Scaring Away the Dark Side of Change

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Ever wonder why we wear masks on Halloween? Why we dress up and disguise ourselves as ghosts, witches and monsters?

The modern holiday of Halloween has its roots in both the Celtic celebration of Samhain and the Christian holiday of All Saints Day. Samhain (“the end of summer”) celebrated the end of the “lighter half” of the year and the beginning of the “darker half”.

The name Halloween comes from All Hollows Even, meaning the night before All Hallows (Saints) Day.

The ancient Celts believed that the veil between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing both harmful and harmless spirits to enter into the realm of the living. Good spirits of deceased loved ones were invited in while harmful spirits were scared off by wearing costumes and masks.

As a hypnotherapist I help people change, and change is not easy. The “dark side of change” means leaving what is known and comfortable for something unknown and uncomfortable.

Our minds are powerfully drawn to the familiar and comfortable (habits), even if we’re aware that it’s no longer working for us. Our current way of being is rooted in our mostly deeply held beliefs. For change to occur,  new beliefs must be formed.

The ancient traditions such as Halloween help us understand the nature of change. To begin the process of transforming ourselves, we must remove the mask of who we feel we are and try on a new mask (or identity) that’s more in line with our vision of who we want to be.

The new mask will be uncomfortable and foreign, but the wearing of it scares off the dark side of change, or the spirit of the old behavior, which harms us by holding us back from our true power, our “good (god) spirit”. When we don our new identity, we invite that helpful spirit in.

There will be conflict as we try to get comfortable with the new idea of who we are. We will be tempted to put the old mask back on, and at times, we will. Yet, we must continue to wear the new self perception, getting comfortable with it, making it a part of our life. We must remain diligent to not allow the harmful spirit back into our thinking and behavior.

Quite often, while you are letting go of the old behavior and adopting the new, you’ll have to deal with the darker half, or shadow side of yourself, which will attempt to sabotage your best efforts.

You’ll be challenged by the dark side of change, and you’ll be tested. You’ll think it’s too hard and want to give up. Just ask anyone who’s tried to quit smoking or lose a significant amount of weight. They’ll tell you, “It’s like there’s two parts of me, one that wants health and the other that wants to destroy me.”

The best way to scare off those nasty spirits is to enthusiastically (enthusiasm: en theos, or “the god within”) keep pretending to be who you want to be, in your language, in your thoughts and most importantly, in your behavior. You must continue to hold on to your highest value, or highest vision of who you want to be.

Come to believe in and hold a vision of  your life that inspires you (inspire: “the spirit within”), so that  you can ward of the ghosts of your past and triumph over the dark side of change. 

Interesting that All Saint’s Day was originally celebrated on May 13th, in the spring. This date coincided with the ancient feast of Lemuria, where the harmful spirits  of the darker half of the year are appeased and exorcised.

As you move into the darker half of the year, take time for introspection. Go deep into the dark places of self knowledge and acknowledge and accept the masks that need to be discarded. Can you keep their negative influence away with your new face? Can you scare off the dark side of change with powerful trust and belief in your new vision?

All traditions have their origins in the human experience. Our desire to release the old and welcome the new and is in accordance with the seasons of life, that ongoing cycle of birth, growth, death and reinvention.

 Ted

 Photo by Skye Moorehead
www.skyemoorhead.com

Holiday Family Gatherings: How to Stay Sane During the Holidays

We all want our holiday family gatherings to be times of positive, loving  interactions and of basking in the warm feeling that comes from being with people we love.

However, this is often not the case for many people. For these folks, and maybe you are one of them, these holiday family gatherings can be a source of great stress because of the expectation of conflict and dysfunction. These type of holiday family gatherings have the potential to steal your holiday cheer and leave you in a bad place for weeks.

The truth is that sometimes the people we love can get under our skin.They can say and do things that trigger negative reactions in us such as anger, irritation and sadness, causing us to strike back, making the situation worse.

Politics,religion, and people interfering in your personal life or business are just a few of the triggers that can be the cause of arguments, conflict and tension at holiday family gatherings.

Throw alcohol into the mix and these holiday family gatherings can become volatile to the point that after the party is over, family members are not even speaking to each other.  How to deal with these potentially stressful situations?

