Tag Archives: joy

Deep Gratitude.

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Yesterday was my birthday.  I am officially 54 years old, which is really a misnomer, because I feel 54 years young, as corny as that may sound.  I feel amazing.  My life is amazing.  And, I feel more blessed than I have ever realized in my life before now.  

 

At various times in my life, I have practiced gratitude daily for myself, and what that looked like in the past, was writing down each day what I was grateful for, in the morning before I would start getting ready for work.  I also would wear a bracelet, and count my blessings literally on the beads of the bracelet.  It was always a great way to start in the morning, before the hustle and rush of the world set in.  

 

Lately, I began the practice again, but not by writing down what I am grateful for.  During my morning walk, I think about all of the things and persons that I am grateful for in my world.  I find so many things to be deeply grateful for, because I am surrounded with gifts in so many ways.  

 

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A birthday on Facebook is hard to beat; I got dozens of birthday greetings, all lovely and caring, and celebratory.  I felt the love from every single person that wished me well.  It was really beautiful.  And, I felt grateful, for all of the persons in my life, and what a gift it is to have family and friends that surround me, at all different times in my world.  Then, last evening, I saw this beautiful message from my wife, in honor of my birthday, after an evening she had planned for me of fun and surprises.

 

I felt grateful for having us meet one another in the world, to walk this path together with a partner who supports me, and I support as well, and who I have fun with, travel with, and learn new things with.  It really is a blessing.  

 

I feel such deep gratitude for my son, and the relationship that I have built with him over the last few years, more deep than ever before.  And, as he begins this new phase of his life, it is also a new phase of mine, and that we get to share that with one another in love, friendship and support is a joy.  I am so grateful that he is in my world.

 

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I am so grateful for a strong, capable body, that carries me every day to my walks, to take out the trash, that does anything that I ask of it; and is sustaining me in healthy, loving ways.  I am grateful for the lovely home that I share with my wife, that keeps us safe and warm and cared for.  I am so grateful for being in nature, and seeing her sights and hearing her sounds outside my window every single day.  It is a gift to be able to live in and appreciate her beauty.

 

I have had challenges in my life, and I will continue to face them as life goes on for me. Yet, I find myself in joy the majority of the time, and I know that to be in a large part, because of Gratitude.  No matter what is happening with me or around me, Gratitude can always put things in perspective, by reminding me what I have that I am grateful for.

 

Reminding me of all of the gifts in my world.  

 

Waiting for the Sun to show up.

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I have loved being at the ocean for much of my life.  Although I have never lived on the coast, I have visited it from wherever I have lived.  When I was a child, we spent time at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire on summer days; we camped in Maine at Old Orchard Beach; we visited Cape Cod.  As an adult, for ten years my family rented a house for a week on Oak Island, North Carolina.  A week at the beach was absolute bliss.  Our honeymoon was spent at yet another ocean retreat, Tybee Island, Georgia.

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There are many things that I enjoy about being at the beach, at the ocean.  The time with my family.  The walks along the sand.  Shell finding.  And, the Ocean.  Looking out at the ocean, and its vast infinity.  Watching the waves crash against the shore.  See the dolphins play in the surf.  It is so peaceful, and awe inspiring.  

 

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When I am at the beach, I am always up early.  I hate missing a sunrise.  They are like few others that I have ever witnessed.  This morning was no exception.  When I walked out on the deck, and saw what was coming, I was inspired and so joyful.  Nature has such as easy, subtle way of shifting anything within me, to a place of pure peace and deep gratitude.  For her beauty and wisdom that She shares, just by doing what it is that She does every day.  

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I found myself waiting for the Sun to arrive, in beautiful anticipation.  Waves crashing against my legs.  Seagulls diving for treasures.  Amazed at the power and inspiration of it all.  

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And She did not disappoint.  As beautiful as ever.  Inspiring me to keep being my true Self in the world, to keep my eyes open to magic and beauty.  To go after my dreams.  To remember, that when I am my self in the world, my Light comes shining through.

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Allowance.

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Allowance is such an interesting word. In most instances in my present day life, I affiliate the word allowance with the money that I give to my daughter each week. The financial support allows her to have more freedom with how she lives her life, in terms of what she needs funds for. But in the last week, I have been thinking about the word from a different perspective.

According to the online dictionary of Merriam-Webster, the term allowance means “a share or portion allotted or granted”. In terms of my daughter’s weekly allowance, that is what I allot to her in order for her to fund her activities and fun. For my life, it doesn’t mean anything that drastically different from that.

Allowance in my life to me, means what am I opening myself up to in this world. What am I willing to allow myself to have and to experience? I have no problem with the realization, on most days anyway, that I am able to have any dream or experience that I desire. That I have the personal power to make anything happen. So, if I have the capability to achieve anything, what is it on most days that stands in my way of having it?

