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Finding Your Way to Gratitude

findinggratitude Finding Your Way to Gratitude

Although Thanksgiving Day has become a time for turkey and football, its true purpose lingers, often as a wistful hope that one could be truly thankful. You cannot conjure up thanks if you are focused on the world’s troubles and a constant stream of bad news. So how is true gratitude found? 

As writer and teacher Dana Arcuri has said, “The more you are grateful for what you have, the more you can live fully in the present.”. Psychologically, research has shown that practicing gratitude measurably improves your well-being and on the physical side, your heart health.

 Gratitude begins when we change our relationship with life from an attitude of rejecting and defending to one of acceptance and appreciation. We all need reminding about a truth expressed by the Greek philosopher Epicurus, “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

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Middle Earth

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In Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien used the term Middle-earth to describe the land where his stories took place. Situated somewhere between angelic and demonic realms, the inhabitants struggled to hold to the light. Sometimes I feel that is where we live now. Opposing forces are mobilized on all sides. All around are compelling reasons to believe that “evil” is on the rise and that “good” people are increasingly victimized by those in power. Yet holding to the light within darkness means we cannot succumb to what the prevailing belief systems would have us accept as truth. We may live in Middle Earth now, but it is just a way-station on the way to the New Earth. The challenge and balancing act is to accept and live in the present moment while also embodying a new vision for the future.

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A Gratitude Ritual

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Have you ever noticed that the more you focus on being grateful, the more you have to be grateful for?

It’s true. The more we practice counting our blessings, the more blessings we will find to count.

And that is one of the beautiful things about gratitude. It builds on itself. All we have to do is be mindful of practicing that “attitude of gratitude” by focusing on looking for what’s right, since gratitude happens naturally when we stay in the presence of the many gifts in our lives.

So, if you want to have a heartfelt Thanksgiving, as well as the power to turn a moment of ordinary into extraordinary, then I encourage you to take time to go within, connect with your blessings and gifts, and practice cultivating gratitude.

Use the beautiful Gratitude Ritual that Debbie Ford created years ago, which I have included below, to support you in opening your heart and filling it with love and appreciation.  

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
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Count It All Joy

alljoy Count It All Joy

In the spirit of gratitude, let’s talk about what joy brings to our individual lives. So joy huh… Fun fact…did you know that joy can be both a noun and a verb? Which means it is both a tangible thing and an action. Think about that for a minute. It is something you can have and be! Joy is defined as a source of cause of delight. Or to experience great pleasure of delight. Ask yourself, how do I experience joy? For me, one of the things that bring me joy is the laughter of children. I am the great aunt to 12 amazing little souls. And when I hear them laugh, it feels like my heart sings in union and it makes me smile and giggle. Have you ever heard someone laugh and the joy in their laughter makes you all ooey-gooey good. When was the last time you experienced that feeling?

What if I told you that that is your natural state of being and you living your best life in all the authentic bliss is your birthright and is how you are designed to live? Do you believe that?

We often think because we have experienced heartbreak, loss, or even bouts of depression or loneliness that we aren’t entitled to the joy that is naturally ours. Joy is your birthright! It is the natural essence of who you are.

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Everything Is A Gift - Say Thank You! With Your Breath

christmas-baby-and-present-picture-id88477335_20191121-130259_1 Everything Is A Gift - Say Thank You! With Your Breath

EVERYTHING IS A GIFT. Simply breathe and know it is true. Allow every breath to be filled with appreciation for life. What more do you need? Everything in life is enough.

We only need to appreciate what we HAVE. There is no reason to wonder why we have it. You donot need to decide what is worthy of gratitude. Everything is worthy of gratitude. We are not made happy because of anything, we are made grateful by everything.

We only need to appreciate what we have, to have enough. When you know all you have, you can’t stop yourself from being grateful. Let every breath say, Thank You! for everything!

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How to Move Out of Your Ego Wounded Self

How to Move Out of Your Ego Wounded Self How to Move Out of Your Ego Wounded Self

If you sometimes get stuck in your wounded self and can’t see how to get back into your loving adult, here are some ideas that may help you.

Sometimes, when we get stuck in our wounded self, it is hard to wind our way out of it. I’ve noticed what I do when I’m happy and my frequency is high, as opposed to when my frequency feels low.

