Tag Archives: Gratitude

Compassion Practices For Challenging Times ~ New Program Starts 11/21! Come explore!

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“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” 
― Albert Einstein

In times of challenge and adversity, our natural human tendency is often to close our hearts and shut down. However, if we can stay present to these feelings of pain and suffering, we see that there is actually a call asking us to allow our hearts to “break” open more fully!

We are living now in very challenging times!  They have been and will continue to be.  And, right now there is an emergence of the collective shadow that wants us to continue to feel ourselves as separate – separate from others, from ourselves and from our Source.

When things are calm and going smoothly, we often don’t feel the call to look within. That’s just human nature. Now is a time when we are being called to not only look within but move beyond the illusion of separation that is emerging so strongly in our worldThis is not purely about politics or election results, it’s about our future as people and community – it’s about unity!  We are being called to embody this truth in our lives more fully at this time – that is clear!

Back in September, I was invited to participate on a panel for World Peace Day. We were asked if we believed peace on earth was possible and I found myself responding “Yes” and “probable, too”. That’s what my heart wanted to say at that time and at times I truly believe this. And then, there are others times when I wonder if it’s possible.

In many spiritual traditions, the Earth is seen as a school where we come to learn and grow. As we incarnate, we enter into a state of separation which we are then called to move beyond that so that we can grow and move on spiritually. If that’s so, perhaps the nature of Earth is to be in chaos and conflict; otherwise we would not grow.

And yet, I do believe, as others do, that it’s possible that as our critical mass changes and expands in compassion and unity that the energy of our world can change, too!

Right now that there is a lot of fear, anger, hurt, judgement and pain surfacing in the hearts and minds of humanity.  It’s particularly strong here in the US with the energy of opposition and divisiveness that is pervading our national stage.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that, although we can take steps to try and change things outside ourselves, it is essential that we work to resolve these feelings and reactions inside of ourselves. As Gandhi so beautiful shares, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” That’s really how true change happens!

And, how do we do that? The most powerful way I have seen and experienced; and that is practiced cross-culturally is through cultivating compassion.  It is in opening and softening our hearts to ourselves, others and the world itself, that we can find peace amidst the challenges and chaos of our lives and our world.

How do you wish to proceed in life today?

I invite you to choose COMPASSION!

I invite you to join me and The Heart of Awakening Blog community for an 18 day journey into “Compassion Practices For Challenging Times”.  18 is a number that in some spiritual traditions, including my Jewish roots, represents life or is consider auspicious.

So we will journey together from November 21st through December 8th…

  • Each evening I will share a post which will include a reflection and suggested practice for the following day.
  • You will receive posts via email; and if you’d like can join a private Facebook group for sharing.
  • We will also come together for 3 teleseminar calls. Dates/times TBA – all will be recorded if you cannot attend live. I will be scheduling based on who joins us and their locations.
  • I will also be sharing some audios and videos with guided practices for you to explore.

Some of the practices we will explore include Loving-kindness, Gratitude, Meditation & Mindfulness, Shamanic Journeywork, Prayer, Emotional Awareness and Council.

When: November 21st – December 8th

Where: Virtually via Email, Teleseminar, Audio/Video and FB group (optional).

*Cost: Suggested Amount $27 or Heart Based Donation in any amount your heart guides you to. All Welcome!

*30% of all proceeds will be donated to a charity of the participants choice.

Register at https://compassionpracticesforchalleningtimes.eventbrite.com.

Come join us as we choose compassion today!

Mindfulness Mondays: Listening To Your Body

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“We may ignore or deride the messages of the body but its rebellion demands to be heeded because its language is the authentic expression of our true selves and of the strength of our vitality.”

Alice Miller

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How to practice, where to practice, when to practice? These are all great questions that come up about meditation! And, ones that can sometimes become an obstacle to actually practicing, especially for those new to meditation or just returning to a practice.  I’ll be sharing a few posts on this topic over the next month or so.

