Gratitude Journal Entry #20

Tonight, I’m grateful for waking up easily without an alarm clock. I’m grateful for waking up with hot ginger tea and yoga. I’m grateful for the beautiful walk on the beach, and that no one was there with me.

I’m grateful for the ability to walk on my own and to take myself places I want to go. I’m grateful for my eyes so that I can see the gorgeous colors of the ocean. I’m grateful for my nose so that I can appreciate the smell of eucalyptus, wood smoke, salt air, and tea. I’m grateful for the sensual sensitivity of my skin so that I can appreciate the mist of the fog as it rolls in, the shivery warmth of a fire in the fireplace, the coziness of fleece, and the caress of the breeze. I’m grateful for fingers that allow me to play music. I’m grateful for a lap so that kitty can sit in it while I play the piano.

I’m grateful for the generosity of others giving out of their abundance to me.

I’m grateful for letting more and more stuff go, and the internal freedom that results. I’m grateful that internal freedom is mirrored in my body relaxing. I’m grateful that for the first time in my life, this letting go in my body is allowing me to almost touch my toes.

I’m grateful for a day of nurturing myself, and exploring my natural rhythms. I’m grateful for using Google Calendar to create a schedule that honors those rhythms.

I’m grateful for optimism.

I’m grateful for trust.

I’m grateful for partnership.

I’m grateful for my beloved.

I’m grateful for adventure.

I’m grateful for exploration without fear.

I’m grateful for abundance.

I’m grateful for hope.

I’m grateful for love. 

 

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Gratitude Journal Entry #13

Wisteria at the Vyne

I’m grateful that my efforts in managing my energy are paying off…even though there’s only one more week of school left, I’m more balanced and relaxed than at any other time during the school year.Tonight, I’m grateful for a smooth day. I’m grateful that I didn’t allow anything to rile me up, and I was able to maintain a happy spirit even in the face of foolishness.

I’m grateful for my hummingbird friend who visited my office today.

I’m grateful for surprise visits from friends. I’m grateful for snort-filled laughter that is inevitable with friends. 

I’m grateful for locally grown strawberries and cherries that were my dinner tonight.

I’m grateful for walks in the sunshine.

I’m grateful for beautiful flowers…deep, velvet wine dahlias, pink lilacs, white honeysuckle, pink starburst lilies, variegated sweet peas, coral roses and tulips, fluffy, yellow sunflowers, dripping lavender wisteria, bright orange ranunculus, streaked iris, multi-colored fuchsia, and fire-red orchids.

I’m grateful for hugs.

I’m grateful for friends.

I’m grateful for the unexpected.

I’m grateful for soulmates.

I’m grateful for life.

I’m grateful for love.

Gratitude Journal Entry #4

Polski: Znaki przykluczowe dla tonacji Es-dur ...

Tonight, I’m grateful for the magnificent, unapologetic power of thunder, wind, and rain. I’m grateful for the texture and shades of color that constantly change in the light that filters through the fog and clouds. I’m grateful for my toasty heater, dry, insulating clothes, and shoes without holes in them. I’m grateful that my book mending skills are improving. I’m grateful for the short meditation before teaching research skills that calmed the jitters I always get. I’m grateful that as a result of that meditation, the kids were all attentive and thoughtful learners. I’m grateful for my two piano students from this afternoon who never cease to inspire me with their wisdom and dedication to learning. I’m grateful that one student is so unintimidated by key signatures that he jumped straight from C major-5 finger pieces to a two page piece in E-flat major and learned the first page all on his own…the fearlessness due to his curiosity and self-confidence taught me overwhelming lessons this afternoon. I’m grateful that the youngest one, while still hating the metronome, has come to a place where he “can work with it.” I’m grateful for all the kind people at the grocery store on a stormy Friday afternoon. I’m grateful that the store manager walked by and then proceeded to show me all the new gluten-free products in the store. I’m grateful that he grinned when I told him, “I heart you!” I’m grateful for the time spent playing the piano and creating new pieces to perform. I’m grateful for a quiet evening at home with my mom and yummy food. I’m grateful for the ability to go to bed early tonight and plans to see friends this weekend. I’m grateful for overflowing gratitude and love.

Gratitude Journal Entry #2

 

Today, I’m grateful that I’m feeling so much better. I’m grateful the fevers didn’t feel the need to visit me, which is lovely since I told them yesterday they were no longer needed. I’m grateful that I slept well last night. I’m grateful I live in a peaceful town where I can sleep during the day and not be disturbed by business sounds. I’m grateful for the sun on my bed and the nap attack that ensued this afternoon. I’m grateful for the desire and energy to sew. I’m grateful for the Farmer’s Market today and delicious and nutritiously healing organic dinner that resulted. I’m grateful that my mom went to the Farmer’s Market and cooked dinner for me. I’m grateful for a quieter brain and a more centered soul. I’m grateful for my eyes so that I can see the vibrant colors around me. I’m grateful for my furry supervisor helping me sew my vibrant fabric this evening. I’m grateful for compassion. I’m grateful for love.

