Gratitude…

Today I have a short story for you…

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which read, “I am blind, please help.”

There were only a few coins in the hat – spare change from folks as they hurried past.

A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words.

Then he put the sign back in the boy’s hand so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy.

That afternoon, the man who had changed the sign returned to see how things were.

The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?”

The man said, “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.” I wrote, “Today is a beautiful day, but I cannot see it.”

Both signs spoke the truth. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind, while the second sign conveyed to everyone walking by how grateful they should be to see…


When your life seems full of troubles, it seems difficult to maintain an attitude of gratitude, doesn’t it? All we see are our problems, like a blackened storm cloud casting a dark shadow over our lives.

And the times when everything just seems to be going smoothly? We often take these precious moments for granted too, don’t we? Caught up in the bliss, comfort, and familiarity of it all, we can simply forget to be thankful.

So what, then, is gratitude?

Simply put, gratitude is a habit. It’s a way of looking at the world and all the good things in it with a feeling of appreciation, regardless of whether or not your current situation is to your liking.

Gratitude is a heart-centered approach to being at peace with yourself and with all you have. When you practice this feeling of gratitude, it attracts even MORE things into your life for which to be grateful.

Go ahead, try it out right now. What or who do you have in your life to be thankful for? 🙂

 

 

 

 

Nick Ortner

Holiday hints from James Van Praagh

“You are fettered,” said Scrooge, trembling. “Tell me why?”
“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

 

Stressing at the thought of spending time with your extended family over the holidays? For many, the dynamic can be disappointingly predictable. Family situations tend to trigger emotions – an

offhand comment from a parent or sibling can cause a cascade of painful memories, insecurities and emotions. This year, I urge you to treat these trigger points as opportunities to break dysfunctional behavior patterns that (like Jacob Marley’s chains) hold you back from approaching the holidays – and every day – with joy and love.

Experience your own holiday breakthrough with these four simple steps:

1) Manage Your Expectations. Thoughts and words are powerful things, so don’t set yourself up for failure by imagining what could go wrong. If you anticipate that your sister will make a snarky comment about your outfit or your father will grumble that the turkey you slaved over is dry, the law of attraction will deliver those things right to you. Instead, imagine how you want things to go – you’re more likely to attract a good result! But don’t expect one day to heal the wounds of a lifetime. That leads us to step 2.

2) Stay in the moment and take things at face value. If a friend or relative is being polite and helpful today, don’t look back to a time when they were not. Also, don’t take things personally. A friend asked me for advice one year because she was considering “uninviting” her favorite cousin and her husband from Thanksgiving dinner because the husband’s behavior was “offensive.” When I asked her to describe the behavior, she explained that he didn’t engage in conversation, ate very little, and never complimented the food. I advised her to try not taking anything he did personally – assume he wasn’t hungry, was shy, had food allergies, whatever it took to coexist with him so she could continue to share the space with her cousin. After the day was over, she called me and said “Everything went fine! We ignored the fact that Bill was quiet and didn’t eat much, and just let him be. After a while he actually seemed comfortable, and after dinner he opened up to us more than he ever had before.”

3) Ask yourself – “What is the lesson here?” Create a new tradition for yourself and declare Thanksgiving the time to give gratitude for lessons your family has taught you. If Dad can’t help himself from criticizing your choice of careers, be thankful that his actins have forced you to be strong in your determination to live your own life. If your sister acts like a spoiled brat, silently thank her for teaching you how be an adult and take the high road.

4) Remember to push the pause button. Without anticipating them, be mindful of your triggers. If they occur, hit the pause button. Stop, take a few breaths, and look at the entire situation. See it for what it is and ask yourself how to use this OPPORTUNITY to break a past behavioral pattern. Don’t react the way you always have. Instead pause, look for the lesson, and send that person your love and compassion.

With mindfulness, unconditional love and the intention of breaking old patterns you can fill this season with light – and I know you’ll enjoy watching friends and family experiencing the ripple effect of your love and compassion!

Happiness

 

Happiness is the natural outcome of being aligned with Essence, our true self, which is experienced when we are fully present in the moment.Cascades-Track-New-England-NP-NSW

The key to happiness is being very awake and aware of what is really happening in every moment rather than being absorbed in thoughts about the past, the future, your life, other people, and the many other thoughts we tend to get lost in, which don’t add to our life or enhance our experience of life but, rather, detract from the potential joy, peace, and contentment inherent in each moment. Happiness is in our control, since where we focus our attention is in our control. When we focus it on what the mind is telling us, we suffer; when we focus it on what is real and true in this moment, we experience happiness, joy, peace, and contentment.

