Tag: grateful

Grateful for the life you have

So you think your life is so miserable and unexciting. You are constantly bombarded by information that emplores you to want more, so you seek satisfaction in acquiring more things, more money, more appreciation, something that you don’t have. All the while you compare yourself to others that you view as more successful, better looking, happier, wealthier, or whatever. Stop doing that shit!

If your mindset is all about striving for more or comparing yourself to others you will never be happy. If it is comparisons you want then think about the millions, well billions of people that would trade places with you if they could. Then what the hell is wrong with me? Well, let me tell you. You are fricking ungrateful for what you have and are seeking fulfillment in the future, usually by seeking more of something. You are being duped by this ungrateful, never satisfied, paradigm. If you continue down this path there will only be more of the same, achieve this, acquire that, and a continuous saga of pursuit.

Pop your head outside of your ego for a few minutes, look around you. Do you see the beauty in this world? All this shit you have didn’t exist 50 years ago, that cell phone that you stare at, or that flat-screen TV, the internet, shit even air conditioning. We are so unappreciative of all this stuff, we just take it for granted. Instead of appreciating what you have, you spend your time wanting more. Do you really need a BMW or Mercedes? Will it get you to point “A” better than your Honda?

You have become a materialistic junky, addicted to shit you don’t have, spending all your energy working for more stuff. It should come as no surprise by now that you live your life looking towards the future, missing out on the present moment and you lack even a small amount of gratitude for what you have. If what I have written here so far even marginally rings true for you, then you are in a pretty serious need of a reset in the way you think.

Let’s turn this shit around and instead of making what you want paramount in your mind and behavior, start with gratitude. There are many ways to shift from I want more stuff, to I appreciate all that I have. The two most effective ways that I have found to be more grateful include:

  • Be Present – When you shift your thinking from looking to the future for happiness, you start appreciating each moment. Sounds pretty simple, but it’s not that easy to do when you have spent the majority of your life looking ahead for satisfaction. The present moment is the foundation for being grateful. For me and my monkey mind, I need to practice yoga, meditation and take long walks to help me quiet the mind and live in the present.
  • Grateful Practice – Being the stupid egotistical morons that we are, we need to frequently remind ourselves to be grateful. I have a journal that I write down 3 to 5 things I am grateful for. I do this in the morning shortly after getting up so that I start my day with a feeling of being grateful. I find that actually writing it versus putting in an app on my phone, seems to make it more effective. This daily repetition is the beginning of a habit where you remind yourself of all the things you are grateful for which then chips away at the ego.

If you still need to compare yourself to others, then think about the billions of people that would trade places with you, and happily assume the life you have.

Namaste


This post was proofread by Grammarly.

If you would like to support this blog, check out the awesome selection of eBooks at:

Mind, Body, Spirit books at eBooks.com

If eBooks aren’t your thing, check out my Resources page for additional ways to support this blog.

Visit my other blog Inspirational Book Reviews where I review some incredible literature.

 

 

Beginning To Evolve

Random Thoughts / Poetry

Beginning to Evolve

Up early again

It’s Monday and a new week begins

I feel like I am starting to evolve

There is a sense of meaning returning to my life

It has taken so many years for the changes to occur

It’s almost Darwinian

I am calm

I am resolute

The world hasn’t changed

I am changing

I am grateful to be alive

I am present

 

Namaste


This post was proofread by Grammarly.

 

Back to the present

Random Thoughts / Poetry

Back to the present

No matter how far I stray I always come back

Back to centered, back to the present

Back to peace, back to gratitude

What makes me leave this place of serenity?

Ego, greed, and non-acceptance

Namaste

 

If you would like to support this blog, check out the awesome selection of eBooks at:

Mind, Body, Spirit books at eBooks.com

If eBooks aren’t your thing, check out my Resources page for additional ways to support this blog.

Visit my other blog Inspirational Book Reviews where I review some incredible literature.

