Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I Think We're All Grown Now

 

"Our fear of death is all the greater when we have not dared to live...Daring to live means daring to die at each moment. But it also means daring to be born—daring to pass through important stages in life where the person you used to be dies, in order to make room for someone with a new view of the world." --Arnaud Desjardins

If you are in your forties like me you may find yourself wondering, Am I a grown up yet? Despite having passed various "adult" milestones - getting my driver's license, turning 18, going away to college, renting my first house, buying my first car, buying my first car with money that wasn't loaned to me by my parents, getting married, owning a house, having kids - most days I still feel like a young adult, waiting to be "all grown up."

I think this is it.

I'm not sure it gets any easier or that the answers are any clearer or that life makes any more sense at 55 than it does at 45 or than it did at 25 or 35, but today I feel like a grown up and here's why:

For the first time in my life I know all the celebrities who have died this year. I don't mean that I know of them or have heard of them or recognize them from their photograph. I mean I know them. 

I spent weekday afternoons in the late 1970's with Ann B Davis and the rest of the Bradys at the Robinson's house up the street, Casey Kasem helped me get ready for church every Sunday morning in the 80's by pumping my room full of Top 40 hits, Maya Angelou made me cry on January 20, 1993 as she read 'On the Pulse of Morning' and I watched the first president I had elected be inaugurated, I ran into Philip Seymour Hoffman in Greenwich Village in 2006 when I went to visit my sister in New York City for the first time, and now Mork from Ork has died.

I think this is it. I think I'm all grown up.

As milestones go, it's as good a measure of adulthood as any. It requires us to die a little bit with each passing, to move through important stages of life (death and dying, grieving, carrying on), and to let go of the people we were when we watched 'Mork and Mindy' or 'Good Morning Vietnam' or 'Good Will Hunting.'

It requires that we make room for an us with a new view of the world. A world without a Robin Williams or a Philip Seymour Hoffman or a Maya Angelou.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Committing

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” --William Hutchison Murray

Many years ago Anne Lamott wrote a regular column on Salon.com. It was the first "blog" I followed faithfully and I looked forward to it every week. Then one day she announced that she was stopping. She had a book to write and needed to focus all of her energy on her new book. I was heartbroken and incensed. "WHY couldn't she do both?" I whined to The Universe and anyone else who would listen. 

This week I had a similar realization about my own work. For years I have wanted to be "a writer." I knew what that meant - I wanted to write a book. But instead of sitting down and writing a book I dabbled. I journaled. I blogged. I took jobs that had nothing to do with writing and did them for a few years until I realized, once again, that what I really want to do is write. 

A couple of weeks ago I did it again. I signed up with a freelancing site and took a couple of jobs. And I wrote. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. For four or five hours a day I researched and I wrote and then I wrote again. I made about $2 per hour on the two assignments I took, but I was writing. 

What I realized, however, is that this is not the kind of writing I really want to do and that these freelance assignments left me with no energy to do any other kind of writing. (And also, all of that time on the computer made my eyes so tired that I got a terrible headache. I need to save my "screentime" for work I really want to do.)

So that brings me to this: I need to take a hiatus from all other writing, and that includes this blog.

Don't get me wrong this blog and my first one have been instrumental in teaching me what it takes to be a writer and in helping me discover that this is what I really want to do, but right now I must commit myself to something that has been nipping at my heals for years: A book.

A book I finish and a book I am proud of. A book I love. Even if no one ever reads it. Even it it is never published. Even if I completely fail.

So today I am taking the leap. Today I am making the commitment. I am going to write a book.

See you on the other side.

[BTW...Three years later Ms Lamott started writing for Salon again and has done so off and on for the past ten years. Yay!]

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Some thoughts on FEELINGS


"Feelings, nothing more than feelings..." -- Morris Albert

I can't think of the word feelings without hearing this song, but who knew it was sung by a guy??? I would have sworn it was Barbara Streisand or some other female diva. But no, it's this guy. (I also found this version by Nina Simone, which I think is pretty amazing.)

Anyway, my Guides wanted to talk about FEELINGS today. Here's what they had to say: 
Enjoy all of your feelings, not just those you have labeled 'good.' When you stop and really feel them, all emotions feel good. Think about it. Doesn't it feel good to feel sad sometimes? Or to feel the rush of anger? The exhilaration of joy? The bubbling up of excitement? Do you allow yourself to truly feel all of your feelings or do you tamp some of them down? Label them 'bad' or 'evil' or 'too much?'
Acting on your feelings is a different matter entirely. It is not okay to lash out in anger or shame someone else with your success, but to authentically feel the emotions present within our body is essential to living a full life. Commit to feeling your feelings today in all of their multifarious varieties.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Some thoughts on TRUST.


A friend of my son's taking the leap. 

"Trust is an all-in, two feet off the ground leap into the abyss." --The Akashic Records

I had a realization about trust the other day, that what I have been experiencing as trust is not trust at all, but merely confidence. Confidence in life's propensity and probability to continue along as it has for the past forty-five years, bringing me mostly good, mostly ease, mostly luck.

I realized, standing at my kitchen sink washing dishes, that this isn't trust at all and I decided to investigate the notion of trust a little further. So I asked my Guides, through the Akashic Records, about Trust. Here is what they had to say:

Trust is believing in the power for good despite what you see before you. It is believing in hope when all is despair, it is believing in love when surrounded by hate, it is believing in the positive when all that is presenting itself is the opposite.

You have all been in this place - some in the extreme, others to less of an extreme - where everything looks bleak and seems hopeless. When the test comes back positive, when what is hoped for is not realized, when love is lost, when tempers flare, when hearts sink and stomachs roil. It can be overwhelming to be on this earth and in these bodies and it is at these times that trust shows itself, or not.

Trust is believing that God is good - that life is good - when your child is sick, when your home is being mortgaged, when your heart feels heavy, when your love has left you. It is believing that God is working through this situation when all evidence is to the contrary. When there does not appear to be enough money, or enough time, or enough help, you know without a doubt that God is reliable and that money will be sent, time will expand and help will show up.