The present moment is all that exists since the past and future are simply thoughts about the past and the future. But because we are programmed to pay attention to our thoughts, we often fail to notice what is actually going on now. Most people live in a mental world. When we drop out of this mental world into the Now, we experience a depth, a richness, and a joy and peace that feel sacred. This is the experience of our true self or Essence. So, when we talk about being in the Now, we are also talking about this experience of Essence.

Whatever you are doing, enjoy it! You have another option, of course, which is to not enjoy it. Notice what keeps you from enjoying whatever you are doing. It’s your thoughts, isn’t it? Even if you are experiencing pain, for instance, or something unpleasant, like going to the dentist, if you don’t listen to any negative thoughts, fears, complaints, and desires related to that, you won’t suffer. You will just have the experience.

You can go through life this way if you want, but when you are not fully in contact with what you are doing, you miss out on the potential joy and pleasure in an experience. Any experience can be interesting since you have never had it before. And any experience can be enjoyed because when you immerse yourself in it, you lose the false self (the sense of I or me) and discover the true self, which is always enjoying life. Essence is always in joy. And from Essence’s standpoint, every moment is an opportunity to serve life and love, which is another source of joy. What if you approached each moment as an opportunity to experience, serve, or love?

For more information visit:
> 60 Meditations for Greater Happiness

Taken from an article written by Gina Lake, with thanks.

Little steps…

is-1

As I sit here on the fourth anniversary of your death my darling little girl, I look dispassionately upon myself, the shattered prism of me.  I, as if occupying an outer body person look at this stranger who on the one hand can sit and write so unemotionally yet who also contains a part body that can blink to enable it to see the person reduced to tears bereft of all emotion but utter desolation.   Blink again to see the strong person many others perceive, flash again to see the scared and frightened rabbit person peering in fear of the world from her burrow and I wonder will me ever come back again and do I even know who I am anymore.  Each part of the prism itself shattered in sharp shards upon the floor of earth.

Four years ago almost to the hour as I held your beautiful self, trapped in a  frail body ravaged by twelve months of chemotherapy and radiation and unspeakable tortures and pain, I did not know how my world would be forever changed and distorted beyond measure.   I am, at this time outwardly showing a small window of my pain and inwardly screaming the primal scream of the mother who realises that she will no longer see you again as her vibrant, loving child.    A mother utterly defeated by an enemy she cannot fight.   A force that no matter how much love there is, it cannot stop the final closing of your eyes, the shallow breaths, and the eventual barely perceptible release of your body from its earthly shell held so tightly in a frightened despairing mother’s arms releasing you to what and where she does not know.  The final act of torture that began in her mind a few hours ago when the doctors declare their inability to do any more for you, for us.

A part of me can look back now with pride, watching our respective strengths in the face of the inevitable.  Watching you tidying up your fifteen short years upon this earth writing thank you letters to all the staff thanking them for trying so hard to save you.   A letter for me to open later.   I watch you and I struggling to understand what is happening but at the same instant knowing that it is merely a matter of time before we begin that final journey that we will do together as mother and daughter.   I cannot go back to some of those hours locked behind steel doors that no one but you and I can see today, the trauma now held in the grip of my inner recesses of my mind.  I think of the horror I see in your sweet face when I ask you if there is anything you wish me to give your friends and your reply a maturity beyond your years, “Oh no, mummy, people judge their worth by what they are given.”  On the one hand, I hear that natural expression of yours “mummy” and the part of you that has never changed my little girl, and on the contrary, I listen to the words so wise that trip from your lips.  I see you write down for your professor to read how “sorry you are that you cannot give him the gift of saving your life”.  I take an opportunity to go out of your room, to gather my strength only to see the devastating effect your impending death has on those who have been so much a presence in our lives.  The professor you adore, in his private world and tears, the doctors, the nurses all so evidently aware that the curtain of earthly life is soon to close.  I can no longer dwell upon that last hours scene for the risk that I will be propelled into a state in which others will take control of me. 

I am alone now, more than I ever have been in my life physically, mentally and emotionally and even now cannot let myself go for fear that I will lose me altogether and begin the walk of the living dead.   I turn on the “coping me” that part of me I use, to get through many days and nights and that I now use to complete this writing.  I will shut tight again the doors that hold the trauma of that time, again close them to remain known only to myself and you.  I live in fear that I will slip again into that state of catatonia that rendered me incapable that first month after you died.  That state that stopped me from being able to bury you for many, many weeks.   That state that I  snapped out of by rude, unkind people demanding to know when I was “going to lay you to rest.”  The said and unsaid pressure for me to “get on with life”, the cruel taunt that life goes on without you.

