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

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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

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Journal Cycle 13: Forgiveness

Gratitude Miracles ... the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is organized into 13 4-week cycles to give you plenty of time to maximize the results of the practice.

Each cycle begins with a short snippet about the featured benefit of that cycle. This is the snippet for Cycle 13: Forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not a simple act, nor generally an easy one. Marina Cantacuzino, founder of The Forgiveness Project, says,
"All too often we sanitize and simplify forgiveness, when in fact it’s an arduous, exhausting task — messy, risky and unpredictable.”
For some people, forgiveness is an interpersonal act and requires remorse and a request for forgiveness. For others it’s part of a personal, spiritual journey. Author Tony Wilkinson states,
"This process (of forgiveness) is part of your inner life, your inner journey and doesn’t depend on them (perpetrators), which is why insisting on remorse before forgiveness puts the power in the wrong hands."
This journal addresses the inner journey of forgiveness and does not take the hard work of forgiving lightly.

Special thanks to the following for their beautiful thoughts on forgiveness:

Gratitude Miracles, the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is available at amazon.com. Click Here.

Journal Cycle 12: Optimism & Generosity

Gratitude Miracles ... the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is organized into 13 4-week cycles to give you plenty of time to maximize the results of the practice.

Each cycle begins with a short snippet about the featured benefit of that cycle. This is the snippet for Cycle 12: Optimism & Generosity.

Christopher Bergland in Psychology Today states,
“Recent studies have shown that generosity and gratitude go hand in hand, both at a psychological and neurobiological level. Generosity and gratitude are separate sides of the same coin. They are symbiotic.
"Fortunately, each of us has the free will to kickstart the neurobiological feedback loop—and upward spiral of well-being—that is triggered by small acts of generosity and gratitude each and every day of our lives.
"Why not practice a small act of generosity today?”
Special thanks to the following for their thoughts on gratitude and optimism and generosity:
Pursuit-of-Happines.com
Martha Beck
Fast Company magazine

Gratitude Miracles, the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is available at amazon.com. Click Here.

Journal Cycle 11: Passion & Purpose

Gratitude Miracles ... the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is organized into 13 4-week cycles to give you plenty of time to maximize the results of the practice.

Each cycle begins with a short snippet about the featured benefit of that cycle. This is the snippet for Cycle 11: Passion & Purpose.






"When we brim, when we shimmer,
when we glow with love for something, anything,
we become conduits of magic,
and we ourselves become gifts to the world."

-- Melissa Studdard, poet

Researchers focused on developing gratitude and purpose among adolescents report,
"Whereas gratitude involves recognizing all the good things that someone receives from the world, purpose entails considering how one can contribute to the world around them. 
“Indeed, we find these constructs work in tandem; when people feel grateful, they naturally tend to turn towards thinking about how they can give back. In addition, expressing gratitude strengthens relationships, which can then help to guide and support the development of purpose. 
“Therefore, we believe that cultivating a deeper sense of gratitude will help individuals to find a sense of purpose in life."
From: Fostering Gratitude and Purpose among Adolescents
We are a team of researchers at Claremont Graduate University (http://sites.cgu.edu/bronk/) and California State University, Dominguez Hills (http://www.csudhnews.com/2012/09/bono-giacomo/). This project is generously funded by the John Templeton Foundation, in collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.

Gratitude Miracles, the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is available at amazon.com. Click Here.

Journal Cycle 10: Resilience

Gratitude Miracles ... the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is organized into 13 4-week cycles to give you plenty of time to maximize the results of the practice.

Each cycle begins with a short snippet about the featured benefit of that cycle. This is the snippet for Cycle 10: Resilience.

Canadian life coach Ray Samuels defines resilience as “functioning with a sense of purpose, meaning and forward momentum in the face of trauma.”

