Tag Archives: gratitude

The Story Behind the Magic of Growing with Gratitude

I’m sitting here, sweating, because I can’t make it any cooler, but I am grateful to be in clothes that are soft and comfy, sitting on my couch that is covered in a beautiful and vibrant tapestry, and trusting that we’ll return to the regularly scheduled fall weather soon.

I’m sitting here and thinking about how much I love Growing with Gratitude. I love it for the simplicity, for the community, and for the opportunity to slow down a bit and shift how we come into a season that tends to be pretty hectic.

I’m sitting here and remembering how Growing with Gratitude came to be. Do you know this story? It’s magic.

hannah-and-xandra-riFour years ago, the sweet Mary McConnell came to visit the States and Hannah Marcotti put together a visioning night. This ended up being a gathering of women who had become close in online community, but I had not met them before in person.

This was a huge edge for me – getting on a train to go to a city I’d never been to, to spend an evening with women I had not met in person. It may have also been my first time away from Chloe, probably so.

It was a night of visioning, of laughter, of vulnerability. I cried at Ruth’s feet as she wrote the word trust on my arm.

I gave myself the next day to explore Providence and the next night alone to myself in a hotel room. Even then, I knew I needed time to ease back into ‘real life’ after events like this.

I had come to Providence knowing there was an inking of a program in my mind. I may have even known it was going to be around gratitude. What I did not expect and could never have imagined was that within 36 hours I would have all of the content done for the month-long course. All the quotes, all the prompts, all the pictures, everything in order. It felt like a divine download, truly. I don’t know that I’ve experienced anything like it since.

Each autumn while I’m still in the gentleness of the season, I know the hectic time is just around the corner, and I know it’s time to share this offering again.

And so it is. We start again, for the fourth time, in just two weeks.

You’ll see me sharing some of my favorite parts of Growing with Gratitude, some of the why behind it, over the next couple of weeks. I just wanted to share with you right now the magic that began it, and invite you to come experience the magic that gratitude can gift us, if it lights up your soul.

Your Life as a Painting

 life is a canvasWhen I was growing up, we spent lots of time doing jigsaw puzzles. I always liked to start with the border; I think it made me feel safe as it created a boundary. I often referred to the box to see what went where because I liked to have a plan. My father, on the other hand, rarely looked to see what the full picture looked like. He trusted in his ability to find the pieces that went together and slowly build the puzzle.

Life, like a puzzle, is finite, though unlike a puzzle, we can’t see the borders and we usually don’t know what the picture is going to look like even when we think we do. As I sat down to explore this more and share with you, I realized that life is more like a painting – the canvas, like the border of a puzzle, gives a finite space in which to explore and work. With a painting, you get to create, recreate, layer and change over time. That’s what you get to do with your life too.

Some choices that are made are done consciously and with excitement. Other times, life brings us challenges that necessitate us thinking about new ways to approach a situation. No matter what appears on the canvas of your life, the light and the darkness, you have the power to create anew in each and every moment. You can take a ‘mistake’ and create something beautiful from it. You can let the paint dry, the situation settle, and decide what your next steps will be.
That’s one of the magical things about life – we are constantly shifting. When we listen to the lessons that life gives us, these shifts bring us closer to our true selves, to what we value most in life. And there’s no need to fear getting it wrong because it changes. What you wanted and believed and lived in the past does not need to define your story now, nor does your now need to define your future.
This moment is where you get to step into your sacred and authentic self. Tomorrow, maybe you wipe the canvas clean and start again or add a new layer on top of what is already there.
Breathe into this moment, find gratitude for it, step back and look at the beauty that is the painting of your life right now.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
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On Finding Strength in Times of Loss

I have been singing this song all week. Each time I stop, I catch myself singing it again moments later. It is, to me, about balancing strength and surrender. I have found comfort in the melody, the words, and the meaning I create for myself as I experience the loss of a dear friend, guide, inspiration and mother figure to so many.

When we lose the ability to connect with a loved one on a worldly level, it is easy to feel regret. This week, I have found myself feeling like I wasted the gift of having her presence in my life by not spending more time with her, not soaking up more of her wisdom. I know she would not want me to feel regret, so instead I focus on the gratitude for what she did teach me, and for what she continues to teach me through the lives of others who she touched.

Miki, in your life and in the death of your physical body, here are a few things I’ve learned…

Raise your voice and let it be heard

Live every moment fully and with passion

Trust yourself

Surround yourself by friends in good times and bad

Listen to the Universe

Find the sacred everywhere

Know what you want, and be clear about it

Infuse life with humor

Be grateful

Know that all there is, is love

As I have been blessed to spend the last week among so many others who have learned from you Miki, I know that your lessons will continue to unfold as each day passes. I feel your energy around me, in the most miraculous ways.

May we all continue to be lifted and held by each other, and may we recognize the universal thread that binds us all together.