Trust is an all-in, two feet off the ground leap into the abyss.

Trust. Trust. Trust. Trust is putting one foot in front of the other when you do not know where you are going. It is moving forward when all you want to do it step back, or stepping out when all you want to do is curl up into a ball, sink into the couch or pull the covers over your head. Trust is believing in the power for good when all you can see is dark and no light. When God's plan is in direct opposition to your plan.

It is taking a leap without a net or a hand to hold or a back-up plan.

When you place your trust in God it does not absolve you of all responsibility. You are still in the driver's seat of your own life, but it means using God as your navigation system instead of the world.

Where are you being led? What is sparking your interest today? Trust that God has a plan for you and for your life. Trusting is giving over, it is taking your hands off the wheel and screaming "Woo Hoo!" while the wind blows through your hair on the highway of life.

Trust is believing in the messages you are receiving about your life and next steps. It is following the signs even when they don't make any sense. It is not recklessness, or mindlessness, but following that inner compass and not the outer ones. Trust flows from a grounded and centered place, not one without a foundation.

Trust is certain and sure, not confusion and uncertainty. It is centered in the heart and grounded into the earth and connected to source. It does not waiver or falter based on external conditions, but finds its strength inside the body, in the heart center.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Root of the Root of your own Self


"How long will you suffer at the hands of non-existent things? Return to the root of the root of your own self." --Rumi

You can always count on Rumi to tell it like it is.

We suffer so much at the hands of the non-existent things in our lives: the maybes, the what-ifs, the "I don't knows." I don't know about you, but I am sick to death of it.

I want to get off this roller-coaster ride of thoughts and emotions and live in the beating of my heart, in the whisper of my breath, in the brief bliss of this very moment.

I have almost no idea how to do this, but I feel like my all of these quotations, these little bits of wisdom from those who have gone before, have been a series of breadcrumbs, showing me the way.

And I just have to follow them. Back home. To the root of the root of my own self.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

An Easter Lesson


"What happens when we don't take our pain, our pleasures and our mortality seriously? If we can't honor and embrace the disappointments as well as the 'successes' in our lives? We overcompensate. We take [ourselves] much too seriously. We fall out of balance." --John Lee from his book, Writing from the Body 

On Easter Sunday we had the fam over for lunch after church. "The Fam" this particular Sunday included three grandparents, four aunts and uncles, and four cousins between the ages of ten and fifteen. My younger son wanted to provide some entertainment for the cousins and decided we should have a scavenger hunt. 

He got the idea from an episode of The Big Bang Theory, which we had watched earlier that week. In the episode entitled, "The Scavenger Vortex," Raj plans a scavenger hunt for his friends in which they solve puzzles and follow clues in order to find a prize. In Raj's version, the prize was a gold coin and, as in so many competitions today, everyone was a winner. Everyone got a gold coin. 

My son was insistent: in his scavenger hunt there would be no prize for second place. To the victor - and to the victor only - would go the spoils, in this case a small Easter basket containing two plastic eggs full of candy.

We created the hunt as a family, and had a lot of fun coming up with clues and riddles as well as places to hide them. I was feeling a bit uncomfortable with the "one winner" concept, but was determined to let this be my son's project and not try and control the experience. (Secretly, of course, I was hoping that the winners would decide to share their candy with the other participants.)

The next day, after all the cousins arrived, it was time to begin the hunt.

Their oldest cousin decided not to participate, so instead of two, two-person teams we had three, one-person teams. My son passed out the envelopes with the first clues to his three cousins and they all took off. Together. Oops!

We had forgotten to separate them at the beginning so no one could follow anyone else or work together. I panicked. What if they all finished at the same time? The basket had two eggs in it, one for each member of a two-person winning team. What if they all reached the finish line at the same time? Someone would not get an egg.

I hurried to put together one more egg just like the first two and snuck it into the Easter basket, which was hiding in our upstairs shower. If they all reached the end together, everyone would have an egg or, if the winner wanted to share (wink, wink), there would be enough candy for everyone.

So na├»ve. Or, as my boys would say, “Such a MOM.”

As the contest progressed, the kids all went off in different directions based upon their interpretation of the clues and in the end my thirteen-year-old nephew found the Easter basket first and was the clear winner. Now came the moment of truth. Would he share his winnings with his younger cousins, or keep them for himself?

Not only did he not share, he was very clear in his review of the scavenger hunt that having one winner - and one winner only - was a huge plus in his book. He said to my younger son, "I thought this scavenger hunt was going to be really lame because everyone was going to win, but it wasn't."

My younger son was beaming. Beaming and triumphant. Not only had he pulled off a successful scavenger hunt, he had impressed his older cousin with his cut-throat game policy. My older son was pleased as well and, as far as I could tell, the other cousins had no expectation of any prize. There were no tears, no tantrums, and they all ran off happily to play together.

After everyone left my boys were telling me all about the hunt and I said to them, "Kids don't like it when everybody wins do they? They know it's bullshit." My older son smiled knowingly and nodded. My younger son beamed again with pride and said, “Yeah.”

What I learned this Easter Sunday is that I need to stop protecting my kids from their pain - and from their pleasures. Winning feels good and there is nothing wrong with having and enjoying that experience as long as it is done mindfully.

There is a lot more focus these days on good sportsmanship and fair play - certainly more than when I was a kid and this is awesome - but in the process we have somehow created a system in which everyone still really wants to win at the things they do, but no one is allowed to admit it or to enjoy it.

Winning shouldn't be the only thing, but if you are going to play games (and sports), it IS a part of life. We try and pretend that it doesn't matter and that everyone can be a winner all the time, but that's bullshit and we aren't fooling anyone. Least of all our kids.

[I must have a lot to learn in this area because this topic seems to come up for me a lot. Here are two other posts I have written about winning and losing: Heart. Broken & The Game of Life.]

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day!


"The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing." --Scottish-American naturalist, author and wildlife preservationist, John Muir

I'm back from ten days of rest - that turned into twenty - having enjoyed a trip to Paris, a "do-nothing" Spring Break week with my kids, and the full moon lunar eclipse. I don't know about you, but it knocked me on my ass for a day or two. Can't wait to see what the solar eclipse later this month will bring. Whatever it is, I am ready and looking forward to it!

