100-day Gratitude Challenge 2015

The 100-day gratitude challenge is continuing into 2015 at miraclemama.com where I’m posting regular updates for now. I have re-posted today’s entry here. For previous and ongoing posts check out miraclemama.com.

Original posted at miraclemama.com

Gratitude Challenge 2015: What’s in your Heart?
Gratitude

A favourite quote of mine is from a commencement address given by Jim Carrey at the 2014 MUM Graduation.

“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is. Because everything you gain in life will rot and fall apart and all that will be left of you is what was in your heart.” ~ Excerpt from Jim Carrey 2014 MUM commencement address.

I realized the truth of these words in 2011 when I ended up in the hospital emergency department as I share in the story, “In the End, Only Love Matters.”

The practice of gratitude will open your heart and the more you practice the better you will feel and the deeper you will feel love.

Related articles ♦ 100-Day Gratitude Challenge, Get Out of Your Head and into Your Heart

Thanks for reading and sharing! Wishing you an awesome day! 🙂

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100 Days of Gratitude starting Now

I love watching Nature.

I love watching Nature.

This is a short post to let ppl know that a new 100-day gratitude challenge is starting now. Here is a link to the first post for those who wish to join me or follow along for the last 100 days of 2014 [click here].

“Gratitude is an opener of locked-up blessings.” ~ Marianne Williamson

#my3thanks

Gratitude Campaign Badge
USC’s Gratitude Campaign

When I checked my email the other day, I was surprised and happy to see an email from the community manager at USC School of Social Work with an invitation to their Gratitude Blog Carnival.

I was surprised that they had found my 100-Day Gratitude Challenge and happy to receive an invitation to write a blog post on gratitude thus pulling me out of hibernation to add one more post to this blog before another year comes to an end.

So—here are the three things I’m grateful for in 2013; family, friends and community.

Sometimes we don’t realize how important family is until a major challenge occurs. I feel very grateful and blessed to have a family that is there for me, no matter what.

Some of you know from my blog posts about the challenges I face living with the debilitating chronic illness of RA. Not only is RA physically devastating, it can have devastating emotional, social, mental and financial consequences as well.

If it were not for my family, I don’t know where I would be. I love my family so much that I want to hug each and every one of them every day.

It’s easy to take family for granted or harbor resentments and ill-feelings when we are caught up in our day-to-day tales of survival. Sometimes it takes a shock to wake us up to the fact that, “In the End, Only Love Matters. ”

But, it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little effort, we can choose to wake up through the daily practice of gratitude.

Next to family, there is nothing more important than kind, loving and supportive friends. I am so very blessed to have friends of this caliber.

As with my family, I don’t know where I would be without my friends. Friends who go above and beyond the call of duty, who show up every time you need help without having to call to ask because they just somehow seem to know when to show up.

Sometimes friends are all a person has. Maybe their family is gone or not available for some reason. Friends become a major importance in these circumstances because everyone needs somebody to be there for them.

I cannot tell you how often I give thanks for my friends.

Community work is a world all of its own that has entered my life during the last two years. There is a different energy in community work than what I am use to in the “business world”.  Community is about collaboration and win-win scenarios, at least that is my experience thus far.

I like the idea of working together for the common good of all people that includes treating the environment and people with kindness, respect and dignity. Surely one day we will figure out on a grand scale how to meld business and community through new models of business so that no one is left behind and each one of us has an opportunity to achieve our full potential.

Through community involvement I feel so very grateful to meet incredibly creative, talented and energetic individuals who never cease to amaze me. There is so much good going on in the world when you stop to take a look. Awesome People Doing Amazing Things for their communities and our world.

I feel blessed to be a part of a great community where wonderful things are happening.

What three things are you grateful for in 2013?

As always, thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate your time and feel honored that you visited my blog.

Much love to all.

I’m in Heaven

It’s no secret to some that due to the severe health and financial challenges I’ve experienced for several months I was feeling a little beaten down at times. It seems I went from a state of poor health and finances to a state of seriously poor health and finances. It got me thinking, if this gets any worse I could end up dead and/or living on the street. Of course, I do think the worst sometimes. Those who grew up with me might say most times.

So why am I in Heaven?

I am so blessed with incredible people in my life. The blessings I receive from these people make me feel like I’m in Heaven. I’m truly surrounded by Angels. Heaven is on Earth.

