October Letting Be and Letting Go

Angeles Arrien’s  October Chapter in her book Living in Gratitude-A Journey That will Change Your Life, addresses the gratitude of Letting Be and Letting Go. She writes Letting be and letting go are two processes that challenge us every day to accept things as they are, especially during times of change.”October Gratitude Letting Be Letting Go

“The state of letting be requires us to increase our levels of trust and acceptance of what is occurring in the moment, without pushing or holding back to attempt to create a different experience.”

October Gratitude Letting Be Letting Go

“Letting Go is a willingness to release, in the moment, what might impede our progress. When we sense resistance in letting go, this may be a signal where we are overly attached to controlling.”

October's Gratitude Letting Be & Letting Go

September Guidance & Wisdom Gratitude

In her book Living In Gratitude, Angeles Arrien has us look at Opening to Guidance and Wisdom.  She writes “In September, by opening ourselves to both our internal guidance and the wisdom of others, we have the opportunity to choose practices that will help us develop our best qualities.”

September Guidance & Wisdom GratitudeThe author asks “What guidance or wisdom are you opening to now that is strengthening your nature or motivating you to become a more effective individual?”  We can start by listening to the wisdom of our own body.  Many of us are familiar with the old saying, “Pay attention to what your body is telling you.  It does not lie.”

September Guidance & Wisdom Gratitude

 In the book The Power of Infinite Love and Gratitude, Dr. Darren R. Weissman has found that if we attend to the five basics of optimum health, we access more easily the power of infinite love and gratitude. This involves attending to the “quantity, quality of, and frequency of drinking water, eating, resting, exercising and owning our own power.”

September Guidance & Wisdom Gratitude

“Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth,

so virtue appears from good deeds,

and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind.

To walk safely through the maze of human life,

one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.”

Buddha

august gratitude cutlivating peace

We are now looking at the eighth month of visiting Angeles Arrien’s book Living In Gratitude.   August is all about the gratitude of cultivating peace.   The author asks this question “Is it time for you to ‘make peace’, to literally create more peace in your life?” Cultivating peace does not mean avoiding conflicts.

august gratitude cultvating peace

 In The Peace Book, Louise Diamond writes “It simply means to move through in a clean way, without verbal or physical attacks, to find a peaceful and powerful resolution.”  We can move forward through conflict by practicing our problem-solving skills, grounding ourselves, meditating and reminding ourselves to be grateful for the opportunity to create greater harmony and ease for ourselves and others. 

august gratitude cultvating peace

Cultivating Peace

~Plum Village Chanting and Recitation Book

Thich Nhat Hanh’s community in France

I vow to offer joy to one person in the morning,

and to help relieve the grief of one person in the afternoon.

I vow to live simply and sanely with few possessions,

and keep my body healthy.

I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety

in order to be light and free.    

august gratitude cultivating peace

 

July's Gratitude Embrace nature

“July is a month in which to embrace nature, to observe its principles and integrate them into our lives” as stated in Angeles Arrien’s book Living with Gratitude A Journey That Will Change Your Life. This month gives us many opportunities to be grateful for sharing time in nature with family and friends.  It is also a time to show gratitude in helping care for our planet.

July Graretitude - embracing natu

Love the world as your self; then you can care for all things.”

~ TAO TE CHING 

july embrace nature

Earth Teach Me

Earth teach me stillness as the grasses are stilled with light.

Earth teach me suffering as old stones suffer with memory.

Earth teach me humility as blossoms are humble with beginning.

Earth teach me caring as the mother who secures her young.

Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands alone.

Earth teach me limitation as the ant which crawls on the ground.

Earth teach me freedom as the eagle which soars in the sky.

Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall.

Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.

Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life.

Earth teach me to remember kindness as dry fields weep with rain.

~ A prayer from the Ute Indians

July embrace nature

junepowerofequanimity

power of equanimity

Continuing to use Angeles Arrien’s book, Living In Gratitude as our inspiration, we look at equanimity for the month of June. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it means “calmness and composure, especially in a difficult situation. In theory – All the major spiritual traditions of the world regard equanimity as central to their teachings.  A modern definition of equanimity: cool. This refers to one whose mind remains stable & calm in all situations.

Power of equanimity

“When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, loose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it.”  ~ Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

power of equanimity

“Gratitude, not understanding, is the secret to joy and equanimity.”  ~ Ann Lamott

power of equanimity

may 2013 gift of grace

Due to the tragic April Boston Marathon bombings it is heartfelt that this month’s chapter,“Gift of Grace” from Angeles Arrien’s book Living with Gratitude A Journey That Will Change Your Life, has us explore the relationship between gratitude and grace. She writes “The destiny and true grace of all creation is inter-communion.  This sense of unity, interconnectedness, and belonging accentuates the experience of gratitude, awe, and wonder within us.”

Below is the Boston Magazine’s May issue coverThese are the shoes gathered from the courageous runners participating in the marathon.  This dynamic photo represents the runners’ “Gift of Grace” to the nation.  The nation has already responded by their “Gratitude” regarding this photo’s powerful message.

