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I think I could live by quotes alone! I love how other people use language and often think they can express things better than I. And so, I say, why reinvent the wheel? Why try to best the greats? But instead, why not share the wisdom of others with the universe?
In that spirit, I share a quote about appreciation and ask you to think about what it means in your life and how, if you are so inclined, you might take action on its message in order to enhance your life.
“Each day, awakening, are we asked to paint the sky blue? Need we coax the sun to rise or flowers to bloom? Need we teach birds to sing, or children to laugh, or lovers to kiss? No, though we think the world imperfect, it surrounds us each day with its perfections. We are asked only to appreciate them and to show appreciation by living in peaceful harmony amidst them. The Creator does not ask that we create a perfect world; He asks that we celebrate it.” ~Robert Brault
Some simple daily practices to make appreciation a habit:
1. Each time you have a negative thought, pause and think about what might be good about the situation. Even after something as horrific as the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11, people were finding things to be grateful for… the flight they were supposed to be on but missed, early morning doctor’s appointment that made them late for work, the many, many people who were fortunate enough to survive. If people can find the upside in something so terrible as that, you surely can find the silver lining in your misfortunes.
2. When you see something you like, make a point of commenting about it to someone. I am especially awed by things in nature, even worms and spider webs. I don’t like them but they are beautiful.
3. When someone does even the simplest thing for you, even if you expect it, say thank you and show appreciation.
4. Tell someone you are happy to help them.
5. Thank the cashier, bus driver, waitress, janitor for their efforts. You may not ever want to do those jobs but imagine if no one did them.
6. Remember, you have to ‘be the change you wish to see in the world’ (Gandhi) so if you want more appreciation, you must show more appreciation. It will come back to you ten-fold.
Noticing and showing appreciation can lift your mood, enhance your relationships, be a means by which you make a contribution to the world. Appreciating can put things in perspective, give you relief from your daily worries and troubles. It is potent medicine and best of all, it’s free.
I just returned from ‘Spark and Hustle‘, a 3 day conference for women entrepreneurs, put on by Tory Johnson, best knows as the Workplace Contributor on ‘Good Morning America.’ Tory lined up an amazing cast of smart, successful, inspiring speakers to share information and inspiration with about 200 women entrepreneurs. I left with so many fabulous ideas, but most importantly, I gained focus and clarity for my coaching business. And, then, this morning, it was no accident that I heard Johnny Nash’s song, “I Can See Clearly Now” on the radio. It’s hard to listen to that song without feeling good. It’s just one of those songs that is uplifting and puts a smile on my face. And, as I listened to it today, it made me think about the importance of seeing clearly when you are trying to make a change. I thought about all of the times when I’ve felt excited about something, optimistic and energized, only to land squarely back in my old stuck place because I hadn’t created a clear path to my destination. Optimism is a necessary start to the change process but it isn’t enough. Seeing clearly is an important theme in change from start to finish. Can you clearly see the rainbow at the end of your efforts? Your vision for what you hope to create? Can you clearly see the reason you are trying to make the change(s) you are trying to make and is that reason motivating? Are you clear about the potential obstacles you will encounter and do you have a solid plan for how you will overcome them? Have you identified the bad feelings that are standing in your way and can you make them all disappear so you can take positive action? Can you let go of self-doubt, anger, guilt, judgment and turn them around to self-assurance, acceptance, forgiveness and compassion? In the song, the lyrics tell us that the dark clouds have gone away, there’s nothing but blue sky, yet in the video, we see clouds. When you look around your life, do you notice what’s good and positive or do you dwell on the lingering clouds?
Clarity is key to successful change. Anything less will keep you stuck! Go ahead, treat yourself. Listen again.
That was the headline on an email I got from a local restaurant promoting April as wine month at their establishment.
It caught my eye because I know that sometimes, when we are feeling down, defeated, discouraged, in a funk, we have trouble thinking of anything to cheer about. But, finding just one thing to be grateful for, to appreciate or be proud of, in the moment, can be enough to give us the energy to climb out of the hole we are stuck in and take effective action. So, the next time you are feeling stuck and a little down about it, quick, think of something worth toasting and find a healthy way to honor that thought! You’ll be amazed at how uplifting it will be.
Fact: You can’t be glad and sad at the same time. Your hormones won’t let you be. So, to get out of sad, think glad!
Our negative thoughts are often excuses that serve as safety nets for not doing things that are outside of our comfort zone. Take for example me… and writing… I have all sorts of stories in my head that I can’t write well, I have nothing interesting to say…in fact, as I’m writing this, I’m saying to myself “there are people who are nodding their head in agreement about those two statements.”
How motivating is that thought? Makes me want to go make lunch, surf the web, walk on hot coals! But, that would just lead to more self-deprecation, because, at the end of the day, this blog post wouldn’t be written and then I’d really have a reason to beat myself up. I could easily add that lack of completion to my catalog of stories about my ineptitude. Ah, but enough about me… back to my point…
If we let our internal trash talk run us, we don’t get much done.
So, how do we excavate our mental garbage so we can find a clear
open space in which to create success?
Here are some ideas:
Now you have an excavation plan. You’ll depend on it heavily for a
while. And, soon, just like the Google map you rely on the first few
times you drive to a new, unfamiliar destination, you won’t need it
anymore. Your well traveled path to success will be second nature.
Do you ever have nights when you can’t sleep? You toss and turn and still, sleep evades you? After a while, your mind starts churning… you dwell on some event from the past–the conversation you had with your mother that didn’t go well, the appointment you missed, the mistake you made, the email you sent and hit reply all instead of forward. You rehash the past, wishing it away but to no avail. You can’t change the past and you can’t get to sleep while you are thinking about it. But you can’t seem to stop your mind. Suddenly, you’ve gone through a time warp and you’ve zoomed into the future and find yourself thinking, “I’ll never be able to get up in the morning.” I have a long ride tomorrow and I’ll fall asleep a the wheel.” And, the longer you lie there, the more tense you become and more tense you become, the longer the sandman remains aloof. In the matter of a few (long) minutes, you have traveled from the past to the future with only a temporary stop at the present to acknowledege your wakefulness. If this situation rings a bell with you, try this technique that will firmly anchor you in the present, where sleep awaits you. Turn on the light (I don’t care if you will disturb your partner. It’s all about you right now.) Grab a pen and a piece of paper and make 2 lists. The first is a list of Worries From the Past. The second is a list of Concerns About, or Things To Do in the Future. Now, empty your mind onto the page. When you are done, fold up the paper and put it away in the drawer of your bedside table, safe and secure until morning. Now, plump up your pillows, take a nice deep breath and BE IN THE PRESENT. Do a full body relaxation exercise. Starting with your toes, consciously release the tension in every cell in your body. Ever so slowly, feel the tension leave your feet, your ankle, your calves and shins, your knees and, one part at a time, let your mind focus on traveling up the body and release all the tension. Feel it ooze out of you as you melt into the mattress. If you are still awake when you get to the top of your scalp, take some slow, deep breaths and think to yourself, “I am fully relaxed. My eyes are heavy. My body feels loose and limp. I love this feeling of being warm and cozy in my bed.” Keep noticing your breathing, the relaxed state of your muscles, deepening that state with each breath and your present moment focused thoughts. For it is only in the present that we can have what we want… whether it be sleep or anything else.