Appreciation: Express Yourself!

First, I got confused, and then I started noticing a pattern. And it’s a good one, in my ever-so-humble opinion!

365 Thank Yous by John KralikOne of my Quantum MasterMind clients recommended the book, 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik. Prior to writing the book, Mr. Kralik found himself at a low point in nearly every aspect of his life. He realized that it might be time to start focusing on what he could be grateful and appreciative of rather than all that was going wrong.

This book chronicles his journey writing Thank You notes every day for an entire year. Good things began happening in his life, and the book shares this as well. He is now a judge in Southern California.

Those who have visited my blog regularly know that I champion the idea of appreciation, in whatever form works for you. I know personally how wonderful it feels to be in a state of appreciation, and how easy it is to get there, even when there are lots of things in our lives that could stand further improvement.

Here’s the thing: We are always in process of becoming. We never get it done because The Book of AWESOMEthere is always more possibility for improvement. So, when you allow yourself to be in process AND take time to appreciate where you are, who has joined you on the journey, and what you have to share with others, it makes the process even more enjoyable!

So, when my client first recommended this book, I thought he was referring to The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money in Your Pocket, and Other Simple, Brilliant Things by Neil Pasricha based on his blog 1000AwesomeThings.com after I had seen the author’s video speaking at TEDxToronto 2010. Here, too, the author was in a pretty tough place in his life where he could have focused on what was not going well, but chose to spend a little time each day appreciation the free, simple, and rarely appreciated aspects of our lives. He’s only completed about 2/3 of the list, but here’s the author speaking about the book:

But as I was trying to figure out if 365 Thank Yous was the same book/author as The Book of Awesome,  I remembered that a woman had started 29 Days of Giving and wrote a book about that!

29 Gifts of GivingIf you haven’t heard of Cami Walker, she had been diagnosed with MS and took the advice to give a gift, no matter how small, every day for 29 days. As her health began improving, her depth of appreciation grew, and she started the website to share the stories. Now, the site has 13,000+ members worldwide who are committed to finding ways to give to those they love and even strangers. Her book, 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life, shares the full story.

Can you see why I was confused?

Yeah, I know, it’s hard to believe. I’m getting confused over books, videos and resources about being appreciative and taking appreciative action! Come to think of it, what an AWESOME thing to be confused about, wouldn’t you say?!?

There’s no better time than now to express your appreciation! With all the books, blogs and videos touting the powerful and transformative acts of Appreciation in the form of thank yous, acknowledgment, and giving, there are now many great examples…how will you choose to express your appreciation? Do you have another resource you’d like us to know about? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below…

Appreciating You this Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating today in the United States!

When my son was young, I use to keep him busy while I cooked dinner for Thanksgiving by asking him to write down a list of what he most appreciated in his life. I’d also make my own list. Then, during the Thanksgiving meal, we’d each read from our respective lists. It was a sure vibe-lifter!

As you might imagine, when I first asked him to do this, my son was not thrilled. He’d start the task with the usual irritation and disbelief that Mom asked him to do what he perceived initially as *homework* on his day off of school. Also not surprisingly, as the day wore on and his list grew longer, he got happier and more appreciative. The more he looked to appreciate, the more he found. Initially struggling to come up with ten items, he’d easily come up with 100!

At the dinner table, my son beamed with joy in sharing each item on the list which included family, friends, pet, favorite toys and cherished experiences. Making lists of appreciation, or Rampages of Appreciation, as Abraham-Hicks calls them, is a fantastic way to shift your energy!

You may think that making the lists in your head is enough, but there is power in writing them down and seeing that list grow! I challenge you to begin writing your lists down, in a notebook or on paper you put in a binder, remaining open to add to your lists as time goes on and you become more aware of your deep appreciation.

Write down what you most appreciate about your current life, relationships, career,
and health. If you are self-employed, write what you most appreciate about your
business, your clients, your vendors, and your community.

