What Makes You Cranky?

One of the great things about being on vacation is that being cranky is such a contrast to where you want to be that those moments really stand out. Because they are so vivid, it’s easy to shift your thoughts and choose a different response.

It surprised me that I had a few cranky moments last week while my husband and I were celebrating our 20th anniversary on a five-day cruise. If there is ever a time to enjoy the ease and flow of life it’s when there is no cooking, no cleaning, no chores, no responsibilities, and an abundance of time, food, and fun things to do. What in the world is there to be cranky about?

The peaceful view in Jamaica

The good news is that observing myself having a cross-reaction under those ideal circumstances made me realize how often I must be doing that on a day-to-day basis without even being aware of it. It’s like I’m so used to the negative undertow that I don’t even realize I’m being carried along in its current.

I love having that awareness because now I can look for the subtle signs and can proactively shift to a more positive, anabolic energy.

Being late was one of my catabolic triggers. If there was a time we were supposed to be somewhere, my chances of crankiness increased. It didn’t matter if the threat was being late to dinner or missing the curfew for returning to the ship, my anxiety level was the same.

The reality is that I’m often late. I typically see this as my husband’s fault, but it’s just as likely that I’m the one who gets sidetracked or takes too long to get ready. This is not a characteristic I like in myself, so I’m quick to jump on David when I see the behavior in him.

And there absolutely should be a reactionary difference between being late to dinner and missing our ride home. One may have serious consequences, but the other does not, and shouldn’t be treated as a big deal.

Another cranky moment stemmed from David bringing a minimum of cash and no credit card ashore, which limited our options. Now did I take responsibility and pack some monetary means? Nope. I didn’t have a cent on me. It was much easier to criticize David for his lack of foresight rather than acknowledge my own culpability.

Paying attention to where you have a less-than-stellar reaction is a great way to rethink the situation and choose a different response in the future—and sometimes even in the moment.

Amazingly, when I let go of the money issue, David found an extra $10 in his pocket that was just the amount we needed.

My mantra for the remainder of the trip; “Everything is always working out for us.” And you know what? It was, and always is.

For me, it all boils down to letting go of control and trusting the experience and process, while at the same taking appropriate responsibility for my foibles, actions, and responses. My intention is to take this awareness forward and to be much more conscious of when I’m in a catabolic current, and choose a different response.

You get to decide how to react to everything that is happening around you. How can you respond a little differently today?

Together we can do it!

Feeling Generous?

As we were getting ready for bed last night, my husband David shared an unexpected experience he’d had in the dentist’s chair that afternoon. While the doctor was busy in his mouth, there was a TV screen for him to watch, but with the sound turned off.

The program was the Ellen DeGeneres Show and he watched as Ellen gave a young single mother a stack of cash tied in a bow, and a new car that had yet another stack of bills stashed in the glove compartment.

Even with no sound and no idea of the woman’s story, David was moved watching this demonstration of generosity, and we both marveled at how much fun it would be to give so abundantly.

As I contemplated giving before drifting off to sleep, I realized that whether we know it or not, each of us is giving all day, every day, in ways that are more profound than the gift of money, things, or even our time.

You are the gift. And how you show up in life is the gift you are giving. The question is, are you giving the gift you intend?

Imagine being in line to check out at the grocery store. There are people in front of you and behind you. Are you giving them the gift of impatience and frustration, which is emanating out of you at a frequency that can be measured, or are you perhaps giving them contentment or peace?

What do you want to give?

How about when you get to the checkout person? Are you giving that person the gift of a smile and appreciation, or gruffness and criticism, or perhaps even indifference?

How do you think what you are giving makes that checkout person feel? What gift do you think they are giving in turn?

We are not islands stewing in our own emotion. What we are feeling and expressing is what we are giving to everyone we encounter—and to the world.

What are you giving most of the time? Is that what you want to be giving?

If not, how can you begin to shift your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs to better align with Who you want to be?

How would it feel to be able to give the gift of a smile, pat on the back, praise, or just emanate appreciation and joy right now?

Together we can do it!

Photo by akeeris / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Time of Abundance

No matter where you are or what’s going on in your life today, look for and acknowledge your abundance.

