Saturday, November 23, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 23 / 365 Days of Gratitude

I have always loved writing hand written letters, snail mail. Growing up, I had an ongoing exchange with my Mamo, my dad's mother and artist until she passed away almost 10 years ago. I still miss those notes. They mostly talked of the weather, how she was feeling and what she was currently painting.

It truly makes me happy to brighten someone's day with a note of thanks. I have a project I've been at for almost a year, 365 Days of Gratitude Via Snail Mail to Extraordinarily Beautiful Souls. Check it out here.

Today, I am grateful to be a recipient of unexpected gratitude from author and friend, Chris Cander in her blog post. She wrote about her own experience here. It's touching. Take a moment to read it. Then, perhaps, write your own thank you note to someone who least expects it.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 22 Surprises

Grateful for .... surprises! Students after class surprised me with a chocolate cheese cake- and most of all laughter and sweet friendship. (I'll spare you the photo in the big birthday hat!)

This #acroyoga class been a gift to me. Their dedication to play, to laughter, to learning has been a joy. I am so grateful to each one of you- for giving me the gift of your presence, your open heart, and desire to learn and grow. 

Thank you.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 21

They say it takes 21 days to make a habit and that feels about right. I wake up looking forward to what I might be grateful for each day.

Today I am grateful to all the many people who touch my children's lives in a positive way. Thank you for loving my kiddos and modeling character and integrity.

So many to list... but here are just a few: their dad; Vas and Raja, Chris Wright (son #2's teacher), All of son #1's middle school teachers; our family: Grandma & Paw Paw, Granddad, Aunt Kathy, Aunt Shelly & Uncle E, Uncle Craig & Aunt Tricia; son #2's doctors; piano teacher, TKD teacher, soccer coaches, and the bus monitors; mom squad: Ann, Debra M, Chin; all our many visitors who feel like our extended family.

I'm certain there are many many more. But these few interact with kids almost daily- or at least when we go home for special occasions. My heart overflows with gratitude.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 20: I am (im)perfect

Grateful today for every little scar and freckle, bit of cellulite, nearsighted eyes in need of bifocals, bow legs, cavities in my teeth, and how one of my eyes squints a lot when I smile really big. 
Imperfections are just the map of a life lived fully. 
Freckles reveal the many fun days in the sunshine. Cellulite tells me how much I love coffee ice cream and chocolate bread pudding. My tired eyes remind me of how much I love to read. The bow legs that were never fixed by 14 years of ballet gave me a passion for movement and that led to teaching yoga today. My teeth are so white in spite of all the coffee I drink which makes up for the softness that give me cavities. And my squint reminds me that I love to laugh, and I want to do that more. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 19

Grateful to acknowledge that the more I learn, the less I really know. A philomath, I am constantly with a book in hands or podcast in my ears. I have 3 courses going on at once at the moment and while not able to complete any of them in a timely way, I find my mind eagerly soaking up everything from meditations, science, anatomy, philolophy, marketing, and an occasional fiction book .... Grateful today for this hunger to discover.

"Be patient toward all that is in solved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves." ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 18

“I realized, it is not the time that heals, 
but what we do within that time 
that creates positive change.Diane Dettmann

Grateful today for the positive changes I've made in my life over the past month. I'm discerning when it's best to wait and how to not react. 

Sometimes, I work so quickly and become so emotionally drawn in by others that I have to remember to step away for a while to choose the best response. And, sometimes the best reply is none at all. 

Gratitude Journal: Day 17

Grateful for my ex-husband. An amazing father,  generous man, and an exceptional partner in parenting. I feel a kind and gracious mutual support that allows our children to thrive. Thank you.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 16

Today I am grateful to all my teachers- everyone who enters my life is my teacher. 

*photo: Nicolai Bachan, The Path of The Yoga Sutras 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 15

Grateful to have the opportunity to read from one of my favorite authors, Shel Silverstein in son #2's class today and talk about what it means to love yourself and cultivate a positive attitude. I love silly poems :) 

Gratitude Journal: Day 14

Grateful for love notes from my boys.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 13 Life is better with YOU!

Grateful for all the loves in my life. My sons, my family, mentors, students, friends... I cannot imagine my life without the net of support I have and continue to receive.