And by all means, don’t just stop listing what you are happy about now. Feel free to list what you appreciate coming into your future experiences, too!

Many people have shared with me that they have a gratitude journal. I’ve had those in the past, but often gratitude lists began to feel more like *shoulds* than true appreciation. When I focus on appreciation, it’s a much lighter, more loving energy for me.

For a long time, I couldn’t understand why gratitude didn’t always feel good to me. Then, Abraham-Hicks shared this workshop excerpt about the difference between an attitude of gratitude versus the emotion of appreciation. That’s when I realized why the latter had been so much more powerful for me.

If you haven’t listened to this, it’s worth a few minutes to understand the distinction for yourself:

Once you have your list, keep it handy. Many of the items and experiences listed will likely qualify for your personal Joy List you can turn to whenever you are ripe to shift your energy to a better-feeling place. As you live your life from an ever-more-positive place, the Universe mirrors that energy back to you so you’ll have more and more and more to appreciate showing up for you!

This Thanksgiving, I truly appreciate all of you who subscribe to the AffirmingSpirit mailing list and blog, who read, share, comment and and interact with me all year long. Thank you for joining me in this journey! May you be blessed today, and everyday, with an abundance of joy and appreciation!

Cultivating Self-Love

In the latest Co=Creation Cafe, Prosperity Coach Joan Sotkin talks about “It’s NOT About the Money: The Inner Work of Lasting Financial
Well-Being”. In her closing comments, she recommends two important things to the listener. One of them is learning to love yourself, and
self-love is what this post will focus upon.
It would be a very long post if I wrote about ALL the things you can do to cultivate self-love, so let me just hit the high points. Feel free to
share any additional ideas or comments below.
Talk to anyone who has spent time on personal growth and they will tell you: At the basis of every problem (health, wealth, relationships, etc.)
is a lack of self-love.  Louise Hay discovered this when she was doing 1:1 consulting. When we take the time to address this one aspect of
our life, we begin to shift everything for the better.
That said, what does it *mean* to love yourself?
Think of how you feel when you love a pet, a child, or a good friend? How do you feel when you see them? What efforts do you take to help
them or make their life more enjoyable? Do you do the same for yourself?
Self-care is one way that we show self-love to ourselves. For example, we can make time for:
• Regular exercise to keep your body-temple functioning at it’s best
• Daily meditation or quiet contemplation
• Eating healthy sit-down meals
• Taking breaks for deep breathing~from your belly, not shallow breathing from your chest
• Getting to sleep at a regular time, and the right amount of sleep for you to be at your best
• Doing something fun every day~laughter is a powerful medicine
• Counting your blessings (on paper or in your mind) every day
There are countless ways to embrace self-care. Share your favorites in the comments below.
We also show ourselves self-love when we are clear about how we will allow others to treat us. Take a look around your world and notice the
people you respect the most. How do they allow others to treat them? Which of those examples feel *good* to you? Are you doing them
already? If not, consider establishing your boundaries and how you will maintain them.
As I have grown my social network, I have come across some really wonderful, enlightened souls. Unfortunately, I have also come across a
few posers: Those who pretend for the world that they are enlightened, even make their living teaching others, then treat people they see as a
threat with incredible disrespect and lack of kindness. I have empathy for these people, because I realize their actions come from their fears
and lack of self-love.
When someone treats me poorly the first time, I forgive and forget. Hey, we’re all human. Bad days happen. Apologies are accepted.
However, if it happens a second time, I am on alert. This shows me that this person may have a pattern of treating others with negatively to
temporarily feel better.
As a coach, I’ve noticed more than one client *picking a fight* with me just as they are at the point of making a huge shift. See, when someone
is fearful of change, it’s sometimes easier to find fault or lay blame on another person than it is to stand in our power, face the fear, and make
the shift. When a client does this, I know they are not ready to make a change. I understand that.
However, when someone calls me their friend and then makes a habit of treating me poorly, it’s time for me to send them love and move on.
Sure, I could spend time explaining why their behavior is unacceptable, but in my experience~if this is truly their pattern~they will just keep
repeating the pattern. It’s not a matter of IF, but a matter of WHEN. If they can mistreat someone 3 times, they can just as easily do it 300 or
300,000 times.
Dr. Phil says, “We teach people how to treat us.” While I am a very understanding and tolerant person, I’ve learned that no one else will teach
others how to treat me with love and respect. Part of cultivating self-love is making the conscious decision to establish our own boundaries
and then maintain them. We can be loving, understanding, even forgiving, without being a doormat for the ongoing bad behaviors of a few.
What this does is send a powerful message to your inner-self:
• I love myself
• I am deserving of love from myself and others
• I care enough to only allow those who are aligned with that love
• I do not accept poor treatment from myself or others
• I surround myself with people who support and appreciate me
• If I encounter those who are unkind, I bless with love and move on
That’s enough for now. It’s your turn: How do you cultivate self-love? Has this post given you ideas for yourself? If so, please share below so
visitors can learn from your wisdom.

