Attitude of Gratitude — Day 43: Reunion

I’m writing this from my phone as I sit on the 3 train. I haven’t had much time to write, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have anything to be grateful for. Actually, recently it seems that the more I have to do, and the busier I am, the more I have to give thanks for!

Today was another full day of sunshine and good company, and tonight I reunite with a good friend who I haven’t seen in 3 years.

We met in 2009 during our study abroad program in Burkina Faso. We fast became friends and were an unstoppable duo; the self proclaimed Lizzie and Elena show, we commanded attention and turned heads with our dance moves. We always said that we were “coupé de là même tissu” –cut from the same fabric. Fabric as colorful as a Burkinabé pagne, the gorgeous west African cloth, which clads all.

I’m grateful to the souls out in this world, who I’ve connected with. And I’m SO grateful for the joyous moments of reunion, because they’re filled with fond memories of days gone by, reminiscent laughs of mischief managed and good times spent.

Hugs abound!

-L

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 42: Renewed Enthusiasm

For the past few days I have been feeling a lot of my energy desiring to be channeled into things that grow my person. There are things that I’ve been wanting to do for a while, like listen to lectures, read, study languages and work out. Because I’ve been so focused on keeping my head above water at work and trying to find a social balance, I’ve had very little free time to do anything more than write daily,  sleep and MAYBE visit friends on the weekends.

All of a sudden, today, I snapped my fingers and did all of the things I’ve been meaning to do for some while! It’s as if my enthusiasm for myself has been restored. God it feels so good! I can’t wait to get my hands into new projects like learning Spanish, taking cooking classes, reading, training at the gym and deepening my faith and yoga practice. Right now I feel like I could tackle any project…so I guess that means I’ll have to do just that! Bring ‘em on!

I’m grateful today to have enthusiasm for some long term projects, which I can focus myself on daily!

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 41: Progress

I climbed to the top of the high dive and jumped valiantly into the deep end of the pool.

Metaphorically speaking that is.

I plunged, and immediately  began kicking my way to the surface for a gulp of air to relieve my burning lungs.

It’s been five weeks.

Today, I drank in my first slurp of air.

My lungs inflated, and I buoyed on the surface for a split second.

Then, as naturally as I could, I began to paddle.

Progress.

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Today, I am grateful to see the fruit of some of my labors. I finally feel as though I am beginning to get the hang of this job, my staff, Long Island. I’m making slow, but steady progress. The hard work I’ve put into purging and cleaning out storage rooms, organizing new systems, improving the quality of the food and, most importantly, getting to know my staff and their strengths is showing promise!

I know I’m in the right place, and it feels good. Gratitude to progress and patience–the two go hand in hand.

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 40: Devotion

I’d like to stop and have a good laugh at the Lenten calendar, because I’ve written every day for 39 days….and it’s still not Easter. I’d get out my abacus and check again, but a quick Google search will probably give me the answer to this quandary faster.

According to the Catholic church, the devotional “giving up” of something for Lent is practiced 6 out of the 7 days week days. So for those of you who didn’t know, next year Sunday is fair game. Indulge away.

And while I initially made this promise to be “40 days Catholic,” I’m going to stick it out until Easter Sunday, because I feel attached to the idea of Lent itself, and writing about what I’m grateful for has become a devotional practice that I’m (thankfully) not sure I’ll be able to drop easily.

What started out as a commitment, has turned into a practice that has not only has gotten me through a challenging transition, but has also completely shifted my perspective on life. To be able to take even the toughest day and find something to be grateful for is a life skill. It’s something that I believe everyone should be equipped with. It’s a powerful tool to transform the negative into positive, because in doing so we are able to raise the level of consciousness around us. We need to start preaching gratitude to our children. Let’s create a generation that knows how to be thankful for what they have. If we can do this, we will heal our sick and greedy world.

Today I am grateful that Lent is not over after my 40 day commitment has expired, because it means I have another 5 days to in which I’ll be writing on gratitude. I’m also thankful to this practice for showing me a more enjoyable way to live my life!

Spread the word. What are you grateful for today?

