Sunday, 29 July 2012

Being in Gratitude by Meghan Genge

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. - Meister Eckhart

lamp post v and a web

I need to admit to you that I am the daughter of a minister. This is important information to have when you hear that I think I must have said the Lord's Prayer about seven hundred thousand times in my life. I am exaggerating, I know, but it must be somewhere up there.

A few weeks ago I was sitting on a plane feeling extremely tight and nervous and desperate for something to focus on to calm me as the plane was taking off. Strangely enough, into my head came the words for the Lord's Prayer. Grateful, I recited it under my breath as the plane took off. Thinking about it afterwards, I realized that nowhere in that prayer do you ever say thank you. If it is the prayer that we were given to say to our great Creator, why is there no gratitude in it?

When Jamie asked us to write about gratitude, that plane ride came back to me and after some pondering, I think I have it figured out:

Gratitude is the one thing that we have to come to ourselves.

As children we are reminded to say 'thank you,' but as adults we are not. Gratitude is something that we feel and give on our own terms. To be truly grateful and thankful for something means that we have understood that we have received a gift. No one can tell us to be grateful - it is something we have to feel. To remember to say thank-you to someone or even to who or whatever your version of the Divine is, is to show an emotional maturity and understanding of who we are and how deeply we are connected. It shows that you know who you truly are.

To be in a state of gratitude, I believe, is one of the most powerful choices we can make.


Megg is a writer, a seeker, and a finder of magic.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Blessed Memories by Valarie Budayr

As I think about the word gratitude and all of the variations it can have, I was reminded of a very special day this past winter in Montreal Canada.

It was a hard day walking in the streets of Montreal. The night before an ice-storm had descended upon the wintry city making it nearly impossible to walk the next day. That didn't stop us however. Following my mother's advice of "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing." We donned our warmest clothes, parkas, boots,hats, mittens. All that was missing were toe picks.
As we slid down the street I was really beginning to reconsider our daily walk around the city. We came upon a beautiful old cathedral built in the 1800's. We decided to stop there for a little rest and re-grouping. As I was headed in, the kids stopped.


 "Hey Mom, look at this." Mimi yelled.

Fascinated by the story, I was called over to meet a man who lives a daily memory. For years, this man would come with his young niece to feed the pigeons in the Cathedral court yard. As the years went by their loving tradition became a memory that would last a lifetime.


The niece became very ill and no matter what treatments they tried, nothing worked. 4 years ago his niece passed over. Every day in her honor, the man walks to the Cathedral to feed the birds. Always grateful for the time they spent together and for her short life on this planet. His story touched us so, that the children asked for a photo with the Birdman of Montreal.


So here we remember this kind man's niece. my personal blog, A Place Like This is a testament and living memory of the moments that my we spend together passing fleetingly through this world. What memories do you share? You know, the ones which will last a lifetime. I always say to my dear children, "Let your memories be your blessings." This life is short. May you make a million blessed memories.

Valarie Budayr is the founder of Audrey Press and author of the book The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden and soon to be released The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and you can find her doing that on her popular blog and website, Jump into a Book. When she isn’t being bookie, she is very happily the mother of three uber creative children, married to a wonderfully patient man who has come to love yarn, and caretaker of one adored cat. Other creative interests are music, travel, knitting (a bonafide yarn harlot), and gardening. She loves living a daily creative practice, where even a good cup of coffee is art.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Overpacked by Aimee Cavenecia

It's very clear for me that whenever I leave for a short trip -- I overpack. (And I am known amongst friends to be a super-light traveler.) The trip could be a weekend getaway or a month overseas, it really doesn't matter. But I can be pretty sure, that I will return with things that went unused because they were not needed. Are you the same way? Do you return from trips with articles of clothing still folded in your bag? Just like they were when you packed it? What about life? Are you overpacked for that trip? Life is a wild unpredictable ride. But what I am learning is; so little is needed. Here are 7 tips on how to simplify your life, along with 3 questions to keep in mind. Don't rush through them with a sweeping glance. Really sit with them and open yourself to what you are reading. Listen to thoughts and answers that come up for you.

How to Simplify Your Life

Look at how your time is spent. What are you doing everyday? Are you doing what truly suits you? What's most important to you? Value each day, it only happens once. Learn to say no. Be honest with yourself & with other people. Say no to what you really do not want to do. Do not waver. Be clear. Purge & simplify & organize your stuff. What do you really use? What do you really love? Get rid of the rest. Then organize what is left. Downsize your responsibilities. Downsize your home & car, downsize your bills & expenses -- downsize your obligation to maintain & live for stuff. Focus on the day & that day only. Start the day with clarity. Know your priorities for each day. Forget the rest (until it has its own day & time for action). Relish & appreciate time spent doing nothing. Consider scheduling it. Learn to value time spent decompressing & relaxing. This does not mean zoning-out, it means simply being. Go for the best in life, not the most in life. What is best for everyone is not the same. Find out what it is best for you. Keep it as your benchmark.

