THE MAGIC IS HERE IF WE KNOW HOW TO OPEN UP TO IT...
As we celebrate Thanksgiving in the U.S., there is a lot of talk about gratitude. Thanksgiving is a holiday of harvest and abundance; reminding us to bask in the gifts of our lives and to generously give to others. It’s easy to experience gratitude when we are on vacation, or on a mountain top (literal or figurative), out in nature, with the breeze in our hair and our daily responsibilities far from the forefront of our minds.
But what about experiencing gratitude in the middle of a Tuesday? Or during a process of loss or uncomfortable growth? Or on one of those days where everything just seems to be going wrong? How can we connect to the magic of life that is here for us at any given moment and how does it benefit us to do so?
The secret to instant gratitude lies in the present moment.
Let’s face it – most of the time our focus is on the past or the future. We become consumed thinking about how things could have occurred differently in the past or we loose ourselves worrying about how things might come together in the future. How often have you replayed a past experience over and over in your mind? Or how often does your to-do list lure you into daydreaming or wanting to be somewhere else?
Residing in the past or the future is disempowering because we are only truly at choice in this very present moment. Living in the present moment empowers us because we can seize each moment as an opportunity to be at choice – with our thoughts, words, decisions, actions, beliefs and vibration. It is the only place where we get to change our mind and course correct. It is the only place where we get to notice gratitude, where we get to take a risk, to open and share ourselves. The present moment is actually where we get to heal the past and where we can truly influence our future – how perfectly ironic. Therefore, giving most of our awareness and attention to this very moment allows us to shift and mold our lives.
This very moment is where our opportunity lies to become grateful. It is our doorway to awakening to everything and anything that exists right now, right here, for us, as a blessing. When we focus on what is working and we awaken to what is truly available for us NOW, then we can begin to align ourselves with our ultimate life and truth. This is where the real magic takes place.
So how do we actually become present and once we are, how do we truly feel grateful and believe it? Awakening to the blessings of the present moment is a practice that requires life long cultivation. Just like practicing to speak up, learning to consistently act out of integrity and self love, being present to life’s magic requires that we strengthen a new muscle and make it part of our natural, daily approach to life. I find it’s something I’ve worked on for years and I sense I will continue to cultivate this practice for the rest of my days.
Tips For Becoming Present:
1. Pause. Most of us function on auto-pilot throughout the day, running from one activity to the next, trying to cross everything off of the to do list. In this state, we are focused on what’s next. We completely skip over ourselves and miss the opportunity to experience the magic of our truth in any given moment. To get present throughout the day, simply pause. If you are walking, running errands, driving around, etc., simply stop what you are doing and press pause for a minute. In that minute, breathe and close your eyes. Tune in. Ask yourself: what do I feel right now? What is my experience of life right now? The words “right now” are your entry ticket to the present moment. There is no need to do anything about how you feel. Simply feel it, acknowledge it and become present to what your experience actually is.
2. Use your body. The body is an enormous asset when it comes to getting present. It is the number one doorway to this very moment. Wherever you are (paused or moving), ask yourself: how does my heart feel right now? How does my butt feel on the chair? What do I feel in my neck or back?
3. Breathe. Our breath is the most consistent miracle that exists for us at any time. When we are moving too quickly through life we forget to breathe. Allow yourself to sit still and simply focus on the ebb and flow of your breath. In and out. In and out. All you have to do in this very moment is breathe. That’s it really. Bring your awareness to your experience of the enriching inhale and the cleansing exhale. Try to keep your focus on your breath for up to 3 minutes instead of letting your mind wander. If your mind wanders simply catch it without judgment and return to your breath.
