Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Saunter into the world

Suggestion from Gratitude Miracles journal*, Cycle 8: Peace & Contentment:

Mick Ukleja at LeadershipTraq.com suggests that you "Saunter into your day.  The word saunter comes from the Middle Ages. Everything was considered sainted, including the earth - St. Terre. Therefore, to saunter is to walk on the earth with reverence for its holiness."

Take time to enter your day slowly and with reverence.

*Gratitude Miracles journal is available at amazon.com

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ordinary miracles and living in creative space


Bullishly Blue - International art connections - see below
Since I started working with the Gratitude Miracles journal, I’ve become more aware of ordinary miracles. I note them in the journal and every week a few turn up. Most of them have indeed been ordinary even though unexpected and delightful … a visit with a friend, a new idea or opportunity, a kind comment. 

None of them have been more ordinary than the chair I bought earlier this week at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. My last move left me without a comfy chair. I thought I could make do with the couch. I thought that for a year and a half before deciding I truly needed a good chair, a recliner. It had a few constraints: cloth not leather, small enough for me to lift it, plain color - blue or wine, and in reasonably good condition.
 
I’ve been checking Craigslist and local thrift stores, becoming more and more discouraged, to the point where I wondered if I would have to buy something new. So, it was a surprise when I found the almost perfect chair, at a thrift store that I almost never go to, and also on sale. I didn’t even count this chair as a miracle. It was just something I wanted and finally found.

The miracle happened when I moved the furniture around in the living room to make way for the new chair. Something happened. It’s like the room woke up and said, “Ta da!” 

Don’t get me wrong. This is not a designer living room. It’s a motley assortment of mis-matched items from various thrift stores since I sold all my furniture before my last move. But, when all the pieces were back in place, … I don’t know how else to say it … it turned into sacred space. It made my heart sing. It made me think of the space and all the surfaces in it as altars … altars to spirit, to creativity, to life.

Several years ago, I saw the movie, Words and Pictures, about two high school teachers: one art, one English. The art teacher suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and lives in her studio. The movie is good, but I was captivated by the idea of living in an art studio. Of course, my art is digital so it wouldn’t have all the wonderful paints and brushes and canvases and so on that make a painter’s studio so wonderful. My art studio would look more like living in an iMac.

Now, however, I feel like I am living in a studio. It is alive with art and color and books and the projects I’m working on. I’ve spent the last couple of days cleaning and rearranging, honoring the space as sacred, honoring the miracle of creativity and life, honoring the dance of gratitude and miracles. 
International Art Connection:  Somewhere in San Miguel de Allende, there is a wall artist who painted this picture ... the bull, not the cars

I think we must be kindred spirits. This bull spoke to me, invited me to play. Today, sitting in my new space, my new studio, we did, indeed, play.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Daily Gratitudes: Attention

Day 25/365: I am grateful for the cycle of life that is beautiful in birth and in death, in ascendance and decline.

This image was prompted by the quote of poet Jane Hirshfield, "Zen pretty much comes down to three things: everything changes, everything is connected, pay attention."

I like simple things I can remember, and particularly commands that you instantly understand but can take a lifetime to master. It seems appropriate to pay a little more attention to "attention." So a few more quotes.

"When you approach something to photograph it, 
first be still with yourself 
until the object of your attention affirms your presence. 
Then don't leave until you have captured its essence."
  -- Minor White

"I think the one lesson I have learned is 
that there is no substitute for paying attention." 
 -- Diane Sawyer

"The only factor becoming scarce in a world of abundance 
is human attention." 
-- Kevin Kelly, editor "Wired"

"There is a spiritual basis to attention, 
a humility in waiting upon the emergence 
of pattern from experience."  
-- Mary Catherine Bateson, from Peripheral Vision

"Love begins with paying attention to others, 
with an act of gracious self-forgetting."-- John O'Donohue, Anam Cara


Monday, October 24, 2016

The Role of Gratitude in Making Meetings Work Better

One of the miracles from this journey into gratitude has been meeting Steve Foran, a Canadian businessman who calls himself a grateful CEO and integrates gratitude into his daily life, at home, at work, everywhere.

