Every morning one of the first things I do is to write down at least five things I have to be grateful for in my life. I have been doing this for years now. So many people I know do this in November in preparation for Thanksgiving, but every day is a day to give thanks, not just one month. So why not give thanks every day. Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance writes five things every night, but at night I am too brain dead to clearly think about what I am grateful for, so I write mine first thing in the morning as I sip on my morning coffee or tea.
It is not so much about when you give thanks but that you do. It is not so much about how much you have but your recognition of it and ability to give thanks for it. It is so easy to give thanks when life is going well. However, when we are going through a challenging time, sometimes it is hard to give thanks. It is hard to give thanks when you are going through. Yet this is the very time it is most important because doing so helps us to see how blessed we are. Practicing gratitude keeps us mindful that we have everything we need, even when it may not feel like it. For example, for three months of each year, I have little to no income. I can work on saving each month, but then the financial drought season hits. It is a frustrating time as life feels like window shopping. There are so many things I see that I want to do or would like to have, but they are not a necessity, so they stay where they are behind the window. It is in those moments that I have to stop and give thanks and remind myself or be reminded by my wife that we have an abundance. Even when it feels like we are struggling, we are living in a space of abundance. Read More
Have you ever had one of those days where you struggle to find anything precious or valuable about yourself, never mind anyone else? We all have those days where we lie to ourselves for whatever reason. Someone asked me if I ever wrote when I was not happy. I said no. So maybe today I needed to write during a time when I need to be intentional about practicing reverence. It is one of those days where I need to be intentional about remembering that my value as a human being is greater than any function I perform, or any title bestowed on me, or how much or how little I have in my account. What makes me valuable is my ability to see the Divine in me. As a friend of mine once told me, when people ask you who you are, just say I am. If the Divine is the great I am and the Divine is in me then I am also I am.
It is not what we do that makes us valuable, it is our attitude about life and the way we view the world. It is about seeing the presence of the Divine in everything and remembering that blessings come in ways that surpass our understanding. It is the ability to see the sacred in every human being, every object, and every situation. When we seek out the sacred in every situation and every moment, we are practicing reverence. Reverence then shapes our reality and the way we interpret every aspect of our life. It is what allows us to see the spiritual value in all of life. When we look at all things, great and small, with reverence we see the sacred in everything from turning on the water faucet to flushing the toilet to giving someone a hug. Read More
There is this series of videos on YouTube from the Spiritual Literacy Project which illustrate spiritual practices and capture the sacred in everyday life. In a video about enthusiasm, they share a story about Emil’s Sunset. Emil was a gentleman who each night would gather people at the family cottage just to watch the sunset. He would make people stop what they were doing and come and sit in the fully experience the beauty of the sunset. In the video, they talk about how one day after he had passed away, they were busy doing things and someone mentioned there was an Emil sunset. They all stopped what they were doing and sat and took in the beauty of the sunset. Read More
Long before I was ever exposed to the book of Galatians in the New Testament, I had heard the saying “you reap what you sow.” I have come to understand that there is a truth behind this saying. Recently, someone shared with me that it was important for people to tell their torch song, that woe is me song, that somebody done me wrong song. I told them that the only thing that needed to happen with the torch song is that it needed to be torched. See when we sow our torch song and focus on all that we think is wrong with our lives, what we reap are more things that are wrong with our life.
Conversely, when we focus on the positives and the blessings in our lives, then we reap more of those in life. One of the things I have learned is that we really do reap what we sow. If I am going to sing any song, it is going to be my praise song, my what I have overcome, what I have to be grateful for, how blessed I am song. What I have come to realize in my life is that it is this positive energy, attitude, and momentum, which carries me through. Read More
I woke up this morning wondering whether to reflect on destiny or devotion as they both resonated with my spirit for different reasons. However, the more I reflected on the word destiny, the more it drew me in and made me realize I was destined to write about destiny on the day I celebrate the 11 year anniversary of the woman I was destined to share my life with.