Once we learn to become present to ourselves and our experience of the moment, we can begin to truly cultivate gratitude. Here are some easy ways to do so:
Tips For Cultivating Gratitude:
1. Focus on the tiny things. It’s very easy to get stuck in “Stickin’ Thinking” when we are focusing on the big things, such as love or a new job, that we don’t yet have. The key to finding gratitude and cultivating abundance is to become grateful for all of the tiny little things that we normally take for granted. Ie: be grateful for your fingers and toes. Be grateful for your breath. Be grateful for your couch and the roof over your head. Be grateful for electricity. Be grateful for the person who held the door open for you earlier today. By acknowledging these tiny blessings, we suddenly begin to feel all of the miracles around us. There is indeed a lot to be grateful for.
2. Gratitude as a first thought. Before opening your eyes in the morning, train yourself to think of all that you are grateful for. You might be grateful for the cozy warmth of your bed, grateful for a full night’s rest, grateful for your family and the people you work with, grateful for the love of your pets, grateful for the delicious, nutritious breakfast you are about to consume, grateful for your connection to spirit, grateful for the fact that you get to take a hot shower. Having gratitude immediately upon rising will shift your energy and ultimately set the stage for generating more abundance and positive circumstances throughout your day.
3. Express your gratitude. Thinking carries it’s own vibration, but voicing our gratitude has an even greater impact. Throughout your day practice expressing your thanks to the postman, the grocery clerk, your neighbor, and most importantly your loved ones. Every year at Thanksgiving my whole family will go around the dinner table and we each get a chance to voice what we are grateful for. It is so wonderful just sitting in the energy of everyone’s gratitude. There is laughter, joy and sometimes, even tears. This open hearted sharing brings us closer together and connects us more deeply to our loved ones and the miracle of life.
4. Shift your energy with gratitude. Sometimes life will “derail” us. We have a plan, we have a dream or goal and somewhere along the way things don’t turn out as we expected (for more on this topic, you can read my blog about learning to let go of our attachment to expectation). When this happens, it can be incredibly frustrating, yet this is the precise opportunity to return to the present moment. Each experience is a blessing, a teacher, a gift. When we can become grateful, we can open up yet again to all that is going right. To do so, take a step back and begin to collect evidence for all of the positive aspects of your current situation. Really tap into the gratitude that you have for the people you met along your journey, the lessons you have learned and the new experiences you gathered. Notice how quickly your energy shifts by appreciating all the magic and gifts that are here for you NOW, even though things are different than you expect.
We are in the season of gratitude, the joyous time of year where we get to connect with our loved ones, have cozy gatherings and tune into ALL the abundance, wonderment and positive blessings that are here for us.
Are you ready to up level your life and maneuver through this holiday season from a place of power and grace? Becoming present and cultivating gratitude are your ticket to doing so. My invitation to you is to take time throughout your day to notice where you are, to feel your body’s signals and to indulge in a deep breath or two. In the moments that you are off course pause, breath and find three tiny things in your life that you can be grateful about. I invite you to share what those things are in the comments below!
I am deeply grateful to connect with you here and to share my inspiration and passion with you. I acknowledge you for taking the time to invest in yourself and I wish you a most joyous, vibrant and deeply meaningful holiday season!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones.
When we can begin to honor what our true feelings are inside, then we open the door to an ocean of untapped potential, vitality, power and joy that is waiting to be unleashed and experienced within. What type of people do you truly long to spend time with? If money wasn’t an issue, how would you spend your waking hours and what would you contribute to our world? What activities, places and people naturally light you up at this time?
Identifying Energy Drainers & Energy Enhancers:
Before we can fully consider this, it’s important to define what an energy drainer is and what an energy enhancer is. Energy drainers are activities, people, thoughts, habits, environments, foods, etc. that DEPLETE you of energy or that feel draining to you. After engaging in an energy drainer, you may feel slightly down, you may feel tired or be second guessing yourself; you may be full of doubt or feel as though you need to go for a run or take a shower to “wash” the bad energy off of you. Energy enhancers are commitments, activities, people, thoughts, habits, environments, foods, meditations, etc. that ENHANCE your energy or make your feel more alive! After spending time with an energy enhancer, you will likely feel inspired, you may feel more light or stronger in your body, you may feel more awake and refreshed and you will believe in yourself and your dreams more whole heartedly. Energy enhancers restore our faith in ourselves and in life. They give us a sense of inner peace or add an extra hop to our step. You may find yourself smiling or singing after spending time with an energy enhancer.
