Archives for posts with tag: gifts

Day 8 – Thanksgiving Thankfulness – Pause: I spend most of my life putting one foot in front of the other, trying to take a few steps forward to further what I believe is progress – create new relationships, make more money, experience new things. Yet, every now and then, I take pause in order to reflect, reassess and recalibrate. I made a decision last June to take pause. I needed to quiet the… incessant chatter that was telling me what I should be doing; I needed to confirm whether or not I was walking down the right path. The silence revealed a hidden truth – that I was not being absolutely true to myself, to my greatest gifts, to my life’s purpose. To quote Meredith Grey in Grey’s Anatomy: “We may not like it, but it really is important to stop every once in a while, get out of your own head and see the bigger picture. Actually, finding out you’ve been looking at things all wrong can be sort of liberating. And suddenly you see new potential, new possibilities where you’d never seen them before.” In this light, I am finding a different path – one that speaks more from my heart than from my head, is focused more on quality over quantity and wants to tap more into my creative powers than my critical thinking skills. I know, without a doubt, that I have found the path that was meant for me, and I am loving the things I discover as I traverse it. Thank you. Xx

Day 1 – Thanksgiving Thankfulness – Synchronicity: As of late, I have been more attuned to signs all around me. With time on my side, I am being rewarded with the greatest gifts of all – a clarity about my future… What I need, want and desire from my head, heart and soul. As I continue to navigate this major life transition, these signs are invaluable. Welcome. Time to watch listen and learn. Thank you. Xx

the quality of being universal; existing everywhere
of, affecting, or done by all people or things in the world or in a particular group; applicable to all cases.
I love running along the West Side Highway.  Its paved paths, scenic views and fellow runners provide the perfect mix of utilitarianism, inspiration and motivation to keep me going.   
The path closest to the West Side Highway serves bikers while the waterfront one serves runners.  I typically opt to run on the biker path, prudently sticking to the far edge of the narrow lane so that I minimize my nuisance to the bikers racing by me.  I like it because it is the path of least resistance.  It is the first path I encounter of the two.  Since getting me out to run in the first place requires a strong dose of willpower, I am overly eager to start running the millisecond my heel hits the black pavement of the biker’s path.  The bliss of starting so that I am that much closer to stopping outweighs the desire for full frontal waterfront views. 
Today, for whatever reason, I decided to cross over to the runner’s path.  Most of the path has uninterrupted views of the Hudson River and our neighboring New Jersey cities.   I was imbued with a sense of Godliness, which, to me, means nothing more than feeling humility, connection, gratitude and joy.  I felt honored to be spending my present moments in a city I feel so connected to; I felt energized by the surrounding stream of people whizzing, pedaling, pacing trying to get up and get out, just as I was; I felt a connectedness to the energy pulsating abuzz, knowing that we were breathing one universal breath; I felt grateful for the support, love and kindness that is gifted to me everyday by my family and friends.  At the sound of my alarm, indicating when my one-way 10 minute trek was up, I pivoted into my run homebound. 
Toward 14th Street, there is a break in the path that directs runners inward in order to pass in front of the large sports complex that makes up part of Chelsea Piers.  Runners are disconnected from the waterfront for a few short minutes, yet in that timespan, the scenery changes drastically.  At the point where the path starts to break off, I entered a small crooked curve partly enclosed by several wooden boards.  It created a tiny enclave.  In that enclave, I saw bags of trash, which caught me by surprise given how well the rest of the path is maintained.  My eyes probed furthered.  I caught sight of a homeless man crouched behind the wall of trash bags.  For at least that very moment in time, this enclave acted as this man’s home. 
After a quick left turn, I excited the enclave and resumed direct forward motion.  A man passed me in the other direction, and I wondered if he would see the homeless man sitting there.  I wondered how many people pass through that enclave and see him… or not.   
At first, my mind entertained thoughts of responsibility and ownership.  Then, thoughts of my own life interrupted me abruptly.  I was asked to recall all of my moments in need during my past and present, and most importantly, the generosity and kindness bestowed upon me by family and friends alike in order in order to provide help.  There are no questions.  There is no judgment.  There is only a helping hand when I need one.  In this moment, I was reminded that I should do the same for others.  He is me.  I am him.  We are one. 
If we are to create better for ourselves, we must create better for everyone. 
My ego-driven self has been very focused on my wants and needs as of late, as I examine my purpose, search for a career path and plan for my financial security.  However, there is always space to do more for others.  I remind myself that giving does not always have to be quantifiable.  It is a way of thinking, living and being. 
In the meantime, I am finding my own way to serve the needs of those around me.  Below are some of the ways that I am learning to give.
Remember Our Universality
Our judging minds play an active role in everyday life as we sort and sift through immense amounts of incoming data.  It serves to categorize and qualify so that we can understand and make decisions.  However, these judgments can also act as a disservice to us.  When we start to live life as an us vs. them model, we fail to see our interconnection.  Yet, we are all born of the same energy, of the same love, of the same creative force.  We breathe the same air.  We drink from the same water.  We walk the same Earth.  We wish on the same constellation of stars.  Within us resonates and resides all of us.  
Love Unconditionally
When we can start to truly accept that we are all one, compassion comes much more easily.  When I faced my own truths about my life and the times of my need, I saw myself in that homeless man.  I could understand what it was like to face challenge after challenge and to need help.  Circumstances don’t always arouse compassion, especially when personality and behavioral differences are magnified, but beyond that, there is still an essence to which we can connect – the intent, the embrace, the empathy.  Just the other day, a jarring voice spoke abruptly: Just do it!  I was trying to read my book, so it felt disruptive and annoying.  Then, I connected.  I heard a girl trying to motivate her girlfriend into action.  At that point, I couldn’t help but smile.  I have been on the giving and receiving ends of the same type of encouragement, so could relate completely to her spirit.  It was that easy.  I just had to turn my thoughts around.
Become An Observer
Over time, as we start to disassociate ourselves from our judgments, we can become detached observers of the world around us.  The world becomes this marvelous study of human interaction, behavior, motivation and emotion.  When we see objectively from a third party perspective, we can understand ourselves through others, helping us to become more empathetic, more compassionate and more loving. 
Start In Silence
No doubt feeling connected and loving at all times is a huge challenge when we are running late, feeling bad or getting stuck.  So, start in silence.  Start meditating on the universality and interconnection of all things when you have space, can be alone and feel good.  With practice, meditation will increase and expand.  Over time, just like with gratitude, or other practices, feel the connectedness spillover into all areas of your life.
These are my first steps to giving back to myself and to the universe at large.  I am reverberating as much love and compassion out there as I can, or as I remember to do.  This is the person I want to become – love. 
With Love,
grat·i·tude:  the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