In the November 2009  Co=Creation Cafe, Prosperity Coach Joan Sotkin discusses “It’s NOT About the Money: The Inner Work of Lasting Financial Well-Being“. In her closing comments, she recommends two important things to the listener. One of them is learning to love yourself…and self-love is what this post will focus upon.

It would be a very long post if I wrote about ALL the things you can do to cultivate self-love, so let me just hit the high points. Feel free to share any additional ideas or comments below.

Talk to anyone who has spent time on personal growth and they will tell you: At the basis of every problem (health, wealth, relationships, etc.) is a lack of self-love. Louise Hay discovered this when she was doing 1:1 consulting. When we take the time to address this one aspect of our life, we begin to shift everything for the better.

That said, what does it really *mean* to love yourself? How does one cultivate self-love?

Think of how you feel when you love a pet, a child, or a good friend? How do you feel when you see them? What efforts do you take to help them or make their life more enjoyable? Do you extend the same courtesies to yourself? Part of being a Deliberate Creator is to align your vibration with the Divine Source of All-That-Is~the loving energy that is the basis of everything we experience with our multiple-senses.

Self-care is an important way that we exhibit and cultivate self-love. For example, we can make time for:

> Regular exercise to keep your body-temple functioning at it’s best

> Daily meditation or quiet contemplation

> Eating healthy sit-down meals

> Consciously choosing supportive thoughts/beliefs (affirmations, visualizations)

> Taking breaks for deep breathing~from your belly, not shallowly from your chest

> Getting to sleep at a regular time, and the right amount of sleep for you to be at your best

> Doing something fun every day~laughter is a powerful medicine

> Counting your blessings (on paper or in your mind) often and regularly

This is just a short-list. There are countless ways to embrace self-care. If you’d like more information, listen to the February and March 2009 Co=Creation Cafe Calls about Nurturing Your Most Important Relationship (Parts I & II). Have favorites of your own? Be sure to share them in the comments below.

We also show ourselves self-love when we are clear about how we will allow others to treat us. Take a look around your world and notice the people you respect the most. How do they allow others to treat them? Which of those examples feel *good* to you? Are you doing them already? If not, consider establishing your boundaries and deciding how you will maintain them.

As I have grown my social network, I have come across some really wonderful, enlightened souls. Unfortunately, I have also come across a few posers: Those who pretend for the world that they are enlightened, even make their living teaching others, then treat people they see as a threat with incredible disrespect and lack of kindness. I have empathy for these people, because I realize their actions ultimately come from their fears and lack of self-love.

When someone treats me poorly the first time, I forgive and forget. Hey, we’re all human. Bad days happen. Apologies are accepted.

However, if it happens a second time, I am on alert. This shows me that this person may have a pattern of treating others negatively in order to temporarily feel better.