An example of that kind of trauma was featured in the commencement speech to UC Berkeley graduates in 2016. Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, told her story of the unexpected death of her husband, her family’s grief, and what she learned in the aftermath.
“Dave’s death changed me in very profound ways. I learned about the depths of sadness and the brutality of loss. But I also learned that when life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again. I learned that in the face of the void—or in the face of any challenge—you can choose joy and meaning.”
See more about Sheryl Sandberg’s often humorous and tech-savvy speech here.
See more from Ray Samuels here. 
Special Thanks to:
  •  Martin Seligman, Founder and Director of the Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania 
  • Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology
  • Dr. Joseph Mercola, health expert

Gratitude Miracles, the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is available at amazon.com. Click Here.

Journal Cycle 9: Creativity

Gratitude Miracles ... the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is organized into 13 4-week cycles to give you plenty of time to maximize the results of the practice.

Each cycle begins with a short snippet about the featured benefit of that cycle. This is the snippet for Cycle 9: Creativity.

Expressing gratitude for everything in our lives opens us up, makes us look at things in a different way, noticing details, understanding the interrelationships. It keeps us in the moment. We can’t worry about an unpaid bill when we’re thinking about all the ways we’re grateful for the new rose in our garden.

That kind of attention is fundamental to problem-solving and creativity. The positive regard that we feel when we’re practicing gratitude makes us see things in new ways. A well-worn story in creativity tells us about a man walking through a field of burrs. Rather than rant and rail about the discomfort and inconvenience of being stuck, he thought, “Wow! Look how those little hooks catch my socks.” And, thus, velcro was born.

The more we practice gratitude, the more we will notice details and connections that will lead to ideas. And, while all ideas are gifts, not all of them are good ones. Honor them when they come, but be prepared to sort the keepers from the losers.

Special thanks to:
Gratitude Miracles, the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is available at amazon.com. Click Here.

Journal Cycle 8: Contentment

Gratitude Miracles ... the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is organized into 13 4-week cycles to give you plenty of time to maximize the results of the practice.

Each cycle begins with a short snippet about the featured benefit of that cycle. This is the snippet for Cycle 8: Contentment.

It is easy to be grateful for what we have.

The harder question is how to be content with what we don't have. To say, "This is enough.” Being grateful for every aspect of our lives creates a pathway to contentment.

Joshua Becker at BecomingMinimalist.com says, “Gratitude provides proper understanding of our place in the world. Gratitude is the feeling and expression of thankfulness for the actions of others that are costly to them and beneficial to us.
“By definition, gratitude requires humility. It requires us to admit we have been the recipient of something we did not deserve. And it calls us to admit there are no entirely self-made men or women. 
“Gratitude opens the door to contentment. It pushes our praise to those who rightly deserve it. It causes us to focus on the good things we already have regardless of our present circumstances. It improves our well-being in almost every regard. As a result, it is the surest pathway to contentment.”
Gratitude Miracles, the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is available at amazon.com. Click Here.

Journal Cycle 7: Wonder

Click here to see the amazing video from Louis Schwartzberg.
Gratitude Miracles ... the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is organized into 13 4-week cycles to give you plenty of time to maximize the results of the practice.

Each cycle begins with a short snippet about the featured benefit of that cycle. This is the snippet for Cycle 7: Wonder.

One of the most popular gratitude quotes comes from G. K. Chesterton (shown on Week 2). One of his that is not as well known, but is equally great is:
“You say grace before meals.
"All right.
“But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”
 The American Chesterton Society says he was the greatest writer of the 20th century because he was also the greatest thinker of the 20th century.

Obviously he steeped himself in gratitude.

Gratitude Miracles, the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is available at amazon.com. Click Here.

Journal Cycle 6: Connection

Gratitude Miracles ... the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is organized into 13 4-week cycles to give you plenty of time to maximize the results of the practice.

Each cycle begins with a short snippet about the featured benefit of that cycle. This is the snippet for Cycle 6: Connection.

We are part of an interconnected world ... connection to ourselves, to each other, to the world of plants and animals, to the inanimate world of oceans and mountains, rocks and clouds. When we feel gratitude for all of those elements, we build our sense of connection and our sense of peace and belonging in the world.

Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence says this about practicing gratitude: “Gratitude isn’t just an emotion that happens along, but a virtue we can cultivate. Think of it as something you practice as you might meditation or yoga.