The key is to be prepared.  You could simply decide not to go or attempt to fake your own death to get out of it. However, if you do decide to attend your holiday family gatherings, here are some suggestions on how to stay calm and in control.

How to prepare and deal with holiday family gatherings.

1. Have an intention and decide your outcome ahead of time. Be clear about how you want to be at the holiday family gatherings. Have a goal for how you want to feel and respond. Create the outcome that you will leave feeling good about your visit.

For instance, suppose that every time you get together with your mother, you get impatient and frustrated, leaving you to you feel terrible afterwards. Before you see her again, make it your goal to be calm, loving, patient and kind. You might even write it down: “My intention is to be calm loving, patient and kind when I see my mother on Christmas day.”

Of course, you can also have the intention that you’re going to verbally destroy  anyone that attempts to mess with you at the holiday family gatherings, but this is not a good way to stay sane during the holidays.

2. Identify the triggers. Think back to previous family gatherings about what happened that triggered negative emotions or reactions from you. Is it what someone says or does? Is it a particular topic of conversation? If you are aware of the potential negative triggers, and can keep your  positive outcome in mind, you are more likely to stay in control.

3. Have a response ready when these triggers occur. If your outcome is to be calm, centered and balanced during holiday family gatherings, then decide what you will you do when the triggers appear. For instance, when someone brings up that topic of discussion that you know is going to cause trouble, you might:

  • Smile and say, “I really don’t want to talk about that right now.”
  • Excuse yourself and go to the restroom or go outside and take some deep breaths.
  • Make a joke out of it and change the subject.
  • Use the STOP method: Stop, Take a breath, Observe your body, emotions and thoughts, and proceed in a way that honors you, the other and your relationship.

Of course, as a last resort, you can always be prepared to leave if things get too out of hand. It’s a tough choice but sometimes it’s the right one.

4. Create your own positive trigger. This is a technique where you have a “power word”, phrase or a physical action that triggers a positive response. Put yourself into a relaxed state before you go to the holiday family function. You can imagine yourself in a relaxing place, or just breathe and release stress and tension. On each exhalation, say your word or phrase, such as “Calm” or “I can deal with this” or “In control”. Do something physical such as rub your fingers together while you are doing this. The idea is that you form an association between rubbing your fingers/saying your power word with a relaxed state so that when you feel those negative triggers threatening to derail you, you can use your positive trigger to get back to being calm, centered and balanced.

You may not be able to change your family dynamic, but you can always have control over how you respond. This holiday season, see if you can let go of the past, stay in present, and expect only the best from the future.

Need help? Someone to talk to? Contact me by clicking here.

Ted

p.s. If you thought this post was helpful, please leave a comment or share with your social networks.

Self Care During the Holidays: 10 Tips

Self care during the holidays is essential if you want to stay sane. Getting seriously stressed out, experiencing emotional breakdowns, having conflicts with family members and getting sick may not be the technical definition of insanity, but if these things happen due to lack of self care during the holidays, then you might FEEL as if you were going insane.

10 Tips for Self Care During the Holidays

 

1. Get enough sleep.  When you’re sleep deprived you’re irritable and prone to overwhelm, so negative emotions are much more easily triggered. You’re low on energy and not able to deal effectively with life’s normal challenges.Your immune system becomes challenged leaving you open to getting sick. Fatigue will cause you to reach for high sugar, high carb foods, making you feel even worse.

2. Avoid overdosing on sugar. Although sugar may give you a short term boost, the following drop in blood sugar can result in depression, anxiety , fatigue, irritability and mood swings. Other possible side effects from sugar overload: yeast infections, backaches, indigestion, bloating, eczema and frequent colds. Click here to read more.

3. Be mindful when you drink alcohol. Self care during the holidays does not include getting a DUI, throwing up in your boss’s bathroom, getting into a verbal or physical conflict, saying things you later regret, or waking up with a pounding hangover.  The amount of alcohol that causes intoxication is enough to suppress your immune system, leaving you open to colds, viruses or worse.

4. Drink lots of water. All the benefits of drinking water are too plentiful to list here. Remember that if you don’t drink water you will die. Seriously. Drink enough water and you’ll have less headaches, joint pain, constipation, crankiness and weight gain.

