Tag Archives: Gratitude

Mandala Monday ~ Circle of Thanksgiving

Circle of thanks

Obviously, I created this one before the snow fell, while there were still colorful leaves on the trees and green grass on the ground.  😊

I created it with the thought of welcoming the month of November – which I always think of as a season of gratitude.  It’s not too cliche to be mindful of gratitude during the month of November, is it?  😉  (For those of you not with me here in the States, our Thanksgiving holiday falls on Thursday of this week). 

Regardless of the month or where we reside on this beautiful planet, being mindful of all that we have to be grateful for is always in season.

 

Thank you all for being in my little circle here on WordPress.  Much Love and many blessings to you and yours…

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

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Ashes of Gratitude

 

Grateful words whispered

while incense burns

leaving behind ashes of gratitude

in a small clay urn

 

© Julie Rehnelt 2016

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For the past several years, I’ve had the morning practice of lighting an incense match and using those few moments while the match burns to thank God for all of the blessings in my life.  Some days, when life is being difficult, it can be a bit of a struggle to come up with things, and I always want to be authentic and real.  But even in the midst of difficulty, there are still things to be grateful for…  Even if it’s just simply being thankful for a nose that can smell the sweet aroma of the incense –  mine is vanilla scented so it smells pretty yummy.  🙂

Sometimes the simplest of things can bring us great pleasure when we’re mindful of them.  The simple pleasures of all we can experience through our five senses – see, smell, touch, taste, and hear, are often easily taken for granted, or go unnoticed, especially when many today are moving at warp speed through life, or going through terrible difficulties.  But it pays to slow down, and/or to shift our focus off our difficulties and onto all that we have to be grateful for.  Not in denial of life’s sometimes difficult circumstances, but in awareness that life in itself is a gift, regardless of our circumstances.   I know that may sound cliche, but I don’t say it lightly.

Ashes are often thought of as something negative, but when I look at my little clay bowl of ashes sitting on the table beside me, I see a huge reminder of all the thousands of things I have to be grateful for.  My ashes of gratitude.

 

Wishing all of you much happiness today, and as always…

 

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

The Key

 

Gratitude is the key which unlocks every door.

Opening to you a life of beauty

of happiness

and of peace.

 

© Julie Rehnelt 2014

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It may seem a bit cliche to talk about gratitude with the Thanksgiving holiday right around the corner, but that makes it no less of an important topic to consider, and it is something which is always on my mind regardless of the time of year.

Since beginning this blog I’ve written about gratitude and thankfulness many times here.  There is one post in particular that expresses my thoughts and feelings on the subject quite well, and I thought I would link it on the end of this one for those of you who may want to read further.  But what I’d really rather do is share the whole thing again and attach it to the end of this one, so that’s what I’m gonna do instead.  Ordinarily, I might apologize to those of you who have been here with me a while and may have already read that post, but I’m not going to this time, because it’s always good to have a reminder about being grateful.  Even for myself.   😉

 

November seems like the perfect time to share with you about the thankfulness journal that I started a while back.  The concept of writing down the things you are thankful for each day is not new by any means, so I’m not proposing this is something I came up with entirely on my own, but nonetheless it is a wonderful practice and makes a huge difference in ones frame of mind, attitude, and sense of well being.

I have always been an optimistic type of person, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned a time or two before, and it usually comes quite easily for me to see the good in things.  I am often delighted and find joy in the very simplest of things, and I believe this has helped me tremendously as I’ve went through various things in my life, some of which have been very difficult.  You know how life is…

During times of trouble it’s sometimes a bit harder to find the joy, and what I’ve found is that as I force a shift in my way of thinking, the feelings seem to follow suit.  And one of the great ways of doing this is simply to look for things to be grateful for.  No matter what the circumstances are or the situation is, there is always something to be thankful for.

For me, just appreciating my five senses gets me every time.  All those “simplest” of things I mentioned that I find joy in are usually directly related to something I can see, hear, touch, smell, or taste.  Our five senses are so easily taken for granted, but if even one of them were to be absent it would make a huge impact in our lives.

One day when I was in a very dark place, I was sitting on my couch, ruminating on all of the horrible things that were going on in my life at that time.  I was repeatedly going over the list in my mind and spiraling further into a pit of despair; completely out of character for me, but like I said… it was a difficult time.  Anyway, as I was sinking deeper and becoming even more distressed, I happened to notice a candle that was burning nearby, and as I continued to stare at it, very quietly other thoughts started creeping into my mind.  I thought of how much I like candles, how warm and comforting they are, how pleasant the aroma of the wax is, as I watched the flame flickering I thought about the nice ambiance lighting candles give off.  And slowly a shift, I began feeling thankful.  Thankful for the light, the warmth, and the aroma of that candle, and then for the eyes to see, the nose to smell, and on it went.  Before long, I was feeling better, more positive thoughts and things I was grateful for came to mind, and with them little flickers of hope like the flickering of the candle’s flame.   Slowly I began to realize that what I was going through was only temporary, that it won’t always be that way, that “this too shall pass.”  No idea where that quote is from, it’s just something my dad used to say.

