Tag Archives: gratitude

Gratitude: The Anti-Snark

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Snarkiness is part of my personality.  It’s part of who I am.  I am generally a very positive, happy, optimistic person and I try as hard as I can to be kind and fair.  Some days, like yesterday, I’m less successful at that than others.  That’s okay.  It’s all about the balance and, while I do believe in compassion and grace, I also believe in Satya and sometimes the truth needs to be said.

When I’m feeling extra snarky, a yoga practice always helps me.  The bending, the stretching, the breath, the focus, the devotion — it all just seems to pull everything out of the snark and into the light.  There are days, however, when an asana practice is not a possibility and I need to rely on the one thing that costs nothing, can be done anywhere, at any time, as often as needed.  I can actively practice gratitude.

Gratitude is a wonderful thing.  It’s easy and once you get going, it’s impossible to be stuck in a negative place.  Not only that, but once you get going, it’s nearly impossible to stop!  Go ahead, try it.  Try it right now.  No matter how gnarly your day is, I promise you can come up with something for which you are grateful.  If you’re having a hard time getting started, may I present to you the brilliant Louis CK.

Surely that little bit of realism sparked some ideas!  For what are YOU grateful today?  Make a list.  Here’s my “in the spur of the moment / stream of consciousness writing” list I’m making up right this second.

  • The internet.  Seriously, we all take this for granted, but if you’re as old as I am (or older,) you remember life LONG before this amazing space gadget that connects us all together.  Amazing stuff.
  • Raspberries.  These perfectly beautiful tasty bits of foodstuff are just happy all by themselves.
  • Avocados.  See Raspberries.
  • Air conditioning.  It’s an oven out there and it’s not in here.
  • Dogs.  They’re loud and hairy and smelly.  They’re also loyal and kind and compassionate and silly and wonderful and funny and protective and cuddly and amazing in every possible way.
  • Friends.  Even if you don’t have any friends right now (I’m grasping,) you certainly have had friends at some point in your life and, wow, aren’t they grand?
  • Sunlight.  There are people who never see the sun.  Be grateful you are not one of those people.
  • Music.
  • Awesome Earrings.
  • Getting said awesome earrings on sale.
  • Having something exciting to which to wear said earrings.
  • Did I mention the earrings?
  • Twitter – A great way to connect with folks and it’s hard to be an asshat 140 characters at a time.
  • Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.  The very first band I loved.  I might have been a toddler Muppet groupie.

 

I could go on and on, but I was just setting an example.  It’s a good thing to be grateful.  It’s a good thing to actively practice gratitude.  It’s a good thing to list all those things that make you feel grateful.  What’s even better, however, is sharing that with the world.  Humans can spread gratitude just as easily as they can spread hate.  Choose today and share the goodness.

Tell me, what are you grateful for?

 

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The #Yoga of Celebrating Birthday Week (hint: it doesn’t have to be your birthday!)

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No, this is not one of my doggies, but ohmygoodnes, look how awesome!

It’s my Birthday Week, my favorite week of the year! To be truthful, it’s Day 5 of my Birthday Week and I am having just as much fun as the party animal to the left.  Again, let’s take a minute to look at that awesome doggie and smile.

YAY DOGGIE!

Okay, back to business.  It’s Day 5 of birthday week and it has been remarkable!

  • Day one was spent teaching yoga.  While I was teaching, Polly was planting me a cherry tree right by the yoga deck.  SWEET!

Day two found me gorging myself silly on yummy sushi with my favorite birthday buddy.  This is a tradition we have had for … gosh, 10 years now!

 

 

 

 

Day three brought to me a 90-minute massage (bliss,) followed by the unexpected joy of getting to drive and handle an absolutely massive $2M crane and help tear down the historic Regency Hotel.  It was incredible and I admit that I giggled all the way through.  Go ahead, try to tell me that this wouldn’t just rock your socks off.  Yeah, didn’t think you could.

Day 4 was full of awesomeness.  I spent my lunch dining with some of my favorite people, celebrating another friend’s birthday.  A piece of pizza bigger than my head, folks!  The only thing that can beat that is maybe spending the evening hanging out with my family and other friends and playing vintage pinball.  Happy kids = happy mama!

And today brings us to Day 5.  I teach one of my most favorite classes on Fridays, so I started my day off with the Friday Flyers.  Loads of fun arm balances and inversions, giggles and grunts, face plants and fabulousness.  It was lovely! My afternoon plans got unexpectedly changed last minute, so I asked myself what I really felt like doing instead.  I ended up soaking in a hot bath after lunch and have been in my pajamas since 1pm.  Nothing wrong with that.