Questions to Keep in Mind

  • Will this food cleanse me or clog me?
  • Will this item simplify my life or clutter it?
  • Will this arrangement stress me or relax me?
We make life so complicated, when it really doesn't need to be. Just maintaining a sense of clarity can make a world of difference. It can actually transform our life. Being clear about what is important (for us): what we love, & in what environment we thrive -- allows not only others to experience us at our best, but we get to experience ourselves at our best.

Aimee Cavenecia (also known as AimeeLovesYou) is an author & activist who is currently igniting a Bliss & Self-Mastery revolution through her weekly blog Sunday Is For Lovers. Aimee's life-work is to share her insights on Seeing, Loving & Being (SLB), as well teaching meditation to people globally via the internet.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Driving in the State of Gratitude by Susan Cadley

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” Anthony Robbins

As my car glided down the highway early one bright Saturday morning, I imagined a white light surrounding my entire vehicle, leaving a trail of blessings for all those that drove around me.  Deva Premal’s spinning chants accompanied me inside the car as I stated my gratitude for the many blessing in my life, including the city I live in.  I stated out loud “ I love living in Atlanta”.   And the rest of the day, Atlanta loved me.

The remainder of my day turned into what I call “flow”.  The attendees at the workshop I attended were friendly, the content was rich, and the presenter deep and thoughtful.  At lunch I took myself to a restaurant where I enjoyed some creamy tomato soup made with goat cheese, which was a surprising treat as I’m allergic to cow’s milk.   Since I had a bit more time after lunch, I walked across the street from the restaurant to browse in a bead store, as making jewelry is a creative hobby of mine.  The bead store was attached to a boutique and I found myself trying on a long summer skirt and in 5 minutes,  purchasing it.   I floated away with the feeling of gratitude and trusted the process and the day as it unfolded.  I had not made the connection to how I began my day being grateful, with how my day turned out until much later.  However I could feel something was in the air that day.

That something was the feeling of being in the state of gratitude.  The word gratitude is a noun, however being grateful can generate feelings such as feeling: wholeness, grounded, peaceful, contented, satiated, and calm. 

If you want to shift your feeling state, consciously move into gratitude.  Feeling down?  Create a gratitude list.  Is someone displeased with you?  Think about the people that love and understand you.   Draw a circle with your name in the middle and the names of all those beings that love you around the edges of the circle. Having some big challenges?  Focus on what is working in your life.  We all have so much, and we need a reminder from time to time.  Gratitude can be your reminder.

Expressing gratitude doesn’t have to be a big production. Simply state it out loud. Or, you can draw on your creativity and create something that represents gratitude, color/paint your gratitude, dance it, sing it.  Be expansive and expressive as only you can be. 

When you enter the sate of gratitude, you shift your consciousness, you take yourself higher and you lift the rest of us higher as well.

I invite you to take a moment right now and say “thank you” for someone or something in your life right now.  Then, allow flow to find you!

Susan is a Licensed Psychotherapist and Soul Coach and sole proprietor of Living From Within, LLC. Through counseling, coaching, creative workshops, book studies, and writing, Susan guides you to hear and live the messages of your soul.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

All it takes is a little breath.... by Angel Young

Ah gratitude! You've got to love it. That little pause that brings you back into the present. Recently I've been reading some of David Servan-Schreiber's Healing without Freud or Prozac and he talks about such a great exercise on gratitude - the simple act of breathing through the heart. It brings the awareness beautifully back into the body, so it can stop rambling all over the place and just be now, in the room, with you. What a relief! Especially for those of us who, eh-hem, can be a little less grounded that we would like. Creativity is great because it requires you to let the mind soar to strange lands, but then you need to bring it to reality, and a little heart breath starts to get you there.

But something else happens too, some alchemy in this focus on the heart. It makes you more happy. It makes you feel in tune with what you're feeling. It makes you grateful for what you do have. And that little extra bit of happiness opens doors. It makes it possible for other things to come into your life because you've truly experienced the greatness of what you have now - even if those things seem small. The act of practising gratefulness brings great fullness. It brings what you need into your life - that openness of heart. What an amazing gift to yourself to tune in.

Since starting this little practice, life has been more abundant and I feel more, well, happy! So even if you're not sure how to get to the gratitude bit straight away, just start with that awareness on the heart - breathe from there and the rest just clicks into place. Even a few minutes a day can make a difference .... So breathe as if the air is coming in and out of your heart, and then you're on the way!

