Tag Archives: gratitude

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 😉 <<<—————————–<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 😉

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 🙂  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 🙂

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 😉

 

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 ❤

Gratitude Challenge – Day 5 of 30

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Day 5 – Gratitude forTransportation
How perfect that I should write about transportation today on a day where I am depending on so many different forms and experiencing endless delays. A real test of the ability to stay grateful!

Today coming from our hotel to the airport we had to call a taxi. It was pouring down rain and miserable driving. I sure felt grateful that someone who knew there way around was driving that vehicle and could get us safely there.

Upon arrival we found ourselves delayed first by 1 hr. then by 2 hrs. It can be so frustrating to depend on someone else to get somewhere. But then I thought, I have time to read, eat, chat with mom, charge my phone a little, catch up on emails etc. And really thank goodness this plane can take me where I need to go eventually. So that offered some perspective!

Finally, I am grateful for true friends who show up to pick you up in their car and work with the delays even though it is inconvenient for them.

If it weren’t for all of these vehicles and the amazing people who operate them for our benefit, we’d just plain be stuck in place or taking one really long walk 😉

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Gratitude Challenge Day 4 of 30

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Day 4 of 30 – Gratitude for Something I Do Everyday – Breathing

Everyday that I breathe well I am grateful. I smoked for almost 15 years 1-2 packs per day. I really scared myself with the decreasing lung capacity and chronic pain I was feeling.

One day I said I am done for good. That was almost 1 and 1/2 years ago. It was a terrible withdrawl, but feeling my entire health improved, not to mention my breathing , I began to give thanks for the very air that I breathe.

One day I had to get a chest x-ray because the Doc suspected pneumonia.  I was terrified that it was something way worse like emphysema or cancer.  I was afraid that despite quitting, I was too late. When she told me my lungs were clear and looked like someone who never smoked, I cried and thanked her for gicving me some of the best news I’d ever received. 

So, yes indeed, I am grateful for being able to breathe healthy everyday.

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Gratitude Challenge Day 2 of 30

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Today’s Gratitude Challenge asks us to consider what we are grateful for in Nature.

Throughout my life nature has always been a refuge for me. Whenever I’ve needed to get away or figure things out, I went off to the woods behind my childhood home and found my answers.

I used to have a special laurel bush that I would hide inside. From there, I felt protected and I could also observe the animals that passed by.

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Often I found that by focusing on the sounds, smells, behaviors, and general environment, instead of dwelling directly on  the concern I brought with me, I left feeling more relaxed and often with some kind of solution. 

I still to this day find that getting away into nature has resorative powers that can get you back on track and give you the peace and clarity that you need.

So, I feel grateful for all the beauty that nature is by itself and for the peace of mind it offers me during the challenging times in life.

What do you appreciate about nature?

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Gratitude Challenge (Post Camino)

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After having so many powerful experiences walking the Camino de Santiago, I wanted to set myself up for continued success now that I have returned.

One of the core lessons I FINALLY learned during this 800 km journey was HOW to stay present.  This is a well known key concept to inner peace and we’ve all read it or heard it from a hundred different sources. 

Despite my best attempts, I never really understood how it works, practically. I mean, who doesn’t want to feel at peace inside? Where do I sign up? Right?

So, how did I find it and how can you get some of that too? I’m glad you asked 😉

Faith.

Yup. Faith.

No. You don’t have to believe in God or be religious.

There are some things that at some point we all have to get real about if we hope to know inner peace.

I had to learn to have faith again. Without faith there is no peace. Ever. No shortcut.

Note that I don’t say “happiness”. Peace is different from happiness. Happiness is a fleeting emotion.  Inner peace is everlasting.

So here’s the trick.

To stay in the present you have to let go of the past because it is a burden and there’s not a damn thing you can do to change how it impacts you except letting it go. Do what you’ve got to do, but DO THIS. I had to walk 350 miles and lay down a rock from my childhood home at the Cruz de Ferro to symbolize laying down my past and my burdens. That’s what it took for me. What will it take for you?

