A few weeks back, I started up a Gratitude Group on Facebook and you are welcome to join and contribute to it. The more the merrier as the saying goes.
It is growing organically and it is interesting reading what others are grateful for in their lives.
Research shows that having a daily gratitude practice helps to strengthen our immune systems and reduce heart related issues. A quick Google search will give you lots of articles to read – some more scholarly than others. I liked this one – The Neuroscience of Gratitude as it was an easy read plus the opportunity to sign up for a few exercises to help navigate through grief.
Having a Gratitude Journal helps you to record on a daily basis the little things that you are grateful for. You may have joined the previous 30 Days of Gratitude challenge way back in 2019 and developed your own gratitude practice.
I often write about gratitude and you may wonder why. I’ll let you into a little secret…. having this daily practice not only has benefits for you, but it’s free and the rewards are great! If you are having difficulty in getting started, join the Gratitude Group – that’s free as well. I look forward to seeing you there!
The past few months have felt like an early winter hibernation, with a reasonably mild autumn here in Melbourne. Usually the winter months are when we seek to withdraw from the world and hibernate, but the recent world events have changed all that.
Self isolation and social distancing have become the new “normal” and it has been a wonderful opportunity to review what’s working and what’s not. Hibernation is a time of withdrawal after gathering together the summer fruits. During hibernation we can set the intent to release old, unhelpful beliefs and heal the old “stuck stuff”. Meditation will help you to re-evaluate and move into a new and better vision for the future. Choosing to be grateful for what you have also helps you to be open to even more.
Hypnotherapy will help you to release those stubborn, subconscious blocks that you didn’t realize you had. This is a time of opportunity to create new ways of thinking, not only for yourself but in the wider community. It can be difficult at times to know where to start, but all you need is the kernel of an idea. Much like an acorn, with the right environment and nourishment, it will grow into a mighty oak. This could be the start of something big for you too.
Day One of Thirty Days of Gratitude
As I embark on my latest Thirty Days of Gratitude exercise, I have discovered that my answers have changed as much as I have over the last few years. In previous years I would have nominated Summer as the season to be most grateful for, with the wider range of fruits and vegetables and outdoor entertaining.
As Australia enters into what seems like a long hot summer, with drought and bushfires affecting much of the country, I have changed my mind. The season that I am most grateful for is Autumn. I’m looking forward to the cooler nights and hopefully, freshly picked and home grown apples.
I do love Spring as well, but the weather is a little more variable and the pollen is abundant. Great for bees and butterflies and other pollinating insects, not so great for the hay fever sufferer!
As I embark on the next Thirty Days of Gratitude, I invite you to follow along on my Facebook page (Balance4Life Programs) and share what you are grateful for as well. However, as this is an occasional blog, and the journalling is quite personal, not every day will be recorded here.
When you look at this photo – what do you see? What is your perspective?
Do you see a cold, foggy morning and subconsciously shiver and look away?
Or is your perspective from the artist’s point of view with the droplets of dew twinkling like jewels in the muted light as the mist envelopes everything in a soft cloak that nourishes the plants?
30 days of gratitude.
30 days doesn’t seem like a lot at first, but thinking about what to put for each day would have been a challenge had in not been for a picture that popped up on a social media site at just the right time.
I transcribed each day into my diary and then made a booklet to print off later that has space to diarize each day of gratitude. I had thought to post the next cycle on this blog, but then realized that there are days where I have little or no internet – especially when up at the retreat – so that idea won’t work.
A good friend said “Why stop at 30 days? Shouldn’t we all be grateful for something every day?” and I agree with her. Eileen Caddy’s quote: ” Gratitude helps you grow and expand. Gratitude brings joy and laughter into your lives and into the lives of all those around you” seems so apt. It brings about an awareness into our lives and awakens our consciousness.
By using the 30 Days of Gratitude Journal a habit can be created. Even though it has been a couple of days since the 30 days finished, I’m finding that I’m still writing down what I’m grateful for in my daily journal. I’ve rewritten the 30 ideas, mixing them up a little into my diary for another 30 Days of Gratitude and am looking forward to continuing the journey.
At the time of writing this, I’m up to Day 21 of a 30 day challenge to show gratitude for a different thing each day.
I found the original idea on LinkedIn and started by entering the questions in my work diary at the top of each page. All well and good, but I don’t take the diary with me to the retreat, so I realized that I would miss a few days here and there.
The solution to this was to post these daily questions and answer them on my Facebook business page. It’s interesting reading what others are grateful for as well.
So yesterday’s day of gratitude (Day 20) question was “Who in your life are you grateful for?” I could think of many and my initial response was my immediate family. Then later in the evening a cousin contacted me to say her father, my mother’s twin, had passed away that morning, just a day short of what would have been their 91st birthday. Mum had always joked and said she was going to live to a 100 like her Granny, but she left this realm just over 17 years ago. Back to gratitude….. I am grateful to my Uncle (and Aunt) for the many holidays I had with them during the six years we spent in the UK. Memories of playing with my cousins and getting up to all sorts of mischief.