Still miserable – Seneca

Seneca rightly points out that a mindset devoid of gratitude is never satisfied regardless of the amount of achievement, material things, or pleasure bestowed upon the person. For many people this is their life, in a nutshell, seeking and finding, yet no appreciation. They have accumulated great riches, big houses, expensive cars, fine wine, country club memberships, and yet at their core, they are miserable.

Gratitude is a mindset after all, that you can cultivate, but you must begin to challenge the assumptions you held so dear for such a long time. Your assumptions have been that seeking wealth and fame is my life’s goal, which feeds your ego and provides a nice way to compare yourself to others. You think you are superior because you have more money, a bigger house, and a luxury car, but you are never really happy.

Let’s start by chipping away at your ego, shifting your goals from wanting more, to appreciating what you have. I love this quote by Lao Tzu which always helps me put things in perspective:

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” Lao Tzu

Start by being grateful for what you have, especially the small things. Start a gratitude journal and write 3-5 things you are grateful for every morning or evening. If you can do that you begin to chip away at the ego and your materialistic tendencies and a shift towards gratitude begins to take place.

Namaste

 

If you would like to support this blog, check out the awesome selection of eBooks at:

Mind, Body, Spirit books at eBooks.com

If eBooks aren’t your thing, check out my Resources page for additional ways to support this blog.

Visit my other blog Inspirational Book Reviews where I review some incredible literature.

Satisfied with a little

The Greek Philosopher Epicurus sums it up so simply and yet eloquently with this quote. If you can’t appreciate the little things in life you will not appreciate anything. Did you enjoy that cup of coffee or tea this morning, walking the dog, cleaning your kitchen, or taking a shower? These are simple examples of little things you might do in the morning and if you gained some sense of satisfaction or joy from them, then you are living in the present moment and you have some sense of what it is like to be grateful for even small things.

What if instead, you can’t find any pleasure in the simple things that are most typical in our lives? You would then be someone that is consumed by thoughts of the future, seeking something better, and likely never satisfied with anything or anyone. We can all shift into this mindset from time to time, and then we become ungrateful, egotistical, and greedy. Your life will now consist of periods of suffering and discontent, followed by spending your precious time criticizing everything. Nothing is ever good enough, everyone is a jerk, and life sucks.

Contrary to what you see in the media or on Instagram, life is not some highlight reel where every day is a party, and people are throwing money at you. Instead most of what we call life is made up of little things. If you allow your mind to drift into future mode, then you miss all the little things, and you basically are missing out on life. The quote below by Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of my favorite quotes for helping us to appreciate all the little things in our life.

Sometimes you just need to reboot your brain and one of the best ways I found is to go for a walk. This allows you to breathe the fresh air, look at the sky, feel the sun on your skin, and soon you begin to calm down and start living in the present. Walking is a healthy alternative to sitting around and watching television or messing around with your phone. When I go for a walk I’m not doing it to burn calories or increase my heart rate, in fact, I am really doing quite the opposite, and sometimes walk fairly slowly just enjoying the sights around me.

Walking is a little thing, but be grateful as it is also a wonderful thing. Your life is made up of hundreds of little things and they all have the potential to be a great source of joy if you stay present and mindful.

Namaste

 

If you would like to support this blog, check out the awesome selection of eBooks at:

Mind, Body, Spirit books at eBooks.com

If eBooks aren’t your thing, check out my Resources page for additional ways to support this blog.

Visit my other blog Inspirational Book Reviews where I review some incredible literature.

