Category Archives: being grateful

SerenDestiny #57: A Hundred Days of Summer: Music. Movement. Musings.

“Is not life a hundred times too short for us to become bored?” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Why is it some of us take life for granted when we’re fortunate to be blessed with health, freedom and love?

I think it has a lot to do with routines.

We get up at the same time. Have a quick breakfast or cup of coffee. Go to work. Come home. Have dinner with family, friends or ourselves. Take care of chores, bills, email and social media. Maybe watch some TV. Go to bed.

The downside of routines is it’s easy for life to become … routine.

And life is much too precious to become routine.

So, I’m doing something about it …and inviting you along.

Did you know we have exactly 100 days between now and Labor Day?

Let’s make those 100 days special. Let’s make this a summer to remember … a summer we’ll always remember.

Join me for a HUNDRED DAYS OF SUMMER: MUSIC. MOVEMENT. MUSINGS.

We have our health, freedom, friends and family. We have the big outdoors waiting for us to take advantage of it.

Let’s make the most of them.

Let’s create something special so we look back on Labor Day and smile at the exhilarating abundance we’ve experienced and enjoyed.

I vow (and hope you’ll vow with me) to:

MOVE: Every day I will get out for a fast walk somewhere NEW with my smart-phone, notepad and loyal canine companion, Murphy.

NEW movement is the key. No routine walks around the neighborhood, no working out on the treadmill in our basement or the Stairmaster at the gym.

Let’s move outside in nature and immerse ourselves in these summer days. I live in an incredible lakeside community with forested walking trails and stream parks. I’m going to explore them all.

MUSIC: Every day I will put in a new track on Pandora – which is free and an absolute joy – and sample fresh music.

MUSINGS: Every day I will take a photo of something I notice along the way. When observations turn into Aha’s, revelations or epiphanies about the essential nature of something; I will pause to write it down.

I will report out every day – share an insight and image of my musical and musings and movement – and hope you will too.

I promise to keep these to UNDER 500 words – and ask that you too.

With that said, I’ve got 58 words left so I better get cracking.

MUSIC: Hallelujah Radio on Pandora

MOVEMENT: Around Lake Audubon in Reston, VA

MUSINGS: Image of “Gratitude Bench” – where I go to send up thanks for all that’s right with my world.

Love that there was a life-jacket hanging on the bench. You know what I think?

Gratitude is a spiritual life-jacket that keeps us afloat in emotional storms.

Your turn.

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SerenDestiny® #55: How Do You Really Feel About Happiness?

I’ve heard some people are afraid of success; but it was a new concept to me that some people might also be afraid of happiness.

Really?

That was the startling premise of Dr. Brene’ Brown’s fascinating presentation at a recent Leadership Colloquium at NASA Goddard.

Brene’s TED talk on “The Power of Vulnerability” is one of the top ten most-downloaded TED videos.

After the first 10 minutes of her NASA presentation, it’s easy to understand why.

She’s disarmingly honest about her journey from being a left-brained researcher who only valued bottom-line facts to discovering the transcendent, whole-hearted, free-flowing love that comes from having children.

What she didn’t anticipate is the fear that comes from being a mom.

She describes how she used to stand in her kids’ rooms at night and watch them sleep … and weep.

Why?

She cherished them so much, she was afraid something would happen to them.

She knew this was illogical. They were perfectly healthy, perfectly fine. Yet there she was … miserable.

She started researching why the emotion of happiness seems to be irrevocably tied with fear.

Brene’ told a story that opened our eyes to how common this phenomenon is.

A family is driving to their grandparents’s house for Christmas. The parents are uptight because they’re running late.

The kids, sitting in the back seat, start singing Jingle Bells .

The parents realize how ridiculous they’re being and start singing Jingle Bells along with them.

At this point, Brene’ asked the audience, “And then what happened?”

Guess what the majority said??

“They get in a car accident.”

Is that what you thought?

Do you know what that means?

It means, deep down, you believe happiness is fleeting.

You think happiness is … too good to be true.

If things are going well, it’s only a matter of time before the other shoe drops and something goes wrong.

Arrgghh.

Say it ain’t so.

It gets worse.

In an effort to protect ourselves against the pain we feel when something goes wrong … we prepare ourselves for the heartbreak. We start imagining it so we won’t be blindsided when it happens.

That “failure forecasting” of course sets up a self-fulfilling prophecy which increases the likelihood of something going wrong because that’s what we’re focused on.

When something does go wrong, it proves us “right.” Our worst fears are realized and reinforced. We have even more reasons to worry which sets up an emotionally unhealthy spiral.

We don’t want to be caught off guard by grief so we don’t allow ourselves to enjoy joy. And our envisioning all the things that could go wrong ensure that more things do.

The good news is, we can change this default belief if we choose.

And we need to change this default belief if we want to find and fulfill our SerenDestiny®.

Because SerenDestiny® is leading a life where the light is on in our eyes because we’re doing what we love most and do best.

If, deep down, we’re afraid of loving life because we don’t want to achieve it only to lose it … we avoid it.

So, how do we change these destructive default beliefs?

Instead of steeling ourselves against what could go wrong … we steep ourselves in what’s going right.

We adopt a mantra of “Receive, receive, receive. Revel, revel, revel.”

We choose to appreciate and enjoy good times instead of anticipating they’ll quickly be followed by bad times.

We stop trying to predict or protect ourselves from a potentially hurtful future.

