Tag Archives: gratitude

Give thanks, get goodness

photo (4)

I want to be grateful. And so I am.

There’s a message board in the entryway to my apartment, and on it I’ve written a reminder that has really helped me stay present the last week or so.

“Focus on what you want.”

That means no regretting what didn’t happen or dwelling on what’s wrong. It means noticing my thoughts and dismissing what doesn’t serve me. It means leaving no space in my brain for anything other than a vision of life as I most love it.

My mind wants to worry and wonder: What if this doesn’t work or that doesn’t pan out? Or for that matter, what if it does?

It’s so easy to get caught in thought tangles, to rationalize my mental gymnastics as reasonable or necessary.

But the truth is, life as I most love it does not need to be thought.

It needs to be seen.

When I close my eyes and imagine ideal outcomes in sensory detail, I am communicating clearly with the universe. When I focus steady on what I desire deep, I can make realities from my dreams.

The methods and processes of manifestation are many, and I’m going to share with you the simplest technique I know:

Give thanks.

The more gratitude you give, the more goodness you are able to accept. And when you focus on what you want, you can summon the feeling of having received it.

Get in the habit of doing that, and soon enough, real life will match your dreams–or maybe even be better.

 

You don’t have to earn a thing.

life wrist quotes

Now is all we ever have.

Right now, already, you are everything. There is nothing you need. Sure, there is plenty to dream of and hope for and work toward, and thank goodness for that.

Oh, goodness. Goodness is everywhere, and more is on the way. If you let it, goodness—love—will show you its secrets, carry you in its kindness, sweep you into its current of compassion.

All you have to do is…nothing. Just be you. Not who you think you should be, or even who you want to be. Just start with who you are: someone who has nothing to prove.

Someone who is already worth a million bucks, times infinity. Just because you’re here.

Keep breathing. Good job. Thanks for showing up.

In case you didn’t already know

morning message

It’s just today, again, here for you to take in.

I like to feel good. Stress, typically, does not feel good. Sure, sometimes it’s exhilarating—the thrill of rushing toward a deadline, the zing of taking a risk. But I don’t need a lot to get my fill, and lately I’ve had too much.

The other night I did yoga at home, and that helped, for sure. I twisted and stretched and wrung out some lymph nodes, coaxed my immune system to stay strong. But I don’t always have make time for yoga. Sometimes it feels like there is barely time to breathe.

And that leaves me anxious and afraid. Because, as I’ve noted before in a quote attributed to Fritz Perls, “fear is excitement without the breath.”

I need my breath, because I want to be excited. My writing group is sharing excerpts of our novels-in-progress at a local bookshop tonight. Also, the first printing of Are You My Boyfriend? is officially underway. These things (and many more) are awesome. These things are scary, too.

And so I will breathe. And I will pass along a message.

Ever since my writing group got together in March 2012 and worked through The Artist’s Way, I’ve set aside time to write morning pages every day. The pages are mostly messy brain ramblings, but they’re also a form of meditation, and I often receive information from my version of god/the universe/whatever.

Today, I felt almost possessed—my hand did not belong to my stressed-out self, no, it was guided by something else, and the words on my page shifted from first-person thoughts to second-person assurances. It was a message not just for me, but for you, too, and so I am sharing:

“Just go with it, roll with it, show up and have fun. No expectations, no worries, just do your best…let go and trust, that’s what must happen, it’s the only way this works…I love you so much, I’ve got you and all the others and all of this, it’s fun, it’s supposed to be, breathe in and enjoy it, relax, allow, exist, it’s all right, you’re okay, it’s just today, again, here for you to take in.”

…Just in case you didn’t already know.

sunshine tree

Love is greater than terror.

sunshine tree

Love’s light can shine through anything. Growth is always possible.

“Terrorists are jerks.”

That’s the subject line of an email a very dear friend sent me last weekend. She went on to let me know that some terrorists had opened fire at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, and that a very dear friend of hers was there when the gunfire began and was currently MIA.

The next night I found out that her friend, Ravi, did not survive the attacks. He’s dead now, just like more than sixty other people who were mercilessly gunned down for no good reason.

I’ve been focusing a lot lately on surrender, on letting go, on accepting a lack of control. And that’s great, it’s lovely, it’s wise and good and all of that.

But sometimes it seems like a load of crap. It’s hard to feel helpless in the face of inhumanity.

My first reaction when I learned of the attacks, and especially of Ravi’s death, was to lash out spiritually. I felt aggrieved and angry. How can god/the universe/whatever I believe in let this kind of stuff happen?

But then I remembered I already know the answer to that question. God/the universe/whatever has no choice BUT to let this kind of stuff happen, because energy is responsive and humans have free will.

So my next reaction was to lash out at the terrorists. How could anyone voluntarily commit such horrific acts of violence?

And then I remembered I already know the answer to that question too. Hurt people hurt people. If the attackers felt fully whole, if they were deeply connected to their inner okayness, if they truly loved themselves, they could not also be terrorists.

Terror, a stronger word for fear, is the utter absence of love. Where love flourishes, terror cannot.

It’s true I can’t control what happened at Westgate. Upsetting as it is, acts of violence, hatred, and terror occur all the time, and most of them I can’t stop. Nor can I prevent the pain and grief that follow.

But that doesn’t mean I’m helpless, because I can still choose love.

Every time I pick love over fear, I am shining light into terror’s darkness.  Love—that is what god/the universe/whatever is absolutely full of, and that is what we’re here to share.

Every single human on the planet has love to give. Some of us are taught to spread fear instead, and that’s why it’s so important that the rest of us show up for what’s good.