Today’s practice involves a bit of an exploration of posture and how to explore mindfulness through the body.  This question of posture is one that comes up often in my meditation groups. And, it’s important to know there is not one answer!  Depending on the style of meditation practice, certain specific postures can seen as beneficial.  Sitting cross-legged on the floor or in lotus posture is a common suggestion; however, this is not comfortable for everyone.

It is very important to listen to your body.  For most of us, as we move through our day, we tend to sit on chairs most often.   So taking time to explore how to practice meditation in this way can help us to bring mindfulness into our daily life.  It can also help us to begin to listen to and in a sense “befriend” our bodies.  This might not seem to be what we think meditation is all about – but being present with our bodies is a way of knowing ourselves more deeply and can be an anchor for many mindfulness and meditation practices.

I invite you to be curious!

Here’s a simple practice to explore:

Sit at the leading edge of chair so that your feet are flat on the floor.  Feel the support of mother earth beneath your feet.  Allow you spine to be straight but not tense; shoulders and stomach relaxed.  Place your hand on your knees or your lap.  If you are comfortable, gently close your eyes or have a soft gaze on the floor a few feet in front of you. 

If you feel tense, take a few deep breaths — breathing in for a count of five and out for a count of five.  If possible, begin to let some of the tension in your body go. Then, let your breath fall back to its own natural rhythm.

Begin to open up to observe your whole body; and then begin to notice any specific sensations you may be feeling.  Perhaps feeling your body on the chair, your feet on the floor, or the feeling of your clothing against you skin.  Noticing if the air is moving or still, are you feeling hot or cold, or tired or energized and so on.  Focus on any sensations you notice related to your physical body.  Just noting them and them moving on to the next sensation. 

You might notice areas where your feel pain tension, pain or discomfort. Observe them and then continue on to other sensations that are present.  This is a time to notice physical sensations without attaching to or resisting any one of them. You are simply noticing!

If you notice that your mind is wandering, which it will, (this is the nature of the mind) simply bring it back to the next feeling or sensation that arises in your body.

To finish, take another moment to tune into your whole body.  Then, focusing on your breath, envision yourself  breathing into and out of your entire body for a few cycles of breath.

Finally, take a moment to express gratitude for your body and all it does to support you in being alive and awake in each and every moment!

As always, feel free to share your reflections in the comments below.

Tashi Deleh (I honor the greatness within you!)

Mindfulness Mondays ~ 7 Ways To Practice Mindfulness

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I thought to wrap up the last Mindfulness Mondays post of 2015 with a summary of practices we explored recently and added a post on Gratitude practice, too!  I am planning to continue this weekly series in 2016 to offer a virtual space for you to explore mindfulness and meditation practices.

If you’d like to connect with a virtual mindfulness meditation community, I invite you to join my Facebook group, Meditation & Mindfulness In A Rapidly Changing World.  Each week, I share our practice plus some additional resources and information.  There’s an opportunity to connect and explore together; and I am planning to offer some teleseminar gatherings in the new year, too!

As always I love to hear your reflections, so feel free to drop a note in the comments below if there is something you’ve enjoyed, benefitted from or would like to see more of in 2016! 

  1. Parallel Breaths

  2. Urge Surfing

  3. Take Your Mindfulness To Work

  4. Noticing Feelings & Emotions

  5. Coherence Breathing

  6. Practicing STOP

  7. Make A Gratitude List


Upcoming Events

January 1 – 30 ~ Setting Intentions & Visioning Our Dreams 30 Day Writing Program (Virtual)
1st Sundays ~ Healing The Shadow Shamanic Journey Telelcass (Virtual)
2016 Dates TBA ~ Healing The Shadow Shamanic Journey Process Group in Annapolis, MD (Local)
May 1 – 31 ~ May Is For Metta 2016: 31 Days of Loving-kindness Meditaton & Practice (Virtual)
June 2016 ~ Discover The Healer Within 4-Session Program (Virtual)
For details and registration information on events, visit http://www.bethterrence.com/Events.html or Sign Up my for Discover The Healer Within E-News to get updates on events, articles and special offers.