Some days are better than other days
But these days life is better with you
Some days are better than other days
But these days life is better with you
Life is better

Gratitude journal: Day 12

Silliage, like a scent that lingers in the air or a trail that is left in the water, is the impression that abides after someone leaves. 
I am grateful for all the traces left behind by the many beautiful souls who have come to visit or stay with us over this past year. Your imprint remains. You are our family. Come again soon, yeah? 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 11

Grateful for those who serve our country, on Veterans Day. You are the brave among us. 
Veterans Day honors the men and women in our military who sacrifice their lives every day. What they give up to serve and protect our country is astounding. What they gain, I'm not sure I will ever fully comprehend. Other than I can imagine that it stems from wanting to make a difference in this crazy world. I can see the dignity and depth of honor they have in serving our country. Just typing those words gives me chills. Perhaps only those wiling to trade their life for service can understand this kind of pride.
With each Veteran encountered, I've observed an unspoken kinship among them. An inner-circle kind of knowing they have without uttering a word. And, if they choose to share their experiences, their courage in exposing their vulnerability, creates a profound empathy among them. There is an understanding of what was procured through their glories and what vanished because of their sacrifices, loneliness and atrocities. I am humbled in their presence. 

If you'd like to show gratitude in honor of a Veteran today, there is an organization, Expedition Balance that is using it's resources to teach yoga and meditation to Veterans. Your support lends healing to Vets with PTSD. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 10

Andrew Wallace Smith
Born November 9, 2005
In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

Gratitude for today in a love letter to him....

Six years ago, I entered a hospital room in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with an extra 32 pounds on my already thick frame. Ankles so swollen they resembled the stump-like shape of an elephant’s. I was told not to eat and given my first enema. Hours pass as the medication given to me began to be absorbed causing volcanic waves of pain throughout my body. I called for relief. After anumber of sticks into my spine, the IV went in. Still able to walk, I moved in slow shuffles circling the hospital’s white corridors. Fiercely independent, sensitive and not wanting to be coddled, I wasn’t good company. My husband, engrossed by football on the TV, checks on me periodically. Finally, the doctor, a Korean man with a lazy right eye arrives, and declares that it’s time.
He pulls on knee high galoshes, removes the end of the 3 part bed made for petite little Asian women and forces my feet into the cold stirrups. Long after the pain medication wore off, I hear the soft whaling of a baby’s cry. Tears stream down my cheeks and I can taste their saltiness as I kiss an angel’s soft, bloody head. The nurses quickly steal him away to bathe, weigh and check a myriad of medical things required. Then, a tidal wave of nausea hits as I lean over and vomit an orange eaten nearly 10 hours before the labor began.
So began my journey as mother of not one but 2 boys, my first born over 10 years ago in rural Arkansas. I’m constantly amazed at how different the boys are. I try to refrain from comparing them to each other, myself or their father, in hopes that they come into their own fullness: their own mistakes, personalities, dreams, and identities. Constantly labeled as a child, I struggled to break free from the pre-conceived character traits given to me by both my father and mother.
My father’s words replay in my head: “You never listen to my advise. You will never make it on your own as a single mom, just stay married.  You’re too sensitive. Your son is not responsible.” And, occasionally, he realizes how harsh his words are, and he reassures me that I am a good mother. I am. I am a good mom. I’m certain he’s said a million good, complimentary things to me. It’s just curious how I can’t recall them. One negative comment can erase a dozen good ones. My mind can be selective. Words pierce like needles in my veins that lead to my overly-sensitive soul.
My mother: “You can become anything you desire- Ms. America, even! You are magnificent…” all good and positive words expressed in an exaggerated manner. I realize now that the over-the-top encouragement was used as band aids for my mother’s own lack of love and connection she deprived of in her childhood.
There is a Sanskrit word, Vajra which literally means diamond. It’s said that having vajra wisdom is like being a diamond. It can be used to cut but nothing can cut or break it. In my own life, I desire this diamond like strength and yet crave the ability to draw from the wisdom of experience without comparison, break the legacy of my parents patterns of behavior, create new paths for myself, and a doorway of possibilities for my children.
“Vajra sees things as they are rather than seeing things with ego, which makes us opinionated, judgmental, and sarcastic. The challenge for vajra types is to pierce through the fear of intimacy and embody tenderness through being vulnerable and open. The Movement from the reasoning, intellectual doubter in the head to the clear sighted, vulnerable warrior of the heart is the transmutation of vajra from neurosis to sanity. The challenge is as always, to stop living life from the head, and to live life fully from the heart.” – Adi 
In a love letter written to son # 2 before he was born, I share my hopes, dreams, and how it felt with him growing large within me. In a love letter I wrote today, I share how I desire in the years to come, that he will see me as a mother who tried her best to give him the freedom to be uniquely his own and “live a life fully from the heart”.
I love watching him explore who he is and who he has the potential to be. Giving him room for the grief, relief, misery and joy that comes with the winding, often messy path of growing up is the invocation of motherhood.