It is helpful to me to keep a list of ways I’ve learned move myself from closed to open.

 

Here are some of the ways I’ve found work for me…

The subtlety of these choices is that I need to be consciously doing these things because it is loving for me to do them, rather than as a form of control. It’s possible for your wounded self to choose these same behaviors as a way to avoid responsibility for your feelings and avoid learning from your pain. When that is the intent, then these choices will not raise your frequency, which means you will not move out of your wounded self. So please be honest with yourself!

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It’s a Beautiful Day to Help Each Other Heal

mr.rogers It’s a Beautiful Day to Help Each Other Heal

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

I've Been Thinking...

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that if you remain open and awake to what’s happening around you, then life will offer you an endless parade of lessons.

Lessons can come in the form of experiences. They can come in the form of encounters and individuals. And, they can come in the form of something we see up close, or witness at a distance. (They certainly come when you watch something historic happen, like the impeachment hearings.)

Not all lessons are pleasant, but they all can serve you in some way. That’s why it’s up to you to make sense of them, find meaning in them, and ultimately grow from them.

Life is our greatest teacher, but every once in a while, a really great person comes along that imparts lessons on our collective humanity. Mr. Rogers was one such teacher.

I find it amazing that he is still “alive,” even so many years after his death. I also find it important to reflect on the fact that so many of us are longing for his guidance, wisdom, and gentle tone to help us navigate the here and now.

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Belonging to Each Other

lovingeachother Belonging to Each Other

Mother Teresa writes that if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. These three talks explore the causes for severed belonging, and pathways to deepening the felt sense of belonging to our own body, heart and spirit, and to all beings. Together the talks offer a natural and powerful progression of loving kindness or metta reflections, that when practiced regularly can open us to the peace, joy and freedom of trusting our mutual belonging.

Vitally, the human race is dying. It is like a great uprooted tree, with its roots in the air. We must plant ourselves again in the universe.” ― D.H. Lawrence
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The essence of loving kindness is this openhearted quality of friendliness. It’s sacred. It’s precious. As Mother Teresa described it, when we sense that belonging that comes with friendship, we really touch peace.

We close in that spirit to sense in your own heart the intention to befriend the life that’s within you. And take a moment to hold the life within you with the quality of care. Feel in your own words your prayer to befriend this life – to love yourself into healing.

Widening our attention to sense those in our lives – those close in, those that we don’t know, all beings – to sense that intention to discover our belonging to all of life everywhere. And in that discovery to know the joy and peace and freedom of being awake and alive. ~ Tara

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3 Keys to Activating The Flow of Money and Abundance in Your Life

abundance 3 Keys to Activating The Flow of Money and Abundance in Your Life
“Abundance starts with remembering who you are. When you remember who you are, you start tapping into that inexhaustible stream of energy that is life. At that level, there is no scarcity.”

Abundance is not about what you have but about your attitude and feelings towards what you have. Abundance is not really about money because real abundance is a state of being. Listen to this insightful episode to learn how to shift your vibration in a way that attracts more abundance in all aspects of your life and the key practice to get out of scarcity.


Some Questions I Ask:

  • What do your relationships and life reflect about yourself?
  • What is your relationship with abundance?
  • How do you feel about yourself ?
  • Can you celebrate everything that you are and are not?
  • How often do you thank your body?
  • What pain, problems or challenges can you solve for humanity?
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Healing the Dis-ease of Entitlement

entitlement Healing the Dis-ease of Entitlement

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the concept of entitlement -- that feeling so many of us have that we are owed something, that we have rights or deserve something to be the way we think it should be. Think of the times you have thought or had someone say to you:

  • I deserve to be treated a certain way, given certain things, or taken care of in a particular manner, because I am your child, parent, or friend.”
  • You owe me because I was there for you.”
  • The Universe should reward or repay me because I am a ‘good person.’”

 

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Whose Shoulders Do You Stand On?

WhoseShouldersDo-You-Stand-ON Whose Shoulders Do You Stand On?

"The moment a woman comes home to herself, the moment she knows that she has become a person of influence... who is respected and recognized, the resurrection of the world begins." — Joan Chittister

I've Been Thinking...

The other day, my daughter Christina watched the documentary “RBG” about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and said she couldn’t believe how much this one woman has done in her lifetime on behalf of other women. She said it got her thinking about all the other women who have done so much, yet whose stories we know so little about.

