Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I am thankful for ...

This is the third and last blog post on the thankfulness meditation that helps a person realize what is important in his/her life. Today, I will focus on the last two questions.

4.      What advantages do I have, or have been given, in my life?  This can be a long list if you let your thoughts go. Some answers could include health insurance, Social Security or SSD, a pension, a good job, an education, and a strong support network. 

5.      Who are the backers in my life? 
      • Who is always there for me? 
      • Who always ‘has my back?’ 
      • Who loves me, no matter what? 
      • Whom can I always count on? 
      • Who has helped me get to where I am today. 
For those of us with a disability,
this list can be substantial and include my caregiver.

(Wow, when I started this list, I was amazed how many names there were)

I hope this has been an interesting exercise. It always amazes me how we tend to become ‘stuck in the muck’ when something goes bad or in a different direction than expected. When that happens, the gratitude journal (notebook) is a wonderful resource. Just reading a few pages will help redirect your thoughts.
Gratitude is the best attitude

From my house to yours …
peace–love–health –happiness today and always
Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Feeling 'Grateful' for what you already have

This is Part II of the Gratitude posts. In my previous blog post, I mentioned a guided thankfulness meditation I listen to that asks five questions to help focus my thoughts to be more grateful. Yesterday, I discussed what we often “take for granted.” Today, I will focus on the second and third questions the meditation guide asks.

2.      What relationships do I have that I cherish? Consider all of the beautiful people and critters (let’s not forget our pets) in your life, both present and past. If nothing else makes you thankful, the answers to this question certainly will.

3.      What freedoms, talents and unique opportunities do I have that are truly gifts to me?  This question is far more thought provoking when you consider your life, where you live, what you are able of do depending upon interests and capabilities.

This exercise is especially important for those of us living with a disability or chronic condition because far too often we tend to focus on what was taken from us.  

It is helpful to keep a gratitude journal (notebook) by your side as you ponder these questions. Often times, writing you’re answers spurs additional thoughts. And, it never hurts to review your answers when you are feeling a little down.
BTW-each time I practice this meditation new thoughts rise to the surface making me even more thankful for the loved ones in my life and the gifts, talents and freedoms I have and experience.

Tomorrow, we will explore the last two questions. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Being grateful is more (ful)filling than turkey

Why is it so easy to focus on the negative things that are happening in our life?

Why is it so easy to forget about all the good and all the blessings that we already have?

Some might say it is only natural because we constantly seek happiness, health and financial security for ourselves for our loved ones. Others might say it is easier to focus on what we want to change in our lives than what we already have.
I am certain there are many reasons why, but when we focus on the negative, it becomes difficult to experience the joy of what we already have. Those of us living with a disability or some other hardship can find ourselves in a rut if negative thoughts wedge their way into our lives.
Fortunately, there are holidays like Thanksgiving that have a tendency to redirect our thoughts, at least for the moment. Children and grandchildren are even a greater way to redirect our thoughts.
A guided thankfulness meditation I listened to yesterday morning asked five questions to help focus my thoughts on being more grateful. I enjoyed the meditation so much that I felt compelled to write about the topic of gratitude. So, todays post is the first of three and it will address the first question.

1.      What do I take for granted?
There are several basic examples given including being alive, my breathing, my heart beating, the air that I breathe and water I drink, my sense of sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste. And, instead of just asking about the senses, I was asked to consider what each sense does for me personally. For example, I was asked to:
a.       Feel the hug of a grandchild or the lips of a loved one,
b.      Remember  how I felt the first time I heard my child’s voice,
c.       Think of a smell that brings wonderful memories. I thought of my mother’s baked bread just as it is pulled out of the oven,
d.      Close my eyes and taste a special food that my wife or mother makes better than anyone else does. I thought of goulash.  
e.       Envision a sunrise on the beach, or in the mountains that took my breath away.

Other things we often take for granted include the food we eat, the roof over our head, having heat in the winter, or perhaps even our health.

Also, how about our ability to love, empathize, learn, and teach? And let us not forget about our sixth sense–intuition, the ‘gut feeling’ we experience occasionally. We often ignore it, but it is usually right.

When we no longer take things for granted (no matter how simple or basic the gift), we experience life differently and we are rewarded with a sense of peace, wonder, amazement and gratitude.

My question for you today is, “What do you take for granted?”

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Where have you been?

Several readers have asked that question over the last several months. “Been busy,” is my response.  I’ve been focused on three projects.
  1. The KDA website:  It was old, out of date and insecure. Mike Goynes and I put in a lot of hours to upgrade to the latest technology as well as update the news and information, and streamline some of the manual processes for the administration of the KDA Associates. For me, it meant 283 hours of work this summer and fall. We launched the new website in October and Mike and I are pleased with the results. 
  2.  My other writing:  This summer I published, Brown Water Red Blood, my Vietnam trilogy. This fall I published, Banished, Book One of the Parthinian Chronicles. I am also in the final edits and formatting, Prophecy, Book Two of the Parthinian Chronicles. I hope to publish it in January 1015. I am writing the third story in the Justin Seaborne series with hopes of publishing that as a trilogy sometime in the late spring.   
  3. "The Writer's Corner" websiteThis last spring I developed a new website to highlight my writing. It was fun to focus on this project for a little while.

Even though I have "been busy," I still respond to questions from my blog readers. You are important to me. And, since most of you know me by now, you know that I exercise every day as well as keep up to date on the latest Kennedy's Disease research. 

Over the next few days I will post three blog articles in celebration of Thanksgiving.  I hope you enjoy them.