5. Wash your hands. It’s cold outside. Everyone is in the house. Some folks are carrying around flu and cold viruses but aren’t sick yet. Think about all the handshaking,  fingers in mouths, sneezing and coughing that goes on at a typical holiday party. Before you eat, always wash your hands.

5. Eat whole foods. Whole foods are foods that resemble how they grow in nature, which means unprocessed or minimally processed. These types of foods are nutrient rich and contribute to a healthy body. They keep your immune system strong and help keep you disease free.

6. Move your body. The benefits of consistent movement of your body are long and lasting. Improved mood, increased energy, better sleep, more fun, better sex, calmer mind, less stress, the list goes on and on. It could be walking a few minutes a day or going to the gym. Just do something.

7. Take breaks and days off.  Taking some days off to shop, wrap, renew or rest is essential to self care during the holidays. One way to deal with stress is to have regular periods of down time. Regular breaks during working hours can give you better memory, improved concentration, and increased creativity.

8. Nurture yourself. What fills you up? What makes you feel like life is worth living? What activities  can you do that could give you peak experiences? Self care during the holidays means giving to yourself all the good, juicy, healthy, happy stuff that you can.

9. Lower your expectations. A lot of unhappiness and frustration comes from having expectations about the holidays and not having them met to your satisfaction. Understand that people and circumstance change and that self care during the holidays might mean having to accept what shows up. The quickest way to insanity is to invest a lot of emotion into wanting what is, to be what it is not.

10. Find your own meaning. Ultimately, you are responsible for your holiday experience.You can be swept along by things and situations that hold no meaning for you, or you can you find something significant about this time of year that resonates with your deepest feelings and values. Remember that nothing has any meaning other than what you give it.

If you need help with your self care during the holiday season, you can contact me by clicking here. 

You are worth  self care during the holidays, aren’t you?

Ted

p.s. Did I leave anything out about self care during the holidays? If you think I did, please let me know in the comment section.

How to Stay Sane During the Holidays

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We all know that it can be hard to stay sane during the the holidays! They can be quite stressful.

There’s money anxiety: “How am I going to be able to afford buying gifts?

There’s family: “I just hope we don’t get into a big argument!”

There’s travelling: “Flying isn’t so much fun anymore.”

There’s food: “I hope I don’t gain a ton of weight!”

And of course, there’s parties: “He go SO drunk last year!!”

Anyone of these by themselves or in any combination can make us crazy. So how do we stay sane during the holidays?

The key to remaining sane during the holidays.

Stay awake! That’s the key. By that, I mean stay conscious and aware of what’s going on within you and without you. Understand that in your journey through the holiday season there will be situations that trigger emotions, reactions and responses. Stay connected to how you are feeling, observe the story you are telling, and be aware of what you are thinking. With this kind of awareness,  you can make powerful choices that serve you and help you stay sane during the holiday season.

For example, say you feel sad during the holidays. That’s a good thing to be aware of: “I have a tendency to feel sad during the holidays.” Accept that about you, but don’t make it mean anything other than you’re a human with emotions. Making up a story about it would be ” I’m such a terrible person for feeling sad during the holidays.” Don’t do that!

Perhaps you can take some quiet time to explore these feelings and bring awareness to them, maybe by journaling or sharing your feelings with someone you trust. Why do you feel sad? Perhaps you lost someone at the holidays. Maybe you feel lonely at the holidays. Allow yourself to feel and give yourself permission to express those feelings. Stay present and understand that it’s ok to feel sad.Then make a conscious choice. You may choose to have a good cry. Or, you may decide that you are going to spend as much time as you can with people you like and love.

Insanity during the holidays comes from not wanting to deal with what is. Remaining sane during the holidays means looking at what is squarely in the eye and making a choice as to how to deal with it. For example: “I hate that the holidays are so commercialized!” But the fact is that they are commercialized and that you are the hater! Choose to do your holidays in a way that is meaningful and significant for you.

Another example is insane stress during the holidays. You must first have an awareness that this isn’t working for you anymore. Then acknowledge your ability to choose your holiday experience.  It could be as simple as getting more sleep, taking supplements or not letting your exercise program fall by the way side. It could be a choice not to over commit your time or energy. Or it could be the decision to do all your shopping online or not shop at all.

