The Art of Holding On To Gratitude

As I sit here writing this blog about Gratitude just before Thanksgiving, I look out the window in my central CA home to the reddish yellow haze that has permeated the sky for over a week now. The weather channel app keeps warning me that the air is at the highest level of Very Unhealthy and to stay inside.  I live over four hours south of the most devastating wildfire CA has ever had.

Miracle Stories

Gratitude is a subject I’ve written about many times before. But during times of tragedy, which have been rampant in the news lately, the feelings of gratitude become more heightened, more intense. The poignant stories of devastation, bravery, kindness, and amazing miracles cannot help but jar each of us out of our daily routine and remind us of what really is important in life. Because I recently just became a grandma for the second time, I am particularly affected by stories of mothers and babies. These two stories, which both happened at the hospital in Paradise, CA, are each a miracle:

Newborn’s Mother Asks Stranger To Take Her Baby And Run
Woman Describes Surviving Camp Fire With Her Miracle Baby

In the first story, new mom Rachel Sanders whose family lost everything they owned in the fire says, “Never have I had a Thanksgiving come where I have had so little yet felt more thankful and blessed.”

Of course, we all know this is true! We know that when push comes to shove, the best of humanity always shines through. We know underneath our stress, overwhelm and discouragement there lives a spiritual hero that would rise to the occasion if needed. We even know how to connect and feel grateful for fleeting moments—until life gets in the way again.

Guilt or Gratitude

That’s when another part of us pops up—the complaining, taking for granted, human side—and we begin to feel really guilty. Guilty that we have so much when others don’t and yet we can’t seem to be MORE appreciative all the time. Guilty that we complain about the bad air when hundreds are without homes. Guilty that we get angry while sitting in traffic trying to get to the Thanksgiving dinner on time.

In general, humans like to complain. It is impossible to complain and at the same time feel grateful. Even those spiritual heroes in the stories above, after experiencing amazing miracles and feeling grateful to the depth of their souls, will continue to have plenty of moments of discouragement, anger, and complaining.   It’s unrealistic to expect ourselves to be in a state of gratitude ALL the time. So instead, we can work at ways to catch ourselves sooner when we head down the unappreciative path so we can rebalance our perspective, if for no other reason than it makes us feel so much better.

The Magic of Self-Compassion

So what is the answer? How do we find our way back towards the perspective of appreciation as quickly as we can? We start by offering ourselves compassion and by accepting our humanness. As long as we are here on the planet, we will be doing a balancing act between our humanness and our better spiritual values.  Once we can have compassion and acceptance for this dichotomy within ourselves then we can begin to let go of guilt. Only when we can do that for ourselves, can we become more compassionate of others as well. When we let go of guilt and self-judgment, we are naturally more open to love and poof, like magic our ability to connect to gratitude returns quickly. Try it! We will all be given many chances to practice this during the holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Being Enough

Do you ever get tired of hearing about how important it is to believe in yourself? How limiting beliefs are holding you back?  How in order to succeed you must change your beliefs about yourself? These statements are all true of course, but sometimes I have noticed with my clients, myself and people interested in personal and spiritual growth in general, that there is a tendency to feel we are always striving and never arriving. We aren’t quite enough.

It is important to remember that you are already complete and whole right now in this moment.

There is an underlying idea in the personal growth arena that we don’t have everything we want because we aren’t quite “there” yet.  You aren’t pretty enough, spiritual enough, evolved enough, aware enough, etc. You don’t have enough money or the mate you long for or the job that fulfills your purpose because you aren’t quite enlightened “enough.”  All you have to do is look around you to notice that there are plenty of people who have lots of money that aren’t very enlightened.  There are plenty who have great relationships that aren’t completely self-aware.  There are lots of people doing satisfying work that still have their own issues to work out.  In other words, as humans, we aren’t perfect.  Even more than that, we never “arrive”.

As soon as we work out one issue, another one pops up for us to deal with. You may get a job that fulfills your purpose, brings you great money, and allows you to express our authentic self, and suddenly find yourself laid off due to an economic downturn.  Does this mean you aren’t enlightened? Could it mean you had a bad thought that created it?  Perhaps it means you need more growth before you can manifest good again?  Definitely not! This is another example of our ego working overtime when we are feeling vulnerable.  I say (or rather John Lennon said), “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

When you can fully embrace your Spirit you will realize that you are whole and complete right NOW!

We need to stop letting our ego, or as I call it, our pigeon self, put us down for all the circumstances that happen in our life, and fully embrace our Authentic Spirit.    You do not need to strive so hard because you are already that which you strive so hard to be.  All you need do is be willing to drop the false ego and embrace your authenticity. The more time you spend connecting to your Authentic Spirit, the easier it will be to take that realization of being enough back into your daily life, back into the polarity of the ups and downs, the disappointments as well as the joys of living.

Self-Trust: Staying True to Your Own Voice

Finding Self-Trust

How do we learn to trust ourselves more? Do you get gobbled up by everyone else’s opinions, beliefs, ideas, and expectations? Do you find yourself losing confidence in your own voice, your own purpose by comparing yourself to others goals and accomplishments? What does self-trust mean?

Deepak Chopra uses a term he calls Self-referral instead of self-trust. 

Being solid in your own beliefs instead of relying on others to gauge your own choices and beliefs.  Here is his description from his website:

Self-referral is identifying with your inner self – the unchanging essence of your soul. In this state, you have an internal sense of joy regardless of what is happening around you because you aren’t identified with transient objects or events. In self-referral, you experience your true being, which doesn’t fear any challenge, has respect for all people and feels beneath no one. Fear drops away and there is no compulsion to control and no struggle for approval or external power. As you experience self-referral, you pierce the mask of illusion that creates separation and fragmentation and know that you are an inextricable part of the field of infinite intelligence.

-Deepak Chopra 

To personalize this statement, think about a time when you have felt intimidated or overwhelmed when comparing yourself to others. With the flood of information, we now have access to on the Internet, it’s easy to fall into discouragement just looking at the amount of information out there. It sometimes appears almost everyone on the planet is a Coach and EFT practitioner!  Our OBJECT REFERRING ego is always looking to compare and rank us in relationship to everyone else.  It is impossible to not find someone else who is better, more experienced, or better at marketing themselves. This can really erode our confidence and self-trust. It can mask that true authentic voice with confusion and discouragement.

Embrace Your Uniqueness

To be effective in our own work, we need to stop comparing ourselves to the experiences, truths, and accomplishments of others.  It’s important to keep focusing on your own unique purpose, skills. You have your own unique ways of presenting them to the world. Don’t let your inner critic of comparison convince you that you must follow someone else’s path to success.  Following a proven path can be good, but only if you are aligned with it and it feels true for you also.