Gratitude Challenge Day 15 of 30 – Music

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Day 15 – Gratitude for Music
I can’t imagine my life without music. It has been a part of every single high and low throughout my life. It has saved my mind, body and soul.  It is in me, runs through me, and pours out of me.

Music is my father, my mother, my sister, my brother and my lover. It has raised me, nurtured me, hidden and revealed the truth from me, held me, loved me, fed me. It has never left me no matter how I arrived at its door.

No matter who comes into or out of my life, he is always my faithful companion.

Gratitude for all that music is to me fails to express the full depth of its place in my life. I literally can’t even imagine the point of my life without it.

-with gratitude from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Gratitude Challenge Day 14 of 30 – Color

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Day 14 of 30 Gratitude for Colors
I am a very visual person and I often think and dream in color. Sometimes when I compose music I also “see” the music as colors in my head.

The world is an extraordinary canvass given to us by mother nature and on which we paint our hopes and dreams.

Whether we get to enjoy a new gray skyscraper, a red robin, a bright painting, a dark fabric or the yellow line down the center of the road, we use color all the time to signify importance in our lives.

Color guides us, separates us, joins us, changes our moods, and invites us into a conversation with the people, places & things in the world around us.

The world is a more colorful place because we are in it.

– with gratitude from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Gratitude Challenge Day 13 of 30 – Smells

wpid-screenshot_2014-08-16-19-49-03-1.pngDay 13 of 30 –¬†Smells I am grateful for.

When I first read this, the resident-8-year-old-boy-part-of-me imagined making fart sounds and imagining how grateful I am for the smells.  After I got that out of my system, the grown-up part took over and made a list.

I am grateful for the smell of…..

  • Fresh cut grass
  • The soapy smell of a man freshly out of the shower
  • Laundry fresh from the wash line
  • Lillies, tea roses and lavender
  • The unique scent of my lover &¬†the way it makes my heart race
  • My wood floors cleaned with liquid lavender castille soap
  • Musky perfume
  • Home-made food
  • Morning coffee brewing in my kitchen
  • Arm deodorant
  • Opening a fresh jar of peanut butter
  • Pizza
  • A good burger
  • My cat’s fur
  • Atlantic ocean
  • Crisp¬†mountain air first thing in the morning
  • Amber romance body cream
  • Leather¬†

…and many more. ¬†

How about you? What are your favorite smells?

– with love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Gratitude Challenge Day 12 of 30 – Texture

wpid-screenshot_2014-08-16-19-49-03-1.pngDay 12 of 30 – Gratitude for Texture

I am a pretty tactile person so the way things feel really impacts me. ¬†I can’t even EAT water chestnuts because I can’t stand the texture in my mouth. On the other hand I love the moistness and sponginess of red velvet cupcakes. ¬†

I am a big fan of most soft fabric and tend to shy away from rougher ones.  I like feeling it gliding across my skin as I move about through my day.

Art is a place where I am overjoyed that there are so many textures to appreciate!

I love petting soft furred animals like my little angel cat “C.C.”

I could probably go on for awhile, but suffice it to say I’m grateful that there are so many tantalizing textures that terrifically taunt my tactile tips ūüėČ

 

—-<3 with love from aneternaltraveler <3—–

 

Gratitude Challenge Day 11 of 30 – Noise

wpid-screenshot_2014-08-16-19-49-03-1.pngDay 11 of 30 – Gratitude for Noise

At first I thought, how could anyone be grateful for NOISE??? Isn’t that why we call it that anyway? ¬†If it were pleasurable we might call it “sound” or “music”. ¬†I had to think long and hard for Day 11. Then, it hit me.

Noise usually means there is life. Even the sound of machines requires a human around at some point. It is always nice to know we are not alone whether we are surround by humans, other animals, plants or just mother nature checking in .

I also thought about how even being able to have a conversation about noise, means that you have ears that work well enough to hear it.  

Sometimes noise can be the distraction we need to get out of our own heads. So, when you consider the upsides, I have a new found gratitude for noise!

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So how does it feel to be 1/3 of the way through my 30 Day Gratitude Challenge? You’re in luck. I feel like giving a¬†progress report ūüôā

I¬†have to say that I am pleased with the changes I’ve seen since starting this challenge.¬† It¬†makes me¬†stop and notice more of the things¬†I just took for granted. It allows me to really discover¬†how I feel and to express it thoughtfully. Another side-effect includes,¬†going through my day noticing small stuff and saying¬†thank you! I can’t believe how much more at peace this makes me feel. I think there is something about slowing down to be grateful that makes you less reactive in general. ¬†I like what this is doing for my well-being and for my relationships.

— With gratitude from aneternaltraveler

 

Gratitude Challenge Day 10 of 30 – Quiet

wpid-screenshot_2014-08-16-19-49-03-1.pngDay 10 of 30 – Gratitude for Quiet

We all know people who are uncomfortable being in silence next to someone. Heck a lot of us can’t take being alone with ourselves in silence! ¬†Personally, I have always struggled with keeping my mind quiet. My racing mind has led to an anxious state that feeds on itself. ¬†If you have anxiety issues, you know the pure hell this can be.

