After the last post I was thinking about gratitude and looking for the best in any situation....I know exactly the moment I began focusing on the positive...
Like most people my life is challenging and I most certainly forget to be grateful for all that I have. There are times when I do sink into self pity and wallow there for a while;)
However.... I always come back to gratitude..
It is a habit now..
I haven't always practised gratitude. Oh I was always grateful for the obvious things and when life was good it was easy to be grateful.. As my life changed and illness became such a big part of it I sunk so low and the things my life was missing were the things I focused on...Quite a natural reaction I think....
One day ( it has to have been about sixteen years ago..it was just before Milly came along ) I was laid on the sofa - a position that had become the norm most days as energy levels were so low - watching TV, The Oprah show came on...
The programme that day completely changed my life.
She was talking about her gratitude journal.. Her guests were inspirational. The advice they gave was really doable..Get a journal and each night record five things you are grateful for... Sounds simple eh? Well as one of the guests said that there were days when she could only write ' I am breathing' ....I could relate to that ;))
After the show I found myself looking for the beauty in my life..really noticing all the things that each day we can take for granted. I amazed myself just how many things it is possible to find when you look for them. That first night my journal was just a load of post it notes stapled together but within days Alan bought me a small notebook that I began to record my gratitude in each day. I was recording things that I had seen every day but not really 'seen'. There were some days when the joy I felt recording my gratitude was a physical feeling....a soaring, fluttering feeling that i hadn't felt for such a long time...Some days I had to dig deep and I wanted something different than ' the sun is shining' or 'the birds singing'....but I felt that the point was to really search and record whatever it was ....even if it did end up being the same thing you were grateful for each day. In the In the beginning there were days when there was an element of 'fake it til you make it' I made a point of religiously recording in my journal each night before I turned of the light...
Some days it was remarkably easy to find five and just keep going to fill the page..others the 'I am breathing' came into play.
Over time I found that it became second nature. I began to see things with different eyes. The 'mess' left by a younger Milly after a busy afternoon in the living room, was seen with gratitude that I was lucky to have a daughter who loved to create..there was a time when the sticky sequins she had been working with were stuck to the carpet..I picked up most but there were a few stragglers that I noticed the next time I vacuumed..Seeing them brought a smile to my face remembering the wonderful art she had created the previous day.. Instead of picking them up I left them and each day they brought a smile to my face until, eventually, they succumbed to the suction of the hoover :)
I don't always use a journal now..I tend to go back to using a journal if I find I have got out of the habit.....There was a long period of post natal depression which threw a spanner in the works.....but even in those dark times the habit of looking at the positives helped.... Now I find that - generally - I can go through the day easily finding the positives, seeing the beauty in everyday simple, ordinary events and being grateful. That is not to say my life is perfect...whose is?....my life is not as 'big and exciting' as I would like it to be..I have to be mindful of the energy I expend and make allowances and choices throughout the day as to what gets done and what doesn't..There are a lot of obstacles... It isn't about life being perfect though.. Within those limitations are so many things to be grateful for..........The fact that I get to spend my days in our wonderful, cosy home. The same limitations that cause me to have to make choices each day mean that I take the time to care for myself in a way I never used to. Being forced to spend time at home has meant that my introvert character has been allowed to flourish and is now understood and celebrated rather than disregarded and neglected. I could go on but you get the picture :)
I see it as finding the perfect even in life's imperfections... and since changing the way I think I have made peace with who I am, where I am and find myself happier than I have been for many years. Even if there are the odd blips that life throws at us I endeavour to get back to gratitude..
Inevitably at the beginning of the year brings thoughts of what the new year might bring. I like to chose a word for the year..a word that could guide me..keep me on the path to where I want to be...I was struggling with one for this year....
This year is the year of the horse and this morning on facebook this was posted.
By Karen Abler Carrasco, WSFS Consultant, Mentor and Teacher
There might not be a bigger shift of energies in the entire 60 year wheel of Chinese astrology than this one coming up–the shift from two Water years of deep introspection to the fast-paced spurt of extroverted forward propulsion that the Wood Horse brings. Hold on to your hats, folks, and realize that you won’t be able to, nor will you want to, slow your horses in the New Year ahead!
