Category Archives: gratitude

Frustrated? Try Gratitude

you are the key

Many people underestimate the power of gratitude.

And many times, gratitude is dismissed in times of frustration. Instead, people resort to complaining. Then they find themselves experiencing a chain reaction of negative emotions  — anxiety, despair, anger, even rage — robbing themselves of inner peace, harmony, and balance.

When we find ourselves in situations that are beginning to frustrate us, we sometimes forget that we have a choice. We can choose to let the situation upset us, or we can choose to manage our energy by taking a more constructive approach.

We know the situations well. Getting stuck in traffic. Waiting in a long line. Patience runs thin. We grimace. We complain. We throw our arms up in frustration. For what? Why fill the body with the toxins that emotions release? Such energy is not going to improve or hurry the situation.

Instead, give pause for thought and appreciate where you are in that moment.

If you’re stuck in traffic, be thankful that you have a car with which to get around. Some people don’t have such a luxury. Others may not have driving privileges, or their privileges may have been taken away.

If you’re stuck in a long line at the store, be thankful that your neighborhood is able to supply you with a business which in turn supplies you with your needs. Think about all the time and effort that goes into managing such a place.

When we take things for granted, we lessen their value.

When we are grateful for what we have, we end up having more.

Gratitude has the power to change your life. It acts as a lightning rod for Universal Energy to transform your life.

You are the key.

The Great State Of Appreciation

Whenever someone asks me what state I am from, I say “the great state of appreciation.”

I often get quizzical looks.

What is appreciation?

It’s the intention to live with gratitude in our daily life.

It’s the conscious acknowledgement of the value within and around us.

It’s the willingness to notice all that is good in our lives.

And it’s the desire to experience all of life with this attitude.

Appreciation is where real pleasure comes from, and it is a dynamic magnetic energy that when activated and when really felt will bring bliss to your everyday life.  The more you feel it, the more you create because that which you focus on will expand in your life.  Universal Law does not budge on this point.

Underneath all positive emotions is the state of appreciation.  Likewise, behind all negative emotions is some sort of dissatisfaction or fear.  Here’s a test: Do you consciously seek to enjoy the present moment, seeing value and worth and giving gratitude for what you already have, or do you look around at your life and constantly see everything that is missing? Understand that whichever state you are in, your attitude affects both your consciousness and your energy.  You are either filtering everything through an awareness of abundance or of lack.  And as mentioned previously, the energy you give is the energy you get.

We can’t experience joy without appreciation. To shift from a state of dissatisfaction, discontentment, or fear to a state of appreciation requires a shift in perception. This means taking responsibility for your own happiness by harnessing your power of choice to cultivate your appreciation.

How?

Search for things to be grateful for throughout your life and deep within yourself. Write them down in a notebook or journal. Big things. Little things. Do this in the morning when you arise and in the evening before you fall asleep. Your willingness and participation in this activity is part of your consciousness and energy production.  Cherishing the simple things will magnetize an abundance of joy. Whenever you get lost in the stress of everyday life, read over this list to remind you of all that you have to be grateful for.

You can also use (or create your own) visualization techniques.  Take a few deep breaths to relax your body and mind and imagine your problem (as a bird or a cloud or smoke) floating away to the Light for healing and transformation. Use whatever imagery feels best for you.  As you continue to relax, think about something you appreciate.  It could be a memory, a person, a place. Visualize all the details and immerse yourself in the center. Allow yourself to feel the peace and joy that this imagery brings. Stay with it and feel that resonance. As you do, you open your heart to receiving more.

When you live by filtering everything through a genuine sense of appreciation, you create a highly attractive vibration to which the Universe will respond.  Your energy of gratitude will only attract more to appreciate in the future.

As you appreciate your life, the value of your life appreciates, too.

Teaching Outside The Box

I was always known as the English teacher who gave strange homework assignments. I would tell my students that there was a method to my madness, and that my job wasn’t about telling them what to think; it was about getting them to think, especially for themselves.

As a teacher, I wanted to reach the whole student. Sure, I followed the principles of Bloom’s Taxonomy when developing lesson plans, but I believe education is much more than remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing information. It’s about making connections to worlds other than one’s own.  And by the end of the year, my students felt that they had learned much more about themselves and others because of my “crazy” assignments.

Oftentimes, I received phone calls and emails from parents, thanking me for such assignments because it allowed them to reconnect with their children and with themselves. Here’s a list of some of those assignments.

Assignment 1: Learning gratitude. Imagine what your life would be like with no elbows.  Immobilize your arms in such a way that you cannot bend your elbows. Try to perform an activity like washing a plate, or changing your clothes. Journal about your experience. Thank your elbows and show them some love by rubbing some lotion on them as you give thanks (replace elbows with knees for another variation).

Assignment 2: Learning POV (point of view). Write a letter from the perspective of your hair. Think about what your hair goes through on a daily basis. What would it tell you in that letter? And what will you change as a result?

Assignment 3: Learning symbols. Anything can be our teacher when we contemplate it long enough. Sit under a tree, facing it preferably. Study it. Listen to it. Touch it. Ask what it can teach you. What could a tree represent or symbolize in life? Journal about your experience.

Assignment 4: Learning responsibility. Adopt a plant. Or plant a seed and watch it grow. Give it sun. Give it water. Play music for it. Notice the changes that occur over a few weeks.