Four years later I can say that I have plumbed the depths of utter desolation and flirted with my death.   Pills piled in front of me, not once but several times I try, but I am not to have that natural release despite my strenuous attempts.  No one knows how many times I have tried and not succeeded how frustrated and painful life is for me.  How many times I have lain for days in pill-induced sleep another attempt thwarted by forces unknown for I am sure each time I have taken enough to send me on my way.

You asked me once, a long time ago what I thought happens to us when we die.  The depth of my reply shows how little I had thought about it.  I had not thought of it at all really, except as I said,” I would like to think that there are more than three score years and ten.”  I came from a dysfunctional family who warred over religion.  I, in turn, looked the other way when it came to religion and spirituality and lumped that part of other people’s life into a box.   I was not interested in pursuing it until I had to, if ever had to, being so sure in my thinking that it was a moot point.  Mindful only that I had you so late in life that I had to make sure only that you be prepared to live without me.

Sometime in the past four years and I can honestly say I do not know when my mother’s instincts again kicked in.    I became desperate to find out where you were, were you safe and was there something I was not doing that was thwarting your attempts to keep your end of the bargain that we had made.  The promise that we had made to each other on that last day that “if there were a way to communicate we would find it.”  Instinctively we must have known that there was more ‘to life’ than this to make this pact with each other.  I see that now so clearly.  I see also so clearly how my  lack of knowledge and grief was holding up our path.

I remember that it was an aha moment at the time, but when that moment happened remains a mystery of the past four years.  One operates on automatic, in a somewhat fog of daily living as I am sure you the reader can imagine that envelops the parent who has to bury their child.  A state that makes them a walking, seemingly okay shell.

But yes, it was an aha moment that there is a difference between religion and spirituality.  I had spent my time since you left reading, studying all I could, about death, life,  the religions of the world, the worlds of spirit, the world not known to me at the time you left and it was a significant point at which I changed in my grieving.   No longer was I wallowing in my pain, rocking at the mercy of emotions.  Pulling myself each time from the depths of what I cannot describe in words but which another parent who buries their child would know. Slowly no longer did I feel helpless without hope. 

I have learnt that the religions of the world to help in spiritual matters are weak support for any but those who do not seek proof, those who are content, to follow without question.  I know I have tested their representatives and words to the extreme as indeed I have tested many “schools of thought”.

I have learnt that there is no easy way for a grieving mother to have answered that very, very basic need of hers to know where her child was in a definitive manner.   I also know it should not be like this.   In general terms, death is to be feared,  seen as final, just as I thought four years ago when I held you, my daughter in my arms.   I very nearly lost my mind and close to losing my life because I did not have what every person should know without question that death is not the end.

Our common usage words departed, deceased, and dead have a common connotation of The End. We really should be the using the most accurate terms such as graduate, transition, and cross over. 

I have found that there is life after bodily death.  I have proved beyond doubt that I can communicate with my beautiful daughter and that there are ways that other parents and families can do the same with their beloved children.    I have found solid, irrefutable evidence that we do live after death that we do not lay in some cold place waiting to be “called.”  I have learned that there is proof out there and available if you need it.  I have also learned how hard it is to find for someone in my position.   I believe it should not be so, so hard, so very hard for grieving people to find some peace.   I think it should be common knowledge and accepted that there is more that we can do between the worlds.

I believe that if you and I my darling can show just one other person the path then our pain and trauma will have been worth it.  To give a gift of peace to another mother or father that yes your child does live on and “is with you more than you can ever realise and this is how you can communicate” would be a gift worth giving indeed. 

Dancing with spirit…

Well, what an exciting few weeks I have had. No doubt if you have children in the higher school years conversation may turn as it did for Emma and myself as to what or how is the gap year to be spent. You see Emma was a brilliant scholar and was top of her class more times than not and so it was a given by her and myself that University would figure in the plans. One plan though was firm. The Gap year. Sadly Emma never got to her “Gap Year” passing as she did at 15. But her mother did.

So what were our plans together for the Gap Year. I would be taking a year off work, and together we planned to volunteer at projects around the world. One of the attributes that made Emma different from her peers was her mind and heart. We had already travelled to India together, and we were constant travellers of our country. But to Emma, this was a way to give back before settling down to a 4-6 years study program and something she wanted to share with her mum.