May you have time today to enjoy this beautiful Earth that we live on and may you let the sun shine in you and the rivers flow through you. Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

10 Days of REST.


"When you need to rest, rest fully, completely and without guilt. Your earthy bodies are made to require it because it is good for your SOUL."  --From The Akashic Records

I have thoroughly enjoyed the past 90 days spent focusing on forgiveness, love and gratitude and hope you have too. And now it is time for me to take a rest. I will be taking at least ten days off from writing so I will see you sometime after April 10th.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this bit of resting wisdom from the Akashic Records.

Peace.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful


"Give thanks for everything, the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, for it is all good and worthy of praise." --From the Akashic Records

Giving thanks for these things today:

1) Finishing a great book (The Orphan Master's Son)

2) A delicious family dinner and birthday celebration.

3) For these past thirty days and the opportunity to focus on gratitude and for all of you who have taken part and joined in. Thank you!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Pain is an Invitation


"Pain is an invitation to dive deeper into the human experience, deeper into who you are. Give thanks for any experience of pain - past or present - that has taken you deeper into yourself." --From The Akashic Records

Feeling much gratitude for these things today:

1) spring purging. I have been cleaning out my closet, my drawers, my phone, etc. and it feels so good!

2) A very L-O-N-G bath.

3) Watching Akeelah and the Bee with our latest couchsurfing guest. A lovely way to end her stay with us.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Listen with your Heart


"Listen with your heart today and be grateful for the messages you receive from Spirit. They are for you and you alone." --From The Akashic Records

Grateful for these things today:

1) the experience of going on a field trip with 300 sixth graders. it was exhausting, but also interesting and informative.

2) a nap (after the above :)

3) staying up way too late with my younger son working on, and then playing, his own board game.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Feel the Gratitude Pouring Down on You


"The Universe is grateful for you today. Pause and feel the gratitude pouring down on you from above like rain falling from the sky." --From The Akashic Records

Today I am grateful for:

1) receiving a pass for a free yoga class on our community's buy nothing group

2) gifting a rarely-used Razor scooter on the same site later the same day :)

3) family dinner

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Expand Your Heart


"Allow gratitude to fill and expand your heart. Focus on something you feel grateful for and feel your heart expand as your gratitude expands." --From The Akashic Records

Expanding my heart today:

1) a heart-felt gift from a traveler who is staying with us

2) staying with my younger son through a tough time

3) eating my favorite salad for dinner

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gratitude Comes from the ♥


 "Gratitude comes from the heart, not the head. When looking for things to be grateful for look with your heart. What gratitude is being held in your heart today?" --From The Akashic Records

I feel gratitude in my heart today for:

1) Finding a bottle of a discontinued after shave as a gift for a friend's husband. Thanks Universe and ebay!

2) A productive day of writing and a walk in the sunshine without a coat.

3) Double gong meditation after kundalini yoga at Guru Gayatri Yoga & Meditation Center.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

And now for something completely different.


"Be grateful for every little thing today. Starting with the small things, you automatically appreciate the bigger gifts you have been given." --From The Akashic Records
 
I ran out of gratitude quotes this weekend. The one I used yesterday was the last one I had in my database. I panicked a little and then I remembered that I had asked The Universe to provide and I decided to trust that The Universe would. 

During an Akashic Records reading for a friend last week I got an idea - why not ask the Records for some quotes about gratitude? What I received in my reading with the Masters, Teachers and Loved Ones is what I will be posting this week. I hope you will enjoy it and find it inspirational.

Today I am grateful for:

1) The guidance and inspiration from my Masters, Teachers and Loved Ones through the Akashic Records. They always come through for me and I am so grateful.

2) Hearing "The Gambler" at church on Sunday. One thing I love about the music at our church is that nothing is off the table - country, classical, rock and roll, jazz. contemporary and traditional - we get to hear it all and sing it all.

3) FRIENDS - past, present and future.

[If you are feeling lost or confused, an Akashic Records reading can provide the guidance and reassurance you need. Click here to schedule a reading or for more information.]

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Guest House

 

"This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond." --RUMI

Grateful for these things today:

1) A sub at yoga who taught an amazing class.

2) A six-kid play date so fun that not one of them asked for screen time, not even once.

3) Octopus bolongase at the new restaurant in the site of our wedding reception. The mingling of old and new happy memories.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Unexpected Angels



 "I think you should be in gratitude." --The Universe via PCQ (Lawn Dude)

Sometimes the Universe sends us messages via unexpected angels. 

A couple of summers ago I was having one of "those" days - the kids were restless, the day seemed unusually long, the summer hot and endless - when our lawn guy showed up to mow. 

He has been mowing our lawn for years now so if I am home I often go out and say "Hello," offer him something to drink or shoot the breeze for awhile. 

On this particular day I started complaining about the day and my life. When I was done he took a look around - at the freshly mowed yard, large for a city neighborhood, at my kids playing on the stairs nearby, and dropped this load of wisdom on me right out the blue. 

Immediately I realized he was right and it changed my whole day. Suddenly I saw my life through his eyes and it didn't look so bad. In fact, it was a life to be in gratitude for. And so I was. 

May your life be filled with reminders to be in gratitude today. 

Today I am in gratitude for:

1) Zach Braff's performance in the hauntingly beautiful "The High Cost of Living." It broke my heart in that really good way. 

2) Seeing "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" again with my family. 

3) For the reminder (via the book "Everyday Enlightenment") to keep my focus in my heart when I am seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, feeling, speaking or listening. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Habits of Mind


"It truly is not our circumstances that determine our happiness. It is our habits of mind that either allow all love and joy to flow to us or block us from receiving what our true heart desires." --Lynnet McKenzie

My gratefuls for today are:

1) This quote from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty:  

"Beautiful things don't ask for attention."

2) A night out with a friend.