In addition to teaching Business Ethics and writing extensively on the subject of gratitude, Steve helps leaders build teams that are resilient and effective through a process he calls StatusGRO(TM). Steve told me a story about using gratitude in meetings and I thought it deserved to be shared.

From Steve:  Over the last 29 years I’ve seen a lot of meetings, both good ones and bad ones. Some I’ve chaired, some I’ve sat through, some I wished I was golfing, some were all over the place, and some were … all of the above.

While there isn’t a common element to what worked or what didn’t work, there’s a technique I started a few years back whenever I chair a meeting and it has a powerful impact on the discussion that follows.

Begin by sharing one gratitude.

At the outset of the meeting, I simply say, “Before we get into the agenda, let’s go around the table and share one thing we’re grateful for. It can be from here at work or from your personal life… whatever you want.” And then I start off with my gratitude first.

It has proven to be a simple and extremely effective way to create the right atmosphere for an effective discussion.

A few years back I was chairing a special meeting of a voluntary board and we were about to discuss and make a decision on what was shaping up to be a very divisive issue. While there were many contributing factors to the divisiveness (such as organizational leadership, communication, resistance to change, and fear of the unknown, differing levels of knowledge regarding the issue at hand), our task at the meeting required us to come together, listen to the respective viewpoints, make a very important decision and be unified in carrying that decision forward.

The subject area for the crunch discussion was foreign to me but I had been having great success in starting meetings by sharing gratitudes and decided that’s how we would start the meeting. There was some initial skepticism because people wanted to get straight to the issue and not waste time. With close to 30 people in the room, it took more than 10 minutes to go around the table.

By the end of the gratitude sharing, the temperature in the room had shifted. As the evening unfolded, there were some heated debates, but the tone was respectful. We had some people who repeated their points because they didn’t feel heard, but it didn’t happen as often as usual. There were some diversions away from the main issues, but, for the most part, the conversation remained focused. At the end of the evening, we made our decision and people felt good about it. It might have been the best 10 minutes we invested into preparing for a meeting.

Two days later I received a phone call from a volunteer at the center of the issue being discussed. He said, “Steve I’ve been doing this work for more than 40 years. In my entire career, I’ve never seen such a change in attitude in such a short period of time. As people started arriving and talking before the meeting, you could feel the tensions rising. But that gratitude exercise you had us do was masterful.”

I highly recommend using this technique at your next meeting. It works regardless of the setting… at work, in the community, at home. If you don’t get the miraculous results you hoped for the first time, don’t give up. Give people time to get used to it because right now, not many meetings start this way. You can change that. 

A great way to stay focused on your own gratitudes is to subscribe to Steve's daily gratitude posts ... his own and from guests. Subscribe here to receive them directly. And, you can check out StatusGRO(tm) here.

 


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Beginnings

Day 24/365: I am grateful to live in a world where we can always begin again, start over, have a second chance.

Several years ago, I participated in an intuitive painting workshop that pushed all my buttons and set my insecurities ringing. After a great deal of frustration and tears, I made a breakthrough ... not particularly in the quality of my art, but in the way I thought about it and myself.

It prompted the following poem:




Begin Again

I stand at an expanse of white paper.
  Fears rise like a rush of ravens cawing
  my inadequacies to an indifferent world.
  “Begin!” I cry above their screechings.

I throw paint — fuchsia, chartreuse, deep purple.
   Hope for a miracle slowly sinks into gloom
   as the Muse rejects my careless offering.
   “Begin again!” she commands.

I craft a lofty scene filled with symbol and sign.
   Color and context weave an eye-pleasing cry
   for approval and recognition that does not come.
   “Begin again,” the Muse repeats.

I wildly cover the space with scribble and daub.
   Then, lost on the page, I stand frozen in fear,
   a hollow husk with no place to hide.
   “Begin again,” she whispers.

I stand — waiting, listening, attending.
   A feeling guides me to a land timeless and unplanned.
   Brush, color and hand create in unjudged harmony.
   I am awake, alive, vision vibrating through me.

Softly the Muse just repeats, “Begin again.”

 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Music

Hot Harmonica on a Cool Night
Day 23/365: I am grateful for music that adds to the joy of life, excites us, soothes us, makes us dance, takes us to other lands.

One night in the Sierra foothills, people gathered under the stars, listening to this musician play a hot harmonica on that cool evening.