Angel lives in the UK, and is currently enjoying a sewing fad and a love of film photography. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Power of Gratitude by Ginny Lennox

For over a year now I have had a weekly practice of posting what I am grateful to have experienced that week on my Friday blog post. For the past six months, I have been a contributor to Jamie Ridler’s Creative Dream Journals. This month the two have intersected as the topic for the journal is Gratitude and is due on the day I usually write my post. I think the universe is reminding me that I can multi-task when I have to.

I have always been a person who has been grateful for the gifts that life has offered me. But I know I have never been someone who has talked about those gifts or shared with others why I am so grateful for all that I have. Six years ago I realized how easy it is to take for the granted the things that are there for us each day. It was at this time my husband started having trouble breathing. Breathing wasn’t something either one of us ever thought about. We just got up in the morning and took a deep breath and started the day. But then it suddenly became not so simple and through lots of tests and evaluations Greg was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension and life started to change. When you go through a major life change it is easy to get discouraged and we were no different than anyone else. But out of desperation, whenever one of us would see the negative the other would point out the positive. Within a short time it became easier and easier to see the positive in most situations. It took a little practice but it also became easier to share with others the simple but positive things I noticed in my life each day. My hope was and is that if I share the things I am grateful for, I might touch someone else and they too will start to notice and celebrate the wonderful things they are experiencing. It would be awesome to start a gratitude chain that just keeps growing and growing.

Since beginning this practice life has changed. Each day is special. Each moment counts. The world is a beautiful place and I notice and appreciate all that it has to offer. So the thing I am most grateful for this week is my gratitude practice. I am so glad that I take the time to notice the special moments that appear each day. I am glad that I take the time to share them with others. I have noticed that the more I share with others the more they share with me. I hope you will take just a minute to share with the world what you are most grateful for today and every day. It is a simple practice that can make a big difference in your life.

Ginny believes that each and every day is filled with special moments to be enjoyed and treasured. On her blog, Special Moments in Time, she encourages everyone to recognize and celebrate their own special moments each day

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Living with Attention/Holstee Manifesto by Valarie Budayr

Today I find myself in a very reflective mood. Looking back at when 2011 started I made the intention to live differently. Not the resolution making type of living different , no not that, I just wanted to live with attention. I wanted to live without missing any little details or to let my brain go off into auto-pilot, missing moments that I couldn't recall at the end of the year.

As I look back at the attentive year with all of it's celebrations,tribulations,challenges, and daily little moments I can say that “this year” I have truly lived and created life more, not in the amount of much, but in the knowing that I have lived fully. Serving as my mantra and guide for the year of attention was the Holstee Manifesto.

How do I feel at the end of my year of attention? That I have laughed harder, cried rivers, created with others joyfully, loved more, savored every bite, met many old friends in new ways i.e. blogging friends, I have travelled near and far to learn that we are unified in our differences. Life is short. I thank each and everyone of you who show up each time we make a post and share a part of your world with us. Here's wishing your very own attentive year filled with many happy and creative moments and know that I'm so thankful for the time we spend together. 

Valarie Budayr is the founder of Audrey Press and author of the book The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden and soon to be released The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and you can find her doing that on her popular blog and website, Jump into a Book. When she isn’t being bookie, she is very happily the mother of three uber creative children, married to a wonderfully patient man who has come to love yarn, and caretaker of one adored cat. Other creative interests are music, travel, knitting (a bonafide yarn harlot), and gardening. She loves living a daily creative practice, where even a good cup of coffee is art.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Clean Up Your Heart by Aimee Cavenecia

For me "clean your heart" means: open your heart.
If your heart is misguided, dusty, & shutdown -- air it out!
If your heart is broken, wounded, & uptight -- sort it out!
If your heart is dark, resigned, & vengeful -- clear it out!

Allow light to pass through. Make space for others.
See yourself in your heart. See all of life in your heart.

More & more I feel my heart opening up to natural ways -- to kind ways. For me, if there is any revolution happening now, it is the revolution of the heart. Connecting us back to nature, back to ourselves, back to our roots, back to our heart. Our heart isn't whole unless it's one with what is. Unless it is one with all of life. How can a heart be against life, when it is life itself?

Check yourself. Make sure your heart isn't confused. It's this confusion alone that leads to suffering. To truly rid ourselves of suffering, we need to find its roots. The root in my opinion, is the idea that we are separate, separate from one another -- not whole, not one with life.

Don't be afraid to sit with your heart. To truly sit, one on one. To sit in silence, without the noise of everyday life. This "everyday noise" is a distraction that one builds around them, intentionally or unintentionally. They base their life on this noise & feel that they thrive on it. They do this so that they can avoid face to face moments with their heart. They don't want to be with: just their breath; just their heartbeat; just their mind; just their humility. This is painful for most. They can't endure it for more than a few minutes. They do all they can to avoid it.