7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge! Cultivating Self-Compassion ~ Day 7

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7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge!

Cultivating Self-Compassion

Day 7

Gratitude Heart

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life is “Thank You”, that would suffice.” ~ Meister Eckhart

No exploration of Writing To Heal would be complete without some focus on Gratitude practice or journaling.  Gratitude practice has been one of my core healing practices for many, many years now.  Sometimes I keep a special Gratitude journal. At other times, I just include a list in my daily reflection and I also practice on the spot Gratitude writing when I need to focus on the positive and shift my perspective.

I’d like to share some words on Gratitude by one of my most beloved teachers, Angeles Arrien, whose book Living In Gratitude is one I come back to again and again.

“The practice of gratitude bestows many benefits… Anger, arrogance, and jealousy melt in its embrace.  Fear and defensiveness dissolve.  Gratitude diminishes barriers to love and evokes happiness, keeping alive what has meaning for us.”

I’d also like to share some words by Robert Emmons, perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. Yes, there is scientific evidence that practicing Gratitude is a healing tool!  Emmons explains that gratitude has two key components (Source: Greater Good essay, “Why Gratitude Is Good.”)

“First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. In the second part of gratitude, he explains,“we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”

Emmons’ findings, along with a number of other researchers, suggest that grateful people may be more likely to:

  • take better care of themselves physically and mentally
  • cope better with overall stress and specific challenges
  • feel happier and more optimistic 
  • have stronger immune systems
  • have healthier behaviors and better health maintenance
  • get more regular exercise
  • eat healthier foods
  • have improved mental alertness
  • maintain a brighter view of the future
  • feel a greater sense of connection to self, others and the world

And, writing offers a powerful way to practice Gratitude and cultivate a grateful attitude in an ongoing way…

Daily Prompt

As today is the last day of this 7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge, I am going to suggest that you take this last prompt and utilize for an additional 7 days. The practice is to simply write a Gratitude List.  List everything you are grateful for today.  This may include the people in your life, successes and celebrations, things you love to do, things that inspire you, things in nature that you love, etc.  It’s up to you and it can be as short or as long as you like.  Especially for this first list or as a returning practice, I suggest writing stream of consciousness and taking some time to list everything and anything you feel grateful for. 

Then, for the next 7 days, write a daily Gratitude List.  You may wish to designate a special notebook or journal just for your gratitude practice.  Some folks like to write 3 or 7 or 10 things they’re grateful for everyday or just keep going.  I have been in some wonderful groups where we share our gratitudes in an online group and we’d start with 1 on the 1st of the month and add one for each day of the month finishing with 30 or 31.  Be creative! Create your own Gratitude practice and see what emerges!

I hope you have enjoyed this 7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge.  I plan to do some more throughout the year with different themes.  You may wish to take some time today to reflect on your writings and how taking this time has supported you in cultivating greater self-compassion.  Sometimes just giving ourselves the time and space to be open and present with ourselves is all that is needed!  I encourage you to continue to explore what has arisen here for you and most of all, I honor you for be willing to connect with and explore YOU on a deeper level!

If you are interested in continuing to explore, tomorrow is the opening of Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief, Loss & Change 30 Day Online Writing Program Co-Facilitated with Andrea Hylen.  This time of year, as we enter Autumn, is one that is very connected to the feelings of loss and grief as well as transformation.  We can see that with the leaves turning and falling, the cooler days coming and the shorter amount of daylight each day. In many traditions, this is a time to connect with and honor our ancestors and lineages.