“It’s crazy that so many women my age don’t know about all of the barriers they’ve broken for us,” Christina said. “We don’t know enough about what these women have accomplished, or about what they’re still doing to instigate change.”

Amen, I thought. Amen to acknowledging all that has been done before us, and all that’s still being done. Amen to taking a moment to acknowledge all the women whose shoulders we stand on. 

Christina’s words came to mind this Tuesday when I learned that veteran journalist Cokie Roberts had passed away due to breast cancer complications. I gasped when I heard the news.

Like me, Cokie was a child of politics who found her calling in journalism. When I was starting out, Cokie, Barbara Walters, Linda Ellerbee, and Nancy Dickerson were among the women who were out there working hard so that women like myself could succeed.

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Rewriting Your Own Narrative

rewritingyourownnarrative Rewriting Your Own Narrative

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” – Deepak Chopra


Dear Friend, 

How are you? I hope that you were able to take some time away this summer to rest, reflect, and recharge.

My August break abruptly began with a death in my family. It was sudden and heartbreaking, and it stopped everyone and everything in its tracks.

As I flew back to LA after the funeral that was held for my cousin’s 22-year-old-daughter, I thought a lot about the fragility of life. I thought about the suddenness of death, and how it upends us in different ways.

When I got home, I looked at my calendar and, for the first time all year, it was clear. I breathed into the emptiness and didn’t allow it to make me feel empty, invisible, or irrelevant.

Before my August break, people asked me, “Maria, aren’t you worried about losing your momentum on social media, with your Sunday Paper, and with NBC?”

“Yes and no,” I replied. “I’m sure I’ll lose some momentum, but I’m certain that what I’ll gain in return will be more meaningful and more profound.”

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How to Retrain Your Brain For Positivity (Even When It Feels Like Everything In Your Life Is Going Wrong)

taking-in-the-morning-picture-id485348458 How to Retrain Your Brain For Positivity (Even When It Feels Like Everything In Your Life Is Going Wrong)

Maybe you lose your job or your romantic partner leaves you…

Or you injure yourself, a family member falls ill, someone breaks into your car or your new boss turns out to be a total jerk. 

And when you turn on the TV to escape from it all, the news is full of horrible and disturbing stories about a world in seemingly never-ending crisis! 

But it’s important to remember that you have the power to change your experience at any moment. And that’s because it’s your thoughts that create your own reality.

And I mean that very literally…

The things you choose to focus on determines how you perceive the world – AND the experiences you have as a result.

If you focus only on the negative things in your world, the world can seem like a terrible place.

But when you focus on the positive things in your world, you see that the world is actually full of love and kindness and beauty and inspiring people doing incredible things. 

Here are 5 powerful tips on how to retrain your brain for positivity, so you can maintain an optimistic, inspired, motivated outlook – no matter what is happening in your life or the world around you.

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Thank your way out of your funk

happiness1 Thank your way out of your funk

Sitting on the couch, I felt it coming. It was late at night and the world was fast asleep. It was slowly making its way to me and I started to feel terrified. “What do I do now?” I asked, addressing no one in particular. And then, it begins: “I can’t do this. I don’t have what it takes!” I was starting to feel overwhelmed and if I didn’t get hold of it, it would lead me down a deep hole the way Alice did when she followed the rabbit.

This is just one version of a very real, very human process of going downhill emotionally. I’ve been through many different types of it countless of times before and I doubt it will ever stop happening. The difference is, this time around, I got it under control. I got myself out of it fast—through gratitude.

It’s in the genes! But…

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2 Secrets to Peace, Joy and Keeping Your Frequency High

compassionandgratitude 2 Secrets to Peace, Joy and Keeping Your Frequency High

A high frequency is necessary to feel love and joy, and to manifest your dreams. Learn two secrets to keeping your frequency high.

I have discovered that there are two choices I can make that, together, invariably put me into a high frequency and bring me inner peace and joy. While either of these choices are always beneficial, together they are incredibly powerful!

Gratitude

We all know how important gratitude is, but the problem is that often we express our gratitude in a fairly rote manner. The kind of gratitude I’m referring to is moment-by-moment gratitude for every big and little thing, and the overriding gratitude that we are never alone – that spirit is always here for us.