Secondly, come to terms with the fact that you have no control over the future. Worrying isn’t DOING something to affect the outcome. You are not helping anyone. Your worry keeps no one safe. In fact, it is probably affecting your health negatively. STOP IT!

Take all that energy you’re wasting on worry and do something useful right now. It is the ONLY place your efforts and energy can make an impact anyway.

Besides faith that the future will take care of itself if you stay present, the best way to keep yourself grounded in the now is GRATITUDE. Go ahead and start rolling out a list of things or people you are grateful for. Here’s how I know this works…

I remember when I was walking and I had more blisters than feet. The sun is baking down on me in the Meseta. I have severe heat rash on my legs and scratching only makes the itching worse. My knee is still not completely healed from injury in the Pyranees and feels like a rubber band snapping as I walk. All I can feel is pain. All I could focus on was pain. Finally, I fell to the ground and laid flat on my back and cried.

I couldn’t take it anymore. I screamed out loud- God help me, please! What do you want from me? I was not religious. I needed help and no one on earth was coming to my aid. I needed to find something inside to keep me going.

Other pilgrims passed by and commented that they didn’t think I was going to make it.  It was one of my lowest hardest moments on my camino. I had to decide if I was going to press on or give up. One thing was for certain, I couldn’t stay there lying on the side of the road.

So, I decided to get up to see what felt right in my body so I could see what I could do to get myself to the next town. I thought to myself, well the right foot feels better than the left. I can lean more on that. I can take off a layer of socks on the swollen foot. My shoulders and back feel strong to carry the pack. It is not raining.  And so on. You get the idea.

I just kept walking and reminding myself what I was grateful for. Not only did I arrive at the next town, but I kept this up everyday and finally walked 500-miles eventually pain free.

And that’s what triggered my true understanding of gratitude. Basically it is like saying, yeah I know there are things that suck really bad right now, but what does work? How can I make it suck less.

Thinking like that. Staying in the moment helped me walk across an entire country with everything I needed on my back in a 6 kg pack for 35 days.

Your attitude is a choice. Faith is a choice. Letting go is a choice. Taking one more step — all choices.

So I want to keep it going now that I’m back home. I saw this 30 day gratitude challenge and I thought, ok let’s do it. Starting tomorrow – Day 1.

Would you like to join me? I posted the “challenge calendar” in this post. I will write a post for each day’s gratitude topic and you can add yours to the comments if you’d like. The more the merrier.

I’ll start a little early with a warmup…I am grateful that you make the time to read my posts. Thank you.

Inner peace – a choice and not free of effort. You’re going to use your energy somewhere everyday. It makes sense to put it to good use.

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

You Are Ok As Is

Before you read this, make sure that you are in a place where you will be undisturbed for at least 15 minutes.  Pull your car over and sit inside if there is no place at work or home.  Just find a place where you can be alone.

Imagine for a moment that it is the beginning of a new day.  You lay in bed and feel the way the sun warms your face and the way your body has relaxed into your bed. Even though your eyes remain closed they can sense that daylight has come as the brightness seeps through your eyelids. A brand new day is upon us.

Before your first thoughts of the day begin racing through your head, breathe. Really inhale and exhale.  Do this 5 times. Now, feel the weight of your body on the surface beneath you.  With your eyes still closed, smile. Keep the smile on your face and keep breathing slowly.

Sense how beautiful you are when you smile.  Imagine the beauty of your face.  Notice how your whole body feels when you smile. Perhaps a tear comes to your eye since you haven’t thought much about that in a while.

Imagine if at this moment before you even open your eyes and begin your day, you are just right as you are.  Imagine that you are filled with amazing strengths and capabilities.  Imagine that your weakness are less important than your strengths.  Imagine your greatest strengths lie just beneath your weaknesses.  Imagine that you don’t need to be fixed. Imagine that you are not broken.  You are ok as is.

