musings

Practicing Gratitude

By on November 20, 2019

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The Thanksgiving holiday is right around the corner and in my MOP’s Facebook group we have been answering certain thankfulness questions. This has caused me to remember when I thought gratitude was just an expression of thanks in a mannerly way. Gratitude is something I recognized as powerful several years ago, so it is fun to participate and recognize gratitude in many different aspects of life. Gratitude is actually the opposite emotion of fear.

When I married Gus, my friend and wedding officiant told me to thank Gus for being him. Be grateful for who he is and what he brings to my life and our family (I’m paraphrasing, however that was the gist). At the same time, I also started keeping a small gratitude journal in my bedside table. Each night for about a year, I wrote down 3 things I was grateful for in my day.

It wasn’t a “quick fix”. Over time, I started feeling better in my body. An anxious feeling I carried a lot in my chest, a questioning of sorts was lifted. The desire to be more, to do more (in a hardcore, unpleasant way) shifted and I started feeling more secure in my life and my decisions.

What is gratitude?

dictionary.com defines it as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”.

How does gratitude change things?

When we feel grateful, we feel full. We feel full of love, inspiration, ideas, and creativity. This is actually quite powerful. We are born to create, we have the ability to create a life of our own design. Sometimes it is difficult to find the light in life when things look or feel bleak, but taking just a moment to recognize and feel gratitude can start to shift our perspective, and even what crosses our path. And there’s actual research that feeling gratitude can literally reduce the risk of heart disease.

I hope I can gift my children with the knowledge of the power of gratitude. I know as an adult, feeling the true sense of gratitude took practice, especially when “getting over” any sort of trauma or emotional pain. I hope I can model gratitude as more than just saying “thank you”.

Here are a few ways to recognize gratitude and practice it for yourself or with your family and begin to shift and fill your cup.

A Gratitude Journal: a simple tool, nothing fancy– just recognizing 3 things each evening before bed and writing them down.

Thank You Cards: in our digital age texting a thank you may be the simplest way to communicate. I have always valued thank you cards and write them myself. My oldest is good about doing it too, and I want him to truly appreciate others and what they do. Instant gratification and expectation is a tough habit to break and writing things out in a personal note can open up a stronger awareness.

Gratitude Alphabet: This is fun and something I read in a book when my oldest was a little guy. Write down the letters of the alphabet and write down something we are grateful for that begins with each corresponding letter. We will do this right before Thanksgiving and display them on our dining room wall just for a tangible reminder.

These are 3 simple things that can be incorporated in daily life or family rhythm and can foster an open heart so that kindness comes naturally. In my world, I am now grateful every evening. It hits me after I put the kids to bed, do the final clean up and take a moment to look around my house. I truly feel grateful for my home and who’s in it and for the process it took to achieve this kind of peace. It is a good feeling and something I want to maintain and expand on. How do you express gratitude and what have you noticed from it?

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musings | pregnancy

The Final Countdown: The Last Month of Pregnancy

By on April 30, 2019

0613D5A8-614A-4312-86CC-C94BC12556FC Wowza! Only 20 days until the scheduled birth of our baby girl. I have neglected this blog as I focus on my business in these final days. I feel ready to go, this has been the easiest pregnancy I have had so far, and it feels I will probably go full-term. That will be a new experience for me since both of my boys were born early.

One thing that I have been drawn to is belly casting. My husband and I finally took the time to cast my 36-week pregnant belly over the weekend. It was a wonderful project for us to do together and a fun way to memorialize my final pregnancy. I do not have anything else to do in the house to prep for baby– I went through my major nesting phase during the 2nd trimester. The 3rd trimester has been ALL work and spending as much time as I can with my other two kids individually.

Giving myself permission to slow down is sometimes difficult– however, my business projects have been timed appropriately to sit with my feet propped up in front of a computer.

It is so funny how I’ve had a different method of documenting my pregnancy with each child. My oldest had the most comprehensive (of course). I kept a pregnancy journal, a meticulous baby book (until age 5), photo albums and a baby box. The middle child had everything natural birth related– birthing center, hypnobirthing classes, regular prenatal massages and chiropractic adjustments, vision boards, affirmations and a box for all of the memorabilia.

The belly cast has been a fun project to spark creativity. In this 2-D age, it was nice to have a 3-D medium. It is also nice to pull out paints and create. This isn’t something I do often but is helping the week pass and takes my mind off of my physical discomfort and lessening mobility.

Mira has had a space in my blog, social media and a now a belly cast. I’ve done much less prep and a lot more mental relaxation. It is so weird how age, time, and experience changes the process. The sentiment remains the same. I treasure these moments and look forward to meeting our girl.

 

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musings | success | yoga

A Season of Gratitude

By on December 4, 2018

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Those of us in America recently celebrated our Thanksgiving holiday. I have so much to be grateful for, and although the holiday is over, I want the feeling of gratitude to spill over into my everyday life. Keeping my mind on what I am grateful for helps ease any fears I have about my future or misgivings I have about my past. You see, gratitude is the opposite emotion of fear. Fear is something that can keep us stuck, spinning our wheels, staying victim to our circumstances, and can keep us from attaching to the good around us. Staying grateful can help us rise above any negativity, worry, or doubt.