As a coach, I’ve noticed more than one client *picking a fight* with me just as they are at the point of making a huge shift. See, when someone is fearful of change, it’s sometimes easier to find fault or lay blame on another person than it is to stand in our power, face the fear, and make the shift. When a client does this, I know they are not ready to make a change. I understand that. Usually, they are looking for an easy exit, and picking a fight is easier than saying, “I don’t think I’m ready just yet. Can we take a break?”

However, when someone calls me their friend and then makes a habit of treating me poorly, it’s time for me to send them love and move on.

Sure, I could spend time explaining why their behavior is unacceptable, but in my experience they usually don’t want to hear this truth, AND~if this is truly their pattern~they will just keep repeating the pattern. It’s not a matter of IF, but a matter of WHEN. If they can mistreat someone 3 times, they can just as easily do it 300 or 300,000 times.

I don’t quote Dr. Phil often, but I do agree when he says, “We teach people how to treat us.” While I am a very understanding and tolerant person, I’ve learned that no one else (except me) will teach others how to treat me with love and respect. Therefore, part of cultivating self-love is making the conscious decision to establish our own boundaries and then consciously maintain them. We can be loving, understanding, even forgiving, without being a doormat for the ongoing bad behaviors of a few.

When we consciously set boundaries and then maintain them, we send a powerful message to our inner-self:

> I love and respect myself

> I am deserving of love and respect from myself and others

> I care enough to only allow those who are aligned with my own love and respect

> I do not accept poor treatment from myself or others

> I take responsibility for loving, respecting, and protecting myself

> I surround myself with people who love, respect, support and appreciate me

> If I encounter those who are unkind, I bless them with love and move on

That’s enough for now. It’s your turn: How do you cultivate self-love? Has this post given you ideas for yourself? If so, please share below so visitors can learn from your wisdom.

Are You A Gracious Receiver?

There are three steps to the Creative Manifestation Process:

1. Ask (you automatically do this as you notice what you like and don’t like in your life experience)

2. Answer (this is not your work, the Universe does this for you)

3. Receive (put yourself in the place of allowing what is being given to you)

Since step 1 is automatic and step 2 is not our work in this space-time reality, most people struggle with step 3 of the Creative Manifestation Process. They get hung up on what they didn’t like in step 1 and dwell on every aspect of  what they don’t like, why they don’t like it, explaining how much they don’t like it to others, joining support groups of folks who also don’t like it, and then get upset when that is all that seems to be showing up in their life. Instead of receiving what they want, they end up receiving even more experiences they don’t enjoy and feel like complaining about!

How do you expect to receive what you are asking for
if you are not willing or able to receive it?

It is possible to consciously choose positive experiences and to receive graciously. One of the ways to get good at Receiving is to *practice* Receiving. Just like the muscles of the body need flexing to grow, your ability to receive grows with practice. However awkward it feels at the beginning, with practice receiving becomes easier. You’ll find yourself giving from a place of joy and love, and receiving graciously from that same energy. Pay attention to any negative feelings or emotions pop up when you first begin practicing receiving. These emotions are *gifts* showing you the work you need to do to grow. Be grateful that those thoughts and feelings are no longer unconscious—they have come forward to be healed.

Here are a few ways to build your “receiving” muscle:

1. Make a decision to *receive* graciously. Notice all the opportunities in your life to receive openly and joyfully. The more you notice and appreciate opportunities to receive, the more opportunities the Law of Attraction will line up in your life. If you are feeling uncomfortable or guilty about receiving *too much*, then you kow your work is removing the barrier you have to receiving more.

2. Enjoy compliments. Train yourself to just say “Thank You” and feel appreciation in your heart every time you receive a compliment. If your mind is questioning why the person complimented you or whether they were lying, or you feel compelled to downplay the compliment, then you know your work is to find out why you do not feel worthy.

3. Appreciate free gifts and unexpected opportunities. When someone offers you a gift or a great opportunity for free that you would really like to experience, choose to accept it graciously with open arms. Let the giver know how much it is appreciated. If you find yourself questioning the gift and/or the motive of the giver because it was offered for free, then you know that your work is to understand why others giving to and receiving makes you uncomfortable.