Imagine that you already have all the tools you need to have a great day. Imagine that you can handle whatever comes your way.  Imagine that every person you meet and every situation you find yourself in is temporary.  Imagine that your happiness is as fleeting as your sadness.  It is a moment. It is not permanent.

Imagine smiling when your heart is breaking simply because you know that moments are just that — moments.  And at any moment we choose we can look at something another way.  We can start a chain reaction in our minds, bodies and lives with just a smile.

Go on hold that goofy smile a little longer than it feels natural to do.  You might start laughing. Feel your mind shift. Each breath you take reminds you that your heart is beating, your body is working, your mind is firing away. You are a beautiful, capable, whole and vital being.  You are not broken.  You are still ok as is.

Now, quickly name 5 things you are grateful for while you continue to smile and breathe.  Don’t over-think it. Just name them.

You’ve come into this earth as uniquely as each and every one of us has. You have a purpose on this earth as you are.  There will never be a more perfect version of you than you.  You see the world differently than I do. You share yourself with others differently. You cry about things that I may not and you laugh at things that other people don’t think are funny.  You make love as your body, mind, and spirit guide you to do.  All uniquely you.  You cherish people who love you and you can be hurt by those who harm you too.  But you are still ok as is.

Allow yourself to feel what you do, but remember and never forget that these feelings don’t define you.  They are reactions and reactions can change as we change what we choose to see in our view.  I am me and you are you and each and every day we can only do the best we can do.  There is no more, no less and there is stress when we forget that others have the right to do what they want to do too. But so do you. We look at what we see as limits and we think that is all we can do.  You are not what you think and most of the time we have a limited view.

We respond as we’ve learned to, but there is something we can do.  Let yourself accept yourself as you are.  Don’t try to squash it or fake it or put it in a cake and bake it just to make it more palatable for those around you. You are still ok as is.  Ok as You.

If what you do does not give you the results you want, then change it.  If you don’t know how right now, find a way. You have everything you need to do what you need to do.  And you have what you need to make changes too. As you go on your journey continue to acknowledge that you are still ok as is.  Just simply be willing to change how you do what you do because you want a different result than is coming to you.  That is all.  No judgement, shaming, blaming or guilt.  It doesn’t matter how long the journey is as long as you are on a path towards your goal.

Finally, remember that there will be uncertainty.  We actually control far less than we think.  Happiness in life is directly proportional to how much you can let go of and how comfortable you can become with uncertainty. Trust yourself. You don’t have to know how or when you will get there all at once.  Take one step, then another. Trust. Just trust that you are still ok as is and have everything you need to get to where you want to go.

This is your journey and it all begins with the willingness to take the first step.  Then another and another until you have created the momentum to step without wondering if you can.  Each step, feel the firm ground beneath your feet.  You are safe.  You are enough.  You are ok as is.

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Think of Your Fear Like a Wet Suit

2013-2014As I go into the new year I’ve committed myself to an attitude of gratitude. However, that also means that there is a transitional phase from negative attitudes and mindsets that have to be managed. It’s a little like a corporate takeover. A lot of sorting out to do before it all settles down again. Oh how nice it would be to have my very own “Easy Button”!!

Today I noticed that I was feeling really tight in my chest and down in mood. I tried telling myself to stop it, but that didn’t work. Then, I tried closing my eyes and breathing, that didn’t work either. What gives??

As I searched for answers, I remembered what I wrote yesterday about using “LAG” as my new conflict management style and I thought, maybe this will work for conflict within me as well.

LAG is an acronym for a conflict management style I created to help me create the life I want to be living. It stands for these three steps in the process: “Lean-in”, “Accept”, “Go on”. I’ve started applying it to situations where I am in conflict with others and today I learned it could also be applied to internal conflict.

LAG: Step 1: When I “Leaned-in” to the feeling, my mind fought very hard to run away. It did not want to focus on the ill-feeling at all. I kept saying to myself, “Stay with it”. “You are safe”. I kept breathing in and out to stay calm. When I breathed in I said, “breathe in”. When I exhaled, I said, “breathe out”. That kept me better focused.