Today’s question is “What song are you most grateful for?”
These seem like simple questions, but there are so many responses that can be made, which is why I’m planning on repeating the 30 Day Challenge again, but with the questions in a different order and created a booklet to print out and write in.
What song am I grateful for? Porcelain by Moby. Don’t know why, but it soothes my soul.
Each new year seems to come around a lot quicker these days! Or perhaps time is really speeding up. Many will have started the New Year with resolutions, new dreams and goals and have reviewed the previous year. Some will have celebrated the various religious holidays. Others may have withdrawn from celebrations as they leave an empty chair at the table for a loved one.
From what I have garnered in conversations with friends, colleagues and clients, is that most people seem to be confident that 2018 will be a good year and better than last year. Personally, I had a reasonably good year last year and feel optimistic about this new year. Late last year I retrained in NLP (with a different trainer), finding that to be very satisfying and as a result I am combining all the therapies I use into a Flexi Package for clients.
Another project is the 30 days of Gratitude, which I intend to redo each time I finish a 30 day cycle. As I write this I’m up to Day 9 and today I am asked “What place am I most grateful for?”
No surprises here, I am most grateful for the retreat which I was able to buy with a modest inheritance from my parents and has allowed me to indulge in my labyrinth building passion.
If you would like to follow this cycle then have a look in on my page Balance4Life Programs on Facebook. I’m inclined to post the next cycle here and the challenge will be to find some different things to be grateful for!
With good winter and spring rains and some sunshine, Mother Nature has woven her magic and produced some beautiful plants to admire now that the land has lain fallow for several seasons and mulched with last season’s grasses and biddy bush.
Swathes of greenhood orchids, just gently nodding their heads in the breeze. I did chuckle when reading the gardening notes for them as these have sprung up out of heavy clay and have had no attention whatsoever.
Spring brings a colour palette of yellow….. first the wattles… with different varieties blooming over a period of time. The longest lasting blooms are the pale, almost white wattles that have spikey branches. This year has brought forward these tiny button like flowers that have carpeted the anthills and have started to die back. Walking about, not only keeping an eye out for reptiles that may be stirring from their winter hiatus, the eye catches other small plants such as Droseras. Starting off as a small rosette of leaves, these grow into delicate plants that gently sway in the breeze, topped by a small pinkish white flower. They are carnivorous, but have yet to make any inroads into the thriving mosquito population.
The rains have also meant a bumper crop this year throughout the district of Capeweed. The yellow daisy like flowers with a dark centre are particularly attractive to the bees and I’m hoping that the local apiarist is getting some good quality honey.
In the afternoon light, there appears to be a patch of feathers in a stony area. Closer inspection reveals it not to be feathers, but tiny delicate irises, no more than four to five centimetres high. The habit of carrying a camera on any expedition pays off, as the flowers have gone by the morning. Initially, I thought that the wildlife may have eaten them, but on a subsequent visit, noticed that by early evening the flowers had wilted and shriveled and later that night, by the light of a torch and with no wildlife in sight all that was left was the thin strappy leaves.
I love the way the wattle just seems to explode with exuberance from the tight buds into fluffy, exquisitely scented pom poms after a drab and chilly winter.
The yellow stands out against the green paddocks which also yield a secret not seen before…..a combination, I have concluded, that is a mixture of more than adequate rains and the paddocks lying fallow for the past two and a half years.
From a distance it looks as if the grass in places is starting to yellow, but on closer inspection the grass is found to be swathes of sundews – a carnivorous plant! Starting off as tiny, delicate roundels, the plant matures and has a small almost insignificant flower that tops it. They are growing in and around the large labyrinth – so it may be that the rings of the labyrinth are acting as swales to hold the moisture in the soil.
A perfect place to observe these plants is from the first of the new additions to the retreat.
Spring not only brings the wildflower season, but a hard rubbish collection in the city. So the first of the new acquisitions was a swing chair found in a pile for kerbside collection. Permission was sought from the owner and it was dismantled and re- assembled to be a labyrinth viewing and meditation seat. Newer cushions were discovered on a different pile and replaced!
I was excited to discover a single green hood orchid on my walk down to the lower dam a few weeks back and even more so to find them growing in abundance in the back paddock. I had to chuckle at the growing notes on several sites… not grown in soil, water and fertilize frequently – these are in heavy clay and exist on whatever rainfall has come this way and are fertilized by kangaroos and hares (which have left them alone).
The newest acquisition came about from a conversation about the first. A colleague’s neighbour was downsizing and had just put out a set of 4 garden chairs for her hard rubbish collection. I followed my colleague home and stacked them in the back of the 4WD and here they are! Perfect for sitting around the fire pit and much more civilized than camping chairs!