Today is Thanksgiving in the US.
When I live my moments in gratitude, each day seems lighter, more up lifting.
Recall the last time someone cut you off in traffic. Most likely you felt frustration and annoyance. Natural feelings, and appropriate to experience them. However, how did you react?
You always have a choice in your reactions, though sometimes feelings are so overwhelming that you feel you must follow them. With frustration, you may shout and clench your fist. With annoyance you may grumble and hit your horn.
We can feel those feelings, let ourself experience the tension in our body, then take a deep breath and change the thoughts developing in our mind.
Perhaps the person cutting you off is distracted by problems at home. Maybe they looked at a text on their cell phone. You can choose to feel grateful that you are alert enough to hit your brakes and stop an accident, or that there was no one behind you to run into you. You can choose to appreciate that your children were not in the car.
You can choose to feel gratitude. In any situation in life, say to yourself, "what am I grateful for right now?"
Next time you make this choice, notice the moment lighten, your mood uplift...just a little.
Today, I feel grateful for you, my inspiration. Thank you for being part of my life.
Next week, we continue with part two of "Awakening."
In our journey, many of us will, at some point, Awaken.
What does this mean, to awaken?
Some people, at a very young age, have a sense that Something exists beyond their flesh and blood. They seem to know there is the world beyond, and connected to others - the energy exchanged, the love that affects a child, the anger that withers an opponent, or the emotional and reactionary choices they make that affect their environment and those around them.
Others have a realization just as they are about to pass at the end of their life.
Most of us start with the simple knowledge that there is more to life than our physical being, and some greater purpose than our daily activities. We search for understanding through religion, spirituality, psychology or experience.
And when a new piece of knowledge resonates with us, when the truth of it feels profound, we acknowledge the "Aha!" moment or feel the tingles of truth while the hair on our arms rise.
Throughout your life, I'm sure you can recall some "Aha!" moments. The moment may have been something simple, such as a sudden understanding of how to process a math problem. Or perhaps it was a greater understanding of human nature, such as realizing why a friend always responded a certain way.
In my experience, I most often felt my "Aha!" moments when a universal truth resonated with the core of my being. As if a light switch went on as I finally realized why I had chosen the path I did.
What does AHA! mean to you?
At one point I was feeling that switch so frequently that I took to writing them down, knowing that there had to be some universal insight to the pattern of profound moments. In fact, the insight was quite personal, not something that would change all of mankind. They were shifts in my own development, growth moments that propelled me into a new awareness. However, by the time I figured this out, I had absorbed the knowledge so completely that my response was, "well, duh! That is just common sense!" It was as if I always knew these discoveries.
And perhaps I did, on some subconscious level. In fact, THIS awareness (that the knowledge was always there...somewhere) triggered a new level of understanding.
Which led to my participation in classes that were on the "fringe". Soaking up others' teachings in intuition, afterlife, and unseen energy, I practiced conscious ways of thinking such as "noticing" and "observing". By doing this, I observed how my thoughts and senses were connected to my environment.
I began to notice how a certain feeling (a spacious calmness is how I can best describe it) would precede a small crisis at work, and I began to look for that crisis before it hit. It was as if my subconscious was preparing my conscious self for action. With new awareness of my senses, I also noticed unique smells that would symbolically demonstrate to me, how someone may be behaving in my environment.
For example, I remember arriving at work one early morning, the first one into the air conditioned office, when a skunk smell wafted by. Before my expanded awareness, I would have written it off as simply strange. With my new insight and observations, this scent helped me to be ready to respond to the "skunk" I would interact with in a meeting later that day.
I also practiced new behaviors such as focusing positive energy on a crystal necklace then wearing it under my business clothes. This necklace helped to remind me to be positive (or confident, or action-oriented, or calm in the face of stress, depending on the situation I was preparing for).
As I learned more and more awareness activities, my own "Aha's" came flowing so fast I didn't have time to write them all down. Learning, and slowly Awakening to this other side to life became a part of my day. And I no longer hid those crystal necklaces, because they were no longer "fringe" in my own life. My energy practice became normal, as did constant observation of my own thoughts and actions, and how I could change my very human responses to mirror my soul's Awakening.
Is there a point when one is fully Awakened?
The thing about Awakening, is that the more you know, the more you realize there is to learn. And as we learn, the more clearly we understand that we are all connected, that our thoughts and actions affect others, that we can become compassionate in all situations, and that we always have a choice in how we respond (though we sometimes forget). And in Awakening, we realize that the profound knowledge gained is the same as simple love and empathy for the humanness of each other.
...I have been writing and revising this post for many weeks. This subject is so expansive that I find it difficult to define. In fact, part two is next week. Every day, I continue to discover and relearn aspects of Awakening.
If you have insight or examples to share that this post has triggered for you, please share with us in the comments below! We continue to learn from each other.
My daughter’s soccer coach treated the girls to slurpees after their first game of the season. They loved the slurpees, but that was not the best part of the after-game celebration for them.
For the girls, the celebration happened at the side of the road, among screams and shouts for excitement.
With their slurpees, the girls sat on a small grassy hill next to the busy broad intersection. Cars drove by, but so did trucks, delivery vans and friends’ parents. Happy and having fun together after their first game, the girls gestured by pulling truck horns in the air, encouraging all drivers to honk back at them. They were hard to miss, all decked out in electric yellow team colors, screaming and laughing.
Practically every vehicle that drove by honked. The girls loved it.
But better than that, the team felt powerful. They felt empowered. The drivers gave them control by responding to their simple gesture. That control could have only been created because of teamwork, so spontaneous and so authentic.
Of course their coach treated them to slurpees to build the team. She knew what she was doing.
The sugar kick was a happy side effect that was hardly noticed … compared to the joy of having fun, together as a team, at the side of a road.