Take some time now to be aware of:

  • What staying sane during the holidays would look like for you
  • Who you really want to be with during the holidays
  • What  you really want to do during the holidays

In addition, get clear about:

  • Where you are not sane during the holidays every year
  • Expectations that are thwarted every year
  • People that are not healthy for you to be around during the holidays

Then decide what you’re going to do to have the holiday experience you want and DO IT.

To stay sane during the holidays always remember that it’s YOUR holiday movie. You get to direct it and say who’s in it and how the story goes or not even make a holiday movie. It’s up to you to make it something you enjoy sitting through.

Ted

p.s. Need some help staying sane during the holidays? Click here to contact me for a free phone consultation.

It’s Better to Be Grateful than Dead

Grateful

Why do we have only one day a year dedicated to giving thanks? If it was up to me, we would have Thanksgiving day once a week, (minus the huge feast). Think about it: if you lived 80 years, having Thanksgiving day once a year would give you 80 days when you were reminded to be grateful. If you had it every week, you’d have 4,160 days reminding you to make to be grateful. Think that would make a difference in your life? I do.

What’s so great about being grateful? Well, try going a whole week without saying thank you or being appreciative for anything. Complain loud and incessantly that whole week. Walk around with a feeling of entitlement, that the world owes you, and see how you feel. Compare and despair while bemoan what you don’t have. (What? You’re doing already that? You better call me immediately at 626-826-0612 or click here and I’ll give you 25 bucks off your next session.)

Gratitude is not just an attitude, it’s an energy that you generate. If you’re looking for it, you might feel it driving down the freeway in the shadow of beautiful mountains painted in red by the setting sun, or standing outside at night freezing your buns off awash in the glory of a full moon. It make take some practice generating that grateful attitude until you’re feeling  moments of bliss on a regular basis, but believe me, it’s worth it.

Being grateful is not just something you say or think, it’s a feeling that sustains you through the tough times, or gives you the icing when you’ve got your cake and you’re eating it too.

Everything looks better, feels better, works better when you’re grateful. Feeling grateful feels good. Feeling good is good for you, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We know that prolonged negative feelings can adversely impact health. And really, feeling thankful as a way of life is not that hard to do.

Taking it grateful instead of for granted.

I recently had a health scare with one of my children. More like a health terror, because that’s what it felt like. It put me in a place where all I wanted to do was hold both of them tightly and never let go. All of a sudden, their noisiness was not so noisy, their messiness not so messy. What a small price to pay to be able to kiss them while they sleep. I don’t every want to take them for granted; I hope I can always feel blessed that they are in my life.

Sometimes you really get that Life is fragile and unpredictable. One second too soon or a minute too late and there’s a funeral, or some other tragedy, loss or catastrophe. Anything can be taken from you at any time. I appreciate my grandmothers and grandfathers so much more now that they are gone than I ever did when they were alive. Didn’t really appreciate my siblings and parents until I was far, far away from them.

Maybe you need to go through some tough times to really appreciate the  blessings that have been bestowed upon you. My advice is: don’t wait for that to happen.

Every time I see a person sitting at a bus stop in the freezing cold or blazing heat, I’m thankful I have a car. With air conditioning and a heater. I know what it’s like to be cold, hungry, lonely and broke, so now that I’m warm, well fed and surrounded by my family, I’m feeling most of the time like life is grand.

There may be some dead that are grateful aside from Jerry Garcia and the band, but maybe the highest form of gratitude you can have is feeling lucky to be alive.

To be alive means you can be grateful. You get to have that chance. For your sake, take it. You’ve been given the fertile ground to plant and harvest the seeds of gratitude before that ground becomes your bed. Be thankful. For   every    single   little   thing.

(If you’re having trouble feeling the love as the holiday season approaches and you need some help, contact me by clicking here for a free 30 minute phone session.)

Ted A. Moreno
 
Photo by Skye Moorhead
www.skyemoorhead.com
 

Being Grateful for the Things that Went Wrong

 

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As we approach Thanksgiving, much will be written this week about gratitude, how to give thanks, counting blessings, how not to stuff yourself like a tick, etc.

I’d like to suggest being grateful for things in your life that went wrong. Things that didn’t go according to plan.

Now before I go any further let me say that, sometimes when stuff goes wrong, some really bad things can happen. It would be hard to be grateful for losing someone you love in a sudden terrible accident.