And so it goes… shifting your way of thinking, and being grateful even for the simplest thing, like a candle, can lift your spirits and help put the things in your life into a better perspective.

I don’t usually have a problem finding things to be grateful for, it’s quite often the exact opposite for me, so in my case with my thankfulness journal I wanted to slow it down and really focus on just one thing each day, to take the time to give that one thing enough attention to allow it to fully sink in.  And to write about it in detail in a special journal reserved only for that type of contemplation gives it (gives me) even a deeper sense of appreciation.

So today amidst the regular mundane, the chaos, or the pain, I encourage you to find something to be grateful for.  Just one thing.  Write it down, meditate on it, and see how much better you feel…

 

“Gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts to finding peace of mind and happiness inside.  No matter what is going on outside of us, there is always something we could be grateful for.”

~  Barry Neil Kaufman

 

What are you grateful for today?

 

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

Frost Flowers

I discovered these gorgeous frost formations on my window yesterday and I couldn’t stop snapping pictures of them!  Omygosh sooo pretty!  I LOVE the swirly design, it reminds me of flowers!  How wonderful of nature to provide me with these pretty “frost flowers” to look at and enjoy in the winter when the green and growing ones are no longer blooming out in my garden…

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I’m so thankful for eyes that see.  ♥

~

Peace & Love…

Perspective

I’ve been avoiding writing lately.  Oh, I’ve got plenty of “material” roaming around in this ol’ noggin of mine, there’s never a lack of reflective or contemplative thoughts to share, it’s just that I haven’t felt especially inspired or able to really formulate any of it into words for using my “outside voice.”  And I still don’t, but I wanted to share a little story with you about perspective.  The perspective of gratitude.

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a bit cliche’ to talk about gratitude while we’re having our Thanksgiving holiday here in the states, but so what?  So what if it’s a particular holiday that springs up a certain way of thinking?  And regardless of ones views or opinions about what Thanksgiving is really all about (where it originated or to whom it is that we are to express our thanks to etc.), isn’t the idea of giving thanks still of value?  And isn’t it better to have a season or a holiday where our awareness of gratitude is a bit heightened, than to not have one at all?  Obviously it goes without saying that we should live our entire lives (all year round) in a continual attitude of gratitude.  But sometimes things are going on in our lives that get us caught up, and we lose that perspective of gratitude.  Because after all… life can be really, really difficult at times can’t it?

Here I am in my own world, living each day, doing my thing, going about my business, dealing with my own set of various struggles and difficulties, and doing my best to live in such a way that brings love and light into the lives of others.  But sometimes I get “caught up” in all the things I have to do, and sometimes I become resentful of all the things I have to do.  I never used to get like this.  Honestly, I lived in a little joy bubble, lalalalalala.  But now I have pain.  Pain has invaded my little joy bubble, and now, anything that I have to do that requires any considerable amount of walking or standing, brings excruciating pain to my knees.  I have to do a lot of planning ahead and prioritizing, and I have to pace myself as to not to overdo it or I’ll be paying for it dearly for days afterward.  But sometimes there’s simply a lot of shtuff that needs doing all at once, and because I have other people depending on me to do all that shtuff, I have no choice but to take care of it.  This is always a very busy time of the year for me, we have family birthdays going on, not to mention the holidays and everything that comes along with them, in addition to the regular every day things pressing in as well.

This story begins at the grocery store…

First let me mention that I HATE the grocery store.  Not all grocery stores, I don’t mind going to the smaller markets and the local co-op, but the big warehouse type of grocery stores… = hate.  I always have, even before I had any knee pain.  It may sound sort of strange, but sometimes I actually used to have to do a little bit of mental preparation before going in.  I’d breathe deeply and determine within myself not to let the other shoppers’ vibes affect my mood.  I’ve always been sensitive to peoples vibes, but shopper peoples’ vibes are the worst.  Seriously, they can be so rude.  Sometimes I’d play a little game and purposely go out of my way to be extra kind, especially to the really crabby people (a little kindness can go a long way), but then someone would ram into my heel or nearly run down my daughter with their cart, and then it was game over!

