Friday, November 21, 2008

Gratitude in Every Falling Leaf

All the pictures in this post were taken by me on my morning walk on the Greenway Trail in Gastonia, North Carolina. This Autumn was spectacular, and I was awed and filled with gratitude for every falling leaf.

It is easy sometimes to be grateful for the big stuff. It's right there up in our face, getting our attention. We are more accustomed, and conditioned, to remembering to be thankful for the big things. But, developing a rich and deep sense of gratitude is well informed by taking time to give the small stuff the same focus and attention.

Ask yourself the question, "How conscious and present am I in my daily activities." By starting this inquiry into yourself you will invite awareness and mindfulness into your life on a new level. You many find yourself stopping much more often during your day to really "take in" what is happening in that particular moment: what are you looking at? what can you hear? touch? smell? With these moments of clarity come an expansive sense of child-like wonder. You may feel as if you are experiencing many things for the first time. It's like walking down a brand new, beautiful path.

While you continue this beautiful awareness inquiry, add also a moment to pause, and say a prayer of gratitude for what you have discovered in this moment. This will be easy with the lovely things you come across, but I encourage you to try to address your prayers of thanks also to the troubling and challenging occurences; paying them due homage as the great teachers that they are.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Contemplating Death

Happy Death Mask, NepalImage by Wonderlane via Flickr
Contemplating death
is something that the Buddhists have developed into a fine art. This may sound incredibly morbid, and it is, in a way, but it can also be used as a path to greater liberation in life.

By seriously contemplating our own mortality we can gain greater gratitude for the precious nature of each moment, and release our minds from the bondage of the fears that surround aging, illness and death.

In Buddhism this is considered part of a broad spectrum of thoughts and behaviors which express our "grasping" and "aversion" to many things; the largest of these being "grasping" for more life, and "aversion" to death. Brian Schell, of has this to say:

"...fear is generally a result of attachment. Buddhists consider attachment (”grasping”) a bad thing. Everything changes, and that’s something we have to learn and accept. That’s a whole lot easier to say than do, but that really is it in a nutshell. Think for a bit on what causes your fear. What are you afraid of losing? Is that something (or someone) that you are going to lose eventually anyway? Most things and people are going to be lost someday, no matter what we do; it is important to understand and accept that."
The Loden Jinpa website provided more why and how information on this concept, including guidance for engaging in a meditation on death, here.

Coach Charrise, of the blog Emergence Business Coaching, offers some great starter questions for beginning an inquiry into the nature of death, and living to the fullest.
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

If you don't feel good, it's hard to feel grateful!

If you don't feel good, it's hard to feel grateful! Traci Trainer and her blog The Wellness Journey make an offering of 25 great tips to help you feel good, and have more to give. Check them out here, traci trainer: Tips for your life.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Connecting to Gratitude Through Rituals with guidance from Natalie Maisel and

I find one of the best ways for me to reconnect to gratitude in my life, is to slow down and get deeply in touch my natural surroundings, and the cycles inherent in the Natural World.

I have always loved the lunar cycles. It is comforting to me to look up to the sky, see the moon shining down in whatever phase it maybe, and think of the ancient meanings ascribed to each of it's transformations.

Recently, I discovered Lunar Rituals from yoga and Wicca teacher, Natalie Maisel, that have really deepened my relationship to this endless cycle. Each of her audio downloads takes you through a ritual that allows you to connect to the spirit of a particular lunar phase, and the energy and powerful opportunity for transformation that it offers.

Natalie offers four moon rituals on her site,, each containing a grounding meditation, elemental invocations, circle casting, lore, guided meditation and ritual.

New Moon
for manifesting your heart's desires

Full Moon
for receiving insight and healing

Waning (Crone) Moon
for releasing and banishing

Dark Moon
for breaking habits and addictions

These rituals are not only for those interested in Wicca, or Nature based religions, they are wonderfully accessible to individuals of any faith who simply want a way to focus their intentions, and attention, in their lives.

Natalie Maisel also facilitates yoga and goddess workshops around the world. You can contact her directly at

And check out Fox's Notebook, her blog at

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