Still, many people that I speak with who have lost a loved one, often say that it was a wake up call for them; they realized that they were not being grateful by taking their lives for granted and resolved to live with more passion and love.

Recently, I was watching 127 Hours, the movie about Aron Ralston, the guy who survived a hiking accident by amputating his arm which was stuck under a boulder. Seems being grateful that would be really hard to do. Still, he gave a speech (he’s paid up to $37,ooo for speeches) “about how he did not lose a hand, but gained his life back.”

I had really bad back problems as a young man. Somedays I couldn’t get out of bed. But it got me into a habit of daily stretching that continues to this day that has kept me lean and mean (at least I think so). I’ve also been challenged by severe eye problems that necessitated shots in my eyeball. I asked the doctors “What can I do to keep this from happening again?” They said “Walk everyday.” Being grateful for those problems is easy because I walk daily and I love it. Better than a sharp stick in the eye.

Now when something goes wrong in my life, it’s a bit easier to ask myself “What is the lesson here? How can I grow from this?” Being grateful for the tough times is a little easier while they are happening even though the thanks sometimes comes grudgingly.

Can you look back and feel gratitude for:

  • The pain you’ve felt?
  • The disappointments you experienced?
  • The sadness you felt?
  • The loss you felt?
  • That time you got fired?
  • That time you got sick?
  • The times you got taken advantage of?
  • The time(s) you got dumped?
  • The time you were broke?
  • The time you lost your job?
  • The time someone told you the cold hard truth to your face?
  • The time you lost?
  • The time you failed?
  • That special once in a lifetime love who got away?

You might be thinking “How can I possibly be grateful for ____?”

Well, did you learn something? Did you become stronger? More compassionate? Wiser? More honest? More loving?

Did you find some tough stuff within that you didn’t know you had that still serves you to this day? Were you able to draw out  some courage or cleverness that allowed you to get to the other side?

Were you humbled? Did you get closer to God or your fellow man or woman? Was all the superficial, artificial, surface glitter and glam stripped away to reveal the real rock hard diamond deep down inside?

If so, then you’ve got something to be grateful for,  my friend. Doesn’t mean you liked it, or want to go through it again, it could just mean that you can say “It happened, I got through it, and I got something of value from it.”

If there is anything in you that is good, strong, right, and true, anything powerful and bold, any small measure of grit and bad- assedness, I’m not sure you would have it without those experiences.

It’s called a re-frame. You pull that dusty old stuff out of the basement, that junk that has been sucking your self esteem and self worth out of you, and you polish it off, hang it up and display it like a badge of honor, even if you’re the only one who sees it. You say to yourself “Yeah, I was flat on my back, I was down and out, I was crushed, hanging by a thread, written off, forgotten, humiliated, burned out and close to dead but dammit, I did not die! I am here to tell the tale! Yes it was tough but I was tougher!

That’s what I’m talking about. Being grateful for every little bit of it. It means you’re alive.

Ted

Self Hypnosis as a Tool for Change

Self hypnosis

Why do most New Years resolutions fail? Why is it so difficult to change habits?

You hear about it all the time: people win big in the lottery, millions of dollars. Five years later they are broke.

Perhaps you’ve experienced this: you lose a bunch of weight just to gain it all back plus a few pounds.

Or you’ve quit smoking, just to start again when, after a few drinks, someone offers you a smoke.

Or you make a New Years resolution to start exercising, so you join a gym, go 3 times and then never again.

The problem is that sometimes it takes more than willpower, determination and resolutions to change.

Sometimes you need to re-program your subconscious mind.

Because if your subconscious mind (88% of your mind) is more comfortable with poverty, being fat, being a smoker, and being a couch potato, then it will sabotage the best efforts of your conscious mind (12%) to change. And your subconscious mind will win. Almost always.

So how does one go about re-programming one’s subconscious mind?

Self hypnosis is one of the most powerful ways to do this.

Self hypnosis has been used by celebrities, athletes, performers, business people, salespeople, and entrepreneurs.

From Einstein and Thomas Edison to Aston Kutcher, Matt Damon and the Chicago White Sox, self hypnosis has been an essential component of success.

Start the New Year with a Success Mindset. Learn to use Self Hypnosis!

You can learn self hypnosis by taking my Self Hypnosis for Success Class at Pasadena City College on three Saturdays: January 18th, 25th and February 1st. Click here to register!