I am excited to be diving into this container with the Autumn Equinox and our program begins with an Autumn Equinox Ceremony and Telegathering tomorrow, 9/21, at 3 PM Eastern Time.  This will give us some time to invite in an intention for the 30 days of Writing To Heal and daily prompts will begin on 9/23.  There will be 3 Teleclasses to support the journey as well as a private Facebook community group for sharing.  I’d love for you to join me as you feel called to!

To learn more or register, visit http://healmyvoice.org/30-day-writing-program/.  Registration remains open through 9/28 prior to our first official Teleclass. And, feel free to contact me if you’d like to learn more.

Once again, thank you for taking this journey with me to discover the healer within through self-reflection and writing!  It is a joy to have you as part of  The Heart Of Awakening Blog Community.

Love & light,

Beth Shekinah

 

 

 

Join Me For A Free Teleseminar ~ An Attitude Of Gratitude On 11/25

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An Attitude Of Gratitude:

Improving Health & Well-Being In Our Lives & Our World 

Free Teleseminar

Tuesday, 11/25 at 12 PM ET

As we move closer to Thanksgiving and the holiday season, it is a natural time to explore gratitude in our lives. The are many ways to practice Gratitude and many benefits as well. Practice is more than just a feeling, it is an active state of being. When we speak about practice, whether it be exercise, meditation or gratitude practice, we know there can be many obstacles to developing a new practice or sustaining an ongoing one.

Spiritual traditions have honored the practice of gratitude for thousand of years and now science is getting on board as well.  There are a number of ongoing research projects on gratitude which suggest that there are many benefits of this practice for health and well-being.   Join me for an exploration of Gratitude practice as a resource for transforming our lives and our world.

Our time will include:

  • Gratitude as a tool for transformation and healing
  • Benefits of Gratitude practice on health and well-being including recent scientific research findings
  • Ways to cultivate a Gratitude practice during the holiday season and in daily life

I hope you will join me for this free teleseminar!

A replay recording will be available for all registered participants.

Register Via Eventbrite

Poem Of The Week: On Giving By Khalil Gibran (From The Prophet)

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In the spirit of this month’s theme of Gratitude, I felt to bring in this section from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran, On Giving.  It so speaks to the true spirit of giving and receiving.  There is a beautiful synergy that arises as we open and allow our hearts to guide us on this beautiful journey of life, to give as we feel called to and also to receive with openness and grace.  I love how it acknowledges the many ways we give and asks that we “give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors”.   I hope you enjoy the poem and take some time to reflect on the deeper meaning of giving and receiving as we move into the holiday season.

“On Giving” By Khalil Gibran (From The Prophet)

Then said a rich man, “Speak to us of Giving.”
And he answered:
You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, thirst that is unquenchable?
There are those who give little of the much which they have – and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.
And there are those who have little and give it all.
These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.
And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.
Though the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.
It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding;
And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving
And is there aught you would withhold?
All you have shall some day be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors’.
You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.”
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
And what desert greater shall there be than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?
And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?
See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.
For in truth it is life that gives unto life – while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.
And you receivers – and you are all receivers – assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives.
Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings;
For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the free-hearted earth for mother, and God for father.

The Power Of Gratitude

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One of the beautiful things about blogging is all of the unexpected connections that emerge and the heart-felt interactions that occur.  I had one of those happen this week when I shared my post, 30 Gratitude Quotes To Inspire You!, on Facebook.  I shared the post on the Heal My Voice Facebook Page and someone saw it and was inspired to write a story on Gratitude.  He shared that story with me and it turns out it is a story of Recovery as well.  The beauty of it is that I am currently facilitating a pilot project for Heal My Voice at Chrysalis House, which is an innovative addictions treatment program for women and their children.  Part of my inspiration in exploring Gratitude practice is that it is one I bring into my weekly writing circle at Chrysalis House.  I have found that it has a tremendous impact on the group and can help to shift the energy from negativity to positivity, discouragement to hope, and frustration to contentment.  This is the Power Of Gratitude!