One of the things I figured out through walking the Camino de Santiago was how to stay present; how to quiet your mind while still keeping it busy.  Sounds like a contradiction, right? Hear me out.

First, let me say that the reason many of the relaxation techniques that ask you to clear your mind don’t work is because — it is contrary to what the mind was sent here to do!¬† It thinks.

So, I reasoned if you give it something to keep it busy but also in the present, you can calm down your anxiety, answer the real important questions, stay focused and gee whiz just be a more successful human being overall ūüėČ ¬†

Here’s my revolutionary ūüėČ new 3 step process for when your mind is going haywire:

  1. Don’t try (to solve the problem, to lower the anxiety, to do anything to fix anything)
  2. Trust (yourself that your mind is capable of finding the answer, it doesn’t need you to whack a board over it 16000 times, it needs some space to heal and let something bubble up)
  3. Notice (every smell, feeling, object, person, place and thing around you and without judgement say what it is quietly to yourself – this keeps your mind busy in a useful way because it keeps you present and distracts you long enough from mulling that you can calm down)

I am not a medical doctor so I can’t prescribe, but I can tell you that as someone who has suffered with anxiety her whole life, doing these three things, I have noticed¬†my anxiety lowering and at times even disappearing as I practice. ¬†I more easily find answers because my mind and body are¬†in the right place (in the present and low in anxiety),¬†

This also works when you start making all those damn lists in your head.

Bring your phone, a notepad, whatever you need to just dump those out of your head.  They are just keeping you stranded in no-can-do-land. Then ask yourself REALLY what MUST be done RIGHT NOW! Sometimes, we get so caught up in our list of things to do that we imagine everything we think of is top priority. Sometimes when we slow down and get quieter, we realize that it is not that important and often we find a better way.  

You know I love examples, so here it goes…

I was supposed to go to the post office today, but I realized that I forgot my wallet, so I came home and had 1/2 hr to grab my wallet and head over there. ¬†Then I thought – why am I rushing? ¬†IS there a deadline? ¬†No. There wasn’t. ¬†So, I said “tomorrow I’ll go on the way to the gym”. ¬†Then, I ran into my mail carrier near my house and asked him if he carries any postage on his truck that I could buy and send out my packages. ¬†He said, no, but reminded me that I can use the Click-n-Ship option from the comfort of my own home and order a¬†pickup for free. ¬†This is what I mean. ¬†Sometimes, we even save ourselves time and find a more convenient option when we slow down. ¬†The alternative would have been standing in line with a bunch of other people who were also in a rush and anxious AND¬†I would have paid $1.10 more than online. ¬†

Ok. Bringing it all back together. ¬†I notice that I feel better and I interact better with people when I calm my anxiety, when I stop acting busier than the president of the United States, when I really stop and ask myself how important something really¬†is? When people talk to me, I really¬†listen to what they have to say. I enjoy their company more. And you know what? Not having my phone buzzing or rejecting a call when I am spending time with a friend, makes them feel better about the time they spend with me¬†too. It lets them relax and open up more. But wait there’s more!@? I get¬†MORE done¬†from list AND feel better about it. Quite honestly everybody gets more out of the quiet time I take for myself.

I am not only grateful for the quiet, I have reconnected with my need for that daily self-reflection. ¬†I gave up on that part of me somewhere along life’s way. ¬†I remember being that way as a very young child. ¬†I liked being quiet and thinking up my new inventions or ideas. ¬†I liked the creativity that came from the silent pauses between the notes¬†in my life. ¬† I’ve recently rediscovered this part of me – which happens to be at the very core of who I am – and I’m completely unwilling to abandon her ever again.

And maybe this is¬†for another post, but it makes me think…who could wonder why I’ve always felt anxiety or depression? I ignored a core part of who I knew myself to be in favor of trying to be who everyone thought I was because it was more “acceptable”. One day,¬†even that persona was not good enough. That’s what broke me open.¬†¬†¬†

I am grateful for the quiet most especially because it brought my voice back.

With gratitude from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Gratitude Challenge Day 9 of 30

wpid-screenshot_2014-08-16-19-49-03-1.pngDay 9 of 30 – Gratitude for Technology

This one was easy for me because I really love technology. It connects us to each other no matter how far apart we are. ¬†It allows us to see people and places we may never have the opportunity to visit. ¬†We can wash our clothes and our dishes with such ease that we afforded¬†time for other things. We can listen to music, create it, share it. Technology wakes us up, keeps us on track and even saves our lives. Heck, it allows me to write down and share all my “brilliant”¬†thoughts with you on this blog! Really, the list is never ending.

Granted there are downsides to the “always-connectedness”.¬†I’ll also be the first one to admit to that. ¬†After all, I really enjoyed minimal technology while walking the Camino de Santiago this summer.¬†

Overall though, I am grateful that it is there because of how it allows me to connect to people, places, and things, in such a wide variety of ways.  