3) For my husband who took the kids and made #1 and #2 possible

Friday, March 21, 2014

Bearing the Unbearable


"You breathe in gratitude, and you breathe it out, too. Once you learn how to do that, then you can bear someone who is unbearable."  --Anne Lamott

This seemed like a good one on the heels of The Betty Lous...

Breathing is a great way to deal with a multitude of things that are difficult and I love this advice from Anne Lamott to use it to bear the unbearable.

I think I will try this next time the kids are going nuts in the house - fighting, bouncing basketballs, running amok, leaving open doors and dirty socks in their wake. I am so profoundly grateful for them and find them so unbearable sometimes that this seems like the perfect way to balance these two truths.

Thanks Anne, I am grateful for you!

I am also grateful for:

1) Hot yoga on a COLD day.

2) A mini-foot rub from the yoga instructor during one of our resting periods.

3) That I didn't yell at the kids at dinnertime when they were complaining endlessly about what I had made. I just got up, took my plate and went and ate by myself in the living room. They are making dinner tonight :)

[More street art from jury duty...This is what it looks like around our house sometimes.....]

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Betty Lous


"Be grateful for all the challenging people in your life–bosses, co-workers, in-laws, children, friends–because they're your greatest teachers. These relationships are difficult precisely because of your resistance to the lesson, which might be about compassion, self-worth, generosity, or unconditional love." --Amara Rose

Betty Lou Parker*** was a girl in my youth group at church when I was in junior high school. She was my opposite in nearly every way - a short, blonde, prima donna who loved nothing more than to be in the spotlight. As a tall, dark-haired wallflower she made me feel invisible and I hated that feeling.

So I fought back the only way I knew how, by competing with her.

First, I befriended the preacher's daughter and made her my best friend. (She and Betty Lou had been friends - if not best friends - before I arrived.) Next, I started making friends with other kids in the group one-by-one. And finally, I ran against her in the election for President of our youth group and I won. At that point she was just another "youth" in our group and I didn't feel quite so invisible.

When I moved onto high school, there was another short blonde prima donna in my sphere and I did the same thing. Made a strategic friend or two. Quietly gathered my strength and support and landed a coveted position that she also wanted. The same thing happened later in my working life. And much later as a stay-at-home mom.

By this time it took me only moments to recognize a Betty Lou and I was able to feel my feelings and dis-engage my competitive instinct almost immediately. I would not say that we became friends, but I was able to be civil and we even had a few play dates with the kids.

The thing is, it never really felt good to compete with the Betty Lous, not any of them, but it felt better at the time than the alternative - feeling completely invisible.

The older I get the more I want to try and recognize this feeling, own it, and find ways to be visible that don't require world domination. Because the truth is, in each of these cases, when all was said and done, I felt awful.

Once my term as as President of the youth group was over, I quit going and distanced myself from that time and place because I didn't want to face the shame and regret of the way I had acted.

Whenever I think about the Betty Lous I feel a mixture of anger, regret and gratitude that is still somewhat painful. There is a part of me that wants to blame them for needing all of that attention. If only they could have shared some of the spotlight with the tall quiet girl standing off to the side, none of us would have had to go through all of that.

But that isn't the whole story. If I hadn't, on some level, needed all of that attention myself none of us would have needed to go through all of that either. And at the end of the day, I am the only one I can change. I am the one who needed to learn that making someone else feel bad never makes you feel good.

So today I am grateful to Betty Lou Parker, wherever she is, and to all of the Betty Lous, for triggering these painful feelings and bringing them to the surface. I can't say that they are gone forever, but I know now that I can recognize and deal with them in a healthier way. I no longer need to project them onto someone else. And for that I am grateful.

I am also grateful for:

1) Remembering to praise God when things didn't go my way at swimming and as a result I created a new workout.

2) "Happy" by Pharrell Williams. LOVING this song!

3) Easy red lentil dhal. Simple and delicious. YUM!

[***Names have been changed to protect the innocent.]

[I took the above photograph of some street art while serving jury duty in downtown Seattle. This is kind of how I felt in the presence of the Betty Lous.]

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Tapestry of Life


"Now that I know that every encounter, challenge, and situation is a spectacular thread in a tapestry, and that each represents and defines my life, I am deeply grateful for them all." --Wayne Dyer

Wayne Dyer seems to agree with Crazy Mr. Parker that it is ALL worth being grateful for. What about you?

Here's my list for today:

1) Getting all my s**t done today. It was a long list and should have been impossible, but somehow it all worked out. Thank you Universe!

2) Realizing that I am so done with anger - mine and other people's.

3) A healthy and delicious dinner - local handmade sausage, roasted vegetables and brown rice.

[Seemingly useless scraps of paper become a work of art at the hands of my older son's third grade class. In the same way, the frustrating or un-enjoyable moments help to make up the tapestry of our lives.]

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Practicing Gratitude - Praise God (Even when it makes no sense to do so....)


"Praise God." --Crazy Mr. Parker

A few years ago my sister told me about a sermon she had heard about Crazy Mr. Parker. Crazy Mr. Parker went around praising God all the time, no matter what. If you told him someone was sick he would say, "Praise God!" If you told him someone had just died he would say, "Praise God!" Good news, bad news, it didn't matter, Mr. Parker's response was always the same, "Praise God!"

We decided that this would be a great spiritual practice, to walk around in the world praising God no matter what. If you stub your toe, praise God. If you lose your wallet, praise God. If you miss the bus, praise God.

This seems more than a little bit crazy of the face of it, but the truth is we really have no idea what is a blessing and what is a curse in the moment that it happens. As in the Buddhist tale, "Maybe," we often do not know until much later that what looked like bad luck was actually a blessing in disguise.

So give this a try this week. Praise God no matter what and see how it feels. I'll let you know how it goes for me too.

Here are some of the things I am praising God for today:

1) I missed church on Sunday and had breakfast in bed with my younger son instead.

2) I saw something on Facebook that made me angry and I held my tongue (and my fingers).

3) Our Direct TV was not working last evening and I had to call customer service. The person on the other end of the line was very patient and thorough and stayed on the line with me quite awhile until the problem was fixed.

[I took this photograph in Hawaii on the island of Maui. Like saying "Praise God," when bad things happen it doesn't seem to make any sense, but you just never know....]