The story I mentioned was written by Brian Bender on his blog, Your Humble Farmer.  It is a story of Gratitude and of Recovery, too.  One of the foundations of 12 Step Recovery Programs is to come together to share experiences, strength, and hope to encourage others in their recovery.  This is the kind of message that we can all utilize and bring into our relationships and our interactions with others.  Sharing our Gratitude is a way to do this.  There are times we may need to be “lifted up” and times we may be able to “lift up” others.  I have found that practicing Gratitude can create a powerful shift of energy and emotions and can also help to inspire hope when it is needed.

Here is Brian’s story, You Can Borrow My 10 Until You Have 10 Of Your Own.  I hope this beautiful story of Gratitude inspires you to practice and share Gratitude, too!

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts or reflections, and be sure to stop by and share your comments on Brian’s blog, Your Humble Farmer, too.

If you’d like to learn more about the Heal My Voice Chrysalis House Project or make a donation to support this grassroots program, visit www.healmyvoice.org or feel free to contact me directly via my website, www.bethterrence.com.

Many Blessings,

Beth

Gratitude: A Path To The Heart And Happiness, Too!

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The mission of The Heart Of Awakening Blog is to support:
  • Living from the Heart
  • Embodying Awareness, Authenticity and Purpose
  • Integrating a Holistic Approach to Being
  • Embracing the Interconnectedness of All Things
  • Honoring and Respecting the Sacredness of Life

One of the best practices for opening the heart and keeping it open is the practice of Gratitude.  It is important to stress the word “practice” as it is one thing to experience a feeling of gratitude and another to actively work with it.  Over the month of December, we will be exploring a variety of ways to practice Gratitude in daily life.

When we speak about practice, whether it be exercise, meditation or gratitude practice, we know there can be many obstacles to developing a new practice or sustaining an ongoing one.  You may even ask “why should I practice gratitude?”  Aren’t there other ways I can be more open-hearted?  I would answer “yes and no”.  Yes, there are many ways to open the heart but gratitude is one of the most powerful ways.  Also, without an experience of gratitude it is difficult to maintain an open heart.

Spiritual traditions have honored the practice of gratitude for thousand of years and now science is getting on board as well.  There are a number of ongoing research projects on gratitude.  One is led by Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and author of the book Thanks: How The New Science Of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.  Here is an overview of Dr. Emmons research on how Gratitude affects both psychological and physical well-being (Source: http://gratitudepower.net/science.htm):

  • In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
  • A related benefit was observed in the realm of personal goal attainment:  Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.
  • A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison (ways in which participants thought they were better off than others).  There was no difference in levels of unpleasant emotions reported in the three groups.
  • Participants in the daily gratitude condition were more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or having offered emotional support to another, relative to the hassles or social comparison condition.
  • In a sample of adults with neuromuscular disease, a 21-day gratitude intervention resulted in greater amounts of high energy positive moods, a greater sense of feeling connected to others, more optimistic ratings of one’s life, and better sleep duration and sleep quality, relative to a control group.

So, as you can see there are many potential benefits from the practice of Gratitude.  Wouldn’t you like to have more energy? Sleep better? Be more optimistic? Feel more connected to others? Have less stress?  Live a happier life?

Making A Gratitude List:  Take a few moments after reading this post to make a Gratitude list just for today.  It can be as short or long as you’d like.  You may want to put it in your journal or create a special Gratitude notebook.  You may just want to write it on a slip of paper and when you are done recycle it.  It’s not necessarily something you need to keep, but it’s what feels right to you.  For some people it helps to have a list to look back on when they are having a bad day or just want to review what they have been grateful for.  Keep it simple and make it work for you.  Taking just a few moments everyday to practice Gratitude can make a big difference in how you experience life.

Are you ready to cultivate an attitude of Gratitude to see what’s possible?

Here is my Gratitude list for today as an example.  Feel free to share yours in the comments below if you feel to as well as any reflections or comments on the practice of Gratitude.

