us who have, we may still be unconsciously undermining our days with two thoughts.

“I didn’t get enough sleep.”


“I don’t have enough time.”

A recent article penned by psychologist and writer, Katherine Schafler, discusses how these two thoughts become a ‘default mode’ for many of us, setting us up for a mindset of scarcity. She says that we “focus on what we wish was different, and in doing so, we subtly reject all that we already have.Read more

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.


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