Arthur O'Shaughnessy's "Ode," is one of my favorites and the best known work of this British poet and herpetologist(!). He died too young after getting a chill walking home from the theater on a rainy night.


 Other thoughts on music:

"Where words fail, music speaks."
-- Hans Christian Anderson

“Music, uniquely among the arts, is both completely abstract and profoundly emotional. It has no power to represent anything particular or external, but it has a unique power to express inner states or feelings. Music can pierce the heart directly; it needs no mediation.”
― Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” -- Friedrich Nietzsche


Here's the full version of "Ode."

WE are the music-makers,

And we are the dreamers of dreams,

Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
  And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers,         5
  On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
  Of the world forever, it seems.
  
With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world's great cities,  10
  And out of a fabulous story
  We fashion an empire's glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
  Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song's measure  15
  Can trample an empire down.
  
We, in the ages lying
  In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
  And Babel itself with our mirth;  20
And o'erthrew them with prophesying
  To the old of the new world's worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
  Or one that is coming to birth.


 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Research

Day 22/365: I am grateful for the research being done that shows that practicing gratitude creates benefits in almost every aspect of life.

Steven Salt posts an interest article that introduced me to the term "thanks-living" and offers this snippet:
Mary Baker Eddy once asked a thought-provoking question, "Are we really grateful for the good already received?"  She added, "Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessing we have, and thus be fitted to receive more." Counting our blessings instead of inventorying our troubles is sage advice that promotes added benefits.
Click here for the full article.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Learning

Day 21/365: I am so grateful for the abundance of learning resources available to us in today's world. In addition to books and libraries, we have the Internet, made useful by Google, Wikipedia, a multitude of online university courses, and millions of websites created by subject matter experts (and non-experts, of course).

The Internet is our version of the Royal Library of Alexandria with its hundreds of thousands of scrolls. We have the extremely good fortune, though, to have all this information at our fingertips, largely free, and available to almost everyone.

We have unlimited choices in what we choose to learn. May it lead us toward being a kinder, smarter, more peaceful species.

More thoughts on learning:

"Still I am learning."
 -- Michelangelo, on his death bed

"Learning without reflection is a waste.
Refection without learning is dangerous."
-- Confucius

"Learning is perhaps the only pleasure that might replace increasing consumption as our chosen mode of enriching experience. 

Some day, the joy of recognizing a pattern in a leaf or the geological strata in a cliff face might replace the satisfactions of new carpeting or more horsepower in an engine, and the chance to learn in the workplace might seem more valuable than increased purchasing power or a move up the organizational chart."
 -- Mary C. Bateson, from Peripheral Vision

Journal Giveaway - to Friends

Goodreads just completed a giveaway of Gratitude Miracles.

It was a great experience. 853 people entered the giveaway ... unfortunately, none of my friends won. ;-(

Fortunately, I've made some new friends. ;-)

Anyway, I'm going to do another giveaway of 5 copies of the journal.
Remember *practicing* gratitude benefits almost every aspect of life ... from health, relationships, happiness, success, creativity and almost everything else.  See the benefits listed in the right column for more details.
Here's how to get in the drawing: Two simple steps!
  1. Leave a comment below indicating something you're grateful for.
  2. Click here and LIKE the Gratitude Miracles Journal Facebook page.
 Winners will be chosen using a random number generator and notified by a Facebook private message. (BTW, if you already have a copy, feel free to enter ... you can give it away to a friend.)

And, for all my friends outside the US and Canada ... unfortunately the cost of international shipping is prohibitive, so until I can figure out a way to do this electronically, I'm afraid you can't play. 


Giveaway is now closed - delighted to send a journal to Ed Gillum.

 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

New Beginnings To Do List

Quiet Moment
To Do List: 
Mend a quarrel.
Seek out a forgotten friend.
Dismiss suspicion, and replace it with trust.
Write a love letter.
Share some treasure.
Give a soft answer.
Offer encouragement.
Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.
Keep a promise.
Find the time.
Forgive an enemy.
Listen.
Apologize if you are wrong.
Try to understand.
Flout envy.
Examine your demands on others.
Think first of someone else.
Appreciate.
Be kind; be gentle.
Laugh a little.Laugh a little more.
Deserve confidence.
Take up arms against malice.
Decry complacency.
Express your gratitude.
Welcome a stranger.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.
Speak your love.
Speak it again.
Speak it still once again.
 --Reverend Lee Reid Nov-Dec 1996 Newsletter, 
Unitarian Universalist Society of the Palisades

This was shared by Amy Taylor who says, "Reverend Reid was a woman who lived peace.  She died unexpectedly in  a car accident several years ago, and a collection of her writings was published posthumously in her honor - Saints and Souls. This list is from that book.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Reflection


This morning starts a new cycle of gratitude focused on energy.

