The Fuel Of Gratitude

Gratitude.  You have heard it before--it’s important, even helpful.  Perhaps, you have even felt it-the warm rush after doing a kind act or sharing a kind word with a friend or even a stranger.  But, fuel?!?  And, if it’s fuel, can it add value to not only one's personal life, but one's professional life as well? 

Gratitude is a place of readiness.  An active state that supports us like ripe fruit in a hungry belly.   Hunger is not compartmentalized to a specific aspect of one’s life.  In fact, it affects every aspect-personal and professional.

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3 Small Steps Toward Your Truth

Are you one of those people who start a novel and take a peek at the ending?  Maybe closer to my M.O., is choosing movies (at least a majority of them) that simply have a happy ending.  I want to know that everything will end up alright.  Perhaps this is world news coverage fatigue, but at any rate, knowing that I will have the happy ending is where I go and play.  

But what about life?  You know, the real thing.  You might think that after the above I would be dead on arrival.  And yet.  I am not.  Does that mean that I have found the special happy pill?  No. And. Yes.  However, it's not a pill.  It's more like awareness of a journey.  A journey that I slip and fall occasionally, lose my way, get tired, but also get back up, stop for rest, enjoy the vista, play on the hillside, regain my path and well, have a fun along the way.  

This awareness is found in three small steps - stillness, listening and observing.  It is these three steps that take me to a deeper truth that can't be found in the noise swirling around me.  My family's spring break was a mishmash of various directions - taking my daughter on college visits, engaging in a local business entrepreneurial class and celebrating my mom's 75th birthday.  Of course, looking back on this list to be accomplished in 3 different states might lead someone to say, "Too Much".  But then, leading a life in the "AND" of a professional life, family life and personal life can sometimes get off track when I stop moving from a place of awareness that takes me to my truth.  

Fast forward to about week and a half in, and I was toast.  I had let go of pretty much all three of my steps.  The beautiful part, however, was feeling the resulting pain and letting it guide me back to my awareness.  Moving back into stillness found in my early morning, took me into listening to my life.  Many thoughts came, but by observing them and just letting them move on through, I found myself backing into my deeper voice of love, gentleness and healing.  

Claim your time of stillness whether it is in the early morning hours with a cup of coffee, going for a walk or claiming journaling time before you start your work day.  Use the time to be with yourself, feeling your amazing body that you are privileged to have and just breathe.  As you relax into yourself, listen.  Yes thoughts, like clouds in the sky, will come.  Let them and let them keep on going!  Observe what is going by.  Begin to notice the tape that might be playing and how the repeat button is on constant. In the noticing, comes the awareness of the existence of your deeper self that is listening and observing,  That is your beginning.  It is this place, the place of awareness, that will lead you to your deeper truth.  

Engaging In The Treasure Box Of LIfe

The practice of gratitude creates an opportunity for the blossoming of the soul; cultivating one's awareness of the blessings contained in the amazing treasure box of life. That treasure is not just the good times but the heartbreak, the failings, the difficulties.  It is all there.  

This week I found out that I was not accepted as a finalist in an entrepreneurial funding program contest that I believed would help to grow my business of coaching women in career and life transition.  I know that I feel disappointed.  But grateful?  Hmmm.  That is taking a bit more digging.  I won't deny my disappointment.  But I will also allow myself to open to other possibilities.  Asking myself what can I be grateful for within this situation does create space for answers.  The initial answers include the time that I took to focus in on honing my message through the application process as well as a deeper examination of what I am looking for as a business woman.  If failure is information, this offers me the fodder to continue my growth in a different direction.    

I know that what I do brings great value and support to the women I have coached.  I am grateful that the gifts I have -- to listen, to support, to open, to celebrate - crack the wall of fear so that others can more fully live their lives.  I am grateful for the many women who have trusted me to walk with them on their journey to greater wholeness and celebration.  I am grateful for the mentors, fellow coaches and friends who have supported me as I continue my forward movement.  In typing these words, I feel the energy that connects me with so many--and that is also a place of gratitude.  

Let your journey blossom with gratitude.  As you do so, you may find that what feels murky or bleak begins to clear away and open to the light.  Take a moment and write down three things in your life that you are grateful for.  Take one at a time and breathe in its essence, its reality in your life.  Begin this small habit each day.  Allow this practice the space to grow in your life. As it grows, the feeling of being blessed through the practice of gratitude will bubble over, more fully opening your heart to yourself and to others.  

Wisdom Through Connection

Do we really need connection?  Most likely you paused for only a half second before answering a resounding yes!  The easy place to begin to name connection is perhaps romantic love.  Or, perhaps a business network opportunity.  And yet, connection takes each one of us so much deeper.  And this can happen in EVERY connection. Connection is really the act of becoming -- 1 + 1 = 3 -- because the connection itself creates something unique in the world.  It is through this connection that the world changes.  And why?  True connection links to the love inside each of us which requires vulnerability to access.  And yes, this is terrifying. And yet, it is in this place of access that joy is reached and increased, creating meaning in its wake!