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Open Yourself to Humor & Gratitude

happy Open Yourself to Humor & Gratitude

Some days can be tough. During the times that are most trying, it’s difficult to let go of worry, anxiety, frustration and sadness. To a certain extent, we train ourselves to keep our feelings of upset flowing. We replay endless loops of negative thoughts that keep us anchored to our problems. I know how difficult it is to look on the bright side, especially if you’re in debt or have other financial fears.


But that’s exactly when you need to keep yourself open yourself to humor and gratitude. Allowing in more positive feelings can shift your outlook and help you to make decisions in alignment with where you want to go, instead of staying stuck where you are.



Laugh more!

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You Are Blessed

blessed-picture-id157308009 You Are Blessed

When you meditate do you know that if you focus on gratitude everything in your life changes for the better? Today, my brain was on the fried and crunchy side. I was feeling a lot of resistance to a situation that is turning out to be different than I wanted and so was feeling frustrated. To top it off I left my blog to the last minute. I’m not always “on” when it’s time to write a blog and so I needed help and fast. I know this works 1000% so I meditated, tuned into Spirit, held my heart for 10 minutes, and allowed gratitude to permeate my whole body, breathing deeply. Then I knew I should choose an Oracle Card from my Oracle Card deck “Wisdom of the Oracle” for a message. I would write about it if it felt right. 

Every time you approach an Oracle for wisdom and guidance you automatically tune into synchronicity and the flow of what’s most needed to be in coherence with Spirit, and in alignment with the highest good. So I prayed for what I needed to write in this blog and asked for a subject to focus on for “the highest good” for everyone who reads this, then I shuffled and chose a card.

You know, even though I was called to bring this Oracle Card deck to life even I forget sometimes how uncanny it is when you ask the question, “What overarching message do we need to know to live our best lives now?” And then get a powerful answer.

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Ram Dass’ Experience of the Sixties

praying-for-world-peace-picture-id171347375 Ram Dass’ Experience of the Sixties

There was a major shift that occurred in the 60’s, the shift from what you call absolute reality; thinking that what you saw and what your thinking mind thought it understood was only one kind of reality. And there was another experience of reality. William James, of course, had said that many years before, if you remember his quote,

“Our normal waking consciousness is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We might spend our entire life without knowing of their existence, but apply the requisite stimulus and there they are in their completeness”.

It’s interesting that William James said that when he was a professor at Harvard. I was thrown out of William James Hall for doing what he said.

Up until the 60’s, the primary spiritual containers were the organized religions of this culture. They were primarily the holders of the ethical constraints of the culture. They motivated people to behave ethically through fear and through internalized superego. The primary mediator between you and God was the priest, so there was a priest class. What the 60’s did through psychedelics, initially, was blow that whole system apart. Because it made the relationship to God a direct experience, once again of the individual. Of course the Quakers have had that, and had a long history of it as did other traditions. But in terms of mainstream, this was a new concept coming into the culture, which was spiritual and not formally religious.

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Returning Home

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What does “home” mean to you? A place? A group of people? A memory? Or is it a feeling deep inside that touches your heart and soul? All of these perhaps. Our own life experiences define what home means to each of us. I grew up in Illinois, later lived in California, and then settled in Massachusetts for more than 30 years. Massachusetts is where I met my life partner, Anne, and where we were married. I’ve always loved both coasts, but I didn’t realize how much the Northeast had become home for me until I moved away and then returned for a visit.

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What a Beautiful Life

beautifullife What a Beautiful Life

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” — Maya Angelou

My friend Clay wrote me the other day to tell me about a book he’s reading. It’s called Seven Ages of Paris, and in it, the French writer Colette is quoted as having said the following just before she died in 1954:

“What a beautiful life I’ve had. It’s a pity I didn’t notice it sooner.”

That quote landed on me like a thud. I hope you’ll stop and absorb it, too. Make a silent vow to not be Colette, like I did.

Now, to be honest, I’ve been in Colette’s heels before. When I was younger, I was constantly running through life as I juggled work, my children, my parents and all the other obligations coming my way. My to-do list was pages’ long, and it was all of my own making. I wasn’t noticing anything along the way because I was just trying to get everything done and start all over again.

Thank God I came to my senses.

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