Oct 31 2017

Contentment

Category: Choices,GratitudePatricia @ 12:27 pm

 

sofa

 

Are you content? Or are you unsatisfied with the way things are? Do you want more? Do you believe “the one with the most toys wins”? Sometimes when we are in a state of wanting more, we become oblivious to the good that is happening in our lives. We feel as if we are lacking something. We can get distracted by thinking about what we don’t have and then we forget about all that we do have.

Lao Tzu was an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer. He is known to be the founder of Taoism.  His wisdom has served as guidance for centuries. One of the things he often wrote about was contentment. He referred to contentment as “the greatest treasure”. Being content is defined as a state of happiness and satisfaction; a place of peace and wellbeing.  Lao Tzu also advised to, “Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

Being content is being grateful for what is. It’s about being satisfied with what you have achieved…so far. Look around your home. Everything there is a fulfillment of your wishes. Yes, everything…even the old sofa. You may have wished for that sofa many years ago. And yes, now you may wish for a new one. But remember that the old sofa represents your wishes. It represents the fulfillment of your needs. Continue to feel the pleasure derived from this. That pleasure is gratitude for what is. That gratitude leads to contentment. If you are feeling unsatisfied with your sofa when it looks lumpy, consider that the lumps were created by the sofa’s service to your needs. It has held and supported you through many years. And then consider this: global statistics show that if you have a roof over your head covering that sofa, you are richer than 93% of the world’s population! Are you feeling content yet?

You may feel that you are lacking some things in your life. You may be. But, I’d like you to focus on what you are not lacking. You are a powerful being, capable of achieving whatever you believe you can achieve. You are worthy of success, love and happiness. Your life experience is a result of the choices you have made. Choices based on your beliefs about the way things are. Because you are a powerful being, you are capable of making new choices…better choices…choices which encourage your contentment and wellbeing.

Being unsatisfied is not always a bad thing. You won’t make progress if you don’t get unsatisfied from time to time. It is a necessary and temporary condition. Recognize that when you are not satisfied with the way things are, you have the power to change that. Those changes can result in your growth and contentment.

May you feel as if the whole world belongs to you. Because it does.

 

 

 

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Sep 18 2017

Gratitude: The Wonder Drug for Depression

Category: Gratitude,Health & Wellness,Inspirational QuotesPatricia @ 4:03 pm

medicine cabinet

 

The essence of all you appreciate is constantly flowing into your reality. As a creator, you create with your thoughts. When you are thinking about what you like or enjoy, you are in the process of creating more of it. When you become more aware of the moments of your life, you engage your senses. You are grateful in the now moment. You appreciate the good that is happening now or you recall the pleasant memory of the past. When you are in this state of awareness, your brain is producing neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.

When you are feeling grateful, an area of your brain stem region produces dopamine, which increases your enjoyment of what you are experiencing. In addition, when you are feeling gratitude toward others, it increases activity in social dopamine circuits. You enjoy people more and social interactions are more fun. Another area of your brain, the anterior cingulate cortex is busy producing serotonin. This neurotransmitter affects your mood; your appetite and digestion; your ability to sleep; your memory; and your sexual desire and function. Serotonin inhibits impulses so you are better able to control your bad habits. When you are depressed, you lose control. Anti-depressants such as Wellbutrin and Prozac boost the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.

In his book, The Upward Spiral, Dr. Alex Korb addresses the research which has found that gratitude is a powerful anti-depressant. He acknowledges that scientists don’t fully understand depression, but they know it relates to neurotransmitters produced in the brain.  Depression also relates to the prefrontal cortex, which is used for critical thinking and decision making. In addition, the limbic system is involved. This system includes the emotional center of the brain, the amygdala; and the hippocampus, which plays a role in the formation of new memories. Depression affects brain functions which inhibit our ability to heal.

Korb explains how we keep ourselves in a downward spiral when we focus on negative thoughts. Anxiety about the future and worry about things we don’t want reinforces the depressed brain. Remember, you must focus on the now moment, the only moment there is. Bad memories or self-criticism about past behavior are in the past. Let go! You must focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want! Why spend your valuable thought energy on creating negative circumstances which create negative emotions?

Pay attention. Focus on gratitude for your physical body. Acknowledge that it is constantly in your service, no matter how you treat it. Focus on gratitude for your loved ones and their presence in your life. Feel the love. Focus on gratitude for the experience of life. Appreciate your talents, skills and abilities. Know that you have within you everything you need to create the life you want. You can choose to focus on gratitude and benefit from the positive effects in your brain and your physical body. You can choose the upward movement. You can rewire yourself so that it’s easier to feel the positive emotions which produce positive results.

Melody Beattie says, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Apparently, gratitude is a better anti-depressant than Prozac or Wellbutrin. And gratitude has no negative side effects!

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Dec 08 2016

Celebrating Friends & New Worlds

Category: Choices,Gratitude,Inspirational QuotesPatricia @ 1:41 pm

eastern-direction-complete-wheel

 

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”  Anaïs Nin

Recently, I celebrated a friend. I celebrated her birth day and her death day.  Mostly I celebrated our friendship. Susan touched my heart and soul. She awakened a dream. Together we created a new world for each other. We met at a pivotal moment in time where each of us was destined to serve the other. As fellow travelers on life’s soul journey, we were meant to cross paths.