Today, I am grateful for:

  1. Being Alive
  2. Visiting with family and friends over the holiday
  3. Doing work I love to do
  4. Books
  5. The sense of fun my cats bring to my life
  6. My loving relationship
  7. Going for a walk today
  8. Feeling my feelings even when they are intense
  9. The joy of writing
  10. Having a warm home and a bed to sleep in
  11. The sound of the wind chimes ringing outside my window

30 Gratitude Quotes To Inspire You!

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Attitude Of Gratitude

Thanksgiving may be over but cultivating an attitude of gratitude is something we can do everyday.  I have decided to invite Gratitude in as a theme on The Heart Of Awakening for the month of December.  One of the things I have learned recently in my explorations on the Path of Peace is that in order to truly achieve peace, we need to bring it beyond the feeling or mental state into an action state.  I feel the same way about Gratitude and will be sharing various explorations to support developing an active practice of gratitude.

Sometimes this simply begins with being inspired by others words and ideas, so here are 30 Gratitude Quotes for you to explore.  Also, please feel free to share your favorite Gratitude quotes in the comments below.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thornton Wilder

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

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer

“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.”
 – William James

He is a wise an who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

               “True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.”  – Oprah Winfrey

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” – Meister Eckhart  

“Forget yesterday – it has already forgotten you. Don’t sweat tomorrow – you haven’t even met. Instead, open your eyes and your heart to a truly precious gift – today.”   -Steve Maraboli  

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” – Maya Angelou

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” – Cicero  

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say thank you.”
– William Arthur Ward

“Be happy with who you are and what you do, and you can do anything you want.”
– Steve Maraboli

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

“The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.” – Henry Ward Beecher

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“An attitude of gratitude brings great things.” – Yogi Bhajan

“Love of God is pure when joy and suffering inspire an equal degree of gratitude.” – Simone Weil

If we want to keep the blessings of life coming to us, we must learn to be grateful for whatever is given.”
– Harold Klemp

“Gratitude and love are always multiplied when you give freely. It is an infinite source of contentment and prosperous energy.” – Jim Fargiano

Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” – Henri Frederic Amiel

“The more grateful we are, the more we practice this in our everyday lives, the more connected we become to the universe around us.” – Stephen Richards

“Be grateful for whatever it is that opens you up.” – Allan G. Hunter

“It doesn’t matter if the glass is half empty or half full. Be thankful that you have a glass and grateful that there’s something in it.” – Unknown

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
 – Oprah Winfrey

“To express gratitude is to put into words a beautiful sense of wholeness. Recognizing the people, the experiences, and the extraordinary gifts of life which feed our souls.” – Anna

“Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.”
– Kahlil Gibran

“Gratitude is a form of worship in its own right, as it implies the acceptance of a power greater than yourself.” – Stephen Richards

Happy Thanksgiving And Poems Of The Week, Too!

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As the holiday season begins, it is such a wonderful time of year to focus on gratitude and begin to count all of the blessings in our lives.   Everyday is a good day to practice “Thanksgiving”, so wherever you are in the world, may you have a joyful day sharing with family and friends and celebrating the beauty of life.  I especially want to express my gratitude to all who share the journey with me here and participate in The Heart Of Awakening Community.

I shared some poems as part of a holiday message I sent out today and felt to share those poems here, too.  It’s been a few weeks without a “Poem Of The Week” post so this should catch us up a bit.   If you haven’t noticed by now, I am a great lover of poetry and quotes.  I tend to bring quotes and poetry into many of my experiences.  Whether gathering with friends and family, leading a group or just looking for ideas for my writing or my life, I find the words of others to open a gateway to inspiration and exploration.

Here are a few poems which speak to the spirit of Thanksgiving for you to explore!

Love & light,

Beth

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Charles Reznikoff’s short poem, “Te Deum”, takes its name from an early Christian hymn of praise:

Not because of victories
I sing,
having none,
but for the common sunshine,
the breeze,
the largess of the spring.