The power of self hypnosis can be used to:

  • Have the correct mindset and attitude for success in business and personal life.
  • Get rid of procrastination that keeps you stuck and in a rut.
  • Feel less self-conscious and more relaxed and confident in social and professional situations.
  • Increase sales through higher confidence and less call resistance.
  • Get relief from anxiety and fear, and negative thinking.

Click to register and get your subconscious mind to work for you!

In Self Hypnosis for Success, you will learn:

  • How to put yourself into hypnosis.
  • How to use the power of  suggestion to re-program your subconscious mind.
  • How to put it all together to create a mind conditioned for success in just a few minutes a day.

You’ll receive my Guide to Self Hypnosis and my Self Hypnosis Conditioning CD, which also includes my studio produced “Peaceful Place” relaxation track as an added bonus. In addition, you’ll get handouts at each class containing the material presented. The class is being held at Pasadena City College on January 18, 25th and February 1st from 9 to 10:30 am.

Click here to register and learn to take control of your mind using self hypnosis!

Hope to see you there!

Ted

 

Sometimes You Just Need to Let Go

Me Risking Life and Limb in Tucson AZ in 1984

Me Risking Life and Limb in Tucson AZ in 1984

During my  “cowboy” phase, while living in Arizona, I decided to try my hand at rodeo. I made up my mind to do bareback bronc riding.

This is where a rider gets on a horse (or bronc) whose only desire is to buck the bronc rider off.

With only one hand, the rider hangs on to a “rigging”, which is a handle, like on a suitcase, attached to a leather strap strapped around the horse.  To hang on, the rider wears a glove  that fits tightly into the rigging handle, secured with resin (sticky) powder. The goal is to stay on for eight seconds.

I practiced for a while on a wooden sawhorse with a rigging attached and two buddies at either end bouncing it up and down. Thinking I was ready, I went to the practice arena one night and paid ten bucks for my chance to ride a wild bronc.

My legs felt like jelly as I lowered myself onto the horse in the chute. I  jammed  my gloved hand into the rigging. Out in the arena, the pick- up man waited on his horse. The pick-up man’s job is to rescue the rider from the bronc after his eight seconds.

I nodded my head to signal that I was ready. The chute opened.  Eleven hundred pounds of horse rocketed into the arena with 130 lbs of  me  attached to it.

About 3 seconds too late, I realized that I had no business being on that horse. I was getting tossed like a rag doll in a clothes dryer.

The pick up man, seeing that I was a lost cause,  rode up next to us on the right. I started to climb onto his horse. I got half way there with one leg on when he yelled “Take your hand out of the rigging!”

In all the excitement, I had forgotten to take my left hand out of the handle of the rigging. My hand was stuck tight with resin, on the other horse, all nice and cozy, the way it was supposed to be.  Except now, it wasn’t supposed to be.

All I could do was climb back onto the bronc. After a few more bone-rattling bucks, I got my hand free and he gleefully sent me flying.

After I got all the dirt out of my mouth, and with some sense pounded into me, I decided to do horses a favor and end my rodeo career.

Sometimes you just need to let go. 

The past year is just about gone. Soon a new year will come. Things come and things go. That’s life, isn’t it?

But sometimes, caught up in the excitement (or routine) of life,  we forget that we are still holding on when we should have let go a long time ago. We can end up being dragged along by our involvement, shaken to and fro by our choices, or being owned by our physical and psychological “stuff.”

As hard as it might be, there are times when the best thing to do is let go and get off.  This is how you make yourself available for a new ride. This is how you allow new, (maybe better) stuff to come in.

Are you aware of something that needs to be released from your life, now?

  • Material things you don’t use or need
  • A job
  • A relationship
  • A desire  (like trying to ride horses that don’t want to be ridden)
  • Guilt or regret
  • A tradition
  • A belief
  • A habit

At this time of the year, trees shed their leaves as Nature prepares to create anew. Why can’t you?