As published on Elephant Journal, November, 2011.

Gratitude journal: Day 9

Learning to be astonished. 
"My work is loving the world.
 Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — equal seekers of sweetness.

Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums. 
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
 Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? 

Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work,
 which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium. The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes, a mouth with which to give shouts of joy to the moth
and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam, telling them all,
over and over, how it is that we live forever.
 Mary Oliver, The Messenger

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 8

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” ~ Elbert Hubbard. 

Grateful today for the friendships of the magnificent women in my life. 

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” ~ Linda Grayson ~ Let me amend this by adding that if they know what you love more than chocolate...and they share, now that's a good friend. (Where's the mango sticky rice?!)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 7

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gratitude for today: My boys still want to build sandcastles, and they want me to play, too.  They're not too cool for it, yet. ;)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 6

"Nothing can be more important than the way we think."~ Eknath Easwaran

I can choose my thoughts as if they were the sacred work of my heart and soul, because they are. Grateful today for the power of thought.

Gratitude journal: Day 5

As I get older, it's less about having enough, it's usually more about being enough. There are days that I trail off and reflect too deeply on the past. Did I do enough this or that?

Then there are days like today, when I ease up on myself, and allow the gratitude to pour in and out from every direction. 

Today I am grateful for enoughness. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 4

Grateful for the ocean. It reminds me that I am not in control (of anything). There is a bigger force at work. I might as well let go and be open to the flow rather than fight the tide.

“...hark, now hear the sailors cry, 
smell the sea, and feel the sky 
let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic...” 

Sunset in Seminyak, Bali, 4 November 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 3

Son #2 handed me an early birthday gift: a rock. Today I'm grateful for rocks and the meaningful thought behind the gesture.  Collecting moments not things.


Gratitude Journal: Day 2

Here's a combined list of my gratitude with son #1 + 2's list...

Son #1
2. Football shoes, nice ones. They affect your playing. Seriously.
3. Living in Asia because it's cool and awesome. Everyone wants to know about the culture, and I get to share.
4. Having a family.
5. Weekends because I don't have school. But I do like lunchtime at school because it's fun. (sigh, from Mom. Ok, mom has some work to do here to change this perception.)
6. Breakfast. (Duh, growing teenager.)

Mom's list (aka, me):
1. Vacation with my son's.
2. My feet. I can walk, fly people, ride bikes, pick up things with my toes (impressing the kids)...
3. Living in Asia because it IS cool and awesome and enables me to show my boys that there is a whole, big, wide world out there and that they are blessed, oh so blessed.
4. Having a beautiful and supportive family.
5. Weekends because I get to play with the boys.
6. Coffee.

Son #2
1. Everything we have. And, everyone.

Well, that about sums it up. Youngest seems to be the wisest of the bunch.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Gratitude journal: day 1

I find that gratitude grows everything. Appreciation through encouragement is the food of my soul. I don't need the approval of others in spite of my human cravings for it. In fact, I sometimes take the alternate route if I think others will think I'm seeking accolades or praise.
What I really want is to see other's shine. I believe that's what I've been called on this big earth to do: Enable others to see their own beauty and shine it big and bright by using their unique gifts and talents. Essentially paying it forward.
Because life right now is all about feeling enormous gratitude for simply being alive, doing what I love, knowing I'm loved and supported by close friends and living in sic a way that enables me to follow my passions, I'm embarking on 30 days of gratitude. Some days, I'll just be listing one thing, other days, many, and some days I may just be too busy feeling grateful that I miss posting about it! join me.
List away... and watch your heart swell with joy -- for you have far more to be grateful for than you think. Do it. Join me. and share your list.

grateful for:

1. dinner with a new friend while my son's play Uno over and over again so we can gab and support and listen and laugh.
2. listening to my favorite song, smiling knowing I will seethe artist live, oh so soon. (not sitting around. making sh#t happen.)
3. growing communities of retreats, one gorgeous person at a time.
4. wrestling, wading, watching and wiggling around with my boys.
5. Bali. incredible, magical and unexplainable Bali.