Tag Archives: attitude of gratitude

When losing our path really means finding our way….

Light steps“If we can see our way through the uncertainty of feeling lost, unexpected callings often present themselves. One stirring example is the story of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, (1954-2006), who began her carrier as an accomplished Viola player. While on tour in Europe, her viola was stolen. Though she could have replaced it, the theft threw her into a state of feeling lost and uncertain. She stopped playing for a while and then began to work with the only instrument she had left, her voice. Though she had sung before, she devoted herself to the instrument within her, and in two years, became the luminous mezzo-soprano she was meant to be. “

This was taken from the book Seven Thousand ways to Listen by Mark Nepo.

Can you imagine what her parents told her when she refused to replace the viola?
Do you imagine they said, “Oh well honey, just SING!”
I think they probably said the opposite.

If you have ever had a child who has given up a sport or an activity that you thought they were good at and said something to them, it was most likely something negative.

I believe that it’s a Neil Diamond song that has lyrics that say,  “and being lost feels like coming home.”
Yes, BUT only if we surrender to the LOSTness of feeling loss and feeling lost.
When this happens, we cannot command the stars or the planets to make things the way they were.
A parent who loses a child cannot imagine a world without them. Yet, they often have other children who love and need them and have to find a new path to future joy.

Only time can show the way to weave life and light into the numbing darkness.

It is the acceptance of the dark time, however, and the ability to stay present with our emotions and not push them away that makes room for light when the time is right.

We cannot “will” the time to be right.

Over the course of our life, we all experience loss. This is a fact of life…loss happens and will continue to happen.

We can probably count the things we have lost and can still feel the pangs of pain.
We are less adept at counting out the things we have found.
We are woefully inadequate at sustaining the buoyant feelings of joy at the levels we can sustain the pangs of pain.

Brene Brown tells us that rehearsing for tragedy does not make us any more able to handle it when it arrives… and arrive it will.

It is the nature of all things.

The only thing that can help us with deep loss are the overwhelming joy stores we build up while we can.
This simply means that we must try to squeeze the joy out of all situations, whenever we can.
We cannot allow joy to be lost to the ether because we are too scared to feel it.

Feeling joy is not something we are taught to do. We are also hard wired to look for the “lions and tigers and bears” so we can run away and live another day.
We often react as if we live in the same fearful jungle that our forefathers lived in.
Our jungles are now often just in our heads and we create many of the lions and tigers and bears.

As we dive into this New Year, I encourage you to make a list of THINGS YOU FOUND that made you joyful.

If you keep a gratitude journal, go back through the entries and make your list. Perhaps you want to share some of the memories with your family and friends. Why not have a Joy-fest! Kind of like the opposite of a pity party.

Take time out to celebrate the things well won and well earned.

Happy memory trails to you, until we meet again.
Love and light,

Once upon a time….

tiara via iheartitThose four words have been the beginning of many fairy tales for centuries. Ok, maybe not centuries but a long, long time.

Cinderella, Snow White, Thumbelina, Belle and so many others… all princesses that we read or watch movies about. The birds fly around them and animals come out of the forest to be in their presence.  There are butterflies, zebras and moon beams.  And, of course, there is usually a prince.

These are considered stories of fantasy.  But is it really fantasy?  Can we not be the princess in our own fairy tale?

I recently stopped and noticed how these things that seem to only happen to storybook princesses actually happen in my life.  I stopped to see the moon, and think that it is shining just for me.  Perhaps not, but something made me stop and savor in the moon beams as if it was for my eyes only.  Look around, birds flitting about, bees in the flowers, the shiny outlines of the sun behind the clouds, a rainbow all for you to see.  Look at the people in your life who are dutiful coachman to you, as the mice were to Cinderella.  Could we all be princesses if we take the time to notice the magic that happens every day and think, “Wow, is this just for me?”  Could we all be princesses if we would say to ourselves, “I am worthy, I am loved?”

And like any good tale, there will always be poison apples, wicked witches and trolls under a bridge. These people and things bring gifts to us in the form of a lesson.   Scared of lions, tigers or bears? Dig down and you will find courage.  Evil step sisters full of greed and selfishness teach us about grace.  The ugly beast gives us the opportunity to love unconditionally and look at the heart of another.