If you are offered a gift or great opportunity that you are not interested in experiencing, consider passing it along to someone you know who would really appreciate it. You might be the Angel that Source Energy needed to get that gift to the right person.

4. Record your receiving. In the same journal where you write your Gratitude List or your Appreciation List, add the list of what you’ve received each day—including smiles, unexpected companionship, and kind words. If you find yourself not being able to remember receiving, then you know your work is to be more aware of all you are receiving in every moment of your day.

5. Practice receiving positive energy. When you meditate, spend a few minutes envisioning yourself *receiving* white light and love from Source Energy through your crown chakra (top of the head) or heart chakra (heart area). Let it soak into your skin, bones, and muscles. Feel it penetrating every cell of your body, healing your body as it goes. Allow yourself to feel deep appreciation in this experience. If you find  it hard to accept energy from Source, then you know you have been blocking your own success in this way.

How do you practice receiving? What gifts have you received by choosing to be a gracious receiver? Share your thoughts and ideas below in the comments section so others may benefit from your experiences.

Consciously Choosing to Imagine a Better Outcome or Find the Opportunity

Do any of these sound familiar?

> Whenever a police or fire truck siren is heard, you tense up and worry about who they were responding to and where the catastrophe is…

> When watching the news, every story breaks your heart to hear…

> You avoid the newspaper and nightly news because you can’t bear to hear another negative story about the economy, the environment, and/or politics…

Recently, I have made a conscious decision that has made a real difference in how I experience my life: I consciously choose to imagine that whatever I witness is truly a wonderful thing, a great gift, and amazing opportunity.

For instance, instead of tensing up when I hear sirens, I now feel gratitude and appreciation in my heart for the folks who dedicate themselves to defending, protecting, and saving others’ lives and properties. I wish them God-speed in their efforts as the sirens pass by, and I imagine them arriving at the perfect time to help whomever/wherever they are en route to and feeling great joy in their accomplishments. Hearing the siren gives me a chance to remember the brave folks risk their lives to help others and send them positive energy to do their jobs well.

Now when I see depressing news stories, I ask myself, “Where is the blessing and opportunity in this? What is the best possible outcome?”

Napolean Hill said that every negative holds the seed to an equal or greater positive.

When the stock market plummets, wealthy investors get excited about buying into bargains while the middle class gets bogged down in fear and sells what little they have. The wealthy look for opportunities where the rest see fear and despair. Perhaps that depressing news story actually holds a tremendous seed for an equal or greater positive…but you’ll never know if you never look for it!

I keep in mind that when others experience a hardship or difficulty, it is something they have attracted into their life for a reason: A chance to experience a learning opportunity, or a new reason to give back to those that help them, or a cause to motivate them into action, or a reason beyond my personal comprehension. Unless I was personally involved in creating the hardship or difficulty for them, I am really just an observer of what other people have attracted from past thoughts and vibrations. As Abraham-Hicks would say, it’s not my pie. I need to focus my attention on and take responsibility for my pie and let others take responsibility for their own pies.

Sometimes, however, we become observers of other people’s hardships and difficulties for a reason that is specific to us: A reminder for what matters to us, or a chance to change our own consciousness on a given subject, or a reason to motivate us into compassionate action. There are as many reasons why we need to observe someone elses difficulties as there are humans on Earth.

The bottom line is, you have a choice: Feel bad (sad, angry, frustrated, irritated, miserable, etc.) about what you observe, or find a reason to feel good (appreciative, loving, grateful, compassionate, etc.) about what you observe. Based on what we know about the Law of Attraction, if you consistently find a reason to feel good then you are vibrating at a higher level and therefore have more power to be of real help than if you are feeling bad. When you are vibrating higher, the solutions that come to you will also be of a higher vibration. Higher vibration solutions provide win-win situations that help everyone involved. From that standpoint, you are of more help to yourself and others when you consciously choose to find the silver lining and feel good.