 

 

A bit about Epicurus

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicurus

Epicurus (Ancient GreekἘπίκουροςromanizedEpíkouros;[a] 341–270 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher and sage who founded Epicureanism, a highly influential school of philosophy. He was born on the Greek island of Samos to Athenian parents. Influenced by DemocritusAristippusPyrrho,[3] and possibly the Cynics, he turned against the Platonism of his day and established his own school, known as “the Garden”, in Athens. Epicurus and his followers were known for eating simple meals and discussing a wide range of philosophical subjects. He openly allowed women to join the school as a matter of policy. Epicurus is said to have originally written over 300 works on various subjects, but the vast majority of these writings have been lost. Only three letters written by him—the letters to MenoeceusPythocles, and Herodotus—and two collections of quotes—the Principle Doctrines and the Vatican Sayings—have survived intact, along with a few fragments of his other writings. Most knowledge of his teachings comes from later authors, particularly the biographer Diogenes Laërtius, the Epicurean Roman poet Lucretius and the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus, and with hostile but largely accurate accounts by the Pyrrhonist philosopher Sextus Empiricus, and the statesman and Academic Skeptic Cicero.

For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to help people attain a happy, tranquil life characterized by ataraxia (peace and freedom from fear) and aponia (the absence of pain). He advocated that people were best able to pursue philosophy by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. He taught that the root of all human neurosis is death denial and the tendency for human beings to assume that death will be horrific and painful, which he claimed causes unnecessary anxiety, selfish self-protective behaviors, and hypocrisy. According to Epicurus, death is the end of both the body and the soul and therefore should not be feared. Epicurus taught that although the gods exist, they have no involvement in human affairs. He taught that people should behave ethically not because the gods punish or reward people for their actions, but because amoral behavior will burden them with guilt and prevent them from attaining ataraxia.

Like Aristotle, Epicurus was an empiricist, meaning he believed that the senses are the only reliable source of knowledge about the world. He derived much of his physics and cosmology from the earlier philosopher Democritus (c. 460–c. 370 BC). Like Democritus, Epicurus taught that the universe is infinite and eternal and that all matter is made up of extremely tiny, invisible particles known as atoms. All occurrences in the natural world are ultimately the result of atoms moving and interacting in empty space. Epicurus deviated from Democritus in his teaching of atomic “swerve”, which holds that atoms may deviate from their expected course, thus permitting humans to possess free will in an otherwise deterministic universe.

Though popular, Epicurean teachings were controversial from the beginning. Epicureanism reached the height of its popularity during the late years of the Roman Republic. It died out in late antiquity, subject to hostility from early Christianity. Throughout the Middle Ages Epicurus was popularly, though inaccurately, remembered as a patron of drunkards, whoremongers, and gluttons. His teachings gradually became more widely known in the fifteenth century with the rediscovery of important texts, but his ideas did not become acceptable until the seventeenth century, when the French Catholic priest Pierre Gassendi revived a modified version of them, which was promoted by other writers, including Walter Charleton and Robert Boyle. His influence grew considerably during and after the Enlightenment, profoundly impacting the ideas of major thinkers, including John LockeThomas JeffersonJeremy Bentham, and Karl Marx.

Until the next page is turned

Your life is like a book where you turn a page every day as you awaken. Each page is to be savored because you may not finish the book and it would be in your best interest to enjoy each page that you read. Waiting until the book is finished to be grateful would be a shame and a waste of your time.

Each day you turn another page and you have another opportunity to be alive, to enjoy the time you have on this earth. Should you choose to spend your time complaining and wishing for something more you will have wasted that day. Your life unfolds minute to minute, enjoy the journey wherever it takes you. Remember you can’t go back and say I wish I would have gone in this direction or that direction. You are where you are for a reason because this is where your path has led you.

A couple years ago I started writing in a journal three to five things I am grateful for every morning. It has become a ritual over time, that is followed by some yoga and meditation. Starting each day feeling grateful for what you have will allow you to serve others, instead of having feelings of resentment, anger, or another ego manifestation.

Today I am grateful for?