Sometimes in life, we are given the experience of enjoying a life-long friendship; the golden ones that endure the test of time. But sometimes, we are not given that luxury of time. And then we learn that the value of friendship is not measured by the amount of days we spend with someone… it’s about how we spend our moments. Our physical time together was very short – just over a year -14 months. During that time, we experienced the changes – heat and cold, rain and rainbows, sunrise and sunset, moonlight and starshine. We celebrated birthdays and holidays. We laughed and cried together. We dreamed a future that never came to pass. We spoke every day and shared our hearts. Life’s precious moments. Our journey was not a simple, easy path. It was wild and untamed, filled with surprises. At times otherworldly. It was turbo-charged and traveled at warp speed. It was also spent in timeless silence as we surveyed our beloved mountain and became one with the earth. Oh dear friend, I miss you and wish you were still here with me to experience more of life!

Friendship matters. I know I don’t have to tell you that. Everyone knows that. You have friends. And you have lost friends. I think what I want to tell you is this…

Friendship is a choice we make. It’s a choice to love more. Some friendships are simple. Some are very complex. But all friendships are valuable. Sometimes we don’t make a conscious choice to become friends with someone; to begin a relationship. It happens. We accept it. As beings, we are not meant to be alone. We need others. Relationships help us to grow and become stronger, wiser, better.  The joy of loving far outweighs the pain of loss.

Friendship is a gift of great value. Treat it with respect and great care. Give it your attention. Do it now. If it matters. Each friendship is an agreement. Honor the agreements or negotiate new ones. We make a pact to be together to share in the experience of life. We support each other. We challenge each other. We disappoint one another. We bring joy to each other. We bear witness. Life is not meant to be a solitary experience. Each one of us is an important part of the tribe of humanity.

A friend opens up new worlds. You get to experience life from their unique perspective and understanding. You taste new flavors. Friends spice things up.  You hear the music of a different soundtrack and learn to dance to a different beat. You can adopt or reject the new but you can never become unaware of its existence. You have been changed just by the exposure to it. When you are fortunate enough to experience a life-long friendship, you gain more. You learn from the choices you see your friends make. You gain another source of wisdom and a trusted advisor.

Muhammad Ali said “Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” May you experience new worlds and celebrate the friends in your life!

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Nov 24 2016

Thanks to Little Joe

Category: GratitudePatricia @ 11:59 am

 

bonanza

 

 

Thanksgiving. When you use the word as a noun (something you name), you recognize it as a holiday. But when you consider the word as a verb (something you do), it makes a difference in your understanding of its true meaning – the act of giving thanks and feeling gratitude. I know each one of us can run off a list of all the things we are thankful for at this time of year. We think of family and friends. We think of financial abundance. We think of our health and physical well-being. And often we are thankful for experiences that make us happy. Sometimes we are surprised by what brings gratitude to mind.

This year, I’m very grateful to know Little Joe Cartwright. You see, he’s a longtime family friend. When I was very young, the Cartwrights were weekly visitors in our home. We were one of the first families to enjoy the luxury of a color television. Dad was always into gadgets and technology and liked to have the best and newest available. It was very exciting to see the NBC peacock turn from black & white to all the colors of the rainbow! Unfortunately, there were only two shows broadcast in color at that time – The Mitch Miller Show and Bonanza. Of course Bonanza was far superior because there were mountains and horses and gunfights!

Recently, Little Joe and all the Cartwright men helped me to communicate with my 92-year-old mother. Besides suffering from dementia and extreme physical limitations, Mom has some communication issues. She has endured countless strokes, the last of which severely diminished her throat muscles, impeding her ability to speak. Although she is able to communicate her likes, dislikes and needs, she’s no longer able to form words. She is only able to make a guttural sound. However, make no mistake, she is totally aware and “in there”.

When arriving for a visit, I found her sitting with another resident waiting for lunch to be served. A television set was on but she wasn’t paying attention to it. I greeted her and chatted for a moment. And then I was pleased to see the opening credits to Bonanza were coming on the screen. I pointed it out to her and she immediately turned her attention to the TV. As the flames burned across the map of the Ponderosa, her eyes lit up in recognition and a smile crossed her face. Then Little Joe came on and the conversation began. We were in the moment together.

As we watched the show unfolding, I saw her slip into a comfortable place where memory brings the feelings of the past into the present. Once upon a time when she watched Bonanza in the comfort of her home, she was a young and able woman raising a family. She had a husband who adored her and all the material pleasures she desired. I noticed her frail body shift as she sat up taller in her chair.  I spoke and she acknowledged all the members of the Cartwright family; Pa, Adam, Hoss and Little Joe. It felt like visiting with the cousins. In those moments, we connected on a level that – given the circumstances – is not easy to achieve any more. And in that connection, we were no longer a mother and daughter separated by distance and sad circumstances. We were two souls enjoying our eternal connection and accepting all as it is.

A TV show was the common thread that wove our lives back together in that moment. As you celebrate this time of Thanksgiving, look for the little ways – the Little Joes – that bring gratitude to your heart. And then enjoy that feeling as you move from noun to verb…as you actively give thanks…the true purpose of the holiday. Do something about thanks giving.

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