On Gratefulness and Giving

Last year I wrote a post that talked about my habit of “scripting.” This is my method of practicing gratitude. I keep a journal, in which I make a list of the things for which I am grateful each morning, as well as the things which I believe WILL happen.

This morning I’m just experiencing gratefulness on many levels and I want to stop to acknowledge and share it. This practice has been one of the most life-changing habits I’ve yet undertaken, and I credit it to a suggestion from my life-coaching friend, Carolyn.

An old friend of mine recently remarked that I have the life of which most people dream. I can tell you that I was never the person who foresaw my life in the future. I’d like to say I had the vision to dream of this and in truth, if I had I’m certain this is how it would have looked.

But no one gets ahead in life without some help. The phrase “self-made man/woman” does not enter my vocabulary because no one “makes it” without a lot of help, and don’t let them tell you otherwise! I can look back over my life and pick out the influential people at each critical point and I try to go back and remind them with some regularity of how much I appreciate them.

A few months ago I went for a run with a local business owner and we were talking about this, as he attributes much of his success (and he is quite successful) to the hands along the way that reached out and gave him a pull when he needed it most. We were talking about how once you become successful (however you define that) you realize that even if they’d accept it you will never be able to repay those folks that helped you along the way.

I told him that I believe the best we can do (and what those people would most want in return anyway) is to turn around behind us and reach out our hands to extend the same kindness to those who need it. I spent many years thinking – if I could just get to THIS point then I will start volunteering or get involved in helping others. There was always something that had to happen before I would feel like I had something to give.

Then one day I realized – there is nothing to wait for. Helping others doesn’t mean giving a lot of money or time. It might just mean bringing in the garbage can for your neighbor, or mowing the yard for the elderly lady down the street. Maybe it means being a Big Brother or Sister to a Little who needs a positive influence (and who didn’t need that growing up!). It definitely means adopting an attitude of gratitude and giving SOMETHING of yourself away every day.

CHALLENGE: Take a moment right now to consider 5 things for which you are very grateful. Don’t do this intellectually. Think about them, yes, then feel how grateful you are for them. You can dial this up a notch by imagining how it might feel to lose them – a sure way to find gratitude. Next – if it’s a person find a way to tell them – today. Spend the next 5 days trying to think of at least ONE thing every day you can do for someone else (and do it, of course).

Above all – be grateful every day – life is amazing! By the way – my life is amazing simply because I believe it to be. Yours is too and if you don’t believe it then work on the story you are telling yourself about your life. Your life is – exactly what you tell yourself it is.

Change Your Thoughts: Change Your Life

Earlier this week I tweeted about experiencing a personal epiphany. It happened as the result of a practice that my friend Carolyn over at eMotionWorks recommended to me a couple years ago. Each morning (okay, each morning that I think about it – which is more like a morning each week) I get up and, before doing anything (except getting coffee of course), I sit and engage in a practice she calls “scripting.”

Essentially it is an exercise in setting my attitude correctly for the day. (From past blog posts you might be able to tell which posts were written on days I did this versus days I didn’t.) It’s a simple process – I date the page and begin my list of all the things in my life for which I am grateful. Taking time to recognize the blessings in our lives has a profoundly positive impact on our thought processes, and as Wayne Dyer would tell you: change your thoughts, change your life. (See: Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao)

I then take this one step further. I include in my list the things that I want to happen, which may not have yet come to pass. I write them down, as though they have already happened because, the mind has a brilliant way of figuring out how to get things done, once we give it free reign by believing in its ability to do so.

On this morning I had the rare experience of my hand moving without much thought from me… words were being written and they were definitely appearing out of my subconscious. In the midst of my scribble the very purpose of my life became crystal clear. It was the biggest “aha” moment of my life so far.

I may talk more on this topic in future posts but for now, I just want to shout out my endorsement for this very worthwhile practice. Note: you MUST write it down. Thinking about these things is good, but physically writing them down adds a physical element to the process that is unrivaled by thoughts alone. Try it for two weeks – tell me if it doesn’t change your life.

Be happy. Be grateful.