Not for victory
but for the day’s work done
as well as I was able;
not for a seat upon the dais
but at the common table.

 The Thanksgivings” is a poem translated by Harriet Maxwell Converse in 1908 from a traditional Iroquois song:

We who are here present thank the Great Spirit that we are here to praise Him. 
We thank Him that He has created men and women, and ordered that these beings shall always be living to multiply the earth. 
We thank Him for making the earth and giving these beings its products to live on. 
We thank Him for the water that comes out of the earth and runs for our lands. 
We thank Him for all the animals on the earth. 
We thank Him for certain timbers that grow and have fluids coming from them for us all. 
We thank Him for the branches of the trees that grow shadows for our shelter. 
We thank Him for the beings that come from the west, the thunder and lightning that water the earth. 
We thank Him for the light which we call our oldest brother, the sun that works for our good. 
We thank Him for all the fruits that grow on the trees and vines. 
We thank Him for his goodness in making the forests, and thank all its trees. 
We thank Him for the darkness that gives us rest, and for the kind Being of the darkness that gives us light, the moon.
We thank Him for the bright spots in the skies that give us signs, the stars. 
We give Him thanks for our supporters, who had charge of our harvests. 
We give thanks that the voice of the Great Spirit can still be heard through the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o. 
We thank the Great Spirit that we have the privilege of this pleasant occasion. 
We give thanks for the persons who can sing the Great Spirit’s music, and hope they will be privileged to continue in his faith. 
We thank the Great Spirit for all the persons who perform the ceremonies on this occasion.

And, finally, “Rumi’s Poem Of Thanksgiving”:

Thanksgiving is sweeter than bounty itself.
One who cherishes gratitude does not cling to the gift!
Thanksgiving is the true meat of God’s bounty;
the bounty is its shell,
For thanksgiving carries you to the hearth of the Beloved.
Abundance alone brings heedlessness, thanksgiving gives
birth to alertness.

The bounty of thanksgiving will satisfy and elevate you,
and you will bestow a hundred bounties in return.
Eat your fill of God’s delicacies,
and you will be freed from hunger and begging.

Celebrating 10,000 Views On The Heart Of Awakening Blog

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thank you languages

It may seem like a small milestone to some but it’s an exciting one for me.  Last night, we passed 10,000 views.  I am so thrilled to see The Heart Of Awakening Blog Community growing and learning together.  It was my birthday on Wednesday, 1/23, and one of the things I have begun to share here already is that I intend this year to be a year of CELEBRATION!  So it feels fitting to celebrate here on The Heart Of Awakening and most of all, to celebrate everyone who has journeyed with us over the past 10 months.  I am so grateful for the community that has emerged and the connections that have been made.  I am amazed to see people visiting each day from all over the world.  Visitors from such places as Denmark, Chile, Japan, Australia, Italy, Mozambique, Pakistan, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka are a few that have visited in the last week.

Curiously, are some of the key words that come up in searches most regularly.  The most popular include:

Soham mantra ~ soham breathing ~ soham meditation ~ bach flower remedies ~ transformation~ salmon power animal ~ breath connection ~ metta meditation, ~ power of intention ~ animal spirit medicine ~ prayer for a new day ~ the heart of awakening

I have been so fascinated by the popularity of the Soham mantra meditation that I plan to do a follow-up post soon.  I, personally, find it to be one of the most simple and profound practices available to us.  It is wonderful for any beginning meditator as well as an experienced practitioner.  Stay tuned for a new post on this topic soon.