That would be allowance.

So, the questions that I would ask myself would be, am I willing to allow myself to have goodness and light in this day of mine? Am I willing to grant myself my fair share of goodness, happiness, joy? Am I willing to see my own deservedness for such joy, by recognizing my uniqueness and beauty, with eyes of love?

When I don’t allow myself to be joyful, to see my own goodness and light, and beauty, then I am so easily able to judge others, and blame them for me not having what it is that I desire. I make up a story in my head that people or circumstances, or the world at large, is denying me my share of happiness in some way. I can easily find “proof” that the world is doing me wrong if I don’t see my own worthiness in receiving the joy. It makes it really easy, and convenient, to blame others this way. When I blame others, or the world, for me not having what it is that I desire, I get to shake off my own responsibility to go get what it is that I seek.

Allowance is deeper than simply asking for, and taking, what it is that I want in the world. It’s not demanding, it’s not entitlement, it isn’t that I am deserving of it. Allowance to me, is opening up to the receiving of what it is that I desire. In addition, it is an opening up to ourselves of our own innocent nature. It is the acknowledgment that it is good, and true, and right for us to have what it is that we want in this world.

Allowance, in its purest form, is my deep sense of self saying:

I am innocent.

There is nothing to forgive.

I have done nothing wrong.

I am a perfect being.

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Valentine’s Day.

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Valentine’s Day, the holiday for lovers, and others who love. For hearts, flowers, candy and the like. The specific day that we designate for romance, and to express our true feelings for others. I have always enjoyed Valentine’s Day, since I was a kid. Sitting at my desk, with my handmade mailbox, while other students dropped cards in. Then, getting to open it up, and open all of those tiny little envelopes, with characters and hearts on them. All parts of the holiday- hearts, flowers, candy, decorations, color- they all appeal to me.

However, this year, I sought also the deeper meaning for me in the holiday. I have celebrated it for many years, and this year, besides having love in my life, and cherishing that, it also represented something deeper, something more meaningful. It represents the true opening to love.

I have been open to varying degrees in my life, with different people. I have talked about my feelings, shared parts of myself, and expressed my deepest emotions at times. However, I have never truly opened up and been vulnerable to another human being. Ever. Not to family, to friends, or to a partner.

I didn’t realize just how closed I was until I made a commitment in the last six months to really open, to take a chance and let love unfold in its purest fashion. I could have just gone along as I have before, telling only what I thought the other person could handle; or hold back on how I feel about something and then resenting it down the road. But, I wanted it to be different. I was ready to have the whole thing, even knowing that it meant a deeper level of commitment on my part, and from my heart. It meant risk, and true vulnerability.

As I have been thinking on this for the last few days, I have also been watching my Christmas cactus get ready to bloom. It is fifteen years old, given to my daughter’s other mom when she was born, from my mom. I have been waiting, since the buds first appeared, to see it open, and one day, it finally did:

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It fascinated me, as much as it delighted me, to see that bloom. I never knew that a bloom could open that much, actually opening back onto itself, it is so open. It reminds me of love, of the kind of love that I want to keep building, creating and committing to. In order to truly experience love, and the deepest connection possible, I need to open, fully, and be ready for greatness.

For I truly believe, that being vulnerable, and opening our full selves, that the beauty of life for all of us lies on the other side of that.

Holding joy in my hands.

What a day! The more that I open up, the more joy that finds its way to me. I know that it is no accident; that by my being an open receptor for joy in my life, I actually bring it to myself.

Two deep reminders today for me about the necessity, and freedom, of joy. First, I had such a feeling of happiness this morning, and was struck by the fact that, when someone admired it in me, and wanted it for herself, I had to pause, and remember: I don’t possess the joy, any more than another person. It is there for all, for the taking. Although I love the idea that I can actually bring it to someone, it really isn’t mine to bring. Rather, it exists in each of our worlds, and it is our duty to find it, call it to ourselves, and then, carry it with us in all areas of our lives.

That was a deep lesson for me, in humility.

This afternoon, I was going to pick up my daughter, and when I arrived, noticed that she was trying to catch something, in a soda bottle on the front porch of her house. What I thought might be a hornet, ended up being a hummingbird! It had found its way onto the porch, and was trying to find its way out. My daughter had not been able to capture it. I was scared, and a bit concerned to harm it, but I trusted my heart, and I gently picked it up, and held it. It was an amazing experience.

I actually held joy in my hands.

You see, in Native American medicine card tradition, hummingbird represents joy. In those moments, when that tiny creature sat so still in my hands, and I spoke to it and reassured it that I would get it safely free, I was so humbled by how tiny, and fragile it was. And, so beautiful.

In having respect for the joy, for the gift, even the most fragile one can be handled and brought closer to us, if we are humble and connected to how to be with it.

So much stuffed into this brilliant day; I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!