Change happens one person at a time, one heart at a time, one action, one vote, one choice at a time. By supporting my friends in mourning, by smiling at strangers, by asking for help and declining despair, I am choosing love.

My heart goes out to those who are grieving the loss of Ravi. I never got to meet him, but I know he was a person who chose love. I am so sorry that fear caused his death, and I am grateful for his light. May we all have the courage to shine.

Brighter than my blues

Kelley and Matt, doing what they do–singing “a song that’s true.”

I am so grateful for good music, for true sounds from the soul and the chance acts of fortune that lead me to them.

I don’t remember how I found out about Noisetrade, nor do I know why I listened to Kelley McRae‘s album two years ago on a January day. Maybe because it had “Brooklyn” in the title and I live in New York, or maybe I just had the curiosity to click and listen. Noisetrade sends me lots of emails, plenty of new sounds to consider, but rarely does an artist hook me like she did.

I was hurting that winter, and I found solace in her singing. I didn’t have a ton of downtime for reflection since I was working full time and also training to become a yoga instructor–basically a second full-time job–but whenever I showered I’d listen to Kelley’s music, and whenever I heard “Sparrow,” I felt heard.

That would have been enough, connecting to a random recording that helped me heal, but my relationship to Kelley’s music grew stronger when I ventured to see her play that March on the Lower East Side. She and her husband/bandmate, Matt, announced that they had just traded in their Brooklyn home and belongings for a VW camper van and were preparing to tour America in order to share the art they had to offer. I was inspired.

I introduced myself afterwards, and in my journal the next day I described Kelley as “a lovely personality and performer” and noted that “it was a pleasure to see the show.” Plus, “she played ‘Sparrow,’ which basically made my night.”

From then on, whenever I got an email announcing an NYC performance, I did my best to show up for it. We struck up an email correspondence because Kelley was looking for venues for house shows on the road and I have friends in other states. After seeing her play again in May, I gushed: “I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to hear a singer/writer who has chops, soul, AND spirit.”

Chops, soul, and spirit–that pretty much sums up Kelley McRae. When it comes to life and love, it’s clear to me that this girl GETS it. And I am grateful. This past spring and summer she recorded an album funded entirely by supporters, and it overflows with love and energy (just like her!).

After we chatted at the release party for Brighter than the Blues in September, I had to let her know: “I feel so lucky to have discovered an artist who not only creates music I genuinely connect to, but who is personable and communicative to boot!”

And I do feel lucky, to know her and her music, to support someone with the courage to be authentic and follow her heart, who lives a human life with good intention. It’s true that we ain’t got much time, and it’s important how we spend it. I’m happy I get to use some of mine listening to talented truth, told with an open heart.

More love, less fear

love greater than fear

It’s the first day of 2013, and I have had an extraordinarily fulfilling twenty-four hours. I can without hesitation say this is the best January 1 I’ve ever personally experienced.

The reason? Love.

I don’t mean love in the romantic sense–I didn’t kiss anyone at midnight and that was fine by me. I mean love in the universal energetic sense: Every action I have taken since the clock struck twelve has been motivated by caring and consideration, and the people I’ve shared time with have offered warmth and authenticity. The combination has created a deeply satisfying state of connectedness and well-being.

After a morning of self-care and cooking (hope you all ate your black-eyed peas!), I spent the afternoon at a birthday party that ended with a group meditation and gratitude circle. I appreciated the willingness of guests to go along with such a suggestion, and it was interesting to observe the contrast between the lively chatter that had dominated the day and the quiet of sitting with our breaths that followed.

And when the ringtone gong signaled the end of our silence, each guest had the opportunity to voice intentions for the year ahead. One by one, when the moment felt right, we told the group what we were grateful for, what we wanted to hold on to, and what we wanted to let go.

I said I was grateful for community, and that I wanted to let go of my willfulness–my desire to control situations and anticipate outcomes. I said I wanted to hold on to my boldness and to have the courage to share my true self with the world.

I like what I said, and I certainly meant it, but someone else’s words are sticking with me most: One of my friends simply stated that he wanted to let go of fear and to bring in more love.

More love, less fear. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

In the “Religious Views” section of my Facebook profile, I assert “Love > Fear.” I’ve found it to be a succinct and reliable spiritual philosophy, and it was inspiring to hear that truth stated as intention today.

Fear is never going to make me feel better, while love always will. That’s one of many reasons I choose love as often as possible. I’m grateful to say I successfully did so today, and I’m glad I’ll get the chance to try again tomorrow.

Resting in unrest

“Acceptance”
Image courtesy of “Annie” Nancy JonesFrancis (annieo76) via Flickr Creative Commons

I don’t always get what I want, but I always, always get what I need.

The first time I heard the Rolling Stones sing something similar, I instantly related, though it’s taken me years to realize I can try more than sometimes, and there is no “just might” about it:

I get what I need.

(And so do you, particularly if you’re reading this, since to do so you’ve got to be breathing.)

For the past few days my yoga has been slippery. I’ve been grasping for peace and it’s been shimmering just beyond reach. I’ve gotten caught up with wanting, nearly forgotten that I am not in need.

When I think I need something I get anxious, and when I am anxious I am uneasy. Usually I’m making things harder than they have to be. The solution is simple, but I don’t always see it.

When I upset the balance of my existence–when I attempt to control my life more than accept it–anxiety shows up and I am in unrest. The trick is, the only way out of unrest is to rest in it. If I stay still with the situation, if I gently steer my thought-tangled mind toward silence for even a minute, I start to see what I was missing before.

Nothing. Nothing is missing, nothing is needed. And if I allow myself to accept that reality–a truth I perceive with my own senses–anxiety has nowhere to nestle.