To identify your energy drainers and enhancers, I recommend the following exercise:
Make two columns on a piece of paper. On the left hand side write down energy drainers and write down your energy enhancers on the right. Make a list right away of people, situations and things you know deplete you and those that you know energize you. Then, throughout the week notice: Did that food I just ate energize me or deplete me? Did that meeting I had with that person energize me or deplete me? Did that walk through the park energize me or deplete me? Really take a look at how you are feeling during each activity, interaction or choice that you engage in. Make sure to add to your lists throughout the week.
Follow The Energy!
Now, for the real challenge, practice following the energy! Follow those things that bring you alive and restore you. Be relentlessly committed to following through on the energy givers in your life and practice saying no to all that drains you. If it’s an energy drainer and it’s not aligned with your higher vibration and dreams, then don’t put your energy towards it. Preserving our energy for only things that bring us alive will ensure that we are living in alignment with our dreams.
Following the energy is similar to following your intuition, yet it’s more dialed in. It’s about really feeling into what brings you alive and following through on that even if you’re afraid. My invitation to you is to be deliberate about what you’re putting your energy towards in your life. This doesn’t mean letting go of responsibilities and not paying our bills because we don’t enjoy that task. Rather, this is about practicing discernment. This is about practicing self love and self respect. This is about honoring what you long for deep down inside and taking the risk to make it part of your life for real so that you can create a bridge that will take you from where you are now to where you wish to be.
The Thing That Stops Us Short:
Here’s the deal. We always know what’s best for us and what brings us the most joy and vitality. The problem is that we’re afraid to own it. We’re afraid to rock the boat, to offend someone, and most of all… we’re afraid that we’ll end up alone, broke or bored.
Yet living a life that is rich, full of energy, abundant and wildly fulfilling requires that we take risks. It requires that we follow the energy even if our knees are shaking and we are so stuck in our own drama of how it might be risky to do so. It’s your job and responsibility to be the pioneer of this new path in your life. You get to be the pioneer who follows the energy by coming out of invisibility, speaking your truth, following through on what you know is best for you and making resonant choices that bring you alive. We are building a new muscle here. It’s time to only say yes to all those things that bring you closer to your dream, that take you to the experience of life that you long for.
On A Personal Note:
As we shift into the winter months and near the holiday season, there can be a lot of pressure to stay busy, extroverted and outwardly focused. Personally, after a wonderfully prolific and successful 2013, I found that this fall, as the days shortened and the temperature dropped, I experienced a profound need to go inward. My desire to be quiet and internal was so strong that it actually surprised me. After putting so much energy out in the form of my life’s work this year (did you check out my awesome course ALIGNED or my transformational Reignite Your Radiance Retreat?) and enjoying thoroughly, I suddenly needed to restore my energy. Instead of the usual social activities, projects and group programs that typically invigorate me, I found that what energized me most was curling up on the couch with a good book and indulging in the occasional afternoon nap. I even took a 4-day personal retreat to some natural hot springs all by myself in October. On one level it felt risky to do this as I always want to provide great content for you and stay engaged with those of you who take my classes regularly. Yet I chose instead to trust that following the energy in my life would lead me to the right path. I know that these days my energy enhancers are coming in the form of yummy, home cooked meals, cozy nights on the couch, quiet walks alone and taking a break from holding space for others. I know that following this inward desire will lead me to yet another prolific, exciting and creative phase in my life that I’ll get to share with you. Following our true energy ALWAYS leads us to a healthy, loving, abundant and fulfilling place. Guaranteed.
My Invitation To You:
My invitation to you this season is to tune into yourself even more. Practice discernment and follow through on your energy enhancers. Honor yourself and what you truly long for. I promise it will lead you to the place you want to be… and if you’re lucky, it will take you even further… to the place beyond your wildest expectations.
Here’s to your energy!