In loving memory and forever in gratitude,

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The Gift of Savasana

savasanaWhether we love the pose or we try to avoid it as much as we can, each pose in yoga has something special and important to offer us. I was recently at a yoga teacher training info session and when this topic came up in conversation, she assured us that it is in leaning into the poses we like least where so much growth happens.

In a recent early morning home practice, I found myself re-discovering a lesson from one of the poses that is most difficult for me – savasana, or final resting pose. I was revisiting a similar lesson that I learned many years ago (that I wrote about here). Savasana brings up a conflict for me between my expectations and my reality. This happens a lot with me, and so it is no surprise that it plays out on my mat.

In savasana, when I want my mind to be still, it starts dancing. My asana practice acts as a great distraction from thoughts as I’m so tuned into what my body is doing in the present moment and how it feels. When given the chance, my mind activates again.

Savasana, I realized on this recent morning, offers a great gift. It allows us to experience something we often forget to give ourselves – it allows us to be held.

Sometimes, amidst all the craziness that comes in and out of our lives, that’s all we really need – just a few minutes to be held.

Embrace that gift when you give it to yourself.

What’s your experience with savasana? Please share with us in the comments below.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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Starting the Day with Gratitude (and a giveaway!)

gratitude practiceI woke up this morning, after a rough night of sleep. For some reason I was restless, and the birds were chirping at 3am as if to say, we’re up too, come join us! When I woke again, it was almost 8am and I found myself filled with gratitude.

I am grateful for sleep.

I am grateful for my family.

I am grateful for the geese.

I am grateful for this day.

To rise each day with gratitude means to begin each day filled with possibility.

If you’re anything like me, many days begin with you feeling like you are already behind, playing catch to a list of obligations, musts, and shoulds. When that is your starting point, it becomes much more difficult to shine your light and be the best version of yourself that you can be.

Gratitude goes much deeper than a powerful way to begin your day, and that’s why I’m excited to be offering Growing with Gratitude in the Rise and Shine Giveaway that runs through May 2nd. I am one of 25 women offering our gifts to you so that you can rise each morning, believing fully in the possibility that is you.

You can check out the giveaway here and choose your gifts, finding the ones that resonate most.

Here are a few that I’ve grabbed for myself:

The Inspired Mama’s Resource Guide from Becky McCleery

The Story of Stuck from Nancy J. Pigno

7 Real World Steps to Embracing Your Intuitive Gifts from Jessica Lee

After you look through the gifts, come back here and leave a comment letting me know which ones most inspire you to rise and shine!

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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The Truth about Reaching the Top

top of the mountainWe live our lives telling ourselves we need to climb to the top of the mountain. We are always striving for the top, and we are convinced, as the trail takes an unexpected turn, as the path in front of us is blocked, as storms rage on, that we will never make it there.

And if we do, then what? We look at the beautiful view, say we made it, and that’s all there is to do?

We’re missing the bigger picture. Life is not about climbing to the top of the mountain – it’s about exploring the entire mountain range. We reach the top and have a moment of pride when we look back and see all that we’ve been and done and gone through to get to where we are. Then, with courage in our hearts, we take the next step on a new adventure.

Over and over, there will always be a new adventure ahead of us. Each adventure will be unique, and will come with its own accomplishments, struggles, and lessons. There are a few simple reminders that will keep us moving forward to the next mountain, no matter what we encounter along the way.

Be grateful.

Be compassionate.

Be patient.

Be forgiving.

Be you.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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When It’s Not What We Think It Is

It started on Chloe’s birthday after spending 3 hours in a park. The itchy throat, the stuffy nose, and it came on fast. Knowing my history with allergies, even though the past few years have been better (thank you raw local honey and clean healthy eating!), I made the obvious assumption that allergies were to blame, and I locked myself inside for the next few days as I battled to breath with just one nostril.

My suspicions were confirmed when I went out for an hour 4 days later, and I started to feel worse again. This time, more than my nose, my throat was the victim. By the next morning, I had virtually no voice. The weather was gorgeous and I stayed inside, wishing I could open the windows and let the air filter my home (just like Sara Snow talked about in our recent interview).

A week had passed, and despite beginning to feel better thanks to Melanie St. Ours and her wonderful herbal wisdom, I questioned whether enjoying the 70 degree weather was a smart choice, but I needed to get out, so off we went.

Clover Collage

“So far so good,” I said to my mom as we walked from the car towards the season’s first Clover Market, an outdoor market of area artisans including our friend Hillary from Isabella Sparrow and a woman I went to school with, Jenny Staple with her beautiful jewelry.

As the hours passed and I still felt pretty good (just tired out by the 4 year old!), I began to realize something really exciting – I had been sick!! I have rarely been so excited about being sick, but this meant that perhaps the windows could be opened and I could enjoy the fresh air of spring.

It is easy to jump to conclusions in our lives – whether it comes to relationships, to our health, or even to what path to choose. When we can stay open to all possibilities, we might find ourselves pleasantly surprised.