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 39: Manifesting In the Light of the Moon

The potent energy of the full moon has the ability to amplify not only our emotions (if you’ve been reading this week, you’ll certainly be able to tell that I’m a moon child) but also our desires. With tonight’s blood moon eclipse, these lunar energies are 10 times the strength of a regular full moon. So how can we use our energy for positive manifestation? It is my firm belief that the things we bring forth into our lives are a direct result of the energy we put into them. Be they negative or positive, the energies we release into the universe resonate and we will experience them in their karmic form in one way or another.  The key to manifesting what we want, is being grateful for what we already have.

I have a friend whose negative attitude about finding a job has rendered him incapable of actually finding a job! He is a smart, qualified and competitive candidate, yet every time he submits an application, he tells himself that he won’t get the job. He kills his oppotunity before he allows the universe to let it manifest,  because, I believe, he is afraid to be let down. What he doesn’t realize he is doing, is directing negative energy right at his chance of actually landing a job, and thus, he remains forever in cover letter purgatory. And by purgatory, I actually mean the fiery pits of the comedic inferno. Seriously.

But alas, this a lesson my dear friend must learn in stride, because negativity is as much of a choice as positivity. I for one, stand firm in my conviction that my practice of gratitude has made me see the bright side of every new moon, and I am a happier and more positive being as a result. I can’t help but sound a bit boastful here, but my positivity has had an infectious reaction. I can’t stop meeting amazing people, falling into serendipitous happenings and attracting fabulous things into my life. All I can say is that my life is so bountifully blessed with good health, loving friends and family, a wonderful education, an incredible career and a globe that has my footprints tread all over it’s soil.

I am beyond grateful.

I am sublimely happy.

And yet, it is my human nature to have it all and to want more. Not more in the consumer sense. No, I don’t have a burning desire for money or fame (though there is nothing wrong with those who do desire those things). What I desire most, and what I am asking to manifest in this lunar eclipse is the shiva to my shakti. I want to unite the femine and masculine energies in my life so that I can find a harmonious balance in love.

Love is who I am. I have a natural spring that flows from my heart, and a well that will never run dry. Yet, the balance of the shiva and shakti remain a mystery to me. Under the light of tonight’s blood moon, I sit.  What comes out as audible may sound like a faint whisper as it is swallowed by the howling winds, but to the Universe, my heart roars the question, where is my shiva?

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Tonight, I will go the extra step and give thanks to him before he even exists. In my gratitude, I emit a ray of positivity and happiness that will be seized by the lunar eclipse and my heart’s call will echo across the universe so that I may manifest him into my life.

Can you hear me now?

Good.

How ’bout now?

Good.

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 38: The Labyrinth

Release, receive, return.

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I took a deep breath centered myself and walked into the labyrinth. As I snaked around the first corner, I asked for guidance, for clarity, for peace, for answers. No sooner had I wound the second slithery turn did I begin to unleash the truths within.

Walking in, I experienced an emotional release of energy that has been building up within me for months. I let the tears fall as I released my pent up fear of being secluded and alone, which has been amplified to elephantine heights by my recent move to Long Island. You see, although I am a highly independent being with transience pulsing through my veins, being in a new place prods at a very needy shadow that resides within me. This neediness shows itself when I am most vulnerable, and it turns me into a very irrational being. I bcome full of demands and expectations of those close to me, and these demands are impossible to fulfill by anyone except myself.

***

Early this morning, as I wept to my friend about missing home, missing traveling, missing nature and feeling so uncomfortable in so many aspects of my life, she comforted me and asked me what I was going to do to center myself today. I had no real answer to her question, though I placated her by saying I’d be extra kind to myself. Later, when I arrived at the train station in Oakdale, I drove right past my home and into the town of Sayville. I didn’t want to mope in my apartment so I went for a nice lunch at the health food store. There, a goofy looking kid behind the counter chatted me up. I told him I was new here and looking for community. He asked me if I did yoga. When I replied, “Yes?” he said to me, “You’ve moved to the right town!” Unbeknownst to me, there is an amazing community of spiritual beings in Sayville and I needn’t look much farther than Mainstreet to meet a few souls that could support me. He told me of a few yoga studios and some other nice meditation centers in the area.