My birthday week will continue with dinner and movie with my husband and will culminate with a yogi brunch on Sunday.  I absolutely cannot wait.  I LOVE BIRTHDAYS, I celebrate mine with flair and style, and I don’t mind allowing myself to be spoiled.  So what does all of this have to do with yoga, you ask?  I’ll tell you.  It’s all about the attitude of gratitude.  An attitude of gratitude can make *every week* seem like birthday week!

My week has been incredible, but aside from the brunch on Sunday (and not even that – I’ll explain in a bit,) nothing about what has made this week so amazing happened because of my birthday!  The cherry tree, most likely, was going to find it’s home at Yoga Sol eventually.  That it happened on the first day of birthday week happened to be a coincidence (I think,) but I was so excited and it seemed to fit the theme, so it became my birthday tree for the first day of birthday week!  Sushi with my birthday buddy is a tradition, but it’s not like it’s the only time we have sushi.  We could have sushi any given day (well, those days when we aren’t scheduled down to the minute.) It was because it was birthday week that I chose to see it as a birthday celebration and a party for me!  The massage was incredible and it was exactly what my body needed, but it happened to fall into birthday week simply because that’s what fit the schedule.  I was incredibly grateful and chose to see it as yet another part of the big celebration and I was grateful!  Now the whole crane thing had absolutely positively nothing to do with my birthday – I promise, the foreman had no idea it was my birthday week – but tell me that isn’t something to celebrate!! Yep, can’t do it, can you.  And, of course, lunch was for someone else, but who doesn’t love awesome organic pizza and awesome organic friends and awesome organic laughter?  The pinball thing —

well, that was just pure joy to watch.  Had nothing to do with me at all, but still felt like a continuation of the same party that was rolling and on and on from day to day.  Obviously teaching yoga is like a party for me and pajamas at 1pm on a Friday?  Just plain ohmygoodness awesome!  Even looking ahead: dinner and a movie could happen just about any week and, while it most certainly wouldn’t be the same (and I’m certain that my birthday brunch Sunday is going to be a big ol’ party – wheeeee!,) it’s possible to have brunch with these amazing people on other days, too. (but seriously, for real, I’m squeaking with excitement over this brunch!!!  It’s certainly a birthday thing.)

All of that rambling to make the point: You can look at everything good that happens in your life, no matter how big or how small, as a gift just for you! You can celebrate yourself and your life any dang ol’ time you want to! See a pretty flower?  It’s your birthday week (graduation week, stubbed-toe week, new nail polish week, root-canal week, bought new pants week, etc.) present!  Have a particularly wonderful conversation that makes you laugh so hard you pee a little?  Happy I-Have-Good-Friends week!  Find a perfect nail polish?  It was put in your path as present just for you! Finally hover away from the wall in handstand? CELEBRATE – it’s your day!

Pretty awesome, eh?

I had a friend who used to pray to be “open to the moments of the day,” meaning those moments that bring joy, laughter, light into the day.  (Incidentally, as she was telling me this, we saw an elderly man and a late 30-ish woman walking to some public bathrooms. They didn’t know each other and weren’t walking together, but somehow both of them ended up going into the wrong bathroom!  My friend and I howled with laughter and she said, “See, there you go!  That is a moment of the day!”)  If you live your life being grateful for the moments of the day, every week IS birthday week because, through gratitude, we are reborn.  We see the goodness in things and slowly, but surely, we stop focusing on the not so good stuff, and everything starts to look like a little present just for us.

OHMYGOODNESS how awesome is that?  Awesome enough to celebrate!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WEEK TO US ALL!!!

 

 

#365yoga Day 353: Simple Gifts

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It’s gift giving time again! The stores have been packed with harried people hunting and pecking for this toy or that toy, people have maced each other over flat screen tvs, there’s a waiting list a mile long for a few video games, and more people than you can imagine have maxed out their credit cards all in order to buy the “perfect” gifts.

I knew I was a grown up when I honestly and truly did begin to believe that it is much better to give than to receive.  It shocked me the first year that I realized that I didn’t really care if I got anything at all, but was overwhelmed with excitement at the thought of my loved ones opening up the gifts I had for them.  I have been blessed enough in my life to have received amazing things wrapped in pretty boxes and paper, but what makes my heart really dance with delight is seeing the shine in someone’s eyes when they accept a little piece of my love and affection and appreciation.  It truly is better to give than to receive.

That said, I am human.  Although I no longer expect them nor do I request or need them, I do like receiving gifts. I’m very lucky – I get gifts all the time!  Don’t be jealous – you do, too!  The trick is to recognize them.  Here’s a hint: they don’t always come wrapped in paper or with bows.  All you need is an attitude of gratitude and you’ll soon see that you are surrounded by gifts.  Be present to see your presents, you dig?  Here’s a few of the simple gifts I have received lately for which I am eternally grateful:

The gift of moving on.  When you have done all that you can do for / with / about a person or a situation and nothing seems to change, it is a gift to acknowledge that you have done all that you can do and then allow yourself to let it go and move on.  There is freedom in self-preservation and occasionally, freedom in goodbyes.