So I say, let's face it! Let's take a moment -- as we can, when we can -- & meet our hearts. When we are truly able to meet our hearts with a full embrace -- we are then able to meet the world with a full embrace.

Try it. Don't be afraid of it. Don't be afraid of life. Being afraid of life, is being afraid of your own heart! The closer you get to life, the closer you get to love. Allow this intimacy with the world to crack your heart wide open. Allow it to set you free.

Aimee Cavenecia (also known as AimeeLovesYou) is an author & activist who is currently igniting a Bliss & Self-Mastery revolution through her weekly blog Sunday Is For Lovers. Aimee's life-work is to share her insights on Seeing, Loving & Being (SLB), as well teaching meditation to people globally via the internet.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Soul Journal Magic Class by Andrea Schroeder

The class is a guided meditation and journal journey into your inner world where you can start to change your story.

Changing your story in your inner world creates shifts that ripple out into your outer world, making those stubborn, hard-to-get dreams soften and open up.

So before you begin think about what it is you'd like to change.

Think about what kinds of new stories you'd like to create for yourself and your life.

Do you want to invite something new in? Let go of something old? Move things around?

Whenever you want to change something, it all starts with writing a new story.

So grab your journal and a pen, find a comfy place to sit and click the image below to listen to the recording:


Andrea Schroeder: With a paintbrush in one hand & a glitter-gun in the other, Andrea lovingly mentors men & women who want to lead creatively abundant lives — and do ‘impossible’ things, with ease & joy. Express the greatest parts of who YOU are, at

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Imperfect Gratitude by Helen Yee

I don't want to sound ungrateful, but I have a complicated relationship with gratitude. Gratitude follows patterns in my relationships to other practices which I imagine others to be easily and faithfully, um, practicing.  I feel like I must be the only one that constantly falls off the metaphoric wagon, or mat, or meditation cushion, or in this case gratitude journal. But while I've succeeded at practicing meditation, movement, music or journaling for stretches at a time, gratitude has been the most difficult practice for me to establish. I just can't seem to come to an easy relationship with gratitude practice.

A look at my journal will show maybe a string of seven days with three gratitude entries each day, then a large gap, with nothing except maybe a weird dream I had.

The evidence suggests my relationship with practicing gratitude may be more casual than I wish it would be. But maybe that's because I feel I have to do all the work here. I have to go through the day noticing things I can write notes of thanks about later. But where is the payoff? I pay attention to small and large things for which I can express gratitude, while the pen and journal are blissfully free to ignore anything I've done for them lately. Okay, maybe that's ridiculous.

Writing down the things I'm grateful for doesn't seem to do much for me. When I do have occasions to notice and write down what I can be thankful for, I do indeed have many, many things to be thankful for. Yet somehow, in moments when I am wanting to feel not completely lost, reading these lists hardly seems to help me feel better. Instead, I feel a yucky guilt for failing – how can I have such a wonderful life with all these things to be thankful for and still feel down, discouraged, or frustrated?

Is there a chance anybody else feels this way? Should I be doing something different? Would this change if I had a thousand gratitude entries instead of one hundred? Maybe you can change my mind about gratitude journaling. What does keeping a gratitude journal do for you?

Helen Yee is an improvising violinist, multi-instrumentalist and composer. Currently violinist for the eclectic string trio, Trio Tritticali she also performs on yangqin with Music From China. She considers the practice of improvisation in all its forms a profound teacher in art and in life.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Being Grateful for Gratitude by Meghan Genge

“You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach

emerging poppy web

I have been spending the past two months practicing gratitude. Every night before I go to bed, I make a list of five things for which I am grateful. I have been told that this makes magic.

So far? Nothing.

Or so it would seem. You see, this gratitude practice has made me face the fact that I am a very impatient woman. I want results, magic, details, answers and information NOW. If I don't lose five pounds immediately, I quit the diet. If I don't get praise, I don't do it again. If my life doesn't suddenly change to reflect changes I've made, they obviously aren't working.

This isn't the case with gratitude.

After the first week I realized that despite there being no gratitude fireworks, I was still making my lists every night and when I packed my gratitude diary at the very top of my suitcase on a recent trip, I realized that this little book had become strangely important to me. The simple act of making a list has somehow snuck through my instant impact monitoring system and firmly become a practice.

Is it easy to make a list of five things I am grateful for? Sadly, not every night. (I won't let myself write the same thing more than once a week!) But I have found that I have started looking for things during the day. I've started noticing dear souls and kind strangers. I've started noting when I taste something delicious, or see something beautiful. I have stopped to smell the blooms on the bush at the end of the path to my house every day this week.

Tonight's list?

I think that number one will be the book itself. Tonight I will be grateful for gratitude.

Megg is a writer, a seeker, and a finder of magic.