Grateful for the little things

I started this practice of writing what I am grateful for everyday some time ago . This sounded like a good idea, except that I was repeating myself writing things like:

  • grateful for my family
  • grateful for my work
  • grateful for all the opportunities
  • grateful for my home
  • grateful for my health

Maybe I’m a bit slow, but it occurred to me that I was writing about being grateful for macro level things in my life, and missing the little things in life. It all seemed a bit forced, and it appeared I really wasn’t grateful for anything I was just writing it down because it seemed like a good idea. You know everyone tells you that if you can express how grateful you are you will be happier and more content. It is also true that life is not so much made up of big events and accomplishments as it is small things that happen everyday that often go unnoticed or unappreciated. There is a quote I like that makes this point.

The little things

If you take this philosophy and start applying it to your grateful journal, you begin to look at things with more of a mindful approach, paying attention to those little events that make up your day. Now instead of repeating those macro level themes or conditions in your life, you now begin to record those little experiences. Here are a few examples that help make my point:

  • Grateful for the person at the cafe where I was buying some breakfast items who just gave me a banana, showing her appreciation for my patronage.
  • Grateful for the rain that poured last night, just after I had put fertilizer on the lawn.
  • Grateful for spending last Sunday morning with a three month old baby, walking and singing songs to him.
  • Grateful for how attractive my wife is as she walked by me this morning with her workout clothes on.
  • Grateful for my manager at work who always greets me with a smile, and has something nice to say.

See the difference? These are little things, but they are positive events that compose your day and should be things that you can appreciate. These little things bring you closer to the world you live in, and as you begin to notice these things you are beginning to live in the moment, where real appreciation resides.

Hopefully you can begin to notice these little things, the people, and events for your own grateful journal. If you can’t find time to write them down at least notice that they are occurring and be grateful.

Namaste

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Is Yoga exercise?

I was reading Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar a couple days ago, and historically the actual act of performing an asana is only a fraction of what yoga is all about. Even if you have never studied the origins of yoga one must appreciate there is something different about yoga. It is not like strength training, although strength is an important component of yoga. It is not like Pilates, although core strength is very important. It is not like distance running, although breathing is key to performing an asana. Maybe the difference between yoga and some forms of exercise I have mentioned is in the purpose. One runs to build aerobic capacity, for overall fitness, and to get the runners high. If you perform Pilates you are building stronger core muscles and getting a great workout at the same time. Strength training or bodybuilding is about increasing strength and size of all the muscles in the body.

yogaBigban

Now don’t get me wrong, it is not my intention to disparage any form of exercise, and clearly my list of reasons one engages in a form of exercise is not exhaustive. Maybe all one can do is express things from their own perspective. For me yoga does more than exercise my body, building strength and flexibility. My purpose for practicing yoga includes:

  • opening my body up, removing stress, and calming me
  • a prerequisite to meditation, making it easier to sit
  • brings me into the now
  • makes me want to take better care of myself
  • seems to interconnect with other interests like Buddhism
  • supports an interest in a more ecological existence on earth

Back to the question is yoga exercise? Sure in the sense that it strengthens the body, increases flexibility, enhances blood flow, and aerobic capacity. It is also therapeutic for the mind, in bringing calmness, a sense of accomplishment, and a lifetime of challenge. If you have been practicing yoga and still feel it is just another form of exercise and nothing more, then I challenge you to read a few pages from Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar or The Power of Ashtanga Yoga by Kino MacGregor to get a little historical perspective.

No more excuses, take your socks off, and get on the mat.

Namaste

 

Random thoughts

Random thought number one.

April again and the flowers are beginning to bloom here in Dallas. The cycle begins again, cleaning up the leaves, and planting flowers and assorted replacements for the vegetation that didn’t make it. This time of year is probably the best of the seasons with temperatures in the high 60’s to mid 80’s Fahrenheit. Once we get into June everything will start cooking as the heat is turned up, and we are looking at 3 to 4 months with little to no rain. In the north east part of Texas it looks a lot like north west Ohio, pretty flat and non impressive to the eye. Still it is nice to live in a climate where winter really only lasts a couple of months, and even those two months are pretty mild. You can count on two hands how many times the temperature dipped below freezing.

house in north texas

house in north texas

Random thought number two.

I find little solace in the repetitive nature of life, and this is probably a sign that I am getting bored with the routine of it all. Lately I have become more and more aware of my place in my family as the one that must work to support everyone else, not just financially, but in so many other ways. It has always been my role, maybe not consciously, and probably driven by other more selfish motivations, but then again everyone has a role in every organization be it a family, business, non-profit, or religious institution. There is no complaint here, but only a long overdue awareness, of my place in the structure of the family. Awareness kind of sucks!

Daily routine is killing me

Daily routine is killing me

Random thought number three.

I have always wondered if they needed project managers in Jamaica? Just thinking that might be kind of a nice place to live for a while. There is something different about the people that live there, along with the incredible climate and ocean. Lots of things to like about Jamaica and few to dislike.

Cliffs Negril Jamaica

Cliffs Negril Jamaica

Random thought number four.

Why in the hell is it that every-time I drive into the office I feel like I am in a NASCAR race? Is it really necessary to change lanes five times in a quarter mile, go 20 miles over the speed limit so that you can hit the brakes at the red light? It’s not that I am adverse to driving fast, but I also don’t view the whole process as some sort of stock car race. After all what is your hurry, are you afraid you might be late for your all important job, or are you as I might suspect just a selfish jerk who thinks they own the road?

My drive in to the office

My drive in to the office

Random thought number five.

Know your role and shut up! Don’t consider these random thoughts as complaints, they are merely a form of rambling discourse. In most cases your role in life evolved for good reasons and you were the chief architect that created it. If you can’t handle your role then go find another one, otherwise know your role and shut your mouth. There is nothing more useless than people complaining about there job, family, church, friends, or the government. In fact this kind of bitching was so offensive that I opted out of Facebook, just so I didn’t have to be exposed to everyone’s bitching and whining.

Know your role

Know your role

I’m done for now, stay tuned for the next installment.