If this idea resonates for you, try this exercise for yourself to see if it makes a difference: The next time you feel yourself tensing up and getting dragged down into negativity when observing, ask yourself: Is it possible to imagine a better outcome? What opportunity does this experience offer? How can this situation be a blessing for everyone involved?

Now it’s time for you to share your example. Click on Comments below and tell us how you consciously choose to imagine a better outcome or finding the opportunity in your life.

Everything You Experience…Is a Blessing!

If the title of this post seems shocking or incorrect to you, then you are exactly the person who needs to read this entire post. Keep reading…

In western cultures, many are taught to believe that if anything happens to you that can be categorized as “bad”, it sucks and you rarely can do anything about it so it should be avoided at all costs. People struck by fear of such experiences buy insurance to protect themselves.

In eastern cultures, many are taught to believe that every life is destined for hardships, that they are unavoidable…that the noble seek them out, dwell in and suffer through them in order to grow in character. People struck by fear of such experiences perform rituals and buy objects to protect themselves despite the inevitability.

What if there is another reality…a greater truth?

What if the truth is: Everything you experience, regardless of how it is categorized (good, bad, happy, sad, miracle, or tragedy), is actually a blessing that will improve your life in unforeseen ways?

Think about the current struggles in your life. How would you live your life differently if you began making the assumption that each struggle is actually a great blessing for which you are grateful?

We know that what we think about, comes about. That where attention goes, energy flows. What does your future hold for you if you are always fearful, angry, frustrated, and worried? In contrast, what future experiences are you attracting if you are happy, grateful, and appreciative?

How would you live your life differently if you knew that a dire medical diagnosis would teach you to value life, help you overcome phobias, live more fully, learn about your body, and make great new friends? That’s what happened to my friend who was diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disease for which there is no known cure. She embraced a positive attitude and asked family, friends, and church members to pray for her. All those positive thoughts focused on her well-being: Her disease is now in remission, which her doctor previously didn’t think was possible! Without the initial diagnosis she would not have lived through such a rich and rewarding experience, nor experienced the miracle of others focusing positive thoughts on her (prayer).

How would you live your life differently if you knew the financial nightmare you are experiencing would actually teach you how to ask for help (and get it), teach you how to receive, and allow others the experience of being your angel? That’s what happened to someone dear to me…always the giver, it took a difficult experience for her to allow others to help. In realizing that she and others were benefiting from this ‘struggle’, realizing the blessing and becoming truly GRATEFUL for it, her financial situation turned around almost overnight!

How would you live your life differently if you knew that a sudden job loss actually allowed you to refocus your career on what you’d rather be doing, gives you time to decompress before starting anew, and puts you on the road to a better career with higher income and better quality of life? This is what happened to me…TWICE! The first time, I started a new job (at a temp agency) the next business day making 50% more than I was before, and jump-started an entirely new career. The second time, the severance package allowed me to start a new business with greater earning potential, and flexibility to work from home as I raised my son. That was more than 14 years ago! Now when I hear someone has been laid off, I call them and congratulate them on this wonderful new opportunity in their life.

Still not sure you can view your hardship as a blessing?
Then you need to watch this video about Baby Eliot, whose parents made a bold choice: To view their son’s genetics as an opportunity, not a tragedy. Regardless of your views (pro-choice or pro-life), it cannot be denied that we all have a choice how we view our life experiences. You can dwell on the anguish or you can make another decision, and experience the BLESSING in doing so…



If nothing else, I hope you will pause to rethink how you feel about your life and your experiences. I know this to be true: From the moment you begin to see each life experience as a blessing, an opportunity to grow and be blessed, it will begin to morph into exactly that…thrilling you in ways you may never have previously expected!

Nearly two years ago, I was struck by this epiphany and it has changed my life completely! Everything I experience is now a blessing…either obviously so, or in choosing to find the abundant blessings and silver linings.

Is there an experience in your life that you can begin to see as a blessing? Please take a moment to share it with us below.

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