Day 20/365: Reflection
However, first I get to reflect on the past cycle which focused on success. It is said that reflection is the key to learning. For me, reflection is another form of gratitude, a reinforcing of the gratitudes I’ve already acknowledged.

At the end of each four week cycle, the Gratitude Miracles journal asks us to think about what was learned, what was surprising, and what wants to be changed.

As I look back and reflect on the past four weeks of gratitudes, I can see patterns and growth, as well as paths leading in new directions. I also see the continuing dance between two poles: the desire for community and connection and the love of solitude and contemplation. At the present moment, my life leans toward solitude and I feel the pull toward community. As I enter the next cycle, I want to connect more, have more conversations with fascinating people who are following their passion.
 
In the past four weeks, I recorded 19 miracles, some tiny, some truly significant. Without this pause for reflection, though, I would have rushed into the next moment without truly savoring the gifts that have already been given to me. I am so grateful for this process that slows me down long enough check in with myself, to make sure I’m leading the life I want to lead.

I am falling in love with creating gratitude “memes,” such as the one above and want to continue putting quotes together with my photography and art.

More thoughts on reflection:

Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh offers this --

Whatever you are reflecting on, the following points are important:
Reflection is an exploration and explanation of events – not just a description.
Reflection often involves revealing anxieties, errors and weaknesses, as well as strengths and successes.

It is usually necessary to select just the most significant parts of the event or idea on which you’re reflecting. Don’t try to tell the whole story, or you will end up only describing rather than reflecting.

It is often useful to reflect forward to the future – when you might do something differently as a result of reflecting – as well as reflecting back on the past.
*****

At the end of each class at Gateway Community College in Phoenix, students are asked to reflect on what they’ve learned. The website offers these words on reflection.

Reflection, or thinking about our experiences, is the key to learning. Reflection allows us to analyze our experiences, make changes based on our mistakes, keep doing what is successful, and build upon or modify past knowledge based on new knowledge. Reflection also allows us to make connections between courses or between school, work and home. By doing this, we begin to see how all parts of our lives are connected and to understand that we are a part of the web of life.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Love

Day 19/365: I am so grateful for the outpouring of love of my two aunts Lerrea and Wanda in my childhood. Looking back through these long years, I realize that I learned how to love in large part from those two amazing women.

Other thoughts on learning love:

“Love, too, has to be learned. In the end we are always rewarded for our good will, our patience, fair mindedness, and gentleness with what is strange; gradually, it sheds its veil and turns out to be a new and indescribable beauty:—that is its thanks for our hospitality. Even those who love themselves will have learned it in this way: for there is no other way.”
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

"Some day, when we have harnessed the power of the sun and the waves and gravity, we will learn how to harness the power of love.  And then, for the second time, we will have discovered fire."
-- Teillard de Chardin

"Woe to the man whose heart has not learned while young to hope, to love - and to put his trust in life."    
 -- Joseph Conrad

 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Peace

Day 18/365: I am so grateful for all the organizations and individuals in the world who work for peace, hold peace in their hearts and fully intend to have peace in the world.

As I head to Santa Barbara this morning for the "Pondering Peace in a World of Turmoil" gathering created by Pacifica Graduate Institute, I am thankful for my own journey into peace.

I found this piece of art that I did at some point in the past. It reminds me that my journey is more of a spiral than a road. I keep coming back to the same themes ... and I keep forgetting them ... until I remember them again.

I'm hopeful that the spiral is a gently upward and outward moving process. Creating art helps. My gratitude journal helps.

