I knew that the subject for this month’s blog would be gratitude a few weeks ago. This comes rightfully so alongside the holidays and the new year about to begin. My title came to me in the supermarket, through a woman named Aleah El. I was walking through the supermarket and I heard someone behind me say “Hey Fonzie!”. I turned around and there was this lovely outgoing woman. We engaged in an upbeat volley of conversation; “You’re beautiful,” she said and asked if I was a model and if I was married. I kindly answered all her questions and just before we walked away she said “Girl, you will never be lonely – I know people.” She was open, cheery, kind, and engaging. As I walked away, her words “You will never be lonely” stuck with me. I thought to myself, she tapped into something with that one. Ironically enough, I could be in a room full of people and still feel alone. For whatever reason (usually the hair), interactions like my experience with Aleah happen often enough that I often reminded myself to remember to document my interactions with kind strangers so I can express my gratitude. This time, my memory did not fail me. I searched the store and found her at the register; I asked for her information and if I could take a picture to post because I knew I wanted to celebrate her. Aleah, girl… I express my deepest gratitude to you for making me smile and for creating such a good feeling that day, for your sweet messages, and your bright light. You are beautiful and an angel.  Keep bringing light into a world that desperately needs it.

This month is never an easy one for me. The holiday makes me anxious from just knowing that I am going to be exhausted, on top of being pulled away from the things that bring me peace of mind, these activities I would much rather be doing. It feels forced on me, and I know that it’s my perception of it. I’ve thought a lot this time around about how to shift my attitude around the holiday, but it has that groundhog day feeling, especially after so many years of doing the same thing. We always did things over the top, so maybe after a while it becomes hard to keep up and easy to get beaten down. I am not much of a hater, but “I hate the holidays” was coming off my lips this time of year so often to the point that it was bothering me.

I knew of someone who was struggling this month and knew I wanted to help in some way. I made some phone calls, pooled some funds together, and made plans with another sister friend to present it. I couldn’t wait to go. It was two days before Christmas, and I had so much to do, but I couldn’t wait to skip out on all of it, even if it was for a few hours. I got to sit with another soul, bringing light, joy, and help to them in a time of need. I got to give someone my time and my attention who needed it and was grateful to receive it. It felt so heartwarming and I was tremendously thankful for the opportunity; I left there saying “this was my Christmas.” It would have been so easy to blow it off until after the holiday, but I needed it to happen before, for that friend and for me. It honored my soul and I got to acknowledge someone else’s soul. I still had to finish all my holiday stuff, but eventually it got done, like it always seems to. I guess as my conscious level rises and the reasons that were behind why I did what I did in the past fall away, my tolerance for cultural fraud and surface bullshit has plummeted to rock-bottom.

I was grateful for the experience and it created the shift I needed. Gratitude can change your life. It’s what directly affects your happiness which in turn affects your emotions, personality, health, social life, and career.  As little as five minutes a day can have a significant impact on your life, and it’s based on science. In 2003 a study was conducted where researchers had three groups of participants keep shortlists for the week. One group kept a list of things they were grateful for, the other two were lists of hassles and neutral events. After ten weeks, the gratitude group had enjoyed significantly greater life satisfaction.

We create our lives based on the ideals of what our culture says the good life should be; The perfect job, mate, house, car, stuff, weight, hair, etc. It’s all a part of the bullshit story we are told. By thinking that these things will bring us happiness, it keeps us on the pleasure treadmill. Sure, these things are great for the economy, but it does nothing for our happiness.

The new year is here and we all know that resolutions don’t stick. I’ve decided that setting intentions are a better and more successful way to go. Research how to set an intention and find the process that resonates for you. Know that you are worth the time and effort to create what you want and desire in your life. Read the Bravery and Intention post for more information. You deserve it. It’s also ok to take your time with this – baby steps. It all doesn’t have to happen on the first of January; you can make the decision to love yourself enough to show up for yourself on the first and then wean yourself in as the year goes on.

Express gratitude often. Take the five minutes a day and write down what you are grateful for. The more you do it the more you will see. Start with internal private gratitude and work your way out to more public expression. Thank your heart for beating with unconditional love for you. Don’t forget the cells that make your body up, always working endlessly to keep you healthy. Let your body know how much you love it, ask what it needs and listen. Your body is waiting to hear your love and compassion, not criticism. We all have a story of pain; Aches, pains, and disease are how your body communicates with you. We are good at abusing it, ignoring it, and fearing the pain. Change your perception to positive, and listen to you for once – I do this as often as I can when working with my body.

I’m grateful for the experiences I have lived and the ones still to come, especially the hard ones. They have helped me grow and bring me closer to my true self. Thank you, next. What I am most grateful for are people. Other souls allow you to express and experience the greatness that you are. We all vibrate at a specific frequency, and other souls come to you giving you the opportunity to raise yours. I love the fact that because of others I get to experience myself as who I am… unconditional love, patience, forgiveness, compassion, peace, and, of course, gratitude. It’s all light, light that you wouldn’t know existed without its polar opposite darkness.

If you are here reading this, I love you and thank you for taking the time in your life to come this far with me. Soften your heart enough to receive love. It’s what gives you the strength to dive deeper into your heart, to bring light where your wounds and darkness keep you confined. When you lift yourself up from a deep place, you can raise others with you. Be a warrior of love. Have a happy and blessed New Year!

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