As today was an incredibly beautiful day, I decided to walk down the street and happened on a store called Guru’s. In the shop a sweet Indian couple greeted me and let me be as they tended to another customer buying crystals for her son and daughter. I noted this mom, who looked so unassuming in her mom jeans and tee-shirt. I was amused by her regularity. No dreadlocks, nothing hippy-dippy at all. Yet there she was, talking crystals with the owner and her little children. That’s kind of awesome. I want to be that kind of mom!

After the mom and her children left, Navi, the owner, turned his attention to me. He asked me if I wanted my aura read. Sure, why not? I held my palm out as he held a copper spiral on a string above my hands. As the spiral began to spin in small clockwise he told me my first chakra, my root chakra, was in balance. As he hovered the object over my ring finger, it began to swing forward and backward and he noted that my sacral chakra was blocked. “You’re giving and not receiving and it’s draining your energy,” he told me.  My heart chakra, unsurprisingly, made the copper object swing in gigantic circles, denoting my very open and emotional heart. We went through each chakra and he gave me a quick run down of what I needed to do to find balance.

Standing in his store, I began to feel better by the minute. He handed me a bracelet made of carnelian and told me it is the stone of the second chakra. It’s also the stone of gratitude, and that whenever I see it I should offer up a thought of gratitude. I liked this VERY much (obviously)! He also told me it would give me confidence and eloquence to speak my mind, which unbeknownst to him, is something I’ve been working on for the past few days. Sold.

Then he pointed me outside and told me that I should go walk the labyrinth.

Oh, my heart did a little flip of joy when it heard the word labyrinth! I’ve been borderline obsessed with them since returning from El Camino and have even decided that my very first tattoo will be of a labyrinth and a the camino shell. I thanked him, took my new purchase and headed directly for the labyrinth.

***

As I released the fear I began to hear my angels speaking to me. They told me I am never alone. And I must say, what a message to receive there in the labyrinth.

As I rounded the last corner and came to the center of the labyrinth my being came to center as well. I stood there breathing for quite some time, and received the message. I wrapped my arms around myself and gave myself a much deserved hug. I received the love and felt a sense of peace and clarity wash over me.

As I returned out the way I came in, I thought about the fact that I now lived in a community that had a labyrinth in the park and goofy kids that work at the health food store and moms that buy their kids healing crystals and a cute little Indian couples who read auras… And for some strange and disturbing reason, my feelings towards this place might best described by Old Gregg….I think I could like you, Sayville.

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And while I know that this place is still very new and foreign, I don’t actually have to fret too much about finding people whose souls are as old as mine. They are here. I just need to remain open and they will come.

I am never alone, and I am so grateful.

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 37: SUNSHINE!!!!!!!!

Today I am grateful for a beautiful spring day in the company of a beautiful friend. Today was a day of exploration, power, radiant sunshine and speaking our truths. Feeling reborn with the spring sunshine today.

Full of sunny thanks!

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 36: Divinity

All week I’ve been building up to this post, like a yogi building up to a challenging pose. I’ve been limbering up my mind, body and soul to openly accept the divine within. I specifically decided that divinity, would be my last subject of this week’s “You Are What You Eat” posts, because it is encompasses all of this week’s topics: humility, self-sacrifice, friendship and love.

When we are in tune with our divine essence, we synchronize ourselves with the infinite expansion of the universe. We are at one both human and divine–ever changing, ever expanding beings.

Through humility we recognize our place in the universe and allow ourselves the flexibility to accept who we are in this form, but also recognize the goddess and god within ourselves and our fellow earthly inhabitants. Through self-sacrifice, we experience the needs of the collective, and give them precedence over our own individual needs. Through friendship we learn the give and take, or the divine dance. if you will, of relationships.  And  finally, through love–especially self-love–we learn to elevate our energetic fields so that those who come into contact with our love know exactly how they should treat us. And thus, as divine beings, we promote all of these wonderful characteristics through a concentrated practice of non-judgement, awareness and patience.

While this week has been tough physically as a result of the juice cleanse, and emotionally quite low for me, I am grateful for some divine perspective. The challenge of body, mind and spirit awareness isheavily concentrated in the body and mind. For me, though this week has been hard in those two aspects, I feel like I am soaring to new divine heights. The dirty work, the hunger, the endurance, the patience, the awareness, the commitment are tools  we use to alter our perspective.