Other thoughts on peace that I am taking with me day are:

"If we want to see changes, first of all we need to be in peace inside ourselves, and then we need to be patient with the ones that have not yet arrived in that place of peace."
-- Grandmother Margaret Behan, Cheyenne Arapaho, 13 Grandmothers

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."
— Mother Theresa (1910-1997)

"Here then, is the problem we present to you, stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war?"
— The Russell-Einstein Manifesto, 1955

 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Challenge

Day 17/365: I am grateful for the challenges that take me out of my comfort zone, stretch me in new directions, make me try things that I might not otherwise try, and give me confidence when I meet the challenge successfully.


More thoughts about challenge:

"Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth...
Tame the dragon and the gift is yours."

-- Noela Evans




"Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful."
-- Joshua J. Marine

"That we are either moving toward life or away from it is the heart of the human drama. To stand up and fight through the conflicts, confrontations, and disappointments we all encounter is the heroic challenge."
-- Dara Marks, Inside Story

 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Poetry

Day 16/365: I am grateful for poetry and the almost magical way words and meaning flow together into a stream that takes you to unexpected places.

More thoughts on poetry:

"Poetry is the voice of the soul." 
 -- Carolyn Forche

Poetry is like "dancing on dynamite."
-- Hart Crane

"Poetry begins in delight and ends in wisdom."
  -- Robert Frost

"If I read a book [and] it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me I know *that* is poetry.  

If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know *that* is poetry.  These are the only ways I know.  Is there any other way?"
-- Emily Dickinson
Click here to order.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Is There a Limit to Gratitude






Squaw Weed
"Things happen. Things that we want and things that we don’t want. Being grateful does not ensure that we will live an easy life. It does ensure that we are alive, feeling the moment we are in."

 This thought comes from one of my articles that was published by The Change Blog, which offers new posts every week about happiness, mindfulness, and all things related to change. Check it out.

The question about limits to gratitude invites us to look at all aspects of our lives, the joyful and the painful to see what lessons or "gifts" come with those life events that are difficult or challenging. Read the full article here.



Click here to order.




Daily Gratitude: Beauty

Day 15/365: I am grateful for beauty in all its many forms: art, nature, loving faces, movement of the human body or an angry sea, steam rising from a cup of tea.

More thoughts on beauty:

"Beauty is not a luxury, nor an art. 
It is the soul's breath of life." 

 -- Joyce Wycoff

"Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul." 
-- Alice Walker

“What can we say beyond Wow, in the presence of glorious art, in music so magnificent that it can't have originated solely on this side of things? Wonder takes our breath away, and makes room for new breath.”
― Anne Lamott, Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers


Click here to order.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Sight

Day 14/365: I am grateful for sight, being able to see the faces of people I care about, the vibrant colors of flowers, sunshine lighting up the leaves in the morning, words on the page that turn into stories that entertain me or information that enlightens me.

"Sunlight doesn’t just hit you. When you open the window, the sunlight hits everything in your house.

When you open the window of learning, you don’t learn just the specific thing you are trying to see. You begin to see everything that is now lit.

The real art is paying attention to all of the things you can now see. 

Now that the sunlight is pouring in."
--James Altucher, entrepreneur, investor and best-selling author of “Choose Yourself” and “Choose Yourself Guide To Wealth”

“To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower 
Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour.”
--William Blake

Click here to order.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Walking with Missy

Day 13/365: I am grateful for my daily walks with Missy, for her willingness to explore and for her stubbornness when she wants to go a different way and show me things I might not otherwise see.

"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.
-- Lao Tzu


"The walk is the important thing.  I can sleep on a problem without finding a solution.  But when I'm walking, an idea will come to me."
-- Naguib Mahfouz

Click here to order.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Words

Day 12/365: How grateful I am for words. Words that I read, words I write, words that pass back and forth between friends, family, neighbors and nations.

More thoughts on words:

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless."       
  --Mother Teresa

“Words are events, they do things, change things.”
-- Ursula K. Le Guin

"Mere air, these words, but delicious to hear." -- words found on a Grecian cup, attributed to the Greek poet Sappho.poem, poetry.

"The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words."
-- William Gass

“Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Click here to order.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Wonder

Day 11/365: I am so grateful to live in a wonder-filled Universe that keeps me in a child-like state of awe and appreciation.

"We are all born with a sense of wonder.
Wonder and awe allow us to transcend the ordinary.
 