The gift of care.  I have been sick.  Kind of sick for quite a long time, really sick for several days.  I knew it was coming, but I’m stubborn and determined and, like a fool, I pushed through it only to have it come and bite me in the arse with a vengeance.  Eventually, I had no choice but to stop.  I had to start practicing self-care.  Part of self-care is accepting care from others.  I have been blessed with the care of my sister teachers at Yoga Sol who have covered my classes when I am too sick to teach.  I have been blessed by the care of my husband who lets me sleep in, spend hours in a steaming hot bath so that I can breathe, who has made meals and driven kids and rubbed my back.  I have been blessed with the care of my mom who watched my kids, brought me OTC medication, and offered love and support. And I have been blessed with the care of my friends who offer to bring soup, to send meds, to make me laugh through the yuckiness.  When I see each one of you, I see a bright red bow on your head.  Thank you.

The gift of a good deal.  Our refrigerator broke over a year ago.  It started freezing up and then leaking all over the floor.  It ruined produce and anything else that was in its ugly path.  For more than a year, we thawed everything out, tore the fridge apart, used every redneck repair you could imagine, and kept it limping along.  Refrigerators are expensive, folks, and when you live on a cash only existence, the idea of buying one is enough to make you lose your appetite.  2 weeks ago, however, it became abundantly clear we couldn’t keep kludging along; we needed to buy a new one.  We looked at used appliances and in the classifieds, but ultimately decided that we’d rather shell out the big bucks once than to shell out a little bucks every few months to keep buying used appliances.  We found a simple but adequate top-freezer fridge for $725 in a store.  As we were on the way to the sales person, we found a larger, higher end, side-by-side  on clearance because it a) didn’t have a box, and b) had a slight dent in the door.  It was $10 less! We very excitedly approached the sales person and told him of our desire to purchase this clearanced appliance (don’t we all have a little ding in our doors?) As he was ringing it up, he mentioned to my husband that he had a brand new, still in the box, even better model in the store-room that was $200 cheaper.  WHY was it so cheap?  Because it was white (no one buys white anymore – except us) and it was a model from June, so they weren’t putting it on the sales floor anymore.  It’s value was $1100.  Including tax and delivery, we paid $570.  Now, the sales person didn’t have to tell us about this deal.  And, if we hadn’t decided that a little ding in the door was okay with us, he’d never have known that we would consider a side by side with ice and water in the door.  Because we were willing to accept less than perfect, we got even more than we imagined we could and we paid even less than we had planned.  There’s a lesson there, folks.

The gift of perfect timing.  I love my husband.  Period.  Part of loving with him comes with dealing with and, to some extent, supporting his obsessions.  He doesn’t have many, but the biggest one he has is with Classic Toyota Landcruisers.  He LOVES them.  He bought his first one not long before we got together 12 years ago and hasn’t been without one since.  And by classic, I mean classic: his first one was a 1983 and his current truck is a 1985. I don’t get it.  They are old.  They require a lot of work.  They rust.  They fall apart.  They get horrible gas mileage.  They are also awesome, fun, and I cannot for the life of me think of a better suited vehicle for my husband.  But, like I said, they fall apart and they require a lot of work.  His current truck is due for relicensing and it probably won’t pass inspection as it is.  He has been stressed out about putting more money into this truck.  He wanted to find another one to buy and sell his (you wouldn’t believe Landcruiser nuts – they will by a burned out frame for $1000, for goodness sake.)  He hunted and searched and knew that, come December 31, he’d have to stop driving his truck.  Yesterday he got a phone call – someone he had been “truck courting” agreed to sell his 1986 (a’well, we’re movin’ on uuuuup.)  He’s picking it up tonight.  The timing couldn’t be more perfect, the negotiated price is acceptable, and my husband can finally breathe easier.  Believe me, he might be getting the truck, but I am getting the gift.

The gift of creativity.  I have been blessed with many things, but the one I love the most is my sense of creativity.  I like to give many gifts to my friends and family, but our budget doesn’t always allow for it.  This year, I am especially excited about 2 of the gifts I am giving.  They are perfect for the recipients, they are thoughtful and practical and really are perfectly designed for who the recipients are.  And neither of them cost me a single red cent.  I am grateful for my creativity – which also came to me for free.