Talking about destiny is not as easy as it seems. One of the challenges I found was in how to define it. The definitions I found in dictionaries often times used destiny interchangeably with fate, as if they are the same thing. Fate is about all that was decided before we are incarnated. Destiny is about our participation in our life and how we respond to what arises in our life. Do we make the best of our lives regardless of what situations we encounter? Read More
Lately, others have invited me to participate in some interesting blogging challenges. This week was no different. For the next 26 weeks, I will be blogging my way through the alphabet. When I asked some of our Facebook and Twitter followers for some A words as inspiration for this week’s blog, you offered me appreciation, awareness, agreements, attitude, asparagus, and anchovies, in no specific order. While the last two might seem a stretch in terms of this particular reflection, the more I thought about these letter words, the more I realize that they were, in their own unique way, related.
One of our followers suggested the word appreciation because she said she appreciated everything Inspiritual does for our readers, members, and followers. While we too appreciated the feedback, I realized that being able to be grateful and appreciate someone else’s actions, words, or behaviors was in part about awareness and attitude. If one is not have an attitude of gratitude about the blessings in one’s life, then one cannot appreciate the fullness and richness of those blessings. Read More
Maintaining an attitude of gratitude is one of those things which most people find relatively easy to do when things are going well in their lives. When you have a secure and well paying job, it is easy to give thanks. When your relationship is stable, it is easy to give thanks. When you are doing well health wise, it is easy to give thanks. The problem is that most of us have those days in our life when our job may be at risk, or we may be worried about trying to find one. Read More
For some this may be easier then others, but can you remember a time when you were young and free enough to think you could do anything. Take a moment and remember that time when you could imagine yourself as whatever you chose to be, you could travel to far off places and accomplish amazing things in the world. One of my favorite films is the movie UP! In part because it captures the imaginary and liberating creativity experienced by Elie and Carl as they formed a secret club and fantasized about traveling to Paradise Falls, somewhere in South America, as part of their fantasy of finding the once famous explorer Charles Muntz and his blimp The Spirit of Adventure. Read More
The other day I was at the grocery store and this older woman, well older then me, offered to help me reach a package and then proceeded to tell me how awful my life must be and how seeing people like me made her feel so much better about her life. I was not quite sure how to respond, so I thanked her for her assistance and told her that I prayed God would continue to fill her day with opportunities to feel better about her life.
Her comment to me got me questioning how we describe our lives. Do you describe your life by talking about how hard it is, or as I heard one person say once, “life sucks and then you die.” Or are you more on the attitude of life is good. Read More
We all go through times in our journey which if given the choice, we might choose to avoid. It is at times like this when I tend to hear my Bubby’s voice reminding me that when you can see the good in a bad situation, then you know you are going to be ok. I have done this with Zoë’s cancer diagnosis, during the times my son has struggled (like last night), during my struggle with Liftline, etc. As I have made a list of the blessings in each situation, the way I see them, what I choose to believe about them shifts from an Eeyore attitude to an attitude of gratitude. The more I focus on what I have to be grateful for, the more I realize how much I have to be grateful for. It is as if gratefulness begets gratefulness begets gratefulness. Read More
Quite some time ago, I gained an understanding about the importance of gratitude. It is amazing what happens to our view of the world when we acquire an attitude of gratitude and begin to look at the world through its eyes. It seems as if the more one finds to be grateful for, the more you see things for which to give thanks. It is this ever-growing experience. Being mindful of one thing for which to give thanks seems to give birth to some other thing for which to give thanks, which gives birth to something else and so on and so on. Read More
It is funny how the universe confirms things for you. I woke up the other morning with this song by Avalon in my heart, called “New Day.” Over the next two days, the conversations between friends and I, and friends and others were all about how today is a new day. The reality is that today is a new day and each moment is a new moment. Each second is a new second. As Alice Walker once wrote, “we are never the same river twice.” Each moment in our lives is a new moment and each day is a new day. The chorus to Avalon’s song says,
It's a new day
Oh, it's a new time
And there's a new way
I'm gonna live my life
All the old has, passed away
And the new has come
Thank God, It's a brand new day Read More