Although I did not quite make the right year, grieving tends to take over one’s life and has a course of its own, but I have completed a project that I am sure she is mega pleased her her mum did it.

This year is the year of the monkey; I was born in the year of the monkey, so what could be more fitting than to volunteer in a monkey (primate) project. So that is what I did. With the help of an organisation called GoEco who arranged the volunteer placement for me, along with so many other details that accompany such a journey I set off to the far regions of Thailand to volunteer in a primate sanctuary that is primarily home to Gibbons but also has monkeys.

I spent the first week of the three as a cultural week where I learnt about Thailand, history, culture, food, beliefs and general life. I was even a special guest at a long boat/dragon boat races. This honour came with some serious responsibility. I was required to dress in traditional Thai garments and dance with a group of very experienced Thai dancers. I confess I stumbled my way through a nationally televised version of a Thai dance. What an experience! I would never have foreseen me, a shy 60-year-old woman step out and dance in front of so many people. But that is the beauty of travel one gets the chance to do things that are out of the norm and experience life through others eyes.

Deep down I know somewhere in spirit my Emma was also dancing.

3 Power words

 

These thoughts are taken from one of the six books I am currently reading, “Conversations with God” by Neale Walsch book one. The emphases are mine.

 

 

The HIGHEST THOUGHT is always that thought which contains JOY.

 

The CLEAREST WORDS are those words which contain TRUTH.

 

The GRANDEST FEELING is that feeling called LOVE.

 

JOY, TRUTH & LOVE

 

May they be your constant companions on your life walk,  have a blessed day.

 

 

 

Image result for image of a rose

 

 

 

Emma’s Forever-15-Earthday-A Boat Launch

Well, you cannot say we didn’t do our best, in the end, we got them all floating (incoming tide under a full moon), but the candles would not stay alight because of the breeze. We could not do it from the reserve as there was no place to access the water without going in. Far too cold at our ages for getting wet feet. Our first attempt was from the boat ramp, this would have worked fine only there was a log in the way of their progress. Like the intrepid determined women we are, we went to plan b. A carefully thought out one in which we tried to move the log. Now we all know we have to go to the mountain the mountain will not come to us. Nor would a log. Cynthia’s determination was fearless.

I jokingly said oh Em’s probably sitting on the log laughing at us. It was not until we got back home did we see all the orbs and we have an unexplainable light in one photo which I have not shared. There is a particularly nice one with the blue boat surrounded by orbs. Emma’s favourite colour is blue!

So then we decided after being so well prepared for the dark without a torch, we would go to the steps, which we could vaguely see. So off we go after retrieving the boats. Tried lighting them again that was just not going to work, so we sent them off. They worked beautifully, the last photo I took all boats were floating in a line up the mighty river. Now lest you think my photography appalling (you are partly right) my little camera picked up these photos in the pitch black with me aiming at around about the general direction in which they were. So considering the circumstances my little point and shoot did well.

I thank Jenny so much for the hardiness with which she made Em’s boats; you did well Jen thank you. The determination of Debra was evident in the photos which I have in her interests edited out. One does not like to have some things broadcast, but the determination was given to us  by Debra’s unceasing insistence on trying to get a boat to the water with a lighted candle. Thanks to Cynthia’s belief that a log is just a log and can be moved, her positivity unshakeable Cynthia put muscle to the log insisting we could move it, it most likely has been there a hundred or so years and has a well-developed sense of being in its place for eternity. We respected that and moved along to a more congenial set of steps.

I like to think Em and her spirit pals were laughing their heads off and creating too much wind.

I hope that I have helped you to share in our little night at the river celebrating Ems forever 15 Earthday. We do not think we are quite to the standard of the Buddhist Floating Lantern Ceremony, but one has to start small before one can run (or keep a candle lit on a floating boat)

We returned home to share Em’s chocolate Earthday cake, safe in the knowledge that we had done a pretty good job, okay not perfect, and okay photos are a bit how you are going, but at least we gave it a go. The best part of all was we had a great night. Maybe next year we will do something a bit easier like jumping from a plane.

Thank you to all of you, beautiful friends who in some way helped me get through the day, bless you all.

DSCN8071 (2)DSCN8089 (2)DSCN8082 (2)DSCN8100 (2)DSCN8097 (2)DSCN8096 (2)DSCN8109 (2)DSCN8112 (2)DSCN8113 (2)Love & Light

Karyn