Thanksgiving is not just a Holiday

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celebration-315079_640As we approach the month of November, most of us are making plans of some sort to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. We collaborate with family and friends on dinner plans and family gatherings. It’s the one time of year we are explicitly reminded to give thanks. Although It is good that a day has been set aside for this, but it is up to each and every one of us to be “giving thanks” every day, all year long.

It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of life and forget that there is still something to be thankful for daily. Sometimes we look around at our financial situation and think that there is nothing to be thankful for. Or we look at our relationship or health challenges and think that giving thanks borders on the absurd. Yet, if we really take a look around us, we can see that we are not alone in our trials, that many others are facing similar problems. There is no exception for trials and tribulations just as no one is exempt from living a life filled with true joy and happiness. But it’s unrealistic to be in a state of happiness when the world is weighing on your shoulders, right? How do you find happiness during the storm? You find it through gratitude.

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Having an attitude of gratitude is a mind shift that turns your focus on the things that matter the most to you. The things that bring you a sense of joy. When we look away from our problems, even for a short time, and generate joy in our hearts, we find that the world seems to change a bit. How can something so seemingly simple make such a big difference? Well, ask yourself this – do you really need a psychological blueprint to convince you to feel good enough to be thankful?  The answer is NO, you don’t because there is plenty for you to be thankful for right in front of you and the universe seems to respond quickly to a grateful heart. We attract the things we focus on. The way it works is that when we break focus with our problems and we take a break from being miserable, the River of Life flows more gently and more fully through our being.

So instead of waiting until the table is set, and family is present to give thanks, stop what you’re doing for one or two minutes, quiet your mind and begin to say to yourself thank you! During this minute or two, think of two or three things or events you are or should be grateful for. water-863053_640 Feel how fortunate you are to have them. For example, I consider myself extremely blessed to have our daughter and a husband that is dedicated to his family. Yes, there are moments of chaos when I think to myself that children were created for the sole purpose of making parents crazy or that men really are from Mars. Yet, with all the ups and downs of being a mother and wife, I consider myself the most fortunate person on earth to have a teenage daughter that will say, “thanks mom” and still lays in any nook she can find next to me. And a husband that lights up when he sees me, reminding me that I must be something he is thankful for. They have taught me patience, understanding, and how to give unconditional love. I could not be who I am without the experience of being mother and wife. For this, I’m grateful and I give thanks. That is the kind of mind shift being thankful is capable of and it is free, yet priceless when it comes to aligning yourself to manifest the things you focus on.

gift-1015694_640What about unfortunate situations? Are we supposed to be thankful for misfortune or tragedy?  Am I happy or grateful that my mom died when she was only 55 years old? Should I be thankful that I was left with a ton of unanswered questions about things that I learned after her passing?
Of course not! But I am grateful the time did we spent together. She was my best friend and I am grateful for her love, for her kindness and compassion and for making it possible for me to be what I am today. We could all turn tragedy into triumph and disaster into divine outcomes if we maintain a spirit of gratitude and if we listen to our heart and soul. It is in our quiet times, in our “thanksgiving” moments that we can hear the universe sing to us. If we listen carefully, we can hear it say, “You are my child and I love you dearly. Look around you. All that I have is yours. Everything is yours. It always has been. Please unwrap your gifts.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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Five of my Favorite Mindfulness Techniques to help Center my Mind and Spirit

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Self-improvement or self-help tools come in many shapes and sizes; sometimes it’s physical in nature (a self-help book, having a massage, painting with water colors), or spiritual in nature (flower essences, Reiki, meditation which is both physical and spiritual, etc).

Prayer – Regardless of your religious background or beliefs, I believe it is important to spend time acknowledging and connecting with a higher power, which I personally call God/Spirit, or vibrational frequency. This is when I show my gratitude for what is and ask for guidance for what’s to come. This is my opportunity to unload negative emotions and reconcile the controllables vs. the uncontrollables and communicate my need for guidance.

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Meditation techniques – Meditation is a physical and spiritual mindfulness tool proven to have several benefits in overall health and wellbeing.  Meditation requires you to take control of your thoughts by training your mind to turn them off. This opens room for you to receive the message for solutions to what you prayed about. With a clear and quiet mind, you will begin to hear the ideas that are in alignment with what you asked for in prayer. There are several meditation techniques that are all very effective. If you are not already incorporating meditation in your daily routine, you should consider finding a meditation meetup in your local area and attend a session. This will give you an opportunity to experience and learn how to meditate. Not much of a “groupie”? YouTube it! There are thousands of helpful resources from renowned practitioners that can help you learn how to meditate effectively. Here is a brief list of some of the many benefits of meditation:

  • Meditation reduces stress.
  • It improves concentration
  • It encourages a healthy lifestyle.
  • The practice increases self-awareness
  • It increases happiness
  • Meditation increases acceptance
  • It slows aging.

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Get Creative – Coloring or painting with water colors, pastels or oil paints is a wonderful way re-center your thoughts. Activities like these force you to focus on what you are doing and activates the creative part of your brain. This leads to a nice release of tension and negative energy. In fact, Mandala coloring books are very popular and highly recommended as an effective mindfulness tool. This is one of my favorite things to do when I am feeling anticipatory and antsy.

According to  Craig Sawchuk, a clinical psychologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Such approaches work “almost like a volume knob to turn down the sympathetic nervous system, the stress response.” Coloring can help slow down heart rate and respiration, loosen muscles and stimulate the brain, he says. Coloring has a “grounding effect” he says, a benefit that can be amplified with deliberate focus on the process — “the gentle pressing of the crayon or pencil on the page, the texture of the paper across your hand, and the soft sounds of the coloring instrument moving back and forth in a rhythmic fashion”.

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Vibrational Essence – Part of ancient wisdom, vibrational essences are used in healing to assist with the removal of emotional blocks and patterns, as well as resolving issues from past lives. As we move through life and collect emotional imprints, we also create a reservoir of negative energy in within our body. Vibrational Essences are generally in liquid form and can also be used in creams, ointments and oils (I sometimes combine mine with an aromatherapy oil blend).  Vibrational substances are derived from light (sun, moon etc), healing energy (universal or spiritual energy, prana, Reiki etc), plants (flowers, stems, leaf etc), mineral (crystals, gold etc).

 Its important to understand that when we have an emotion there is a chemical and biological release of energy that tells our brain how to respond. That energy is either positively charged (negative) or negatively charged (positive). The elements in essences are natural, energy releasing, elements that trigger those energies and help to balance your energy. Bath and Body works has an amazing line of Vibrational Essences that they simply call Aromatherapy. The aroma of various fragrances trigger a vibrational response that your brain will identify and begin to tell your body to respond to the vibration the fragrance triggers.

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Journal it – Journaling is such a healthy and peaceful outlet. Sometimes you just need to get your thoughts out of your head. This is a good way to connect with your emotions and release the energy associated with it. I try to journal daily, but when I am feeling a little off, I journal so I can see what exactly has me feeling how I feel. Find yourself a special journal/diary to write in; something special to write with (can be brightly colored inks or the more traditional black, blue or reds) and make a date with yourself to do some journal writing every morning at the same time (before rising out of bed). I’ve practiced journal writing as a self-help tool for many years and still find it one of the greatest personal growth and self-improvement tools around – and it costs nothing!

Personal growth and evolution is your birth right and ultimate destiny. Don’t settle for a you that is less than the BEST of you. Taking time to take care of your spirit is a vital part of growth. You are accepting accountability for your personal and emotional well-being. That is the first step to a more balanced you!

Be Well,

Calie Swint