Ted

12 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude

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  1. Take responsibility for your ability to feel grateful now. Realize that nothing outside of you needs to change or be different for you to feel grateful.
  2. Have a mantra. Create the habit of repeating a word or phrase to say throughout the day to bring you into present moment awareness. “Be Here Now”, or “What is this?” or “This is my life, right here, right now.”
  3. Get out of your head and observe the world around you. Notice objects, shapes, colors, designs. Be aware how things reflect light, how they are constructed, how things wear down. Notice without judgment, only with perception.
  4. God is in the details. Take time to look closely and deeply into things. Feel the surface of something and get present to the textures and what that does for you (or not). Really look into peoples’ faces; notice eyes, hair, and how they use their hands.
  5. Listen fully and completely. Choose to just listen. Not defend or retort. Don’t miss what is being said because you are formulating what you are going to say. When listening to music, just sit and listen. Right now, what do you hear?
  6. Focus on something that brings you peace. Some people carry beads. Some listen to music. Some read. Playing music, walking, gardening, petting an animal, are all simple things. Powerful and easily done, they allow us to focus and become one with what we are doing.
  7. Take time for things. We have been hypnotized into believing we should cram as much as we can into each day. Productivity to achieve goals is a worthy aspiration, but taking on too much and running around all the time becomes a grind. Do less better.
  8. Be with nature.
  9. Expand your awareness. At any moment, try to get connected to what is within 50 feet of you. (You’re in a building.) Then go out 100 yards. (You’re in a neighborhood, complex, city block.) Expand your awareness to your city, state, part of the world. See yourself as part of a larger whole.
  10. Realize that it’s a process. It’s about the journey. Try to detach from results. They may or may not be important tomorrow or in a week or month. Instead, focus on how you are being, instead of what you are doing.
  11. Visual reminders. Flowers, statutes of holy beings, little signs. Look at them throughout the day and breathe and say thank you. These things have a tendency to become unnoticeable as part of the scenery so move them often.
  12. Just sit. Sit quietly. Don’t do anything. Eyes open or closed. Call it meditation or whatever. Be with yourself powerfully.

 So much of living from gratitude comes from letting go of our ideas of how the world should be, ought to be, could be or how we would like it to be. Try to do this regularly for just a short period of time. The idea is to get to the point where you can say truthfully “It’s all good.”

Ted

626.826.0612

You’ve Got to Be Alive to Have Gratitude

Gratitude

There may be some dead that are grateful aside from Jerry Garcia and the band, but maybe the highest form of gratitude  is feeling lucky to be alive.

I find it interesting that we only have one day a year dedicated to giving thanks. What if every week we had a Thanksgiving day? (Minus the huge feast, of course.) If you lived 80 years, Thanksgiving Day once a year would give you 80 days when you were reminded to give thanks. If you had it every week, you’d have 4,160 days set aside for gratitude. Do you think that would make a difference in your life?

So what’s the big deal about gratitude? Well, try going one week without saying thank you or being appreciative for anything. Complain loud and incessantly the whole week. Walk around feeling that the world owes you, and see what that does for you. Compare and despair while you enviously desire what others have that you don’t. (What? You’re doing already that? Call me immediately at 626-826-0612 for 10% off a session.)

Gratitude is not just an attitude; it’s a feeling that you generate through presence. Get out of your head and look around you. Can you feel it while gazing into your child’s face? Stepping out on the porch at sunset to bid the day adieu?  Standing outside at night awash in the glory of a full moon?  It takes some practice generating it until you’re feeling moments of bliss on a regular basis. It’s worth it and not that hard to do.

Gratitude can sustain you through the tough times, or give you the icing when you’ve got your cake and you’re eating it too.

Everything looks better, feels better, works better when you’re grateful. Feeling grateful feels good and is good for you, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Sometimes I’m woken up in the middle of the night. “I’m scared Daddy!” I let them get in the bed even though it means less of a sound sleep.  It’s a small price to pay for the smell of their hair, the sound of their breathing. All too soon I might keep myself awake wondering if they are ok and when they will be home.

Life is fragile and unpredictable. One second too soon or a minute too late and there’s a funeral, tragedy, loss or catastrophe. Anything can be taken from you at any time. Some folks need to go through tough times to really appreciate the blessings that have been bestowed upon them. I suggest that you don’t wait for that to happen.

To be alive means you can be grateful. You get to have that chance. For your sake, take it. You’ve been given the fertile ground to plant and harvest the seeds of gratitude before that ground becomes your bed. Be thankful. For   every    single   little   thing.

 Ted

Photo by Skye Moorhead