Even if it’s that you have an abundance of air to breathe, an abundance of love in your heart, or an abundance of being alive in this moment.

These are things that do not cost money and that nobody else can give you. They are there waiting for you to receive—and acknowledge.

The magic of acknowledging your abundance is that the longer you focus on it, the more abundance in your life that you are able to see.

Perhaps you have an abundance of family and friends, or an abundance of time in which to reflect, or an abundance of beauty to admire. You may have an abundance of laughter and excitement, or an abundance of peace and quiet. You may have an abundance of parties and commitments, or an abundance of freedom to live and do as you wish.

While money and gifts can be a part of abundance, there is so much more of life with which to fill our trays. It’s all there waiting for us to look for and allow ourselves to see and receive.

What abundance can you find in your life right now? No matter what it is, acknowledge it and let your heart overflow with appreciation.

Together we can do it!

 

Photo by dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

A New Appreciation of Gratitude

Thanksgiving. Today is the final day of my 21-day Gratitude Challenge and the assignment is to reflect on what the process of giving thanks has meant to me.

This concentrated and shared focus on appreciation has meant expanding my awareness of the things I take for granted every day. It has meant opening my heart more broadly to others—and to myself. It has meant pushing past the fears generated by my gremlin to allow myself to show up as the broader version of me. It has meant seeing the things right in front of me from a new perspective, and seeing the world as a more vibrant, abundant, loving, and wondrous place.

I am ending this challenge with an expanded mind and heart, and an even deeper connection to Source (God, the Universe, Nature, Higher Coach—whatever works for you.)

We each may have our own beliefs about what is behind the abundance of air that we breathe in and out, or the continual beat of our hearts, or the perfect rotation of the planets, or the predictable rise of the sun. We may have a different way of explaining the exquisite site of a flock of birds moving as one to their seasonal home, or the ever-changing beauty of the landscape, or the growth of a giant oak from a tiny acorn.

But we can all share in the appreciation of those magnificent sights and experiences. We can share in the gratitude we feel because we are alive. We can give thanks because we are here with one another doing our best to love and grow and become the people we know we are meant to be.

Consistently focusing on gratitude expands our awareness and experiences of life, enhances our connections with others, and widens the boundaries of our hearts. These are gifts we can’t return, a new perspective we cannot lose, and a new vantage point from which to approach our lives.

Because I find focusing on appreciation so profound, today also marks my new commitment to practice giving thanks every day.

What does focusing on gratitude give to you? How much of a difference might it make in your life? How might you practice giving thanks on a regular basis?

Wishing you Happy Thanksgiving!

Together we can do it!

 

 

Thank Yourself

Today is day 20 of my 21-day Gratitude Challenge. The assignment is to write a thank you note to myself for taking the time to stop and focus on all the little things for which I feel grateful.

My Dearest Hanna,

Thank you so much for making the commitment to focus on all the things you appreciate—not just for the past 20 days, but every day. Thank you for opening your heart to the gifts that are in this moment.

I am so grateful that you allowed this exercise to deepen your gratitude and awareness. To truly get that each moment is new—even though it appears through your limited senses exactly the same as the moment before. The clouds have shifted in the sky, never to have the same formation again. Each face on the planet has made a subtle shift reflecting who they are, where they have come from, and the thoughts they are thinking. Water is flowing, leaves are falling, birds, bugs, animals, and people are moving about. Each second is brand new.

I am so grateful for all the abundance that you see in the world. There is so much love, so many opportunities, so much joy, so much beauty, and so much gratitude that can be seen when you stop to look for it. Shifting your perspective from all the problems to all the gifts is truly a blessing for everyone. Thank you for appreciating this abundant planet.

I am so grateful for the shift you experienced in seeing others, your relationships, and yourself when you looked at them with eyes filled with love and appreciation. Each person is so incredibly unique and offers so much value to the world—even if they don’t know or believe it themselves. And this includes you.

I am so grateful that you took the time to share this journey with others so they might reflect on their own reasons to be grateful. Thank you for recognizing that touching another’s heart is an honor.

I am grateful that you connect all of this with All-That-Is and see the Divine in everyone and everything. Knowing—and acknowledging—that Source is the source of it all is the greatest gift.

You are so loved, adored, and appreciated!

Your Self