Well, I needed to go to the warehouse type of grocery store the other day to go shopping for our food for Thanksgiving dinner.  My mom and my daughter came along and surprisingly, we had an enjoyable time of selecting our turkey and other fixings for our meal.  It was early in the day so there weren’t many people there, no one ramming our heels or running us down with their carts.   😉  We came across an elderly gentleman and I made a bit of small talk with him and teased around with him about us being in each others way in front of the lettuce.  My mom and I were both in tears after leaving him because he made us think of my dad.  The holidays are especially difficult when missing a loved one.  😦   We also “played” around a bit with an elderly woman who was riding in one of those scooters for the disabled.  Those scooters are such a wonderful idea.  Kudos to whoever thought up the idea of providing them for customers at those larger stores.  In fact, this whole story may could have been avoided if I had used one of those scooters myself.  I have used them a couple of times in the past when I’ve had a lot of shopping to do, but the stores normally only have a few of them available, and I always want to leave them for the people who are more in need than myself.

The problem with our little shopping trip arose when we went to pay for our groceries.  The lines weren’t too long, because as I mentioned, there weren’t many shoppers, but lo and behold the line we got into was a nightmare.  A nightmare for people who have pain when standing for long periods, anyway.  There was only one woman in line ahead of us, and she didn’t have many items, so we thought it would be semi quick.  We weren’t in a hurry, but like I said, it’s painful for me to stand in one place for very long, so in that respect we were in a “hurry.”  Well, I don’t know what was going on, but this woman was taking for-fricking-ever.  Seemed like it anyway.  I had to leave my mom and daughter and squeeze out of line to go and find a place to sit down nearby because the pain became so unbearable.  I don’t know how long I had been standing there prior to my going to sit down, but I sat on that bench for at least another 10 or 15 minutes before my mom and daughter came up.  How one woman, with barely any items, can take over 20 minutes to check out her groceries was beyond me.

I was feeling pretty annoyed, but of course once I was sitting down I felt better because I was no longer in pain.  And as I sat there I began contemplating about whether or not I am a patient person.  I strive to be, and I think I generally am, but am I patient while I’m in pain?  Nope, definitely not.  Am I kind?  Yes, definitely.  But am I kind while I’m in pain?  Well… I’m still able to be polite.

As I sat there contemplating whether or not I’m a patient and kind person, I was also thinking about how much it sucks to be in pain and how embarrassing it is to have to go and sit down because I can’t even stand in a line for 5 minutes.  That train of thought led to thinking about all of the other woes in my life, and as I became aware of that, I stopped myself.  I began a different inner dialog that went something like this… “Gosh, ya know, I’m thankful I even have the money to buy this Thanksgiving dinner”  many people don’t.  And then “I’m thankful I have my little family to share it with” many people don’t.  And on it went, more thoughts poured in about how incredibly fortunate I am, and all the things I have to be grateful for.  It completely shifted my perspective.  Even to the point of feeling genuine compassion in place of annoyance toward that unbearably slow woman in line.  God only knows what her situation is in life.  Here I had my mom and daughter shopping with me, while this woman was alone.  Maybe she is even all alone in this world.  😦

As I sit writing this, smelling the delicious aroma of the food we bought that day wafting up to my room, I’m saying a quiet prayer for that woman, hoping that she isn’t all alone, that she has someone to share this day, and all of her days with.  And I’m thinking about all of the other people in the world who may be alone, or hungry, or cold, with compassion and with profound gratitude that I am not.

Peace & Love…

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Gratitude

I found this to be so inspiring and powerful, just had to share it…

“Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director, and producer whose notable career spans more than three decades providing breathtaking imagery for feature films, television shows, documentaries and commercials.

This piece includes his short film on Gratitude and Happiness. Brother David Steindl-Rast’s spoken words, Gary Malkin’s musical compositions and Louie’s cinematography make this a stunningly beautiful piece, reminding us of the precious gift of life, and the beauty all around us.”

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Peace & love…

Thirty Days of Thanks

Today I’m beginning a little Thirty Days of Thanks challenge and happened to remember this post I wrote about being grateful last year around this same time. Thought I’d reblog it to share it again. 😀
Finding something to be grateful for every day is such a powerful practice and can really shift your perspective and way of thinking. Especially when you’re going through something particularly difficult.
Today I am thankful for so many things, but if I have to pick just one ~ I’m thankful that the heart palpitations I was having have gone away. It’s been a few days now since I’ve felt any, and although I’m not feeling 100%, I am feeling better, and I’m very grateful for that.
What are you grateful for today…?

Ramblings From Jewels

November seems like the perfect time to share with you about the thankfulness journal that I started a while ago.  The concept of writing down the things you are thankful for each day is not new by any means, so I’m not proposing this is something I came up with entirely on my own, but nonetheless it is a wonderful practice and makes a huge difference in ones frame of mind, attitude, and sense of well being.

I have always been an optimistic type of person, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned a time or two before, and it usually comes quite easily for me to see the good in things.  I am often delighted and find joy in the very simplest of things, and I believe this has helped me tremendously as I’ve went through various things in my life, some of which have been very difficult.  You know how life…

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