 

<3—————————–>>> With gratitude from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ <<<—————————–<3

Gratitude Challenge Day 8 of 30

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Day 8 – Gratitude for Friends & Family
I am grateful for the connection that friends and family bring to my life. For example, I’ll have a conversation with my sister and it blows my mind how often we are going through the same things. It feels like a huge relief to talk to someone who gets it from an “inside” perspective. Both of us seem to start breathing again and realize we are not alone. That connection is magnificent.

Other times I think about how grateful I am to have a neighbor who has also become my best friend. He knows me well, really listens, and has seen me through everything these last 5 years has brought into my life. When I need a hand with something or have an emergency, I can count on him. Many times he just does things without being asked because he notices that it would help me out; like bringing in my trash and recycle bins so they don’t have to sit out there all day while I’m at work. Again, being connected like this to someone feels amazing.

I know a lot of people (acquaintances) and I am sociable, but I don’t have a bunch of friends because I am very selective with who I really let in to the deeper parts of me. I am definitely the type that can count on one hand the people who are closest to me.

Truth is, not everyone is worthy of you.

So, when I do call someone a friend or open up to someone in my family and they show me love and respect back, then I am very grateful for that connection.

There is something about that feeling of connection that makes you realize that you had been waiting to exhale for a really long time.

– With gratitude from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Gratitude Challenge Day 7 of 30

wpid-screenshot_2014-08-16-19-49-03-1.pngDay 7 of 30 – Gratitude for Work

This one is a little bit tough for me because I’ve never felt like I’ve had a career that I loved. On the other hand, I am grateful that I’ve always found some kind of work to help pay the bills and support myself. ¬†

In my current position, I am grateful that I can help children with special needs reach their potential. I enjoy giving my kids hope, finding strategies to manage behaviors and ¬†accomplish academic goals. Everyone needs to feel useful. I don’t care what struggle you come with into this world.

I am also grateful that the school is nearby, making for a short commute.  Having summers off to explore the world allows another part of me to flourish.

As far back as I can remember, I wanted two basic things out of life “when I grew up”. ¬†I wanted to help people reach their potential and to see the world. ¬†Ideally, I could combine those two concepts together. ¬†I still hold out hope that someday I will.

I thought a lot about how to leverage my education and experience into a career in education which seems like it could be a great fit for the life I want to live.  I went to an information seminar which talked about an accelerated teacher certification program for people with a degree and experience in science and math. I thought to myself, that could be it.  I have a B.S. in Biology and I would appreciate teaching older students (vs. elementary where I am now) because I could go more in depth and do more complex experiments with them.

Before you knew it, I was signed up to take the Middle School Science Praxis II exam. Passing this is one of the requirements to apply for the program. It basically tests you in all areas of the sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Earth Science, Technology) and determines if you’re competent ūüôā ¬†I was pretty nervous during the test and walking out, was sure I failed. ¬†While in Spain, I learned that I passed it by 25 points!¬†

So, I have another basic Praxis test to take which tests core competencies (Reading, Writing, Math) that I need to pass. ¬†You’ll probably laugh after hearing how well I did on the Science test, despite my concern that I failed, but I am afraid that I will bomb the easy stuff and pass the hard stuff. ¬†It wouldn’t be the first time something like this happened. ¬†For example, in college, I got C’s in General Chemistry and A’s and B’s in Organic Chemistry !? So, maybe say some prayers, please ūüôā

I digress.  Got a little sidetracked there. Tying it all together.

I am changing careers or at least modifying how science is paying the bills. It is kind of nerve wracking sometimes. Exciting, yes, but a little scary.  I am 37 and find that I am ready to have what I really want in my life. Within the next three years, I will work to put everything I want in place so that when 40 rolls around, there will be no life crisis. I am ready for more stability and a career that allows me to build for my future and also helps other people reach their potential.  I am also ready to have the freedom that allows for my adventurous side to flourish (summers off) so that I may always meet new people and cultures and see the world.

So, I am not quite where I want to be, but I am grateful that I have a job that is in the field that I want to advance myself. I am grateful that I have work that offers me the chance to help children discover their potential.  I am thankful that it provides me with health insurance, a pension, and that I am already building towards that future that I want. 

How about you? Why are you grateful for work?

With gratitude from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

 

Gratitude Challenge Day 6 of 30

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Day 6 of 30 – Gratitude for Hobbies
One of the talents I’ve been blessed with is the ability to express myself musically. Throughout my life whether it be singing, playing the piano, beating on a drum, or destroying my fingertips on a guitar, music has saved my sanity and many times over, my life.

I have many hobbies which I can be grateful for but none have impacted my life like music.

The ability to translate what you feel into music, especially when you can’t find the words or words seem too frivolous, is a release like none other.

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To be able to create something beautiful from your own deep pain that lets others know they’re not alone, feels like a gift you give to others and yourself all at once.

Music offers us a unique opportunity to show up as our genuine selves without the mask. It is powerful when you are alone with it and unites people across nations when shared. It gets us out of our heads so we can sink a little deeper into our hearts.

I am here today because music has always given me a place to crash when I needed it most. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

With gratitude from aneternaltraveler ‚̧