Wonder inspires us to open our hearts and our minds to engender gratitude."
-- Louis Schwartzberg

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Being Grateful for All the Things Climate Change Can't Change

Monster storms, rising waters, methane laced sink holes. ... It's easy to be terrified, to feel powerless, to abandon hope.

Indigenous people and Australian kayakers protest coal.
Josh Fox, documentary maker of award-winning Gasland fame (a must see if you have any questions about the fracking or the value of natural gas), has a new documentary that asks us to reframe the question from "What can we do?" to "What are we so grateful for that we will do whatever we can to save it?"

Fox asks, "What are the things that climate change cannot destroy? What are those parts of us that are so deep that no storm can take them away?"

The documentary shows Pacific Islanders (who are already losing villages to the rising seas) shouting "We are not drowning; we are fighting!" as they head out in their hand-carved canoes to join the blockade of one of the world's largest coal ports in Australia. Click here to watch the clip about this documentary. 
Click here to view the official trailer.

 The documentary is available from iTunes for $9.99.








Click here to read more about this protest.



Daily Gratitude: Wisdom

Day 10/365: I am grateful to be a minnow swimming in the river of wisdom.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Grass Valley

Day 9/365: I am so grateful to be able to live in a place of great natural beauty and an abundance of beauty, music, art and friendly, engaged people. Life is good.

"I know for sure that appreciating whatever shows up for you in life changes your personal vibration. You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you're aware of all you have and not focusing on your have-nots."
-- Oprah Winfrey







Goodreads Book Giveaway

Gratitude Miracles by Joyce Wycoff

Gratitude Miracles

by Joyce Wycoff

Giveaway ends September 24, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Thursday, August 25, 2016

World Gratitude Day Challenge - Celebrate Miracles


"The miracle is not to walk on water.  
The miracle is to walk on the green earth 
in the present moment, 
to appreciate the peace and beauty 
that are available now."  
  -- Thich Nhat Hanh  
Gratitude is good for you.

Recent studies prove that being grateful has a beneficial effect on happiness, health and fitness, relationships, success, energy and many other aspects of a vibrant life. There's even a close relationship to "miracles." (See definition below.)

World Gratitude Day, September 21, was officially started by the United Nations Meditation Group in 1977. It was created to encourage people to celebrate:
  • Life in all its many forms
  • Family, friends, neighbors, co-workers
  • Opportunities, experiences, adventures
  • Personal skills, talents, successes and failures
  • The beauty around us, natural and man-made
  • The things that make life safer, easier, more fun
To honor this day, we're going to see how many miracles we can create before World Gratitude Day. We're defining miracles not as walking on water or winning the lottery but as those unexpected delights that make you smile and say "Wow!"

     The World Gratitude Day 
Create Miracles Now -
Celebrate Miracles on September 21st

Start now to think about what you are truly grateful for. Studies show that rather than just making a list of things you’re grateful for, it is more beneficial to think and write about ONE thing at a time, listing 3-5 reasons why you’re grateful for that one thing.
Since gratitude and miracles are closely related, let's pay close attention to the miracles that show up in your life. The more we pay attention to them, the more they seem to multiply. How many will show up in our lives?

To create your miracles, you can grab a Gratitude Miracles journal at amazon.com … or you can simply record your gratitudes in any journal … or on little slips of paper you put into a gratitude jar. Do it your way! 
Pay close attention to the miracles
and share them in the comments section below.  
 First be grateful,
Then watch for miracles. 
Invite your friends and family ...
the more miracles, the merrier!
Note: The one thing per day format is used in Gratitude Miracles, the 5-minute journal that could change everything! It also gives you quotes, prompts and simple tasks to help you recognize gratitude all around you. 



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Gratitude Miracles by Joyce Wycoff

Gratitude Miracles

by Joyce Wycoff

Giveaway ends September 24, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Daily Gratitude: Gift of Art

Day 8/365 - I am so grateful for photography and Photoshop that allows me to play with images in a way that sometimes takes my breath away.

Originally a piece of a burned shed in Harmony, CA, this image morphed into an image titled "Into the Mystery."