  1. My family who may not be perfect, but are always my top priority
  2. My work that provides challenges and financial rewards
  3. My writing, which is a therapy for me and hopefully benefits others
  4. My yoga and meditation practices that make me feel good and calm my mind
  5. Waking up today and having another opportunity to enjoy each moment as it unfolds

 

Being grateful has many benefits including:

  • When you are grateful for what you have feelings of entitlement and envy melt away
  • When you are grateful for the people in your life you will treat them better and be less critical of their behavior
  • When you are grateful for your dwelling and having food to eat you will crave less and feel more satisfied
  • When you are grateful for what you have you will have a tendency to serve or give back in appreciation versus expecting something
  • When you are grateful you will feel better and be more positive

Of course, I could go on and on, but you get the point by now that a grateful practice has too many benefits to not incorporate into your daily routine.

Namaste

 

If you would like to support this blog, check out the awesome selection of eBooks at:

Mind, Body, Spirit books at eBooks.com

If eBooks aren’t your thing, check out my Resources page for additional ways to support this blog.

Visit my other blog Inspirational Book Reviews where I review some incredible literature.

 

The fools life

I really enjoyed this stoic quote by Epicurus as it covers three important areas including gratitude, fear, and not being present. Epicurus defines the fool as someone who is not grateful for what they have, is consumed by fears, and thinks only about the future. Talk about a path to misery. Do you know people like this? These people do not appreciate what they have, fear just about everything that is out of their control, and instead of living in the present they are focused on the future. You often here them say someday when I get that new job, buy that expensive house, have some free time I will be happy. Always looking towards the future for contentment and missing out on what is happening today.

Then there is this lack of gratitude expressed by so many people. They will say my job sucks, the people I work with are morons, the government is inept, and on and on; clearly never seeing all the wonderful things going on in their life. A fool wastes their life by not being present, not appreciating what they already have, and seeking something better that may or may not happen. We are all guilty of this from time to time, but we don’t turn it into a life philosophy. The fool just doesn’t know any better, they stay stuck in this mindset, and because they are a fool they don’t even know it.

You my friend are not a fool!

Namaste

The Gratitude Multiplier

While there are a number of emotions or states of being such as love, happiness, anger, anxiety, depression, and pain in our lives; it is gratitude that can act as the multiplier to either create the positive emotions or help us deal with the negative ones. Gratitude has the power to create a sense of well being and at the same time destroy those ego driven emotions such as I have not achieved enough, life is unfair, I am not appreciated, or I am not good enough. When you are truly grateful it becomes more difficult to be angry or feel unappreciated. In fact you might use gratitude as the powerful tool that it is, to turn things around and think about that situation that is making you angry, and write down some reasons why this situation makes you grateful. An example of this might be some attitude you have been fostering about your partner or your work. Are you letting your ego rule the mind? Is this person or role you play at work all bad? Probably not, most likely you are stuck in a negative thinking pattern and digging the hole deeper day by day. The reasonable approach would be to use gratitude to break this negative thinking pattern, which will of course make you feel a bit of a fool for indulging in it so fervently in the first place.

Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman statesman, orator, lawyer and philosopher, who served as consul in the year 63 BC. I like this quote as it supports my assertion that gratitude creates the positive emotions or virtues that we all want to foster.

Many have said that when you live of life of gratefulness that more is returned to you and while I agree this is true, you must ask why? From a purely psychological perspective feelings of gratitude put you in a position to do more, create better relationships, appreciate other people and yourself. This is because the feelings of gratefulness have the ability to destroy those negative emotions that are pulling you down the rabbit hole. I think gratitude is a true multiplier of your ultimate potential. Here are just a few ways it can drive positive change in your life:

