Thanksgiving, Teenagers, and Tornados

Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends! I find holidays, birthdays and anniversaries to be a time to reflect on where we are and where we are going. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There are no presents to buy, just delicious food to bring to a table with people who hopefully you enjoy sharing meals with. I love sitting in circles and sharing stories and this is the holiday that we do just that. Today there are 28 people whom I will be sharing a meal with. Yes, my blessings are abundant, but if you saw me yesterday, you would not get that picture. I was caught up in STRESS, standing on lines getting pies, sitting in traffic as I went from place to place making purchases, and lost in my to-do list and projections.  It was my daughter’s birthday and I was planning her favorite dinner. In the midst of the rushing around, there was a miscommunication with a loved one. Oh, and there was a CAT scan on the schedule. The stress was not because I had pies to buy or a birthday to celebrate or the miscommunication or the CAT scan. The stress was about the stories I was telling myself.  I got caught up in an old tape that I was not good enough, I am not listened to, that I do not matter, that I get no respect. Those stories alternated with worry. I love Thanksgiving but I hate Thanksgiving Eve. There is lots of drinking and drunk driving on Thanksgiving Eve and my grown children are out and about. I worry about that. I worried that the CAT scan might show something that should not be there. And, for God’s sake I have a teenager in the house now. I was losing my innocent baby girl. The feeling I had was  that I was a direct hit for a category 5 hurricane. Well, can you blame me?  I have raised three children already and I know about the storms that accompany adolescence. Why should this fourth child be different? Teenagers are nightmares. Right? Ha! Finally, when I felt bad enough, I stopped. I literally stopped.  I took some deep breaths. I observed my negative thinking and I told myself that they were all lies. BIG. FAT. LIES. Here was the truth: My house was clean. Desserts were bought. Everyone was safe. I am in good health. My daughter who turned 13 was still my darling daughter. Her birthday cake was baking in the oven. Miscommunications happen. We are human, after all. My older daughter was on the train coming home for Thanksgiving. Ahhh, COMING HOME, that is what Thanksgiving is about. But first I needed to COME HOME to center within. It all starts from that place. I strayed from center yesterday. I am human. Today, my intention is to bring my centered self to the Thanksgiving dinner.

For all of you that read this page, wishing you a very peaceful Thanksgiving.  When it gets too hot in the kitchen, step aside, take a few breaths and notice the stories you are telling yourself and begin again. And for those of you that are not sharing a meal with others, wishing you a peaceful Thanksgiving. Hope you are your own best friend and you enjoy the company you keep in the quiet hours.

Today, I am grateful for my health, my husband and children, my family, my friends, and my work. I am grateful for my ability to shift gears in the storms. I am grateful for teenagers, especially mine,  who show me what creativity, vitality and gaining independence looks like. I am especially grateful to my dad who taught me “When it is too hot in the kitchen, GET OUT!”

Thoughts about gratitude

Gratitude has become one of those buzzwords we hear a lot.  If we wait for it to come over us like happiness or sadness, we may wait a long time. But if we practice gratitude daily, not just on Thanksgiving, it will be more readily available to us. I like to think of gratitude like savoring. We all get what it feels like to savor a delicious piece of pie. If we take the time to really savor it, to take those moments to let the pie linger in our mouth, to chew our bites slowly, that is the experience of gratitude. It is NOTICING all the aspects of the pie we like…the smell, the taste, the texture. Last night I sat with my children (almost all my children) and savored each of them as they spoke. I gave silent thanks that they were smiling, present, enjoying, and thriving. I gave additional thanks for their health, for the contribution each of them makes to the family, for their humor and for their beauty. As we ate, I noticed that we had a begging dog under the table, who was not only begging but was passing gas (all traits so not welcome during meals), and then the thought occurred to me how much we will miss having her there when she is gone. I looked at her pathetic but adorable face….begging….hoping for one of us to drop a ravioli or some meat sauce her way and I smiled, smiled with gratitude for our loyal dog who shows us so much unconditional love.

We always have a choice about how we look at the events and people in our lives and we can ALWAYS find something to be grateful for, even amidst painful and unwanted situations. My sister has been undergoing chemotherapy. She lives in Washington DC but came up  to New York to be around her 4 sisters and mother while she receives treatment for lung cancer. Cancer sucks but having my sister here in New York is a gift! I have been grateful for the opportunity to spend more time with her and have a different relationship than I have had in the past. We have become closer as a result of cancer and we are both grateful!