When I felt less flooded, I asked myself, “What are you feeling?” “How would you describe it in one word?” The answer came – “I feel rejected”.

I thought, ok. Now we’re on to something. The feeling has been identified. I had no idea until this moment how often I actually never knew what I was specifically feeling. It was just “bad” and I wanted to avoid it and get as quickly as possible to good. That’s all I knew.

It makes sense now why my internal conflict never got resolved as it arose. Negative feelings just kept building up until I began to feel helpless and hopeless in my life. I felt like a prisoner who was put on this earth to do her time. As if I were chosen to be unhappy, while others were chosen to have a fulfilling life. I have felt powerless in my own life for a really long time.

LAG: Step 2: “Acceptance” – I said to myself, “thank you for sharing that. I accept that you feel rejected. That must be very painful. How can I help?” Much nicer 🙂

??????????????????????????????????????????????I waited a bit for an answer and then seemingly out of nowhere, an image of myself on a beach wearing a zippered wet suit popped into my head. The suit felt tight and constricting. My skin felt clammy. I could smell the salty air, hear the waves lapping onto the shoreline and felt the warmth of the sun on my face. I just stood there and took it all in for awhile.

A few moments later, a guiding voice spoke to me over my shoulder.

“What if I told you your pain of rejection could be removed at any time you chose?”I said, “Shoot. I’m all ears”. He said, “Unzip your wet suit and let it fall to the ground. Walk forward and feel the warm grains of sand between your toes. Look behind you and see your pain balled up and lying on the ground. You can pick it up anytime you want and suit back up or you can leave it there and go for a swim in the ocean and clean off all the residue that it left behind”.

LAG: Step 3: “Go On” – I decided to walk into the ocean and swim. It felt good to get the suit off. I kept swimming until all the residue was gone and I felt refreshed. I found myself smiling and laughing again. I felt lighter.

After taking myself through the process, I now understand why my initial attempts to deal with the feeling that arose didn’t calm me down. By flat out telling the feeling to STOP, I was completely ignoring and avoiding it. Then, with zero tolerance or acceptance, I wanted to flush it out with my breath without taking a moment to understand its purpose for being there. Very rude of me actually!

I looked back at the wet suit on the shore and thought about how I don’t have to wear outfits just because someone else thinks they suit me well and I can take them off at any time.

In more practical terms. Let’s say you are in fact being rejected by someone or a group of people. Do you have to feel ashamed of yourself and wear your feeling of rejection like a full body wet suit sponsored by, “THEY REJECT ME”? No, not really.

And here’s the kicker. You can still acknowledge to yourself that they reject you because they very likely may not like you or want you around. It happens.

You don’t have to treat yourself like a reject.

That’s where most of us end up in major pain. When we agree with another persons opinion of us, we are subconsciously feeling that other people know us better than we know ourselves. We give them permission to change us to become what they say we are, what they limit us to. This is the express lane to pain, depression & loss of self.

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Instead, you can just accept that they do reject you and that it sucks.

Remind yourself that other people’s opinions of you are none of your business.  YOU are not a failure because of this.

You are still that same awesome, talented, special person with so much to offer this world no matter what other people say.

People who try to make you feel bad about yourself are really unhappy people. Believe it or not, it is NOT personal at all. They are just showing you how bad they feel inside. Something in you reminds them of a quality they wish they had inside but they don’t know how to achieve it.

Pray for them. Acknowledge that they are in pain. But under no circumstances do you let what’s going on in them define who you are. It’s separate.

Instead of carrying their load as if it were your own, bless and release them.

You just may not currently be with a person or a group that honors your gifts in the best way. It’s just not a good fit. Focus your energy and talents on honoring yourself and surrounding yourself by people who do honor you.

You’re already good enough as yourself.

Happy New Year and lots of love from aneternaltraveler 😉