Walking on sunshine.

Today I received more blessings. Two weekends from now there is a conference that I want to attend but I don’t have the funds for. I asked if I could volunteer and the answer came back “Yes”. So, now I’m going to the conference. Wooohooo! “I’m walkin’ on sunshine! Whoa ooh!”

Also today, I contacted a person I know in the community to let them know I’m looking for casual part-time office work and wondered if he would pass my name along should he hear of something. The person replied that he would definitely keep me in mind. This means a lot. Wooohooo! “I’m walkin’ on sunshine! Whoa ooh!”

There are many, many blessings that I haven’t written about or told anyone and I don’t know where I’d be without them. My prayer is that I will be as much of a blessing to others as my Angels have been to me. You know who you are and the blessings you have bestowed. Please do not hesitate to ask for my help as I would gladly and lovingly give it.

Sometimes physical and financial survival takes center stage and opportunities to bless others are missed. I pray that I’m open and notice opportunities to bless others.

Now for the two-part plan (click here to read).

Accomplished half of mindful homework so far today. The instructor gave us a link to a website where you can get free guided mindful meditation downloads. (Click here if you’re interested).

As far as the diet goes, I finished off the chocolate cupcake I brought home last night from our tenants association dinner in the lounge. It was probably made with eggs and dairy. And of course, the McDougall diet recommends going off chocolate. Well, I couldn’t just throw it away, could you?

That’s all for now. As always, thanks for reading and blessings to all. “I’m walkin’ on sunshine! Whoa ooh! And don’t it feel good.”

The Gift of Gratitude: Day 100 – The End

Thank YOU!

Today marks the close of my 100-day gratitude challenge. The challenge was my personal experiment to see what would happen when I focused on feeling grateful. To see more details about the project please click on the tab that says, 100 Day Gratitude Challenge.

It was fun, meaningful and life changing. The fun part was writing about it on the blog. It was meaningful because it added value to my life. I’ve always wanted to have a meaningful life. To make a difference. Practicing gratitude for the past 100 days has made a huge difference in the quality of my life. I feel grateful to be alive and I feel grateful for Life Itself. The depth of my gratefulness has expanded. It feels like a warm sunny spot in my heart. That is the life changing part.

So much of the way we live can seem to deaden us. Sometimes it can suck the life right out of us. Insensitive, stressed, and numb is a way of life for many. Many of us think that is normal. I know it from myself and seeing it in others. From personal research I learned that to feel things like gratitude and love, we need to practice getting in touch with these feelings. They are like a muscle that we have to exercise to keep. Many of us were not taught this concept. Many of us don’t know that we don’t know. I’m grateful I now know.

It is hard for me to put into words what I feel now. All I can say is, try the experiment for yourself and see the difference it can make in your life.

Thank you all for accompanying me on this journey.

The Gift of Gratitude: Day 96 – I Can Choose Peace

I wish I could say my chapped lips came from too much kissing under the mistletoe, but alas, it is not. Rather, it is from licking my lips over the scrumptious Christmas meal my mother prepared yesterday.

We started off with an assortment of cheeses, crackers, fruit, nuts and dark chocolate treats. After the rest of the crew arrived we lined up for roasted turkey with yummy stuffing, roasted ham, potatoes, vegetables, gravy and cranberry sauce. We then took our places on the couches and chairs in my mom’s new cozy living room. Some of us went back for seconds.

Mom moved to a retirement community in October. An active living community with almost 1,200 homes. She has access to a multitude of amenities and recreation programs. She has already become quite the socialite in the short time that she has been there. In addition to socializing, Mom is an athletics enthusiast also. She goes to the gym every other day to work out. I am very happy and grateful that my mom is enjoying her new home immensely.

Thank you mom for a wonderful Christmas meal. Thank you family for a wonderful visit. I’m only kidding about the kissing and mistletoe though (hehehe).

Blurry from too much turkey and sweets

Christmas is over and now it’s time to reflect and plan. The words of John Lennon’s “So This Is Christmas” come to mind;

“So this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun”

Another year over and what have I done? Great question.

As I think back to this time last year, the word “miracle” comes to mind. A Course In Miracles defines the word “miracle” as a change in perception. A miracle occurred in my life this year. Huge internal changes. Changes in perception. As a result, I found where my peace is. I now know, I can choose peace.