Transformation

I must confess…I didn’t take this picture. To be honest, I’m not entirely certain this picture is real. I once burned through three rolls of high quality Fuji film trying to capture the perfect artsy picture of just one of these butterflies…a whole group of them seemed a bit like trying to herd cats, so I didn’t even try. Even still, I didn’t get a single picture showing the blue…only the brown on the undersides of the wings. Needless to say, bitter doesn’t begin to describe my feelings of three entire rolls, each consisting of 36 photos of brown smear, completely wasted. So…I’m pretty sure this photo, that I lifted off the Squidoo site, is completely digitally constructed. But, I’m also pretty sure this is what my photos looked like when I pressed the button. Why the film doesn’t reflect that continues to be a mystery to me.

My life at the moment is going through a massive transformation…one that requires me to stop every few moments and take a breath, send myself some love and take a step forward. Some days those in-between moments  are as long as an hour…other days those moments occur every time my heart beats. I’ve been too overwhelmed by all the changes to put words to any experience until this week. This week, a Monarch Butterfly danced across my path. It reminded me of the Blue Morpho Butterfly, my favorite of them all, and the messy process they go through to get from caterpillar to this unbelievable shimmer of blue joyous magic flitting through the air. They don’t live very long compared to the amount of time I live, but they certainly do it with grace and flair…something that certainly inspires me.

I’m not certain that I’ve even emerged from the cocoon, much less opened my brown wings to reveal the blue…but I’m hoping, and at times trusting, that I’m on the right path because if so…the other side is going to be amazing!

Swirly Nibs

One very unexpected, yet joyous, side effect of blogging is meeting other bloggers. I know. If someone were to have said that to me, I would have rolled my eyes and muttered, “Duh!” However, in defending myself from myself, I realized the interesting inner war I experienced around blogging. All sorts of internal messages and insecurities arose like Dementors whenever I even considered starting a blog, the two biggest ones being: “There are so many bloggers, why does the world need another one” and “What could I possibly have to say that would matter to another person.” I was so focused on me as the originator of “stuff” that I never even considered the possibility that I might also meet some pretty amazing people and learn from their “stuff.” It is this unexpected side effect that continues to add a significant amount of joy and gratitude to my life. 

This week, I stumbled upon a most incredible and beautiful soul and her blog. This woman knows how to manifest a life of joy, purpose, beauty and creativity. She’s living her dream and loving every moment of it. Her joy and passion shines through her work and as a result, she’s becoming quite successful. She’s a fabulous example of the idea that if you follow your passion and do what you love, everything else follows. Her name is Betsy Dunlap and she presently has two blogs: B.Dunlap, and BD for WeddingBee. The latter one, the source of this post’s photo, hasn’t been updated since 2009, but contains some stunning photographs of her work specifically done for weddings. The former one is her active site and shows her more recent work across a wide range of media and purposes. 

Apart from the inspiration she brings to me to live a life more deeply infused with beauty, passion and creativity, I love that she’s obsessed with typography and letters through the ancient art of calligraphy…and using letters in creative ways…varying the shapes and sizes and directions to create art and flow and evoke emotion simply by the formation of a letter. It’s as though, when I look at her letters, I learn a bit more about her and the way she sees the world, and my eyes are changed for the better. 

Thank you Betsy.

Let’s Meet & Be Merry!

On Thursday of this week, toward the end of my work day, a high-school senior approached me. 

Starbucks is having a buy-one-get-one deal!” he exclaims. “Would you like one?”

“Yes!” I eagerly respond. “What’s the occasion?”

“Let’s do some research!” he replies. 

A part of my heart melts at the word “research,” for it’s definitely a magical word. Research always opens a million doors of questions and leads me on incredible adventures into unknown realms from which I never return unscathed or unchanged. Already, at such a young age, The Research Bug has bitten this one, and I beam with pride.

“Oh!” I exclaim, “They’re promoting their holiday flavors! Which one do you like?”

We eventually settle on the Gingerbread Latte and he leaves.

Thirty minutes later, he returns with a carrier filled with four drinks…he’d bought two orders.

“How much do I owe you?” I ask.

“Nothing,” he replies, “It’s my treat. Plus, I bought another order to share. The next two people to walk through that door are the lucky winners.” He laughs in anticipation.

I look at the teenager, at a loss for words. How do I tell him to hold on to such a pure heart…that such kindness is hard to find in a world that focuses on domination, control, greed and war? How do I tell him that such generosity might be construed by cynics as naiveté or manipulation or foolishness but to pay them no mind? How do I tell him that his kindness, after a particularly challenging day working with an extremely difficult and demeaning man, heals the day plus much more?