This will be a promethean year, the Beginning of all beginnings, arriving around January 31st to February 4th, 2014. Full of uplift, optimism and compelling inspiration, we will be guided into purposeful action of the most elegantly simple and powerfully fruitful kind. After two years of feeling every revelation of corruption in the dark as if it was scouring our subconscious insides and wringing us dry of watery emotion, we are READY for this change! Light, hope and clarity of vision gallop in. Emerge from your cocoons, everybody, here we goooooo!
Because this will be such a big change of energetic experience for us, it will help to review here how the cycle of the sacred Five Elements, or Phases, have set us up for this shift. In that cycle, Wood feeds Fire, Fire’s ash creates Earth, Earth’s compression reveals gems of Metal, and Metal collects and holds Water, which nourishes the Wood to start the cycle all over again. The natural laws of these five elements are actually working in multiple ways throughout Nature, our bodies, our psychologies and the energetic movements of all things here on this planet. In these movements, there are cycles within cycles, one of which is the cycle of birth, growth, disintegration and death, or the void that comes after old life and before new life.
We have just been traveling through that void, in two Water years, which immersed us in a descending place of degeneration, dissolution and chaos, a time when our internal world of formless spirit and emotions held total sway over every attempt at external control or order. For most of us, it was an unsettling time of letting go of many things, either voluntarily or forcefully, a time of deep soul searching, with gradual or sudden destabilization in many areas of family and livelihood. There was a profound search for a return to a spiritual basis for daily living. This all had the effect of highlighting an individual’s isolation and powerlessness within a seemingly random and careless society. Not that outright rebellion and outcry didn’t happen, globally as well as internally. The 2012 Yang Water Dragon year saw to that, with its critical promptings of social responsibility and heroism, and this Yin Water Snake year that followed delved even deeper into the most hidden caves of stagnant dysfunctionality and corruption on all levels.
The good and great news is that we have completed 5 years of the degenerative part of the cycles–that of the harvested, decomposing Earth, compressing and eliminative Metal, and dissolving, settling out, cleansing Water. We now emerge into the generative cycles–powerful, bursting buds of Wood’s new growth fueling the joyful outreach and passions of Fire and the beginnings of Earth’s fruitful harvests.
So, that’s the Wood part of what’s coming. Now to turn our gaze to the animal symbol of Horse. This sprouting upward rush of Wood energy will find its perfect release into the impulsive and passionate nature of the Yang Horse, whose native element is Fire. The Horse energy inspires powerful INTUITION and an indomitable surge towards freedom in every aspect of life. This is a year to follow your inner voice like never before, for it will have a universal cosmic ch’i within it. Higher guidance is with us every step of the way. Reach for the sky, call up your vision, fuel your plans with vision boards and creativity, find a fresh path and pace yourself well. This yang Horse year has the potential to channel the powerful new upthrust of Wood’s Ch’i through the Horse’s Heart energy of Fire and into every project we start, every desire we reach for. It will keep our eager plans from being dominated by too much “head” and not enough “heart.”
It may be quite challenging to trust that we have this absolutely new, purified and hopeful energy to build on now. Our hearts have had to endure a gauntlet of deconstruction through two Metal and two Water years, but the fiery Horse is about to change all of that. Within the extroverted “Green Horse” year, we will not only branch out with new growth, but we will be able to stoke the Fire element of love in every area of life. Follow your intuition fearlessly, as it is both the horse’s main attribute which preserves its freedom and powerful health and it is Wood’s primary talent for stretching into the unknown future. Reach out with irrepressible faith to a new level of social communion and mutual support. Trust every impulse to embrace a revitalized and renewed sensitivity for the pleasures this earthly dimension has to offer.
Step up and out of any old clutter, stored memories, should-have-dones or regrets. The time to deal with that is over for now. Untangle your thoughts quickly and get clear on what it is that you truly desire in this lifetime. Your trusty steed is here, full of vibrant health and tremendous stamina. It should be quite a fast ride, so grab a fistful of mane, hang on to the reins, cast your old cares to the wind and let out a whoop of delight–Yeeehaaw! Upward and onward we thrive! May we all be blest abundantly as we hold each other closer in the circle of health and new life the Wood Horse year brings.
Isn't that just AMAZING!! Oh how I enjoyed reading that this morning!
The feeling I had after reading was a real sense of Joy and hope.
So I will have two words for this year :))
J O Y
H O P E