Monday, March 17, 2014

Grateful for the Light


"Have gratitude for the light - in your body and in your life - in spite of the areas that feel blocked. Look and feel underneath for what is true – the light – and feel gratitude for that." --Grace Waters

My gratefuls for today are:

1) Holding hands with my younger son for a few brief minutes while shopping.

2) Date nite massages at Two Smiling Feet.

3) The feeling of sadness that sometimes comes from telling the truth.

[This photograph is of the Sun, shining through my fingers, reminding me to have gratitude for the light.]

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Open Your Heart. Be Grateful!




"Gratitude keeps your heart open." --Mbali Creazzo

Today I am grateful for:

1) My sister, for reminding me what is mine.

2) A snuggle and a movie with my boys.

3) Honeybee Gardens Tropical Lip Balm. The best EVER!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Enough


 
"A word I've come across a lot during the years is 'abundance'. Self-help books encourage us to welcome abundance into our lives. If we think abundant thoughts then abundance will automatically grace us. The dictionary tells me that abundance is, 'an extremely plentiful or oversufficient quantity or supply.' In these difficult financial times, is it realistic to expect abundance? Do we really need an 'oversufficient quantity'? I'm coming to feel pretty fond of the word 'enough'. Enough is saving the washing up water and putting it on the roses. It's appreciating every melting moment of a square of bitter chocolate. It's chanting for an extra half hour, even though you're dying for a cup of tea. It's having a terrible morning and then noticing those red berries on a walk to the post-box. Those red berries! Enough feels more realistic than endless abundance. Enough is satisfying. Enough is not-always-what-I'd-prefer and just-what-I-need. I'm coming to trust in it....Enough is.... enough." --Satya Robyn of Writing Our Way Home

This is one of the most inspiring quotes on gratitude I have ever come across. And it makes me want to ask myself: just for today can I let enough be enough?

Can I appreciate what I have instead of looking around for what comes next? Can I give thanks for the big things I take for granted everyday - fresh air, clean water, plentiful food, freedom of speech, liberty of movement....the list goes on and on....Just for today can I let enough be enough?

I'm gonna try. 

Here's what I am grateful for today:

1) Lunch with a friend.

2) To have a frustrating task taken off of my plate - thanks Sweetie!

3) Early to bed (before 8:30!).

[This photograph was taken outside of a small art studio in Kyoto, Japan. Clearly this artist knows when enough is "enough." :)]

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Little Things

 

"It's the little things." --CJD

My college roommate always used to say this when she was pleased with something that had happened. We had a lot of little things to be grateful for back then: a hot cup of tea and chocolate chip scones after a long night of studying, an IU basketball victory over the dreaded Illini (DENY!), or a rock-star parking spot near our favorite bar on a Saturday night.

The wisdom still applies and is, it seems to me, what 30 Days of Gratitude is all about. Appreciating the little things each day that make life worth living. 

My "little things" for today are:

1) Fran's gray salt dark chocolate caramels.

2) Catching up on two of my favorite food blogs: Gluten-free Girl and the Chef & Orangette.

3) Being done with jury duty. At least for this go-round.

[The photograph is of our gorgeous Sun shining through the fall foliage on the IU Bloomington campus. Just one of the "little things" to be thankful for.]

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Focusing on the Good



"We have the opportunity every moment to focus on the good." --Karen Lindvig

Last night, in the middle of fixing dinner I got the call. "MOM! I NEED HELP!"

When I went upstairs to see what my older son needed, I found him standing in the center of his room with the huge Fathead of Russell Wilson he had gotten for Christmas all tangled up in a sticky, messy ball.

Normally this would be a yelling situation for me. Number one, I was in the middle of fixing dinner. Number two, Fatheads are not cheap. And number three, he had not used common sense in trying to do something so big without asking for help.

But thankfully - and this is the first thing on my list of what I am grateful for today - one of my guides or The Universe or my Higher Self tapped me on the shoulder and invited me to do it differently this time. To focus on the good.

My husband volunteered to finish making dinner and I set my sights on making this a positive learning experience for my son.

Working together, we managed to untangle Russell's legs, and then his mid-section and finally his head. And then we were able - after a couple of attempts - to get him up on the wall and to smooth him out enough to almost completely disguise the fact that we had partially ripped his head in the process.

After we were done my son started to berate himself (as I know he has seen me do to myself on many, many occasions) for being so stupid. I stopped him immediately and reminded him that he could not have known how hard it was going to be because he had never done it before. And then I told him I was proud of him for having the confidence to try and the courage to ask for help when things weren't going well.

I was proud of him, and I was proud of myself too, for listening to that still, small voice that is so easy to ignore, but always has the right answer. And for focusing on the good when it wasn't that easy to do.

Here are a couple of other things I am grateful for today:

2) SUNSHINE!

3) A few hours of truly "free" time downtown while on jury duty.

[I am calling this photo, "All's Well That Ends Well."]

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What We Enjoy


"Not what we have, but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance." --John Petit-Senn

Here are three things I have truly enjoyed today:

1) A ride, when I was running late.

2) Dark chocolate sea salt almonds.

3) A late night walk with a boy and a dog.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Practicing Gratitude - Say "Thank You"


"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'Thank you,' that would suffice." --Meister Eckhart

Another way to practice gratitude is to say "Thank You" to God or The Universe, or whatever name you give to your higher power, as you go about your day. When something good happens, or something you perceive as bad doesn't happen, say "Thank You" in the moment. Do this all day long, whenever you think of it.

If you would like, extend this practice to those around you. Spread gratitude wherever you go thanking those who help you as you go about your day. If your kids eat all their breakfast say "Thank you," if your spouse unloads the dishwasher, say "Thank you."

Say "Thank you," to the bus driver who gets you to work safely and to the deli counter worker who makes your lunch. Say "Thank you" as often as you remember and know that it is enough.

Thank YOU for being here. Thank YOU for reading. And thank YOU for spreading the gratitude around our world this month.

Today I am grateful for:

1) Croissants fresh from the oven.

