Archive | November, 2012

Thankfulness and Stuff

25 Nov

I recently heard this question posed, “What would your life look like if you only got to keep today – what you thanked God for yesterday?”

I have to admit my devious mind thought – whaoo, great way to get rid of a few extra pounds, annoying people, car problem or a crummy project.

Quickly, however, I realized those problems would only be an issue if I had remembered to be thankful for: all the food I have to eat and a healthy body to absorb those calories, my job, family and community that contain those annoying people, the car I have that needs fixing and my house, work or yard that are associated with the crummy project.

Seriously, what would your life look like today if your daily level of thankfulness dictated what stuff, situations and relationships you got to keep?

You may not think being grateful for your shampoo, hot water, clean water, clean underwear, carrots, kids, computer, health, family, schools, electricity or phone is important – everyday – but ask someone who doesn’t have access to those items and see how grateful they’d be to have yours.

A little science to support the sappy sentiment.  Based on how the brain works… experiencing a true sense of gratitude or appreciation releases chemicals into your body that repairs your immune system and put you into a state of well-being.  On the flip-side, thinking negative or fear based thoughts (anxiety, stress, worst case scenarios, panic) pour different chemicals into your body that attack your immune system, dumb you down and wears you out.

(If you didn’t read the book report, Who Switched Off My Brain” the last time I posted it, check it out now!)

Even if nothing physically disappears due to your lack of thankfulness– you might be missing the overwhelming wealth, abundance and blessing you are living in.

You have choice about what you think about.  Today:  choose to be thankfulness for all of the beauty, people, stuff, health and blessings surrounding you.  Say it out loud!  List things you’d like to have tomorrow, one at a time! It is your choice!

Choiceful Living

5 Nov

As many of you that read this blog already know, a very close friend of mine was killed in an accident three weeks ago. It seems impossible for me to pick up blogging without acknowledging this.  So that task of figuring out what to say.

I’m sure my observation are not shocking or even particularly insightful, but as I’ve ventured through the past three weeks with friends and the family I’ve noticed a few things. As you might imagine, everyone is devastated for his wife, son and parents. People truly want to help, to be of service and somehow make it better.  I also noticed that many people, even those that didn’t know him, experienced a reality check about their own mortality – a momentary awakening of how fragile and uncertain life can be.

As I’ve thought about my own reactions, and those of others, I have once again circled around to the notion that “we have choice.”

The question is often asked “if you only had X amount of time to live, what would you do?”  This got me thinking.  How is today or tomorrow any more-or-less precious if you have 1 week, 6 months or 50 years left to live?

It’s strikes me as odd, maybe sad or even ridiculous, that we’d be okay making bad choices for today if we had 30 more years to live, but if we only had 30 more days to live, then being stupid today would be a tragedy.  How do 30 years -109,500 days- of bad choices add up?  Or is it the assumption that we don’t have patterns of how we do life – “surely next week I’ll make better choices!”  Do we notice when another year of bad days have accumulated?

When I say bad choices I mean things like…spinning in our tiny little world of mostly self-made problems, harshly judging ourselves or others, stewing about things we can not control, not controlling the things we can, answering our cell phone when we’re talking to someone or missing the opportunity to connect with someone because we have projects, papers or emails piled in front of us?

Seriously, I’m not trying to point a finger at anyone – but the idea that “you have choice” is about choosing every day, every moment.  What do your thoughts and actions say about you today?

Everyday we have the choice to declare a ‘reality check’ about what matters, we have the opportunity to help others, to be of service, to try and make it better.  We have the choice to live in gratitude, appreciation and relationship or busyness, chaos and self-absorption.

A choice to consider… start a gratitude/appreciation habit today – continue it for the next 109,500 days.  Let me know how it goes!