I remain cautiously optimistic and now feel prepared to try opening the windows and letting the breeze into my home. If you’re a fellow allergy sufferer, here are a few things I’m adding to my routine this season just in case.

  • My daily dose of raw local honey
  • Sabidil (a homeopathic allergy remedy)
  • My nose irrigator (I just tried it but so far I find it easier than my neti pot, same concept)
  • Lots and lots of water
  • Being mindful of high pollen days so I can keep track of how I feel and if it’s related (nothing beats self awareness!)

I’d love to know about a time when what you thought to be true turned out to be something else and what that taught you. Leave a comment below!

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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Why Self Care Matters for Conception, Pregnancy and Motherhood

self care creating fertile groundI’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it, because we all need the reminder quite regularly – it all starts with you.

You are the foundation for your family.

So many of us give give give yet we struggle with the idea of being open to receiving.

The energy of creating life calls for a receptive energy. It is a space of surrender, of trust, of pure love. If you have given all you have to give and have nothing left, there is no energy left for creation.

By not taking care of yourself, by refusing to treat yourself as sacred ground in which to plant the seed of life, you send a message that you are not deserving of this care, and that you are not open to receiving more.

The greatest disservice we can do to our family, current and future, is to consider self care to be selfish. It is the opposite. If we do not carve out the time to take care of ourselves, we become overwhelmed, overstressed, resentful, and often we make ourselves physically sick because it is the only way our body can get the message across that we need to slow down.

In The Gift of the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh writes, “For the most part, we, who could choose simplicity, choose complication.”

Let’s choose simplicity with self-care.

  • Self-care is about carving out space just for you.
  • Self-care can be as simple as slow, deep breathing.
  • Self-care can take moments or hours; it is timeless.
  • Self-care has no right or wrong.
  • Self-care is an act of self-empowerment.

I encourage you to think about who you want to be as you prepare to step into the role of mama.

Do you want to be the woman who constantly feels like you’re falling apart, like you have to add one more thing to your list constantly but that you’re always at the bottom of it, and you’re growing resentful?

Or do you want to be the woman who has the energy to be fully present and joy-filled with your family, knowing can find gratitude within the small moments, and who can model the importance of caring for yourself for your children?

The choice is yours.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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Creating Sacred Space

My home is sacred space. Taking care of my home is an extension of taking care of myself. When my home feels out of balanced, cluttered, and visibly like it’s not receiving the care it deserves, I know that is a reflection of myself. This is tricky for someone who has wanted to tackle clutter for a long time. I am getting there – in my home, on my computer (oh the files!) and in my mind and heart. I am so incredibly aware of how they intertwine.

There are times when I move furniture around, and warn my husband so he doesn’t hurt himself or go into shock when he gets home. The last move was just a couple of tables, but the time before that was moving some big pieces of furniture between rooms. It’s what I do. It’s part of how I shift the energy and create space for what I most need.

But I don’t always have the time or desire to go big when it comes to cleaning and moving things around in my home. Sometimes, even if I wish I could wave a magic wand and have our home look like the sacred space that I know it is, I have to be content to start small.

There is magic is starting small.

There is magic in picking one small space and knowing that you have made it what you want it to be.

There is magic in creating a part of your home that is free of clutter and that fully reflects what you want.

There is magic in creating little altars throughout your home, spaces that bring forth love, peace, and calm even amidst a larger mess.

Last night I chose one small space.

clearing clutter

It never ceases to amaze me how filled with junk our medicine cabinets get even when I think I’m staying on top of them.

Today, I chose another small space. Granted, all it took to create this space was removing one misplaced item from the shelf, but look at the magic!!

sacred space altar

When you create a calm and sacred environment for you to live in, you begin to feel the calm and sacred within, and that is a beautiful act of self-care.

What is one space in your home that you can make sacred today? Share with us in the comments below.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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New Beginnings Aren’t Always What You Think…

newbeginnings

I roll out my mat, set the stones beside it, put on some music and begin, again.

Each time I complete 5 sun salutations, I move one of the stones with my toe. How else could I keep count?

It is New Year’s Day, and I am aiming for 54 sun salutations. 108 calls to my heart, but I know to ease back into this practice.

As I relax into savasana once all the stones are moved, I feel the bliss that I missed. I feel it in my body, in my soul, and I am reminded of the power of new beginnings.

New beginnings do not need to mean new practices. Tweet This

They can be a return to what we wish we had never left. They can be an old experience with new eyes. They can be what we did yesterday but now as the person that we are today.

As I’ve lived the first week of 2014, here are some of my new beginnings:

A home yoga practice – I am trying
A return to morning pages
Reading reading reading
Breathing life back into my writing
Witch Camp
Stepping into relationships & conversations with fresh perspective and an open mind
Living each day so I feel fulfilled each night

What new beginnings are surfacing for you?

Share with us in the comments below.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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