2) Making it to church fifteen minutes late thanks to "spring forward." (But at least I made it!)

3) Time this afternoon to organize old photos and to remember what sweet babies my sons were.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Words of Gratitude from Stephen Tobolowsky


"Do you know how lucky I am just to be sitting in this room on the wrong day? There are millions of actors around the world, in this country, who would love the opportunity to just sit in this couch on the wrong day and not see Ryan Murphy. Just to have the script of Glee in my hands. I was able to have a nice drive with my wife today, she's lovely, a good companion and now I get the opportunity to have a nice drive with her again tomorrow. The way I figure it, I'm the luckiest man in the world."  --Stephen Tobolowsky, from The Tobolowsky Files, episode 16

Sometimes being in the wrong place at the wrong time is exactly where we are supposed to be. We can never know for her how the Universe has decided to bless us, teach us, prosper us, or re-direct us. 

All we can do is breathe, trust and be grateful. 

Today I am grateful for:

1) A long  lie-in.

2) Legion of Boom rolls at Blue C Sushi with my sweetie.

3) A quirky indie rom com on Netflix.

[BTW...if you haven't ever listened to The Tobolowsky Files, I highly recommend it. It has soul. Lots of soul.]





Sunday, March 9, 2014

Think about these things


Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. --Philippians 4:8

[This photograph was taken in a campground bathroom on our road trip last summer. I thought it was simply lovely and truly appreciated that someone had taken the time to make this relatively banal place a bit more homey.]

My gratefuls for today are:

1) The courage to have a hard conversation

2) Homemade energy bars with dates, walnuts and chocolate chips

3) A cup of sweet strawberry sorbet after a big loss

Saturday, March 8, 2014

3 Moments




"Offer to those you love 3 simple moments everyday: AWARENESS-notice the beauty of each moment; WONDERMENT-let the beauty touch your heart; GRATITUDE-give thanks to God for the beauty you see." --Father Daniel Syverstad

I took this photograph during a recent snow storm in Seattle. It was a moment in which I felt each of these simple moments simultaneously. Aware, in wonderment and in gratitude.

Today I am aware, in wonder and grateful for:

1) The calm before the storm.

2) My accountability partners, who keep me on track.

3) "How I Met Your Mother" - This show touches my heart and subtly reminds me to be the best version of myself. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Living in Gratitude


"Love the life you have..." --Ethan Hawke "Ash Wednesday"

This is so easy to say, and so hard to do. With all of the messages out there telling us the things we could do or could see or could be or could buy, it is almost impossible to love the life you have fully, completely and right now.

But that doesn't mean it isn't worth trying. And I think gratitude practice is one of the best ways. Which is not to say that stuff isn't coming up for me this month.

Today while reading the paper I started to feel the consumer beast stirring within: Maybe I should go to that play. Maybe I should see that exhibit. Maybe I should read that book.

My mind became greedy for more, More, MORE! Until I finally put the paper down and focused on what I was grateful for right here, right now.

Here is what I came up with:

1) A hot cup of tea with milk.

2) A few hours of free time with nothing on the calendar.

3) A bus ride. While riding the bus to jury duty yesterday, I was flooded with memories of riding the city bus to school every day in junior high and high school when we lived in Baltimore. It was always crowded and it was often crazy, but my friends and I had a lot of great talks and a lot of great laughs on those long rides to school and back.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Just for Today


"Just for today, do not worry. Just for today, do not anger.....[Just for today] show gratitude in everything" --Mikao Usui

I am grateful for:

1) My swim buddy who gets me to the pool even on days when I really, really don't want to go (like today....).

2) A very fruitful shopping spree at Value Village.

3) Cold water. There is nothing like drinking a glass of very cold water when you are very thirsty. It occurs to me today that many people around the world have no idea what this is like and it is something not to be taken for granted, but to be savored and enjoyed. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Perfect Combination


"There is a special combination that seems to be perfect for this, which is love plus the combination of thanks and appreciation reflected in the English word gratitude. Just one of these is not enough. Love needs to be based in gratitude, and gratitude needs to be based in love. These two words together create the most important vibration." --Masaru Emoto


Today I am thankful for:

1) A walk in the sunshine after DAYS of rain.

2) Nutella-stuffed brown butter + sea salt chocolate chip cookies
 
3) Watching our dog crawl awkwardly over all other family members on the couch to get to me. (Sometimes it's just nice to know you're someone's favorite :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Gratitude Expands


"The more gratitude that we have for everyday basic things, that then expands into more and more things." --Lee Anne Peters

When I was working on gathering quotes for 30 Days of Gratitude, I realized quickly that I did not have thirty quotes about gratitude in my database yet. I started to worry and second-guess myself, maybe I should have picked a different focus for the month, one that I knew I could complete.

What I heard immediately from The Universe was, "I will provide all the inspiration you need this month. Trust." And already I am seeing that this is true.

Yesterday I posted a quote from Matthew McConaughey at the Oscars and today the quote comes from the Monthly Guidance for March from Lee Anne Peters of Temple of Balance. Gratitude quotes are springing up out of nowhere and I am certain that by the end of the month I will have more than I need to complete the thirty days.

It's all about Trust.

Trust that The Universe will provide. Trust that you are on the right course. Trust that you will be okay.

And trust in the power of gratitude this month to expand into more and more good, more and more gratitude.

Today I am grateful for:

1) My husband - who fought with me all weekend. For not giving up and sticking with me through thick and thin, good and bad, better and worse.

2) My church - For being a place of JOY.

3) Family movie night - my younger son is reading the Harry Potter series for the first time and as he finishes each book, we are re-watching the movies together as a family. "Order of the Phoenix" was last night. This was/is the hardest one for me because Umbridge is such a reprehensible character, and it is quite satisfying to see her carried off by satyrs towards the end.

Monday, March 3, 2014

And the Oscar for best quote about Gratitude goes to....


"It's a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates." --Matthew McConaughey 

I am grateful for:

1) A hot bath with salt AND bubbles.

2) My warm winter coat - it's silver and shiny and it covers my butt and keeps it warm.

3) A bowl of soup, teeming with veggies.

