Tag Archives: Gratitude

Grateful Fridays

To continue on the aspect of being thankful, I wanted to talk about being grateful! My friend, Mary Kate, and I like to play a little “game.” It doesn’t really have a name so I’ll call it “3 Things.” Basically, randomly whenever you feel like it, you email a friend, a partner, a family member, three things you’re grateful for. It can be anything from something deep to something that’s simply an everyday thing. Mary Kate and I sometimes just do random days out of a month, or we might do it for days, weeks, or months at a time! It really helps to stop and think about what you’re grateful for. Here are mine today:

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How to Use Meditation to Heal

These past few days have been very stressful and painful for a lot of people in Colorado (due to the floods and storms). People are dealing with death, injury, loss of homes, and devastation. Even for those of us who didn’t get homes damaged, it’s been rough. It takes a toll on you when your city is suffering and people cannot continue with normal life. I definitely find this to be so. It’s easy to get distracted by all the devastation and certainly to get emotionally involved. I teach a Monday Meditation class every week and it was the Monday right after the big flood and I knew we all needed some healing and good energy after everything that has happened and everything that we’ve seen.

End of the day...that used to be a back yard

Colorado flooding

Meditation is one of the best ways to find closure, peace, and to spread good energy throughout yourself and others. Please take 3-10 minutes today and do this for yourself. I promise you will not regret it. Just start slowly. You can be seated or laying down. Get comfortable. Here are some simple steps to healing yourself and others through meditation.

1. Start breathing slowly, feel your chest and stomach–the diaphragm. It has a jellyfish like shape. Now, think about all the muscles that are in that area. If your muscles are contracted or stressed, your diaphragm will be too, and thus, your breathing. It is very important to focus and relax all the muscles of your chest, stomach, pelvis, and even throat. Do this now. Ease off a little more stress from those muscles.

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2. Now it’s time to ease the mind. Push all other stress or worries outside of this room and out of your mind. Let go of what should or needs to be done. This time is for you and the time is the present. Silence the mind by turning off your internal dialogue. Just stop talking to yourself about particular thoughts, and instead let the stream of consciousness flow naturally in the background of your mind Take a few moments to visualize anything that is nagging you and imagine it fading away.

3.Let’s start with some sinus breathing. Hold one nostril with your thumb and inhale. Switch and hold the other nostril and let the air out. This is a great way to get focused in your meditation as you are actively participating with your breath. Do this for a minute or so. Now release your nose and let’s start counting the breaths. This is another active form of breathing and is excellent for getting into your practice. Inhale for four counts, hold it at the top for four counts, and exhale for four counts. Repeat this for a minute or so.

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4.Great, so now you’re relaxed. Let’s proceed on to the healing part! Gather up all your good energy–your gratitude, your joy, your love, your kindness. Feel all those emotions inside of you and feel that positive energy start to grow. Gather it up like a ball of sunshine and let it spread to the rest of your body. Feel that radiating good energy. Now focus it and send it where you want it to go. Whether that be towards healing yourself, your friends, your family, or even strangers who have lost everything. Send that good energy towards them or yourself, give strength. Focus on that.

5. Lastly, focus on gratitude. Think of a person or thing that you’re absolutely grateful for. Perhaps, sometimes you take them/it for granted, but this is the time to focus on this person or thing. Hold the image of them in your mind and the gratitude in your heart. Feel that good energy flow from the gratitude and allow it to spread. Concentrate on it and be at peace with it.

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6. To end, let’s do 3 big dramatic breaths. I want your shoulders to raise up as you take a big inhale and forcefully let out the air, slumping the shoulders. This should come out like a huge sigh. Do this 3 times. It is wonderful stress-relief.

Please take the time to do this, I promise it won’t take more than 10 minutes. Spare the time in order to give yourself a sense of peace and healing through tough times. Use meditation to stay hungry and fit!

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BONUS KITTY PIC

Sajah and Nymeria waiting patiently

Sajah and Nymeria waiting patiently

It’s Time to Listen to Pocahontas

I think we’ve got our philosophies wrong in the world. And sadly, it is most of the world now. There was a time where beliefs of nature and the world reigned in some parts of the globe, but global expansionism and global economy has changed that. I know it’s Disney. I know. But, I can’t help but think how right Disney’s Pocahontas is, every time I hear “Colors of the Wind.” I  know you’re thinking, “Alana, I can’t believe you’re actually writing about this right now.” Well, probably some of you can believe it and are shaking your heads and sighing.

Yes, it’s Disney, but listen to some of the lyrics. If more of us thought this way, it could change the world into a more beautiful place. I know it’s Disney, but there’s some real truth and grit in it. Just look over the lyrics.

You think I’m an ignorant savage
And you’ve been so many places
I guess it must be so
But still I cannot see
If the savage one is me
How can there be so much that you don’t know?
You don’t know …

You think you own whatever land you land on
The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew

Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned?
Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest
Come taste the sunsweet berries of the Earth
Come roll in all the riches all around you
And for once, never wonder what they’re worth

The rainstorm and the river are my brothers
The heron and the otter are my friends
And we are all connected to each other
In a circle, in a hoop that never ends

How high will the sycamore grow?
If you cut it down, then you’ll never know
And you’ll never hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon

For whether we are white or copper skinned
We need to sing with all the voices of the mountains
We need to paint with all the colors of the wind

You can own the Earth and still
All you’ll own is Earth until
You can paint with all the colors of the wind


I think we all ought to take a page of Disney’s Pocahontas’ book. Step back to realize the beauty that we all live in and give back to the earth more. Don’t see everything in monetary value or dollar bills. After all, how can we let green pieces of paper rule our lives? Step back and love what’s around you.

Peace, Love, and Pocahontas 

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Sunbathing

Slow Down: Be Grateful and Feel Thankful

Too often, I believe this culture is too busy to remember what we are grateful for. What we should feel so eternally thankful for. And this is just a gentle short reminder post on the long-running list of things you are and can be thankful for. Being thankful isn’t just to ease your morality and do your “good deed for the day,” it makes you happy too. Who can beat a free dose of happiness?

Can’t particularly think of anything right now? Let me start you off…

Feel thankful for your health. Too often we forget this…until we become ill.

Feel thankful for those in your life who impact you every day. 

Starting to get the notion? I’ll throw out some more random ones that I may or may not feel…

Feel thankful for the random Christmas card from a professor that you didn’t expect.

Feel thankful that just as you feel like falling, someone is there to pick you up.

Feel thankful you have a beautiful amount of life thriving around you, it’s everywhere when you look.

Be grateful that your partner understands you as a best friend/soul mate freakish hybrid would. 

Be grateful for the kindness and humor of an Emergency Room doctor late in her shift. 

Be grateful when your 6-month old kitten buries her head in your arm and snuggles like there’s no tomorrow.

Feel thankful when you have the chance look at the snow slowly falling from the trees, the salt misting above the sea, and the fog rolling off the plains. 

Be grateful for the ability to ground yourself in peace with a few thoughts.

Feel thankful for the ready availability of water, shelter, and food.

Feel thankful that your family and friends accept you for who you are.

Be grateful that thoughts are immortal no matter what their contents contain…you can always remember them. 

Feel thankful for the way you are raised and the way you are today…all those good traits.

Be grateful for the imagination that rules your mind and can let you escape to somewhere else whenever you choose.

Be grateful for family who will cry with you. 

Sunset

The list plunges ever on, but I wanted to share a few with you that perhaps you can connect with. I know that Thanksgiving has passed, but I believe in stopping for just a moment or two, to find something to be thankful for and smile about. In an era of business and money, this is a small place of refuge.

Thanks to you all!