Today, on this national holiday set aside to celebrate gratitude and family and friends, I hope you can find something to be grateful for. I wish for each and every person reading this that they will NOTICE the gifts that show up, even those disguised as hardships! Happy Thanksgiving!

Keeping the Attitude of Gratitude after Thanksgiving

I am so grateful for the day I experienced yesterday…filled with love. It was a beautiful Thanksgiving. Now I am intending to keep that momentum going. There are things that I love and am grateful for and there are things in my life which I don’t love and they are disappointing and sad and painful. I am no different from any other human. I think it is true of everyone, the poor and the rich, the educated and the uneducated, everyone. But why is it always true that my life consists of both the “wanted” and the “unwanted” but sometimes I am happy and other times I am struggling? The answer is simple. It is what I am choosing to be on any given day.  It is what I am choosing to focus on.

I have learned that everything that manifests in my life appears through the lens of my thoughts. Are my thoughts those of love and appreciation or are they of judgment and resentment? What materializes is a reflection of what is going on internally. I have also learned that when I appreciate things, more things that I appreciate will start showing up in my life. So, here goes the rampage of appreciation:

·         I am surrounded by GOODNESS in my life. That goodness is in the form of living beings: my husband, my children, my parents, my sisters, my nieces and nephews, my in-laws, my friends, my neighbors, my clients and my dog. Thank you all for being part of my life and my journey!

·         I am grateful for my health. My heart continues to beat about 70 times per minute, 60 minutes each hour, 24 hours each day, 365 days a year. That is about 37 million heartbeats a year, without my having to do anything to make that happen! Well-being is innate in every cell in my body and my body knows what it needs.

·         I am grateful for the food that satisfies us, nourishes us and helps us commune with others, not only on Thanksgiving but every day of the year.

·         I am grateful that I know today that true abundance is there for the taking. It is not reserved for the few “lucky” ones.  Everyone who is alive is a “lucky” one including me. Knowing that makes all the difference in the world.

There are so many other things to list for which I am grateful but I am keeping it simple. If I keep my sights on these simple yet magnificent blessings in my life, I won’t get lost in the competitive mind of having the best car, the best house, and all the other bells and whistles we THINK we need for happiness. There is nothing wrong with wanting the best car or the best house or the vacation in Tahiti but the key is to not wait for those things to show up in my life in order to be grateful or to live joyously. What works is living in the world of appreciation and joy and love and the bells and whistles will end up materializing. Your wish-list manifests when you are living in the appreciation vibration! It has to show up. It is law, the Law of Attraction!


Thanksgiving time

This post is dedicated to the women I spend my Saturday mornings with. You inspire me!

It’s been a while since I have written.  Hurricane Sandy was a major distraction followed by an early in the season snowstorm followed by my daughter getting sick. I have been reminded that when things are not going exactly as I would have planned, it is these unwanted things that cause our greatest desires to be launched! Hurricane Sandy, the snowstorm, and my daughter being sick have launched the following desires: I desire warm sunny weather, good health for me and my loved ones, lights to be on when I turn the switch, heat to come through the radiators when I turn up the thermometer, and I really desire to have a hot cup of coffee when I wake up in the morning! I would not be so aware of these strong desires if these things were NEVER absent from my experience. So now, a couple of weeks after getting the power back, I am making it my business to not forget the little things, the things we take for granted, like electricity, gas in the car, the ability to make a cup of tea and have heat on a cold day, creature comforts that we are so blessed with and most of all, my daughter skipping out the door to play with a friend!

In preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday that is upon us, I wanted to express some appreciation and keep gratitude the attitude which I greet everyone with this week. Thanksgiving is a beautiful tradition but not without its dark side. It may trigger our feelings of loss as we remember past Thanksgivings with loved ones that are no longer with us. It may trigger loneliness, inadequacy, or just plain lack. As I like to say, it triggers the lies we may believe. Additionally, we may be spending time with people who trigger some negative feelings for us. As one friend expressed, what dysfunctional group will I spend Thanksgiving with this year? We all know the uncle who likes to tell us about the pounds we have put on since last year, or the well-meaning sister who loves to share about her life of stardom and all her shining Ivy-League children? Or what about that Aunt of yours that just exudes one complaint after another about the state of the world? Do you feel the stuffing rising in your esophagus yet? Well, here is the antidote to that toxic mix:

Don’t compare your life with others! Others’ lives may look bright and shiny; however, we are all the same. See exhibit 1.