(Can you tell it was cold and rainy in Seattle yesterday?)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Lucky


"Remember how LUCKY you are." --The Universe to me in 2004. 

Today I am grateful for:

1) My Life - I don't mean to start so big, but I just finished the book "Escape from Camp 14," a book about life in a North Korean Prison Camp. The life lived in these camps is unimaginably brutal; many of the children and adults born in these camps have never known anything else. Just to have been born in the Western world is something to be profoundly grateful for. 

2) Family time on the couch - After my younger son's basketball game, we all ended up on the couch with many blankets and many books. 

3) Sleep - I drank coffee during the day and did not sleep well the night before last. Lying down last night I could feel myself start to drift off immediately and I was so grateful to no longer be under the influence of caffeine. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

What's Next?


"What if focusing on the good in our lives could lead to an increase in good?"  --Karen Lindvig, Senior Minister at Seattle Unity

As 28 Days of Love began to wind down, I once again found myself asking the question, "What's next?" The word that kept rattling around in my brain was Gratitude. It made sense to me that Gratitude would come after Love, but I wasn't sure until I went to church last Sunday.

Reverend Karen spoke about mirrors - how the world mirrors back to us our own internal state - and about how to shift things if what is being mirrored for you is not what you would like to see. She asked this question: "What if focusing on the good in our lives could lead to an increase in good?" And I knew that was my green light from The Universe for 30 Days of Gratitude.

The practice is relatively easy, notice three things each day that you are grateful for. 

That's it. Just notice three things.

You can write them in a journal, on your own blog, or in the comments section of this blog. You can share them on my Facebook page "The 30 Days Project." You can share them with someone else at dinnertime, before bed or in a daily "gratitude call." Or you may simply notice them, whenever and wherever you can, silently and to yourself.

I will be sharing my "gratefuls" (as my kids call them) on the blog each day, as well as on The 30 Days Project Facebook page. However you choose to practice I hope you will stop by often for inspiration, ideas and support.

Let the gratitude begin!

[This photograph was taken outside of Cafe Gratitude in Venice, CA.]

Friday, February 28, 2014

Some Last Thoughts on Love

 

"In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you love? How deeply did you learn to let go?" --Buddha

Day 28. Here we are at the end of our month-long focus on love and I find myself with two weeks' worth of quotes still to go. A lot has been written about love. A LOT. And yet, it eludes many of us in one form or another.

Some of us have romantic love, but not self-love. Some have self-love, but have yet to find their life partner. Others have the love of many friends, but long for the love of a family. Some of us could use more of all of the above.

Whatever your situation, I hope that 28 Days of Love has helped you to deepen, grow and expand the love in your life.

Before I call it good, I would like to share with you a few favorites among those quotes that didn't make it onto the blog before now. (Links to old posts, where available, are included.)

"Kindness is love in action." --The Universe, to me, while writing this blog post

"Love which expects something in return is not love at all." --SN Goenka

 "LOVE is contagious." --My take on a Sandra Cisneros quote "Anger is contagious."

"This is an illusion – all that matters within the illusion is to show love." --The Universe to me at Disneyland  - In my opinion, this can be applied to the illusion of life on Earth as well :)
  
"We're not here to earn God's love, we're here to spend it!" --Swami Beyondananda - How can you spend God's love today?

"It matters not who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love or how you love. It matters only that you love." --John Lennon

"Love cures people, both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it." --Karl Menninger from @ainebelton on Twitter

"The great thing about feeling deep, profound, earthshaking love...is that you can start with anyone. Next." --The Universe on TUT.com

"Seek to love and not to be loved. Love without expectations. Love expecting nothing in return. Love because it feels good. LOVE!" --The Universe to me in a journal entry after reading The Art of Loving

"Words from the heart of love awaken love in others." --Unknown

"If you're going to have love, first you're going to have everything come up that is not love." --Carlos W Anderson, Assoc Pastor at Unity of NY

"Whatever the circumstances, it is better to love, create and construct than to hate, undermine and destroy." --Helen and Scott Nearing from their book The Good Life

"Love is my only function; Love is why I am here. Love is your only function; Love is why you are here. Love is our only function; Love is why we are here."  --A Course in Miracles

"The problem, if you love it, is as beautiful as the sunset." -Jiddu Krishnamurti via Caeriel Crestin

"My Life is Filled With Opportunities to Love and Be Loved." --From an advertisement

"The first duty of love is to listen." --Paul Tillich

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." --MLK, Jr

"Dissolve and Destroy your fear of love." --RUMI

"There is no life without love. None worth having anyway." --Hank Moody

"The whole world is a marketplace for Love." --Attar

And finally, a blessing for you, by way of Master Stephen Co

"From my heart to yours, I shower you with unconditional love."

Today. Now. Always. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I don't know you, but I love you.


"I love you. I don't know you, but I love you." --Lydia at Unity of Burbank

The Universe is always giving us opportunities to learn and to grow and to "walk our talk," which is why it should have come to no surprise that this month has been full of opportunities for me to love when that was not my first instinct.

Last Sunday at church for instance.

As I approached the pews there was a woman standing in the aisle waiting for someone to join her before she sat down. I chose one of three or four empty pews nearby and sat down.

When her friend had joined her, she slid into the aisle right next to me and sat down.

"Ugh. Doesn't she know the empty bus seat rule?" I thought to myself.

It got worse a few seconds later when I realized she had a cold. Ah-choo!

She was sneezing and sucking on cough drops and smelled like menthol from - I assume - some vapor rub. And I was off.

Oh, great. Now I'm going to have to shake her hand and then I'll get sick and the kids will get sick and why couldn't she just sit in an empty pew?

It took me a few minutes to remember: Oh, yeah. I'm in CHURCH. We're supposed to be kind to each other here. And accept each other here. And LOVE each other here.

So I took a deep breath and tried to overcome my prejudice against this poor woman with a cold.

It reminded me of the time I went to Unity of Burbank with my sister:

On Sunday morning we hoofed it over to Unity of Burbank to hear a friend of my sister's give the message and we were surrounded by angels. 