Just then, two of his guy friends come running past him, both of them saying excitedly, “I gave mine to so-and-so…and an old lady who looked cold…and that cool homeless guy and…”

I keep my thoughts to myself and instead, reach out, squeeze his arm, beaming from every pore in my body, my heart expanding to 10 times its normal size.

Thank you” I say. And I hear in my head, All is well with the world.

Luna’s Allure

I love this painting, don’t you? The first time I experienced it, the air turned sparkly and everything within and around me buzzed with electrical anticipation that something magical was about to happen. Then, the longer I stood there, standing on the crystal water, the more certain I became that Something indeed was about to happen…and spent the rest of my day with a song in my head and a skip in my step as I looked for this event to come to me.

Even now, after hundreds of viewings, I really can’t explain the effect of this work upon me. Is it the layers of clouds…peeling away and revealing ever more beauty and adventure with those two pinpricks of starry light? Is it the glassy mirror of the water inviting me to follow the path of light on yet another adventure? Is it the incredible selection and blend of colors: blues and purples and yellows and pinks and greens, so beautifully applied? Perhaps it is the water and the perfect reflection of the moon? Or is it the moon Herself? Is Luna truly the Mistress of Enchantment? The Key to the mysteries of night? Surely after so many years of existence we have tired of the endless stream of verses and songs and dedication to the Queen of the Night. And yet…I am captivated. Somehow, I know that if I could channel my inner Mary Poppins-ness and step into this painting, I would shimmer too; inspired to dance with the light and the Elemental with me.

As if this weren’t amazing enough, the manifester of this magic is Steve Richardson, surfer and professional fisherman. Almost ten years ago, he again tapped into his passion for painting which lead to him teaching painting to those diagnosed with Autism. His students’ work is equally impressive, demonstrating in him a sensitive, insightful and compassionate nature. Now that I think about it, those same qualities are what strike me most about this painting, leading me to wonder if the magic doesn’t lie within the subject…but rather in the creator. 

Serenity

This summer, I discovered a lovely little shop in the sleepy town of Summerland. It’s one of those shops that one passes whilst in the direction of something super important and one thinks, I should stop in and take a look one day…but I never do. Until this summer.

I finally stopped and stepped into the shop, discovering a delightful trove of treasures not unlike a full pirate’s chest. The Sacred Space is exactly that. As my foot crossed the threshold, I took in the many symbols of prosperity that greeted me at the door: mirrors, elephants with raised trunks, yellow and orange carnations, lotus blossoms and crystals.

“Welcome to The Sacred Space,” she greeted me. “May I get you some tea?”

Who says no to tea?! She brought it to me on a bamboo tray with a container of looped bamboo stir sticks, some sugar crystals with bamboo tongs, and Kabbalah stones sprinkled on the serviettes. I thank her, the smile on my face anticipating an impending adventure. I then wander the shop all the while sipping on my tea. 

There are five rooms meandering one into another…each a plethora of statues of the Laughing Buddha, Ganesha and Quan Yin in varying forms and sizes and media. The Hand of Fatima is also prevalent in many sizes and colors. Dispersed between the statuaries are candles of varying scents, crystals of all sizes, shapes and colors, offering bowls, prayer wheels, fountains, incense, Himalayan salt lamps and many many other intricate delights.

Two hours later, I happen upon the garden and gasp in wonder. A beautiful koi pond is in front of me, the other side of which sits a pavilion like a queen on her throne…rooted with grandeur. Pops of bright lemon yellow through the pillows, blooming lotus flowers in the pond and fruit on the table offset the cream, brown and green of the surroundings. As I sit and meditate for a short while to express gratitude, I become aware of a leather journal for entries by those who visit. I peruse excitedly, feeling a connection to all who have come before me as well as to all who have yet to write after me. 

As I reluctantly leave, promising myself to return sooner than later, I stop to consider the above image once more. Never have I seen such a crystal, the focus of my earlier gasp…and I aspire to share my home with one in the future…perhaps next to my own queenly pavilion.

Happy Birthday Mom!

This last weekend, I experienced the blessing of hosting two delightful friends from out-of-state. They popped by for a couple of days after their convention concluded and upon arrival, one of them presented me with this gorgeous arrangement of roses. When I asked after the occasion she replied, “My husband always sends me flowers on the birthdays of our children. I can’t take them on the plane with me, so I’m sharing them with you!”

Aside from the breathtaking joy of such striking colors and magnificent blooms, her husband’s consideration was almost enough to make me fall in love with him! After so many years of giving of herself to the marriage and her family, their children now grown and married with children of their own, he still remembers to honor the mother of his children and thank her for their lives on their birthday. 

I would like to share a marriage with a man like that.

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