Don’t believe the lies you tell yourself: “My house is not good enough.” “I am a failure.” “I am not loved.” The truth is we are all miracles! We are all works in progress! The most important person to get love from is yourself! If we can love ourselves, we have conquered the world!

As Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world.” One of my friends is still reeling from the death of her brother who she always spent Thanksgiving with, so she is driving several hours to be with an Aunt who is confined to a nursing home. She is self-forgetting and being of service, which will serve her well in healing her own pain.

Be grateful. We always have the choice of what to focus on: the lack or the abundance. Here is my rampage of appreciation for this Thanksgiving: I am grateful for my 4 healthy, creative, intelligent, scrumptious children. I am grateful for my best friend: my husband. I am grateful for my Maggie, my adorable bullmastiff who models what unconditional love is about daily. I am grateful that my parents are with us for another holiday season. I am grateful for my immediate and extended family, especially my sisters! I am grateful for my friends. I am grateful for my ex-husband. Yes, you heard me right. I am grateful for him, too. This brings me to the next thing that I am grateful for—the fact that I don’t see the world so black and white anymore. There ARE 50 shades of grey! I am grateful for electricity and running water. I am grateful I live in New York where the 4 seasons are so beautiful. I am grateful for my Girl Scout troop who shows me what open hearts and passion looks like. I am grateful for showing up for myself more this year than I have in the past.

What are you grateful for this Holiday season? Would love to hear your thoughts! Happy Thanksgiving EVERYONE!

After Thanksgiving-appreciation reigns!

As I ponder my vibration today, it is so elevated after a beautiful Thanksgiving Day. My sister Peggy has a home that is cozy, the kind that would be fitting for everyone sitting in her chairs to have a beautiful afghan over their lap and Peggy would be thrilled if everyone did! Her food rivals the best Inns in America, everything done to perfection with an extra dose of love. I have spent many Thanksgivings in her home but this one was very special for some reason. I have learned to focus on the positive in most situations and there were no negatives about this day, just some missing pieces. I can name the missing pieces: Kevin, Matt, Megan, Mae, Keri, Eileen, Peter, Danielle, Sean, Kelly and Lily. No, it was not the gravy that was missing or the homemade cranberry sauce, or the potpourri on the stove or the mulled apple cider (made especially for me). I have had Thanksgivings where these THINGS were missing and it was sad, yes sad, to not have gravy and mulled apple cider with my turkey but I recovered from those missing ITEMS pretty quickly. All this pondering, made me realize what matters most in my life and it is the relationships, hands down, that matter the most in my life.

 

On this Thanksgiving I felt such joy. My blessings are many: parents who are still enjoying holidays with us, a devoted husband, good friends, sisters who are best friends, and my 4 children, who are all thriving on their own journeys! Appreciation is the highest vibration there is. It is up there with unconditional love. It is a good thing that Abe Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official American holiday. And carrying this spirit into our lives on a daily basis will reap major rewards.

 

I have been thinking about life as the canvas to create. It is our playground. And just like children, many of us don’t want to leave the playground. Not because we will miss the swings, but we will miss our best friend who we were swinging with! Since I have been looking at life that way, I have been appreciating every hour on the swing set, hanging from the monkey bars and swishing down the slide. I have a new desire to not miss out on anything. I went rock climbing this month for the first time. It was pathetic. I got up about 10 feet off of the ground. But I laughed as I fell off the wall and was happy I tried. I don’t know if I will ever desire to jump out of a plane but I am thinking about my bucket list. What should I do today that I don’t want to miss out on? I think I will go see the Muppet movie. I love Amy Adams and I love the Muppets. Thanks Jim Henson! But what I will love the most at the movie theater is sitting next to my 7-year-old holding her hand and sharing a big bucket of popcorn!

 

It is all a decision how you are going to look at each day. I remember a time in my life when I dreaded getting out of bed. I thank God that has changed. I know that when I am viewing my life in a negative way and feeling sorry for me, that is a decision I am making. I am pinching myself off from the fullness of life. Today, repeat after me…. “I am worthy of all my desires to manifest in my life. In fact, all my desires are manifesting in my life as I allow them to”…..Good. Deep breath. Repeat as often as needed and bake with love and appreciation! So, if you are despairing or overwhelmed or angry, make a decision, that it is your dominant intent to feel good. It is just a decision. That is all it takes. Enjoy the playground. We won’t be here forever!