As we are in the holiday season, our calendars are filled with Christmas activities. This is one of the things I am putting at the top of my gratitude list. Friends are extremely important. Moving to a new city really put this into perspective for me. January marks my 3rd year of being a Floridian, and only this year I have started feeling grounded in the social department. I moved from a place where I lived for 35 years, and the 6 degrees of separation felt very real. Everyone knew everyone. I am also incredibly grateful that even my work is social in nature, and I can help people and meet friends that become like family along the way. A tribe, so to speak.

Each day during this holiday season, I am going to wake up and note something that I have immense gratitude for. Today was one of the days I woke up and just took life for granted. I did not quite feel like fulfilling my obligations for the day. In an essence, taking my day for granted and not noting its incredible beauty, is being greedy. By focusing on what I have, and being grateful for it all keeps my mind away from the negative thoughts that tell me I am lacking. The feeling of lack, of not having or being enough is what creates the fear, anxiety, or whatever keeps you stuck. Making this a practice during this season may spill over into the New Year– creating a new positive habit and removing one that is often a stumbling block.

 

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family | musings

Surprise, Surprise

By on November 7, 2018

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October was a month for the books! My husband and I found out that we are expecting our second child together. It has been a bit of shock and awe, I have had emotional days of “what the hell are we thinking”, and of course bliss and being ecstatically happy.  Mentally I was not prepared for the 2 lines on the test. My mind was wrapped around chasing our very active toddler, helping my teenager through his first year of teenagerhood, and really pushing for business growth.

The past 3 years have been full of major life changes! Moving, natural disasters, divorce, death, marriage, babies– I think we have covered all of the major categories– sometimes more than once. Why not add one more!?! Gus and I are a good team and always up for an adventure, so cheers to the newest piece of our puzzle. And at least I am still (barely) in my 30’s!

The thought that has eased my mind and worries is that I have given myself a major health revamping this year. After having Ezra and dealing with a difficult pregnancy, birth, and recovery I knew I needed to look deeper into healing. I have tried many things over the years to heal my hormonal & autoimmune issues and 2018 was the year to find the missing link. Ezra and I both responded very well to the lectin-free diet, his issues resolved rather quickly after we acclimatized to the changes and I had a lot of healthy “side-effects” from the change as well.

I believe I have the tools to really give this pregnancy a good head start for a different type of delivery and health outcome than my previous experiences. I am, of course, doing things by the book medically and will be watched like a hawk– I am completely fine with giving extra blood and urine to the lab! Life is full of adjusting and adapting to whatever surprise is around the corner. Our newest surprise is due in May– so mommy, daddy, and big brothers still have plenty of time to adjust and find our routines along the way.

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diet | musings | success

Backwards With Time

By on August 10, 2018

 

avett-brothers-2390713_640The Avett Brothers are one of my favorite bands. The lyrics and title of the song Backwards With Time have been floating through my head most of the day. Backwards With Time. Am I losing my mind, or am I going backwards with time?  This verse is what I want to focus on for a moment in my writing.

Goals, decisions, choices. I think about these things a lot. Why would we ever feel like we are losing our minds or going backwards in time?  Why would someone work hard to achieve something then let all they have worked for go away? I know I have been guilty of this. An example is losing 25 pounds, managing it keep the weight off for a year and gain it all back in a matter of months. My answer is complacency. We get tired of working hard, or feel we “deserve” things to keep working on its own without the same effort. For me, I am learning to make lifestyle changes permanent. Changing bad habits– making true change, and keeping up with my vision of what true health and wellness is. I refuse to settle for only feeling “okay”. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

I have had a lot of bad habits in my life. One thing I have learned is that once you know better, it feels way worse to “backslide”. Yesterday when I sat down with my Avett Brother’s playlist I was in one of those moments where bad habits were lurking in my mind. I felt stressed, overwhelmed, and questioned some advice I was given (that I knew I needed to take). My first response was to react in anger (which for me is the cover emotion for absolutely every other emotion), then the thought of devouring a box of cookies felt like a good choice.

My mind was searching for something to soothe or procrastinate the actions I knew I needed to take for my ultimate wellness. Why, oh why is suffering such an “easy” choice? Stepping out of our comfort zone and doing something different– thinking a new thought and doing it, even if it feels uncomfortable often leads to personal growth that we can not even fathom. Lifestyle change, permanent change requires tapping into an internal strength and commitment to the light at the end of the tunnel that we may only get a glimpse of on occasion. Strengthening our focus, staying attuned to that glimpse makes the day to day actions toward whatever it is at the end of the tunnel feel less elusive. The key is to get out of complacency, pushing against resistance and catapulting up and out of the funk that sometimes feels like we may be losing our minds or going backwards in time.

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