Try it!  Take time today to look, I mean really look. Be aware of the simplest of things in your day to day life and think that the fairy god mothers, genies, and wizards put these things in your path just for you.  You are a princess, beautiful and loved in your own light.   I think you will be amazed at the wonderful magic that surrounds each of us every day.

Now if you will excuse me I have to go out and feed my unicorn….

Neuroplacticity…your path to freedom!


neuroplasticity via mimlearning.comHave you heard of the science of Neuroplacticity? This marvel of science is defined as the brain’s natural ability to form new connections in order to compensate for injury or changes in one’s environment.

I think of it as creating new maps inside our head.

Do you remember when you learned how to ride a bike? How many years ago was that?

I bet you can still get on a bike now and remember how to ride. Your brain has a map of that process and without much thought you are flying down the street!

Everything we have ever done and learned has made “impressions” in our brain and those lessons are imprinted. The more we practice something the better we get.

This works really well if what we are practicing will give us a return of a happy and joy filled life.
It does not work so well when the things we do repeatedly causes us stress and pain.

Recently, I met a very gifted woman who has had worldwide success with her artwork.
I was at a health spa in Southern India and I first saw her screaming at the desk attendant that “after all these bloody years, why
couldn’t she just have a bloody electric kettle to make her bloody coffee?”

I immediately extended my hand and said, “Hi, it sounds like you are having a heck of a time getting your coffee.”

She quickly apologized for the loud voice and said she was just being a bitch.
I stuck around and we chatted. Within 10 minutes I had her whole life history and all the stuff that had gone wrong.
I thought she was having a really bad day.

I saw her again at dinner and we sat together, and again she repeated all the woes of her life.

We said goodnight and I was happy that her bad day was over.

The next day, we saw each other for all three meals and the stories were the exact same! This was not an “I’m having a bed day thing” this was a “my life sucks” thing.

She was consistent!

On the 3rd day, I challenged her to only say what she was grateful for and to her credit, she switched gears…for five minutes and then BAM, she was right back in the story of “woe is me”.

I felt like I wanted to run and hide.
This woman had complained about her lot and lack for so long that she created a sheath of myelin so thick around lack that she literally could not manage to stay positive for more than 5 minutes.

I can come up with at least 20 things that I see as great and awesome in her life.
I also think she is an awesome woman…but not when she is complaining as though it is her profession.
If she wants to change this negative behavior she has to create NEW neuro-pathways in her brain. She has to invoke the magic of neuroplacticity and start laying down new sheaths of myelin.

How does one create new pathways?

The first step is to KNOW that you want something different than what you have.

Want to learn a new language?
Which one?
What method?

Get the point?
You have to have a plan around the new thing you want to learn.

If she wants to be more positive, it is a matter of practicing. She could set aside 10 minutes daily to write down all of the positives in her life or enlist a friend to help her see the power of the positive once daily.

When I suggested that she start or end her day with a list of gratitude items, she told he she can’t do that. I asked if she knew how to write?
She then said it would be too much work.

The next step for creating a new pathway is to believe that the work is worth the result you wish to achieve.
If you do not believe that you have the power to create change or that you are worthy of the effort, you will not change.
You must ask yourself these questions:
1. Do you want it? Really want it?
2. Are you are willing to take small steps to making the new habit?
3. Do you believe that you are worth the new life you say you want?

I have been accused of singular focus when I decide to do something. I decided to do a triathlon, so I had to learn to swim competitively. I went to swim class every day for 3 months. I never even considered that I could not complete the triathlon. I created new neuro-pathways in my brain.

These days when I decide to do something new, I just start small and stay the course.

I was recently diagnosed with diabetes and I promised my doctor that I would turn my numbers around. I completely gave up bread and cakes and sweets and within 4 months my numbers were better.

We have the power to make significant changes in our lives, if only we accept the challenge to do something differently.

How could my love of bread and cake be more important than my love of my legs and my eyesight?
Diabetes steals eyesight and amputations in diabetics are common when the patient is out of control.
Who would I blame if these things were to happen?

What changes would you like to make this year?
How can you help yourself to keep those steps small and manageable?
The journey of one thousand steps really does start with the first.
Enjoy the journey, each step of it and have faith that the destination will be glorious because you have taken charge of your own destiny.

Love and light,