Next time the light is on in your eyes … instead of thinking, “This can’t last,” look around and tell yourself, “Imprint, imprint, imprint.”

Tell yourself, “I welcome this blessing. I savor it. I immerse myself in it.”

As H. L. Mencken said, “We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine.”

How about you? Somewhere along the line, did you learn to be suspicious of happiness lest it be taken away from you? If so, what consequences has that had on your ability to create a life you love?

What are you going to do to change that “too good to be true – waiting for the other shoe to drop mentality?”

What mantra are you going to adopt to welcome loving your life – instead of worrying it won’t last?

Many SerenDestineers have told me they agree with Meister Ekhart’s insight, “If the only prayer we ever said was, ‘Thank you,’ that would be enough.”

From now on, when you’re experiencing good fortune, don’t look a gift source in the mouth.

Simply look around, receive, revel and just say Thank you … and mean it.

Your thoughts, experiences and insights? Please share.

And be sure to check out Dr. Brene Brown’s website and blog. Her insights on how we can be whole-hearted (rather than going through life half-hearted so we don’t get hurt) are brilliant.

http://www.brenebrown.com/

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SerenDestiny #45: How Does Giving AND Receiving Set Your SerenDestiny in Motion?

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“You can give without loving; but you cannot love without giving.” – Amy Carmichael You’ve heard it’s better to give than receive? I don’t think it’s an either/or – I think it’s both. I think it’s better to give AND … Continue reading

SerenDestiny #44: How Gratitude Sets Your SerenDestiny in Motion

“Happiness is gratitude doubled by wonder.” – G.K. Chesterton

As I interview people around the world to discover what contributing factors have helped them lead a life where the light’s on in their eyes; I keep my antenna up for trends.

What beliefs and behaviors do they have in common?

As you can imagine, having the courage of their convictions – a willingness and readiness to act on their own behalf and in their best interests – is one of them.

Another characteristic is being alert to and capitalzing on coincidences. SerenDestineers understand coincidences aren’t accidents – they’re kismet – their best future meeting them halfway.

However THE most consistent characteristic of SerenDestineers is gratitude.

Every single person I’ve met who has wrapped their life around what they love most and do best feels incredibly fortunate for all that’s right with their world.

It’s like the chicken and the egg.

Do they love their life so much because they have a lot to be grateful for – or do they have a lot to be grateful for because they love their life?

Whatever it is … it’s clear that cultivating an attitude of gratitude is a stepping stone to SerenDestiny.

In honor of Thanksgiving, and in honor of this “rising tide that raises all boats” emotion, I’ve collected the 20 best quotes on gratitude.

You might want to print this out and post it where you can see it every day.

You’ve heard the saying “out of sight, out of mind?”

Keeping these quotes “in sight, in mind” can help you keep gratitude top of mind so you stay alert to all that’s right with your world – the hallmark of every SerenDestineer.

Gratitude quote #1: “When you drink the water, remember the well.” – Chinese proverb

Gratitude quote #2: “When I started counting my blessings; my whole life turned around.” – Willie Nelson

Gratitude quote #3: “Make yourself a blessing to someone. Your kind smile or pat on the back just might pull someone back from the edge.” – Carmelia Elliott

Gratitude quote #4: “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ~ William Ward

Gratitude quote #5: “If the only prayer you ever said was ‘Thank you,’ that would be enough.” – Meister Ekhart

Gratitude quote #6: “Look at everything as though you were seeing it for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.” – Betty Smith

Gratitude quote #7: “As we express our gratitude, may we never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

Gratitude quote #8: “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘Thank you?’” – William Arthur Ward

Gratitude quote #9: “I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping green spirits of trees, for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” – e. e. cummings

Gratitude quote #10: “For lack of attention and appreciation; a thousand forms of loveliness elude us every day.” – Evelyn Underhill

Gratitude quote #11: “When you give and carry out acts of kindness you get a wonderful feeling. It is as though something inside your body responds and says, ‘Yes, this is how I ought to feel.’” – Rabbi Harold Kushner

Gratitude quote #12: “One of the very first things I figured out about life is that it’s better to be a grateful person than a grumpy one, because you have to live in the same world either way, and if you’re grateful, you have more fun.” —Barbara Kingsolver

Gratitude quote #13: “Thank you, God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough.” -Garrison Keillor

Gratitude quote #14: “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” – Colette

Gratitude quote #15: “Unless people like you care a whole lot, things aren’t going to get better, they’re not!” – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Gratitude quote #16: “Tell me to what you pay attention, and I will tell you who you are.” – Jose Ortega y Gasset

Gratitude quote #17: “What if you gave someone a gift and they didn’t thank you for it. Would you be likely to give them another? Life is the same way. If you want to attract more blessings, you must appreciate the ones you already have.” – Ralph Marston

Gratitude quote #18: “I didn’t realize all that was going on and never noticed. Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.” – Emily in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town

Gratitude quote #19: “You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before I open a book, and before sketching, painting, swimming, walking, playing, dancing and before I dip the pen in the ink.” – G. K Chesterton

Gratitude quote #20:
“Normal day, let me aware of the treasure you are.
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
Let me hold you while I may; for it may not always be so.
One day I shall dig my nails into the earth . . . or raise my hands to the sky
and want, more than all the world, your return.” – Mary Jean Iron

As Oprah Winfrey said, “If you’re grateful for what you have; you’ll end up with even more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have; you’ll never have enough.”

Well said. Do you want a life where the light’s on in your eyes? Look around and count your many blessings. It’s the first step to attracting more …