Boston Magazine runners' shoes gift of grace

Go the following link to learn more behind the May Boston Magazine cover:

 http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2013/04/25/behind-our-may-boston-marathon-cover/

 

aprilshowersreleasingofingratitude

april showers bring flowers

 

APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY FLOWERS.”  How many times have you heard this well known saying?  Spring represents a new beginning.  I feel that is what Angeles Arrien is offering us to consider when we read the April chapter of her book  Living in Gratitude, A Journey That Will Change Your Life.  This chapter is titled Mercy and Atonement, which seems appropriate that she states how April holds the twin blessings of nature’s spectacular renewal and opportunity for us to release corrosive states of ingratitude.  This month it is recommended that our gratitude work is to expose the states of ungratefulness we harbor within ourselves.  Angeles Arrien writes “Healing occurs when the heart is open, trusting, and hopeful….spring functions as an irrefutable mirror of human nature’s goodness, beauty, and resilience in its ability to survive, grow, and thrive regardless of hardships or injustices.”

 

april spring flowers for gratitude

Many North American indigenous societies speak of three medicines that we must carry with us every day:  1. The medicine of genuine acknowledgment; 2. The medicine of genuine apology; and 3. The medicine of laughter and joy.  Angeles Arrien points out how all three of these medicines are necessary for extending healing and mercies towards ourselves and others. Also they foster the practice of atonement in our lives, the desire and action to make amends or to come back into natural harmony with oneself (at-one-ment). Living in Gratitude’s April invitation is to sustain hope and trust in life through practices of gratitude and mercies.  Grateful people are more compassionate, merciful, generous and forgiving. As a result, they are also more hopeful and trusting of themselves and others.

 

 

april spring flowers

march angles arrien compassionate service

 

marchbringscompassionateservice

Angeles Arrien in her book, Living in Gratitude a Journey That Will Change Your Life, has us look at compassionate service.  She writes that compassionate service cultivates mutuality, reciprocity, and gratitude.  Where are you involved in compassionate service in your life at this time?  What wise actions of thankfulness and generosity do you want to extend to yourself and others this month?  Notice this month where you have extended compassion to others.  Where have others extended compassion to you?

She also suggests one of the best set of practices for becoming a better person through cultivating compassionate service comes from Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush in their book Compassion in Action: Setting Out on a Path of Service.  In this book, we are advised to:  be brave, start small,  use what you’ve got, do something you enjoy, and don’t over commit.

 

   march bringscompassionategratitude                                                                                       

    March Prayer

Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen,

and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him…

Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny?

Will it lead to self-rule for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?

Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away.

MOHANDAS GANDHI (1869-1948)  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

marchbringscompassionategratitude                                                                                                    

Reflections

 Embody the love, gratitude,

 and compassion you want to promote

    DENNIS RIVERS

februaryattendtotheheartgratitudewithbirdsI continue to refer to Angeles Arriens’ book, Living in Gratitude – A Journey That Will  Change Your Life.  One of the sentences from her February chapter she writes  “The month of February offers daily opportunities to both say aloud what is in our hearts and communicate our love through our actions: our own unspoken verses of love.”  The following quotes are found in the February Chapter:

februaryattendtotheheartgratitudeAttend to the Heart

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.

Have you used one today to say

“Thank you”?

WILLIAM A. WARD

 A Gratitude - Building Exercise – from The Dali Lama

februaryattendtotheheartwithswans1.  Spend five minutes at the beginning of each day

remembering that we all want the same thing;

to be happy, to be loved, and to feel connected.

2.  Spend five minutes cherishing yourself and others.

Let go of judgments.  Breathe in cherishing yourself,

       and breathe out cherishing others.

If the faces of people you are having trouble with appear,

cherish them as well.

                                                     3.  During the day, extend that attitude to everyone you meet -

                                                      we are all the same – with “I cherish myself and you too

                                                        (the store clerk, the client, a family member, a coworker,

                                                       a fellow bus-rider).”

                                                       4.  Stay in the practice no matter what happens!

                                                        (Disarmingly simple, though not necessarily easy.)

januayfeaurepaget

januaryfeaturepage

I have chosen each month of this year a feature post dedicated to Gratitude and share from Angeles Arriens marvelous book, Living in Gratitude – A Journey That Will Change Your Life. In her book review the question is asked “What would happen if you made Gratitude your focal point for one full year?” 

The following prayer and quote are at the beginning of Angeles Arrien’s January chapter along with this thoughtful question, What do you need to stop, consider, change, and correct, to better support what you envision for yourself  in this New Year?

    

                                                

                                                 May We Appreciate and Remember

januaryfeaturepage          Today may we appreciate this food, and remember those who are hungry.

        May we appreciate our family and friends, and remember those who are alone.

May we appreciate our health, and remember those who are sick.

May we appreciate the freedoms we have,

and remember those who suffer injustice and tyranny.

Peace on Earth.

 A BUDDHIST BLESSING FOR FOOD

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

januaryfeaturepage

                        

                          BEGIN ANEW

               For all that has been – Thanks!

                   For all that shall be – Yes!

                    DAG HAMMARSKJOLD