The following are the 10 most popular posts on The Heart Of Awakening Blog:

Soham Mantra Meditation: Breathing, Connecting, Being

Day 2 of May is for Metta 2012: Loving-kindness Practice For Oneself

Lessons From A Salmon: A New View On Struggle

7 Ways To Cultivate Love And Compassion For Yourself

Bach Flower Remedies: A Tool For Transformation

Grounding In A Rapidly Changing World

Finding Connection Through Ceremony & Ritual

Exploring Metta Meditation

Visionary Voices: Dr. Edward Bach

Shamanic Healing: A Journey Of Reconnection

Although folks tend to land on a specific post, May Is For Metta is actually a 31 Day Guided Practice of Loving-kindness Meditation which occurred here in May of 2012 and other sites previously.  I am so happy this is here as a resource for people to explore this wonderful practice and to support cultivating a daily meditation practice.  I am planning to do additional daily guided meditation programs here in 2013.  There is a page dedicated to May Is For Metta which summaries the practice and has links to all of the daily posts for anyone who wishes to explore this as their own guided process.

Most of all, I celebrate and thank everyone who has journeyed here and explored the path of the heart as a gateway for awakening and creating a new paradigm for our world – one based on Love, Compassion, Acceptance, Collaboration and Unity.

If you have a favorite post or if there is anything you’d like to see more of this year and would like to drop a note, I’d love to hear from you.  I am so looking forward to exploring in new and beautiful ways in 2013.

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin… All my relations. I honor you in this circle of life with me today.

Love & light,

Beth

Celebrating The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

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I feel so blessed to have been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by Ganesh, whose beautiful blog is titled Known is a Drop, Unknown is an Ocean.  It is through connecting with Ganesh and other amazing bloggers that my own blog has grown and I have felt inspired to see what’s possible.

I started The Heart of Awakening Blog in early March of this year after many years of talking and thinking about starting a blog.  So far it has been a wonderful adventure.  I feel as if I have just touched on bits of pieces of what I feel called to write about and am excited to see how this journey emerges.  When I started I shared an intention of living the big picture in daily life.  As I put forth that intention and began posting, I found that I have connected with many like-minded others from all over the world.  Our backgrounds and cultures may be different and yet, the energy of the heart and a desire for awakening is so apparent by the openness, willingness and passion that comes through the blogging community.  It is a joy to be a part of that.

Participating in Council or talking circle is an important part of my life and my work.  Through the experience of blogging, I feel as if my circle has widened immensely in just a short time.  There is no talking piece that is passed but sharing and listening from the heart is evident.  In circle, we say “Aho” when we resonate with something someone has said.  It is short of Aho Mitakuye Oyasin, a Lakota term, meaning, “All My Relations.”  We are honoring each person for participating in the circle of life with us.  In blogging, we “like” a post and this is affirming our connection and support of what was shared.  When we “like” a post or comment, we are creating connection and making our big world a little smaller.

On Friday, I celebrated my 50th post, publishing my first audio post and the honor of receiving the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  I am grateful to all who have supported me and shared in this exploration.  I am thankful to connect with the heart-centered community that is emerging globally.  It is through these connections that I am inspired to write, to share and to deepen in my own exploration of the heart.  Namaste.

Rules for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and write a post about it.
2. Share 7 things about your Self.
3. Pass the award on to 10 or 12 bloggers you enjoy, link to their blogs, and let them know you nominated them.

7 Things about myself:

1. I love to read – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, blogs, even Tweets.
2. I feel most at home in Nature. I spend as much time there as I can, but it’s never enough.
3. I play the Native American Flute.
4. I am a practicing shaman.
5. My favorite poets are Rumi, Hafiz, Wordsworth, Mary Oliver and William Stafford.
6. A book that has shaped my life is Healing the Shadow, by Shaman Ross Bishop.
7. I love to write, draw and paint.

Here are the blogs that I recommend for Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

The Art of Earth 

Moments With Millie

Manipal’s Photo Blog

GYAtoday

Knowthesphere

the journey

Martine Chin – nutritionista

Zen and the Art of Tightrope Walking

Through the Healing Lens

Peeled Onion

I hope you’ll take some time to explore and enjoy these very inspiring blogs!

I’d like to share one of my favorite poems by William Stafford:

A Ritual To Read To Each Other

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider–
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.