“Gratitude practice begins by paying attention. Notice all the good things you normally take for granted. Did you sleep well last night? Did someone at work or on the street treat you with courtesy? Have you caught a glimpse of the sky, with its sun and clouds, and had a moment of peace?
“It also involves acknowledging that difficult and painful moments are instructive and you can be grateful for them as well. Directing our attention this way blocks feelings of victimhood.”

Gratitude Miracles, the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is available at amazon.com. Click Here.

Journal Cycle 5: Energy

Gratitude Miracles ... the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is organized into 13 4-week cycles to give you plenty of time to maximize the results of the practice.

Each cycle begins with a short snippet about the featured benefit of that cycle. This is the snippet for Cycle 5: Enhanced Energy.

Gratitude shifts our focus to the present moment. Adela Rubio, a “deep dive mentor,” states, “Even though the actions, or experiences you might feel grateful for occurred in the past, the energy of gratitude, focuses in the present moment. The present moment is where everything IS! It connects you to what’s true, to the dynamic aliveness of right now… the best place to BE!”

Abraham Maslow stated that, "The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness."

Gratitude helps us stay in the present and, therefore, be healthier mentally and have more energy for the things we want to do in life.

Special thanks to:

Gratitude Miracles, the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is available at amazon.com. Click Here.

Journal Cycle 4: Success

Gratitude Miracles ... the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is organized into 13 4-week cycles to give you plenty of time to maximize the results of the practice.

Each cycle begins with a short snippet about the featured benefit of that cycle. This is the snippet for Cycle 4: Success.

Gratitude leads to abundance thinking which leads to success.

Dr. Joseph Mercola states, “Science tells us that people who are thankful for what they have are happier and reach their goals with greater ease.

“Your future health and happiness depends largely on the thoughts you think today. So each moment of every day is an opportunity to turn your thinking around, thereby helping or hindering your ability to think and feel more positively in the very next moment. Starting and/or ending each day by thinking of something you're grateful for is one way to keep your mind on the right track.”

Gratitude Miracles, the 5-minute journal that could change everything! is available at amazon.com. Click Here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Gratitude After Loss: Sheryl Sandberg's Commencement Speech

One of the treasures found along the path of creating the Gratitude Miracles journal is Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook. Sheryl is everything you would think a high-powered executive woman should be: smart, energetic, organized, efficient and effective.

In addition to her corporate duties, she is author of a best-selling organization book, Lean In, and founder of the non-profit organization Lean In, developed to help women "accomplish amazing things" together. However, the focus of this post is not her life or accomplishments but the role death played in changing her life.

While on vacation in Mexico, Sheryl's husband had a heart attack and died. A little over a year later, she addressed UC Berkeley's graduating class in a commencement speech about resilience. It is a brilliant, sometimes humorous and tech-savvy speech which offers important lessons to the students who heard it and to all of us who read it (available here) or watch it (available here).

Sheryl tells the story of her husband's death, the grief that followed for her children and herself, and the lessons she learned from the trauma.
I learned that when life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again. I learned that in the face of the void—or in the face of any challenge—you can choose joy and meaning.
Citing the work of Martin Seligman, Founder and Director of the Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania, she explains his three P's which need to be avoided in order to bounce back from trauma. Briefly, these are:
Personalization ... the belief that we are personally at fault for whatever has happened.
Pervasiveness ... the belief that an event will affect every aspect of your life.
Permanence ... the belief that the trauma, sadness, failure, disappointment will last forever.
Sheryl expresses a feeling that surprised and confused me for a long time after my own husband's death when she says:
It is the greatest irony of my life that losing my husband helped me find deeper gratitude— gratitude for the kindness of my friends, the love of my family, the laughter of my children.
This is definitely a commencement speech worth reading or watching.

PLUS: If you would like to test your personal resiliency, go to: ResiliencyQuiz.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Wonder: Gratitude Revealed

Click here to watch video.
Don't miss this breathtaking 2-minute video from Louis Schwartzberg on Wonder.

"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

Gratitude Revealed: Energy

Energy: part of the remarkable video series from Gratitude Revealed
Click here to watch video.