Gratefulness

How much is gratefulness and appreciation a part of our everyday? Keeping a daily journal about all the things we are grateful for, regardless of our circumstance, is a kind and uplifting practice. And even fun. I will have to start that. I have tried it now and again as part of being appreciative of my life. And it is lovely when I’m in that frame of mind to remember.

If the “glass of life” feels half empty, we might start a short list of what we are grateful for, including breathing, or having clean sheets on the bed when we are sick, or to have a tree to stand under when it rains. Mother Nature offers us a lot to be grateful for, and she is so generous, no matter who we are or what we do.

By looking at ways we can be grateful right now in this moment, rather than lament for external things we may not have, is a lift to oneself. Did western culture get sidetracked and distracted with wanting stuff? How did we come to believe more stuff, more possessions, more botox , more products, would lead to happiness and fulfillment?  Is there a quick fix to feel good, grateful and appreciative?  Is it an inside job, meaning something we have to do individually for ourselves? It seems we have to work through why we feel unsatisfied in our life. Meaning we have to feel our feelings , not buy our way out of it. And sitting quietly for a few minutes each day, to list a couple of things we may feel grateful or appreciative, is a nice new step to invite into our lives.

We have so much to cultivate and nurture inside ourselves, a garden really. Maybe we  forget to water or fertilize our inner selves, which can affect our energy and thoughts. Yet when we are ready, and give it the right love and attention, our inner garden will grow, bloom and be luscious. That is something to be grateful for, that our garden may be dormant, or struggling through some weeds,  but it is always ready to grow and bloom from the seeds of gratefulness we sow.

Daily Om

I love this site called Daily Om. I wanted to share it as sometimes we all need something inspiring, kind and thoughtful to arrive in our inbox each day as a way to lift up our thinking. Check it out. Subscribe if the spirit moves you. There’s no charge, and it is a lovely gift to oneself.

Daily Om

Where are the Sages?

Remember in history when communities and leaders relied on their Sages or Wise Advisors to weigh in before making big decisions that affected their people? There was a respect and appreciation for the advice of the quiet, observant wise sage, and his/her voice was factored into the decision to be made. A good Sage took the bigger picture into consideration. There was respect for their opinion. Sages were privy to the issues, and had taken various points of view into consideration. This offered a calmness to the warrior energy to wait and hear and consider before rushing off to do battle for example.

The Sage or Wise Advisor energy seems absent. Or maybe it is present but no one is listening, and hasn’t been for decades. To make good decisions, a family, a neighborhood, a country, a government needs our Sage voices. And to listen. A Sage person is sensitive to what is going on around them, they see patterns and potential missteps and also possible glorious steps and solutions. A Sage doesn’t scream, create drama, or demand attention. In the western culture a Sage might get steamrolled or mowed over, even in a meeting, saying the wise thoughtful thing the group needs to consider but they overlook  or ignore it. Maybe it is inconvenient?

The louder voice seems to have gotten the attention, as though speaking loudly and first equals decisiveness, rightness and confidence. I’m not sure acting confident is the same as having a well thought out plan and considering the longer term view.  Many of us can act ways that have no foundation. Of course it is nice to think someone has thought something through for us, and their confident enthusiastic idea reflects our best interests too. Gosh, then it feels easier to go along and agree with them. But without a Sage voice or process involved, it rarely is a good decision for long. The decision or direction breaks down, creates different problems, maybe even harm and has to be revisited and figured out again.

Impatience might be part of why we don’t want to allow for a Sage voice to weigh in or a process that includes their point of view. A Sage contemplates, and that takes time. Is quick better? Quick might work for those wanting to get their way, because they are just seeing it from that narrow view, and that can be quick. But if we are part of decisions that will impact more than just ourselves, then we need to listen, take the time to include other voices. That is the best way to ensure we will have solutions we don’t have to keep revisiting. Taking the time and inviting a Sage or two, and listening, really listening, we will make different kinds of decisions, and ones that will work better for the majority affected.

Slowly it may be happening in certain groups and communities. We may see examples of the return to the inclusion and respect of the Sage voices to the decisions-making within our families, communities, business, politics etc. Hopefully we seek the Sage voice to be part of decisions ,as was done in earlier times.

When we don’t have Sage voices in the room, we get what we are getting, and that isn’t working for most of us. It isn’t a hard thing to do, it is a mere shift. Probably a shift in leadership style is needed too, from the old authoritarian model to something more current and participatory. A key shift is to ensure all voices are represented at the table, they are heard and it is reflected in the decisions made. It might feel threatening to those wielding the power at the moment, but truly, sharing the power and decisions, and making wise decisions that include more voices, will be more successful and effective overall.

This is my Sage musing of the day.

 

 

 

Lightheartedness

As adults we may say lightheartedness, a sense of humor, fun or play matter to us yet  we seem hard pressed to invite it in or practice it. I attend classes, meetings, gatherings, parties etc, and I’m known to have a sense of humor. I would say my first four to five decades humor was ever present, and those around me were quick and willing to laugh with me.

The past ten years that seems more a struggle. Some of it may be the world news and events we are living through. Some of it is when we lose the ability to laugh at ourselves, something in humor is lost. Humor can be a wonderful way to release tension especially with a group of people, and laughter can also help bring a group more together.

I am a trained facilitator, working with different community groups to help build consensus. Usually that is a group of people who come to a meeting with different needs, wants and desires, and absolutely no obligation to agree. Imagine facing such a group with everyone quite passionate and attached to what they would like to see happen? Now in my facilitation training, humor was not a tool taught nor used. How can it be?  Yet for me without using my humor and sense of play as part of my communication style and interaction, I don’t know how we could have built trust and got to consensus. And quite honestly, without my humor or sense of play, I would not want to facilitate.  When I have had to facilitate a humorless group, I must say that has been very, very, very hard on my spirit.

I guess I took my sense of play and humor for granted. I thought everyone had it, and operated the same way. Growing up it seemed my friends and I laughed a lot, to the point of rollicking on the floor. Beautiful stuff really. And growing up in Canada, a lot of our humor is making fun of ourselves and one another. You give it and you take it. It is mutual, and for me teasing someone is a form of affection. Yet some of us get sensitive, and can’t laugh at ourselves. For me that hurts lightheartedness having expression.

Someone used to say, we are all receivers and transmitters. So if I’m being playful or funny (transmitting) but no one around me is receiving, then there is no play. That is an experience I notice more and more. Maybe we compartmentalize. If we go to a comedy show we are expecting funny so our receiver is on. We go to a meeting, we aren’t expecting funny, so we don’t offer it nor pick up on it. Yet if we want more humor and play in our lives, no matter what we are doing, we need to be open to receiving. And laughing for a few moments, and then getting back to the business at hand is a wonderful connector, a sweet break and often a good way to improve the discussion.

As much as we might want more humor or play in our lives no matter our age, we need to notice how we may not be receptive, or we shut down the humorist. We might think humor or being lighthearted takes away the seriousness of a discussion versus maybe finding the room to laugh might be the best way to manage it.