From the moment we entered the building we were welcomed with open arms and open hearts by all we met. And everyone we met, it seemed, had a connection to either New York (where my sister lived) or Seattle. 

There was the man from Unity of Kent helping his Uncle with some home repairs. The woman from New York who still wore a Yankees pendant around her neck. The man from LA who used to lived in New York AND Seattle. And, of course, there was Lydia. 

She used to live in New York, had moved to LA in the 60's with her husband and family. Had raised her kids here and was now, mostly alone. She was quiet, a bit shy, but friendly. We chatted for awhile and then it was time for the service. 

It started with song as most Unity services do. First, "We Are One in the Spirit," which did our former Protestant hearts good to hear. Then "It's in Every One of Us," which was new to me, but lovely. And finally a rousing rendition of "Good Morning God." In spite of being a small congregation, they really know how to bring down the house at Unity of Burbank.

After the singing was the Opening Prayer and then the Welcome. 

When I said, "small congregation," I was exaggerating slightly. The congregation is tiny. Around 25 people attend services on an average Sunday. 40 or so on a big day like Easter or Christmas. But boy is there a lot of love in this house. 

During the Welcome, music is playing and everyone wanders around the sanctuary hugging everyone. And I mean EVERYONE. Why not? That's only 24 hugs!

I hugged the people I had met and people I had never seen before in my life. And I hugged Lydia. When I did she said to me, "I love you. I don't know you, but I love you." And with these words she touched my heart, brought tears to my eyes, and made my day. No, my vacation. 

Ever since, I think about her whenever I am surrounded by strangers and I ask myself, "Do I love these people even though I don't know them? Could I love them even though I don't know them?"

Sometimes it is hard enough to love those we do know, but loving those we don't, loving everyone, is what we are here to do. Lydia reminded me of that.

During the passing of the peace this past Sunday my sneezing, coldy pew-mate did something similar.

When it came time to greet our neighbors, instead of reaching out her hand, she grabbed me and gave me a big hug. It was as if she was saying, "I love you. I don't know you, but I love you." 

And in that moment, I forgot all about her cold and loved her back.

[This photograph is of another Unity angel, this one at Seattle Unity.]

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ways of Practicing - Emanate Love


"She truly loved herself and therefore had no reason to hate anyone else." --The Universe to me in an old blog post, reprinted below.

December 17, 2010

"Emanate love to all in your sphere without distinction or prejudice." 
--Sunyata Satchitananda from the website www.mythiclove.net

I went to a Holiday concert this week that a friend of mine and her children were performing in. It was a lovely performance; the director was enthusiastic, the songs were uplifting and everyone seemed to be having a great time.

There was one woman in the choir who particularly stood out for me. She was standing in the back, not doing anything special, but as she sang she just radiated love.

I watched her closely throughout the whole concert, trying to figure out her secret. I studied her face to try and see what was different.

Physically, there was nothing special about her face. It was more attractive then some, less attractive than others, but a pretty basic human face. Still, there was something about it that went beyond the physical.

Her face was open. Her face was loose and broad and radiant. Her face was smiling all the time.

I kept finding myself thinking: I want to do that.

And asking the question that followed: How do you do that?

As I continued to look at the woman with the radiant face what I saw was Total Acceptance. Of herself and of others. She truly loved herself and therefore had no reason to hate anyone else.
I know that I am not there yet, but I hope that's where I'm headed. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Love is All Around


"Love really is all around." --From the opening scene of Love Actually

Have you ever had one of those days when love really is all around? For me it was Saturday. All day, everywhere I looked, the Universe was sending me reminders to love, love, love.

At my yoga class I parked my mat in the first row (which I never do) and there in the floor was a little heart formed from the whorls and swirls of the wood.

As I came inside the house after class, I stopped at our Little Free Library and there, staring out at me, was a small hardback volume of a book entitled How to Love.

And later, when I sat down to relax with a cup of tea, I picked up a coffee table book we have had for years (Monet: Water Lilies) and came across this quote, "Everyone discusses [my art] and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love." (Claude Monet)

This strikes me as a profound statement about life as well as art. It is not necessary to understand, it is simply necessary to love.

If you are like me you spend a great deal of time trying to understand things. WHY did this happen and not that? WHY did that person do that or react like that or say that? WHY do things feel so hard sometimes? WHY? WHY? WHY?

This is not a bad thing in and of itself, but it can hold us back when trying to understand becomes an excuse not to act or not to love.

What signs are you being shown today to just love, love, love?

[I photographed this straw heart last year in a diner on the Olympic Peninsula. I looked down and there it was, a little reminder to love. Drew Barrymore has written a whole book about these chance encounters with love. It is called, "Find it in Everything."]

Monday, February 24, 2014

Amrit Desai on Love


"Love begins with yourself. The moment you accept what you are, you awaken your capacity to [give and to] receive love."  --Amrit Desai

Kind of like all forgiveness is self-forgiveness, all love is self-love. If we don't love ourselves, how can we love others?

After my first ten-day Vipassana meditation retreat, I came home and wrote these three rules on my fridge:

Three Rules for Life

1) Be kind to yourself

2) Do not harm others

3) Purify your mind

According to Vipassana teacher SN Goenka, being kind to yourself comes first because if you are not kind to yourself, you cannot be truly kind to others. You can try to be kind to others and you can pretend to be kind to others, but you cannot be truly kind to others if you are feeling angry, dissatisfied or stressed out.

I think about this a lot when I am feeling tense or annoyed or angry. I try and ask myself: How can I be kind to myself? Which is kind of like asking: How can I love myself?

So, how can you love yourself today? Make today a self-love-fest and see how it works for you. Is it easier to be kind to others? Do you have more patience? More kindness? More love to give when you start with yourself?

If you want to go deeper in your work with self-love, I highly recommend the work of Elisa Balabram. She has lots of great tools and articles on her website to help you learn to love yourself. Check it out!

I leave you with one final quote about spiritual work and self-love:

"There is a way which is supremely effective. Just look at yourself as you are, see yourself as you are, accept yourself as you are, and go ever deeper into what you are." --Nisargadatta Maharaj