The gift of saying “No.”  This is a new one! As i mentioned, I have been sick.  Last night was the annual huge blow out holiday party at my husband’s company.  It is always a big ol’ deal and people get crazy and wild and have a good time.  We had arranged for childcare, I had killer shoes to wear (my main requirement,) and had been looking forward it — until it got close to the time to leave.  I am sick.  I didn’t feel like going.  My husband isn’t feeling too well, either, and he didn’t feel like going.  We looked at each other and agreed – we wanted and needed to stay home.  So we did!  Another example: Every year we have been together, we have traveled on Christmas Day to visit his family.  We have always hated it.  We have children and it’s a huge pain in the ass to ask them to stop playing with their new toys to get in a car and drive out of town to visit people who drive us batty (us being me and my husband – the kids love them.) We decided this year that we would say, “No” to the trip out of town on Christmas Day.  We’ll make it the day before, but on Christmas, we are staying in town.  The sense of freedom is overwhelming! Who knew that a 2 letter word could open up the whole world?!

I could go on and on… the gift of gratitude, the gift of time, the gift of sleep, the gift of love, the gift of laughter… Gifts are EVERYWHERE and most of them don’t cost a dime.  All you have to do is look, accept, and say Thank you. This the gift to be simple.  Tis the gift to be free. Give and you shall receive.

#365yoga Day 38: Grateful Gertie, that’s me!

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That, my friends, is the face of a happy, grateful yogini.

 

Today, Judith reminds us that things are unfolding in life the way that they should and that we should be grateful.  That’s fairly easy for me today.  Things are falling into place beautifully.  Life, love, learning and laughing are coming easily to me today.  Hope and peace and gratitude are busting right on out.  The snow is melting, the sky is … well, right now the sky is rather gray, but whatever, moving on, and the future looks bright and happy.

I need these times of joy to carry me through the times of jeers.  We all do.

So, friends and neighbors, let us all lift our glasses, our cups, our spoons, our mats, our feet, and our hands to the real thing that makes the world go round: An Attitude of Gratitude.  Cheers!

Just be thankful…

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I was having my daily argument with the mirror this afternoon.  It keeps showing me some crazy messed up picture: grey hair, pudgy belly, crows feet, sun spots, and gravity hitting me everywhere.  I tell the mirror it’s lying – there’s no way that’s me in there.  It keeps telling me every single day that it is, indeed, me it’s showing me and if I keep arguing with it, it’s only going to add more grey hairs and all that other insanity.

Stupid mirror.

I’m leaving for a little over 2 weeks next month.  I have never been away from my husband or my children that long and it’s causing some anxiety.  Mostly the anxiety is around childcare.  My kids don’t go to school, so childcare has to be 24/7 for 16 days.  My in-laws are watching them 90% of that time, but it seems that they keep forgetting they’ve agreed to do it!  Given, they have a lot on their plates right now, but it stresses me out and pisses me off that this added stress is piling on top of what I’ve already got going.

Stupid anxiety.

My calendar looks like a Sharpie factory exploded all over it.  There’s not hardly a day from here until November that doesn’t have something planned.  Concerts, yoga classes, play dates, coffee dates, lunch dates, husband dates, festivals, meetings, trainings, doctor visits, vet visits…  it’s a little overwhelming.  My iPhone pings at me all day with reminders of what is going on the next day and, occasionally, reminding me of what I forgot.  Sometimes I feel like I should be scheduling time to breathe and pee or else it might not get done.

Stupid 24 hour days.

A month or so ago, I went to a weekend yoga workshop with Polly and some of the other Yoga Sol girls.  At the end of the last session, as we were all rolling around and feeling all good and yogadorked out, this song came on.

Just be thankful for what you got…

The mirror and I just had another conversation.  I had to apologize because, it’s true, it has not been lying to me.  I do have grey hair because I am blessed to have lived long enough to win the platinum award of age.  I do have a bit of a pudgy belly because I have been blessed with good food and a kind, rich life.  The crows feet are there because I have been blessed to laugh and smile more than not and the laughter and smiles run so deep they carve into my entire being.  I have sunspots on my skin because I am blessed to be free to go and have the sun shine brightly upon my face.  Even gravity is a result of blessings – I am significant enough to have not floated away.

I am thankful.

I just took a deep breath and laughed.  My anxiety is based on blessings.  I am blessed enough to have children.  I am blessed to be free to travel and learn and follow my dreams.  I am blessed to have options.  I am blessed to have in-laws because it means I have love.  I am blessed to worry about childcare because it means I have children.  I am blessed to be able to let my children lead their own education. I am blessed to be a homeschooling mother.  I am blessed to be a yoga teacher.  I am blessed to have a family who loves me and who wants me to be happy.  I love them.

I am thankful.

My calendar is a rainbow.  I am blessed to have friends who want to spend time with me.  I am blessed to be able to enjoy live music in my town.  I am blessed with hearing.  I am blessed with health.  I am blessed to have a loyal companion in Hank, my 4 legged fur child.  I am blessed with children and family and love and friends and a career and a home of my own and places to be and things to do because it means I am alive and healthy and able.

I am thankful.

OH so very thankful.

And the song?  It’s available on iTunes.  I’m listening to it right now.

Just be thankful for whatchu got!

Namaste