  • Instead of inventing or finding ways to criticize the behavior of others you start to appreciate their positive traits and yes almost everyone has traits you can appreciate if you look hard enough.
  • If you have some appreciation and better yet are grateful for those you live and work with, do you think this will create a better relationship? What does this do for your own piece of mind? This is a win/win situation and is key to you thriving in this world instead of just condemning those you interact with. This is one of the reasons I don’t like to talk about politics with anyone, as most people start out telling me how much they hate the candidate from the opposite party than the one they are affiliated with. They can’t appreciate anyone they don’t completely agree with.
  • Maybe there are aspects of your work that suck, but you in your infinite wisdom have decided to focus on those aspects and create a life of misery for yourself and others. All this results in you not putting in the effort at your work that would benefit your career. When you are grateful for your work you put in more effort creating better results, more opportunity, and most of all greater job satisfaction for you. No one expects you to like all aspects of your work, but maybe there are some things you can be grateful for such as:
    • The length of your commute
    • Benefits
    • Core aspects of your work
    • Compensation
    • The people you work with
    • Your customers
    • Working at home
    • The fact you are employed
    • Provide a useful product or service
    • Purpose driven organization
    • Growth that provides career opportunities
  • Beyond your relationships and your work the level of gratitude you experience benefits your personal well being. Who knows maybe you will start finding reasons for living because you are grateful for what you have. No one wants to just exist, struggling to make it through the day, so you can do it all over again tomorrow. Start with a gratitude practice and all the other shit in your life will begin to fall in place.

I hope I have made a compelling case why gratitude is such a powerful virtue that benefits you and all those around you in so many profound ways. I wrote a post a while back on the importance of really feeling grateful and it might be worth a look. Get a journal or one of the phone apps and get started today.

Namaste

Feeling Grateful

For some time now I have been keeping a grateful journal, maybe a couple years or so. In this journal I write down 4 or 5 things I am grateful for and then I read them again to myself. While I figured I was heading the in the right direction, this journaling didn’t seem to make me more grateful. In fact I was still the same pain in the ass that I was two years prior to adopting this practice, but then one day it happened. I actually started to feel grateful; I mean a full on sense of gratitude for everything in my life.

The funny thing is I don’t know exactly why, but what was different is I was feeling it, not rationally thinking about stuff I should be grateful for, but instead deeply feeling grateful. It was all about the feeling not some method of convincing myself that I need to be grateful. Maybe my previous attempts at writing down what I was grateful for were too mechanical and laden with some kind of expectation that I should be grateful. Once I started feeling grateful the journaling on gratitude become more specific and insightful. The previous journaling would be things like:

  • I’m grateful for my family
  • My home
  • My work
  • My investments……

This was like trying to brainwash myself, repeating the same old worn out shit day after day, and it didn’t work. Real felt gratitude results in deeper insights into what you are grateful for and seems to be self perpetuating, where as making up super high level stuff like I was results in nothing. You can’t brain wash yourself into being grateful, but it seems you need to feel grateful or the journaling becomes a waste of time.

So where does this leave us when it comes to journaling? These are a few insights I’ve had over the past couple of days:

  • When you do feel grateful by all means write something in your journal and be specific.
  • You don’t have to feel grateful for everything, so if you only have one or two things that you feel truly grateful for then write them down, but don’t feel compelled to write down 4 or 5. It seems like you kill the magic feeling when the whole thing becomes some kind of stupid writing exercise.
  • Don’t time box yourself, if you get up in the morning to write in your grateful journal, take a few minutes to think about it and feel it. Forcing yourself to write something down doesn’t move the ball forward. It’s not about using up paper and filling a page. It is about discovering and feeling real gratitude.
  • Accept that there may be days where you write nothing at all. Maybe you just don’t feel all that grateful today; that’s alright your not a gratitude machine.

I would love to hear about your gratitude journaling experiences and what works for you.

Namaste

 

 

 

Grateful Journal July 18, 2019

Up early again and after a few cups of coffee it was time to practice being grateful again.

source post on Grateful Practice

Grateful Tip of the Day:

The only way to be truly grateful is to appreciate what you have or what you are becoming. You cannot be grateful by spending your time thinking about things you do not have. It is understanding what you have that brings you happiness; there is no happiness in wanting. You will receive more when you finally appreciate all you have.

Journal Entry:

Namaste