Gratitude - Sweat the small stuff

Have you ever heard of the book, Don't sweat the small stuff? Well it's a great book, and if you haven't read it, I suggest you buy it. But lately I've been thinking that sometimes, we need to sweat some types of small stuff, and in this post, I'm going to invite you to sweat some of that sort of small stuff with me.

I invite you to notice the little things in life that often go unnoticed, that actually mean a lot. And, when you notice them, I invite you to practice gratitude, and see what little changes happen in your life.

Psychiatrist Dr. Dale Archer says, 'Gratitude is something that can be learned, practiced and developed, yielding a sense of well-being, optimism and happiness. What's more, when children see a thankful parent, they are more likely to become thankful children. Practiced overtime, gratitude as a practice is a pathway to can help to a happier life and relationships.

Right now I invite you to stop reading and think of three things you can be grateful for, and write them down...
I'm grateful for the rosebud that is blooming in my garden.
I'm grateful for my dog running to greet me when I get home.
I'm grateful for the sound of rain on my parched garden.

When we are busy focussing on what is wrong with our lives, we can miss so much of what is good with our lives. Sometimes it might take a bit of work to find anything we are grateful for at all, but if we look hard enough, there is always something.
I am grateful for the way that you listen to me.
I am grateful for the way that you bring me my cup of tea each morning.
I am grateful for the way that you call to see what sort of day I'm having.

I'm grateful for the art I see when I go on my walk
I always feel uplifted seeing it.

I'm sure that you get the point, so find the little things to be grateful for, it might take a bit of sweat to recognise the good, the lovely, the quirky, the fun, the touching small stuff, but it is there, in fact it is all around - everyday.

I so appreciated this little heart in my coffee when I received it, and it was given to me on a day when I was off to a funeral.

Ways to cultivate Gratitude:

One: Keep a journal. In the journal notice the little things, if you have a chance take a picture and paste it into your journal or do a stick drawing to illustrate it... ideas to journal about: the feeling of your child's hand in yours. The cool touch of an ocean wave on hot feet at the end of the day. The sound of a bird's call late in the evening. The crow stealing marbles from a pot plant that made me laugh.

Two: write thank you letters to people who have been there for you. Tell them how much you appreciate them - it doesn't have to be a friend. Our local post office has some wonderful people working in it for instance that make my day when I visit. Send someone like this a letter or postcard. Sark has a wonderful suggestion in her book Living Juicy. Next time you are on a neighbourhood walk, take thank you notes to leave in someone's letterbox in appreciation of their garden (or maybe of their letterbox).

Three: Use your words... tell someone face to face how much you appreciate them. We can get varied results in expressing gratitude, as many people are unused to being appreciated. Some love to hear appreciation and a big smile will appear, others may appear a little stunned, others may come back with a retort.

It might feel awkward at first to start expressing your appreciation verbally, if you aren't used to it. And... if others are unused to you expressing gratitude, it might even feel awkward to them. But, if you persist, and appreciation becomes a new habit, you'll notice that something rather lovely starts to happen.

You see we plant seeds of kindness with our gratitude. We water those seeds with our continued love and appreciation, keep doing it, and those seeds blossom and you'll be creating a happier, more peaceful life.

Four: Before you go to sleep, reflect on what you noticed through the day that you are grateful for. If you sleep with a partner, tell them before sleep what you were grateful for that day.

Well, that's my reflection on noticing the small stuff in life, and putting a tiny bit of sweat and effort into expressing appreciation, but before I head off - thank you for reading, and visiting here today.

Photos: Art by unknown artists on the Port Macquarie Boardwalk.
Dr Dale Archer: The Benefits of Gratitude in Psychology Today
SARK: visit Sark's site here

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Dia De La Muertos - Day of The Dead

There is one thing in life that is certain, at some point during our life, we will all face the death of a loved one. We will all experience loss and when we do, grief is the emotion we will feel. Cultures around the world handle grief and loss very differently, at present we are approaching a celebration called Dia De La Muertos or Day of the Dead.

At midnight on the 31st October to the 2 November, a feast called Dia De La Muertos - or Day of The Dead is celebrated. It is a Mexican holiday and is observed throughout Mexico, as well as in other cultures. It is a time when family and friends gather to remember friends and family members who have died. The holiday coincides with Hallowmas, and All Soul's Day.

In Brazil Dia de Finados is a public holiday that many Brazilians celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches. In Spain there are festivals and parades and, at the end of the day, people gather at cemeteries and pray for their dead loved ones. Similar observances occur elsewhere in Europe, and similarly themed celebrations appear in many Asian and African cultures. Wikipedia

In our western culture, death is a difficult topic to address and most of us are very distant in our way of handling death and grief. In the Latin american culture, while there is still a fear of death, they do not hide their fears. Dia De Los Muertos gives people a healthy way of grieving. With support from loved ones, those in grief can express their emotions through the way that they create displays, make food and art.

Dia De La Muertos Artwork

So on this Dia De La Muertos, if you have faced loss and are experiencing grief, I extend my heartfelt thoughts to you. I invite you to reach out and talk to others about the loved ones that you have lost, express your feelings of loss, remember the good days and the fun that you had together. If tears want to fall - allow them, give the pain inside a voice; talk, write poetry, do some art, sing, celebrate with a loved ones favourite dinner with family and friends.

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.” ― William Shakespeare