An opportunity to talk about about the Gratitude Miracles journal pushed it into the field of gratitude and this morning it continued its journey into a new incarnation called "Pieces of Peace" which I hope will be accepted by Pacifica Graduate Institute as part of their Pondering Peace celebration early next month.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Public Art


Bloglovin'
Day 7/365 - I am so grateful for public art. This bit of beautiful whimsy was found in Morro Bay, CA. Unfortunately, the artist is unknown. If anyone knows him or her, please let me know.

Goodreads Giveaway

10 copies of Gratitude Miracles, the 5-minute journal that could change everything! are being given away through Goodreads.

Books live and die by reviews (or the lack thereof) so we hope the recipients of these free copies will share their feedback through reviews on Goodreads and amazon.com.

Click here to enter the giveaway.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Ten Fingers of Gratitude

 I love this idea ... something easy to do while I walk and a natural fit with the Gratitude Miracles journal. It comes from Marianne Power, who writes in Irish Independent:
This weekend, in a brilliant book called Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World, by Mark Williams and Danny Penman, I found another gratitude exercise, called 'The 10-finger gratitude exercise'. To do the exercise, once a day bring to mind 10 things which you are grateful for, counting them on your fingers. It is important to get to 10 things, even if you have to think about it.
I'm finding that counting on my fingers is just enough to push me past the obvious gratitudes but not so many that it feels like a chore.

If you try it, let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Lynne Twist on Gratitude

Click here to watch video.
This short video from Lynne Twist, Founder of the Soul of Money Institute, explains how profound transformation comes from practicing the two branches of gratitude.

Lynne has worked with over 100,000 people in 50 countries in board retreats, workshops, keynote presentations and one-on-one coaching in the arenas of fundraising with integrity, conscious philanthropy, strategic visioning and having a healthy relationship with money.

A longer presentation comes from a speech at a Bioneers conference where founder says, "No one on this planet has done more to educate, inspire and empower people and organizations to align their financial resources with what they value most."

Click here to hear the Bioneers presentation.
Here is a brief overview of her presentation:

Rooted in a profound encounter with the Achuar people in a remote region of the Ecuadorian Amazon, The Pachamama Alliance seeks to change the dream of the modern world and bring forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet. Lynne Twist, visionary Co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance, explores the origin, evolution and scope of this cutting edge group's work, including its most recent accomplishments assisting the Ecuadorian government to embed the rights of nature in its national constitution, the first in the world to do so.

Central ethic of Pachamana Alliance, the elders told us: "If you're coming to help us, don't waste your time. If you're coming because you know your liberation is bound up with ours, then let's work together."

The most important work they told us to do was to "change the dream of the modern world."





Monday, August 15, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Wonder

Day 11/365 - I am so grateful for the unending wonders of the world that keep me in childlike awe.

"We are all born with a sense of wonder.
Wonder and awe allow us to transcend the ordinary.
 

Wonder inspires us to open our hearts and our minds to engender gratitude."
-- Louis Schwartzberg
The book is out (click here to get yours). It has already attracted six amazing reviews on amazon. There is a generous amount of info showing on the "Look inside" view.

Customer Review Snippets:

"I've worked with gratitude journals sporadically over many years and I always experience results that make me wonder why I don't do this every day. It's like daily exercise: even though we know how important it is, and yes it makes a difference, it's still hard to do every day. Joyce Wycoff has put this book together with a design, a process, and forms, that make this a pleasure to experience." G.L. Snead

 "Finally, a journal to express my gratitude for my life and all that surrounds me. In my first few days of using this lovely journal, miracles started showing up." Barbara Muller 

"This is the easiest gratitude journal I've ever tried to use. It really does only take five minutes but I find myself spending more time reading wonderful quote and research and even following through into the websites offered as further study." Dolores Forsythe 

"I just cracked the journal open today and made my first entry! I'm excited to use it to develop a *practice* of gratitude. The research in the area is amazing and I'm inspired to keep it going and watch the miracles flow." Andrea Woodward 

"Wow! This goes way beyond the worn advice, "Count your blessings." I’ve been committed to doing that for years. This journal offers guidance and encouragement to celebrate a pattern in your life events. This author boosts you from acceptance to anticipation! No matter your philosophy or faith - try it!" Amazon customer

"What a well organized and easy to use journal. I love the way it’s organized around the benefits of gratitude and incorporates research on how and why gratitude is such a powerful practice." Patricia Conwell