Who says that giving thanks should only be expressed on Thanksgiving?!   Everyday serves as a wonderful opportunity to realize the gifts that are being bestowed upon us.  While they may not have been asked for explicitly or even wanted initially, no matter what, every person, thought, decision and situation has the capability of teaching us something about ourselves and our world.  

Since 2013 rang in, I have been making it a point to write a daily Gratitude List in my e-journal.  I find that it provides a great reason to make space at the end of a day to reflect on what came into my life, and, if I can see them at that time, what lessons they served.  Be it big or small, significant or mundane, I write it down and appreciate it for what it is.

Below are are a few points that have helped me get my Gratitude List started and keep it going:
Make It Yours, Make It Yummy
First and foremost, this is YOUR Gratitude List.  It should serve no other purpose than to make you thankful for the comings and goings of your life.  If you are grateful for your daily dose of joe, then write it down… everyday!  I sometimes list ‘gratitude list’ on my Gratitude List 🙂  There is no impression to make, no judgment to be made because it is simply those things that you appreciate being part of your life. 

Size Doesn’t Matter
Write as many or as few things that you are grateful for that day.  Sometimes, my list is barely three lines because my eyes are barely open at the end of a long day.  It doesn’t matter!  The point is to make the space, take the breath and grab a moment of reflection before the day’s end.  No use carrying as much weight to bed – I know I’d rather end my day thinking about the meaningful things in my life, rather than the last conference call I took!  

Gratitude Isn’t Always Pleasurable
Pleasant people, things and events are no-brainers for the Gratitude List.  However, keep in mind that the nastiest snarls, most uncomfortable confrontations and craziest experiences can provide a meaningful dose of unexpected lessons learned for which to be grateful.  When I am faced with the unpleasant or uncomfortable, it really forces me to come to terms with something about myself – a re-defined boundary, a different reflection, a new desire.  Be open and aware of how the unpleasant can actually become the source of something positive.
Practice Makes Perfect
Soon enough, gratitude doesn’t only appear when you stop and think about it at the end of the day; gratitude will start to bubble up throughout the day.  Once practiced regularly, you become imbued with gratitude more instantaneously.  These days, I find myself giving preemptive thanks for everything from the food I am about to eat to the safe drive I am about to start.  Gratitude not only becomes a habit but also a manifestation.
What started as simply a means to create awareness and gratitude has evolved to manifest a much more purposeful life.  I have re-framed my life to be a series of gifts, or opportunities to learn.  Knowing that each person and situation is a teacher, I am more apt to slow down, listen and be grateful.  There is deliberation.  There is more meaning.  There is purpose.
With Love,