Assignment 5: Learning appreciation. Gather all of your electronic gadgets and have a party for them. Give them a good dusting and cleaning. Check to see that the cords are in good shape. As part of the party fun, give out awards according to their “personality,” like “Most Likely To Be Borrowed By My Brother When I’m Not Looking.”

Assignment 6: Learning organization. Spend some time making your room a more soulful place. Make simple changes that are more reflective of your attachments, interests, and commitments. Books on the Chinese art of feng shui explain this system of gauging energy flow in an area and making changes using plants, mirrors, wind chimes, arrangement of furniture, a water feature, and other elements. Note how you feel after making these changes. How does your room feel to you?

Assignment 7: Learning comparisons/contrasts. Have you ever been in a place that you felt was “sick,” ill, or negative? Describe its symptoms. How would you help it “heal?” Compare/contrast this kind of place to one that you felt was healthy? What did you notice?

Assignment 8: Learning connections. If you were a color, what color would you be, and why? Explain in one to two pages. How does this color represent you?

Assignment 9:  Learning characterization. Make a collage that captures your understanding of your family. Use images to capture each family member’s personality. Explain why you chose those particular images.

Assignment 10: Learning teamwork. Plan a menu with your family and cook a meal together. Who will be the head chef? Who will be the sous chef (assistant)? Assign a role to each family member. Document this with photos and create a booklet that tells the story of the evening.

My goal was to design assignments that created meaning, assignments that took students beyond the four walls of a classroom. I wanted them to develop “heart knowledge” as well as “head knowledge.”

I’ve always believed that learning should be a fun but challenging process. To students, these assignments took them out of their comfort zones, but they allowed students to open up to the world and to themselves, getting them out of their own little universe. These activities were about expanding their awareness.

Of course, these activities are not just for students. Anyone can work with them, especially if they want to get in touch with the depth of their souls and the breadth of their connections with others.

Give them a try, and see what you discover.

Shift Happens

Let’s face it.  We have our good days and our bad days.  Things happen that affect our moods.  It used to drive me nuts when someone would say, “Think positive,” or “Keep your chin up,” as I faced challenging times.  Nothing like the obvious to irritate you.  I knew that thinking positively would help me, but I wanted to know how to get there when I felt anything but positive.  When my friend and spiritual mentor Merv told me to practice gratitude, no matter the situation, my eyes and heart opened, and things began to change for the better.  Something shifted inside.  I began to feel lighter in my being.

Giving gratitude for what you have is a great success technique when you need to raise your level of vibration from the depths.  Well, why should I give thanks? one may ask.  Well, why not?  You’ll actually do more harm than good by staying at a lower vibration.  Giving gratitude is a spiritual practice that will elevate your mood.  As you voice (or think) your thanks, you emit positive energy out into the Universe.  The Universe responds in kind by giving you more of those things for which you are grateful because it is a law by which the Universe abides.  It wants to give.

Another way to help you raise your vibration is to use the Emotional Guidance Scale* which charts 22 of our emotions.  The lower one goes on the scale, the unhappier that person is.  The higher, the happier.  One doesn’t have to work through each one to get higher on the scale.  Ask yourself where you are emotionally on this scale.  Then through positive self-talk, move yourself up.  Give gratitude for moving up.  Do things that make you feel happy.  Before you know, things have shifted and you find yourself moving right along.  You feel better.

EMOTIONAL GUIDANCE SCALE:


1 . Joy/Appreciation/Empowered/Freedom/Love
2 . Passion
3 . Enthusiasm/Eagerness/Happiness
4 . Positive Expectation/Belief
5 . Optimism
6 . Hopefulness
7 . Contentment
8 . Boredom
9 . Pessimism
10. Frustration/Irritation/Impatience
11. Overwhelmingness
12. Disappointment
13. Doubt
14. Worry
15. Blame
16. Discouragement
17. Anger
18. Revenge
19. Hatred/Rage
20. Jealousy
21. Insecurity/Guilt/Unworthiness
22. Fear/Grief/Depression/Despair/Powerlessness

Let’s say you are feeling angry because someone you love said something derogatory to you.  Not only did it anger you, but it made you feel insecure and unworthy.  What you are feeling has tripled and now you are carrying a very heavy load of emotional baggage.  And you are telling yourself, “That jerk.  How could he say that to me?  Am I really that way?  Maybe I am!  I feel so terrible about myself.  I’m worthless.  He’s right.”  Now you’ve really piled it on! How do you even begin to change this?

Acknowledge how you feel.  Admit your pain.  Then give thanks for moving up the scale.  Begin thinking about things that make you feel happy.  Think about all the kind words that others have said about you.  And hold on to those thoughts.  Your self-talk may be something like, “He has know idea who I am.  What he said is merely his perception, not mine.  People have always commented on what a good person I am.  They have told me how kind I am.  I AM a kind person!  I AM a good person! No one can stop me from being me!”  Suddenly all that emotional baggage is gone.  You’ve shifted and moved up the emotional scale.  As you hold on to those positive thoughts, you automatically let go of the old, negative ones because you can’t hold both a positive and a negative thought at the same time.  You may vacillate between the two, but the more energy you give to the positive, the better you feel, and the higher you go on the emotional scale.

When shift happens, give gratitude!

*Emotional Guidance Scale as used in Ask And It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks, pg. 114.