My commitment to gracious living and doing the dirty work is what makes my spirit shine. As a result of this cleanse and my week’s worth of concentration on the divine, my light is lighter and brighter this week.

I am grateful today for this learning experience, for the hard work and commitment, for the lessons I learned by sitting with the discomfort and for my well earned treat, a deep tissue massage.

 

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Amen, right on, shalom, salaam, namaste.

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 35: #love #selfie

Love is an all-encompassing word–so very meta, if you will. And while it’s not an easy word to pinpoint a definition to, though believe me I’ve tried, it is something that is very easy to offer some gratitude!

How is it, that if I can’t quite define it, I can offer it gratitude, you ask? The answer is so simple it’s almost silly. If love is everything, within every particle of the universe,  than my offering up of gratitude to anyone or anything at all, is an offer in love’s name.

With that being said, I’m staring at my blank canvas of a word processor, and trying to decide where in the world I’d like to direct some gratitude-filled love today. Whilst this topic is so vast, I’m going to stay inside the box, and offer gratitude to a little thing called self-love.

Self-love is one of those things that seems easy in theory, but  I can’t explain how many times I’ve gotten advice from friends telling me, “All you really need to do is just love yourself a little more…” And I’m like, “I know, I knooow. Of course.  Sure. You’re so right. Definitely.”

But I’d be fooling myself if I could say I had the answer as to HOW best do that.

Let’s not get me wrong here, I think I’m pretty awesome, and I definitely don’t hate myself. But there have been situations that have occurred in my life, where I do not put my well-being or convenience first. I have been known to dance around people’s wishes, aiming to please, forever looking to compromise, and while I don’t think this is a character flaw of mine in the least, I do recognize that there comes a point when I need to say,

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Because today was one of those days for me, I’m grateful that I took the time to see where my energy was being zapped by other people. Letting others control my feelings and/or environment is the opposite of self-love. For me, it takes a lot of heart to admit when  it’s happening, but usually I can feel it in my body. Recently my second, fourth and fifth chakras have felt  blocked up ….And by that I mean, I’ve been experiencing a  feeling of deep discomfort residing in the pit of my stomach, around my chest and in my throat.  Recognizing this discomfort and telling myself stop and settle into it has been the first step.  Discussing with those who have had an impact on my dis-ease, well, that’s a whole different ball game,  but I’m on my way.  I’ll get there, but not before  making a couple of pit stops to: the massage therapist, yoga studio and amazon.com’s spiritual self-help book section. Hopefully by the time I reach step two, I’ll have worked out a few tense muscles in my shoulders and will be yielding my smoking gun of spiritual wisdom and infinite patience.

 

Today, I bow to myself in deep, loving gratitude,

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 34: Friendship

I’ve needed a lot of connection recently due to the secluded nature of my new life. I’m far enough away from my friends to make seeing them frequently a real challenge. Thus, today I am so grateful to the people in my life who continually make a concerted effort to reach out to say that they are thinking of me, because I am always thinking of them!

What I love most about friendships are the undertones of equality that the relationship is built on. True, sturdy, healthy friendships are the kind where both friends give and take symbiotically. I have some of the most amazing friends in the entire world, and while the closest of them are still a few hours trek away, I know that I am never alone and that I have a network of soul mates world-wide.

Today, I am grateful to all my friends, who have been my rock solid support through it all. I am also grateful to my friends who let me give, and who graciously take my support when they need it. Nothing makes me happier than to be able to give of myself unconditionally to a person who I know is going to give right back when I’m in need. I’m grateful for the heart hugs, the cuddle puddles, the out of control dance parties and the sharing of literally EVERYTHING (underwear and toothbrushes included!). I’m grateful for all of the soul-searching conversations, the break up counsels, resume and interview prep, howls at the moon, bottles of guzzled wine, pep talks, meditations, motivation and inspiration.

My friends and I would go to the edge of the world for each other. We’ve flown thousands of miles to reunite, and upon seeing each other, pick up without skipping a beat. This post is written with undying gratitude to all who have nestled themselves deep in my heart. So much love to you all.

XO,

Lizzie

 

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