There are 4 days left to the end of my 100 day gratitude challenge. Is it worth it? I cannot think of anything that would be more worth taking 100 days to focus on gratitude. The benefits are astronomical. I am a different person than the one who started day 1 of the gratitude challenge. I feel it on the inside. For more details on the benefits see the 100 day gratitude challenge page.

What’s in store for 2011? More gratitude practice for one thing. I’m going to learn how to play and create magic and miracles. I’m so excited.

Where will you focus your efforts in 2011?

The Gift of Gratitude: Day 86 – A Virus Event.

I must admit. I have not been one hundred percent on the ole gratitude meter for the last few weeks.

It’s not that I’m feeling ungrateful exactly, it is more like I’m feeling a little blase.

It all started with a cold virus. The invader appeared about three weeks ago. Normally, for me, cold symptoms are short-lived and fairly easy to handle. This is all due to the fact that my immune system is always in high gear. The rheumatoid disease makes it so. It has its good points and bad points.

It is good that my immune fighting white cells are always in abundance to fend off invading bacteria, viruses etc. It is not good that those same immune fighting cells collect in the synovial fluid, create inflammation and wreak havoc on all my joints and tissue causing incredible pain and debilitation. Thus the need for a medication that bats down those over-zealous fighter cells to a more manageable level.

Street where I live.

So this time, the cold symptoms hit me hard. Stuffy sinuses, very sore throat, lots of coughing, chills and shivers, went on for days, then turned into weeks. In the meantime, I was due for a change in the Rheumatoid meds. The Rheumatologist decided to try a new drug with me to see if it would work better than what I was taking. It is recommended that one should NOT take the drugs if one is experiencing some kind of infection. So I postponed the meds so that my immune system could deal with the cold virus.

Every week the virus continued and I didn’t take the RA meds the rheumatoid symptoms got worse and worse. My feet swelled, ankles swelled, my hands swelled, wrists swelled, shoulder joints swelled. On and on until I could barely move my entire body.

The other day I stopped at one of my favourite eating spots for a leisurely mid-day lunch whilst I read my book and made some notes. You have to go during the off times because the restaurant is very crowded otherwise. As I made my way to the gift store to pay for my meal, the lady behind the cash register asked, “What’s happened? You’re moving much slower and you look all ceased up.”

One of fav eating spots

I replied, “I have rheumatoid arthritis and I’m going through a rough patch right now.”

“Oh my gawd, my cousin has that…I know how painful it is.” She continued, “I just have arthritis, not rheumatoid.”

“Well….no matter what, pain is pain and not much fun for anyone,” I replied and then we chatted for a few more minutes.

Yesterday, I got the new RA drug injected. Oops, did I say “injected”? A slip. I should have said “infused”. Apparently, the proper terminology is “biologic infusion”.

A few months ago, I was introduced to the “biologic infusion” terminology while reading a magazine article in a pharmaceutical publication at my doctor’s office. The article raved about a new miracle treatment for RA. It sounded like the treatment took place at a medical spa and it took the form of a “biologic infusion”. Some of the recipients even went into remission from this new treatment.

I thought, “Why hasn’t my Rheumatologist told me about this, surely she must know about it.” I hated the painful injections I currently received. The solution burned as it passed from the needle into the fatty abdominal tissue. More often than not, it left a huge swelled red area right where I had to zip up my pants. A biologic infusion at a medical spa sounded wonderful in comparison. I imagined myself sitting at the medical spa sipping on a biologic infusion. My mind said, “I’ve got to show this article to my Rheumatologist.”

As I continued through to the end of the article it became very clear to me that biologic infusion really meant injection with a syringe and solution that burns when it goes into the skin and then swells at the site. Boy, did they have me fooled.

So, I’ll continue to call it an “injection” because that’s what it is. But, the story wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t tell you that before I called it an injection, I called it a “shot”. I would write in my day-timer the phrase “get shot” on the day I had to take the meds. Then I remembered that someone told me to be careful about the language I use to describe my situations. In future, I wrote “injection” in my day-timer. Infusion, just doesn’t work for me….it’s too convoluted.

I’ll confess that I fell off the gratitude wagon for the last few weeks. I’ll just have to pick myself up, dust myself off, smile and jump right back on. Only fourteen days left in this 100 day challenge.