Connecting to Nature   #MondayMusings

Connecting to Nature #MondayMusings

Happy World Environment Day! This year, it seems an even more important day to celebrate our environment and pledge to clean it up, when the leader of the ‘free world’ seems to have chosen a path away from this. Thankfully, the actions of a nation’s leadership are not always reflective of the vast majority of its people. My #MondayMusings today consists of watching and sharing with you some TED Talk videos connecting to Nature. Be inspired!

‘Connecting People to Nature’, the theme for World Environment Day 2017, implores us to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we share. World Environment Day is the biggest annual event for positive environmental action and takes place every 5 June.

This year’s host country Canada got to choose the theme and will be at the centre of celebrations around the planet. World Environment Day is a day for everyone, everywhere. Since it began in 1972, global citizens have organized many thousands of events, from neighbourhood clean-ups, to action against wildlife crime, to replanting forests.

This year’s theme invites you to think about how we are part of nature and how intimately we depend on it. It challenges us to find fun and exciting ways to experience and cherish this vital relationship.

Connecting to Nature

Nature’s beauty can be fleeting — but not through Louie Schwartzberg’s lens. His stunning time-lapse photography, accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, serves as a meditation on being grateful for every day.

 

You don’t need to plan an exotic trip to find creative inspiration. Just look up, says Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society. As he shares charming photos of nature’s finest aerial architecture, Pretor-Pinney calls for us all to take a step off the digital treadmill, lie back and admire the beauty in the sky above.

How do you define “nature?” If we define it as that which is untouched by humans, then we won’t have any left, says environmental writer Emma Marris. She urges us to consider a new definition of nature — one that includes not only pristine wilderness but also the untended patches of plants growing in urban spaces — and encourages us to bring our children out to touch and tinker with it, so that one day they might love and protect it.

 

“ Obviously, survival is important but we weren’t put here just to survive, we were put here to create. What if we could begin to imagine a nature-rich future with new kinds of cities, homes and neighborhoods? New kinds of workplaces? If we don’t aim much higher than sustainability, we’ll never reach it. An experience in nature is super-important in making us mindful of who we are and where we are in the moment.” – Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle

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Finding The Magic In Everyday Moments #weekendcoffeeshare

Finding The Magic In Everyday Moments #weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how blessed I feel at this point in time. I’d tell you how I’m learning more and more to see beauty around me. I’m learning that despite being more busy than ever, it’s easy to be mindful if you tune your mind to look for beauty. I’m grateful that I’m finding the magic in everyday moments and loving it. I am gratefully present in the present.

Finding The Magic In Everyday Moments

“The only true enlightenment is awareness of the vivid reality of life, moment by moment.” – Kosho Uchiyama

 

Accidental selfies with Lucky.

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It is when we are confronted with…poignant reminders of mortality that we become most aware of the strangeness and wonder of our brief life on Earth. – Kathleen Basford

A tree planted by streams of water.Psalm 1.3

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The wind traverses the vast sky,
clouds emerge from the mountains;
Feelings of enlightenment and things of the world
are of no concern at all.
Suchness — Zen Master Keizan Jõkin

A view from our bedroom window. Flowering despite the summer. #mindfulness #flowers

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The woods are lovely, dark and…. Oh no, it’s just the road in front of our house. #livingfearlesslyauthentic

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Lighting up the workplace. #mindfulness #beautyisallaround

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If we were having coffee, what would you tell me?

Image of clouds, sunset and fields via Shutterstock

 

Grateful For Protection #FridayReflections

Grateful For Protection #FridayReflections

I find peace from knowing that I am loved. I am loved. I’ve always struggled with that. Because I’ve always felt so unlovable. But growing up requires that you face  not just the hard facts about yourself, but it requires that you be honest about everything that makes you You. So while I accept my flaws, the dark places within me, I also see how lovable I am. That honesty lets me receive love. Love covers me. It protects me. Love helps me to realize that despite my poor choices in the past, and continued mistakes in the present, I am protected. And I am always grateful for protection.

Love covers me. It protects me. And I am grateful for protection

 

Celebrate, be grateful for and love yourself, no matter what poor choices you think you have made.
Today is a day for celebrating all your good choices and the things that you have done right.

The truth of the matter is, there is nothing you have done wrong.

Life is filled with ups and downs and forgiveness is the only path to healing.

We learn from each other and we grow.

We become brighter and more beautiful and we grow.

Don’t ever stop growing.

During these turbulent times, all we can do is be responsible for ourselves.

Yes, it is important to serve others but from a position of strength, compassion and love, beginning with you!

It is not selfish to become healthy, happy and a beacon of light.

It is powerful.

It is what the world needs right now, during this very precise moment in time.
– Marylou Falstreau

 

#FridayReflections

If you are new to Friday Reflections, here’s what it’s about. It’s the end of the week, you’re probably exhausted with work, and all you want to do is sit back, put your feet up, sip on some fancy cocktail or wine, and write away. Sanch of Living My Imperfect Life and Everyday Gyaan give you writing prompts and all you have to do is choose any one of those prompts to blog about and link up between Friday and Monday. After you link up, be sure to spread the love by visiting other bloggers who have linked up too.

Feel free to add our Friday Reflections badge to your post or sidebar! Follow us on Twitter @FridayReflect and join our Facebook Group. Share your post on social media with the hashtag #FridayReflections.

Everyday Gyaan

 

Prompts for 17th February 2017:

1. I’m most grateful for…
2. What scares you most about dying
3. If I had the courage, I would…
4. “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou. Use this quote in your post or as an inspiration for one.
5. Picture Prompt (credit: Living my Imperfect Life)


Creating A Gratitude Ritual #everydaygratitude

Creating A Gratitude Ritual #everydaygratitude

I can never talk enough about the infinite value of gratitude. Today I’m going to share how we can go about creating a gratitude ritual.

Creating A Gratitude Ritual

Being grateful for what you have, rather than focusing on what you don’t have, enables you to focus on the positive aspects of your life. Gratitude is a spiritual practice, and a regular ritual of writing down all the good things that happen to you on a daily basis will enhance your life enormously.

You can also use your feelings of gratitude to help others. All you need is a small container and a number of coins. Sit quietly and think about all the things you’re grateful for. Every time you think of something, place a coin in the container. At the end of this ritual, or when the container is full, donate the money to your favorite charity.

Practicing unconditional gratitude is a highly effective way to develop spiritually. It’s easy to be grateful when good things occur. However, it’s a different matter when life is proving difficult and painful. Many people moan and groan when bad things occur and fail to learn the spiritual lessons that are present in every experience. Other people, by far the minority, accept these experiences as part of the rich tapestry of life, and use them to grow inwardly.

Here’s an interesting ritual you can perform when life is not going your way.

Sit down comfortably, close your eyes, and take several slow, deep breaths.

Think of something good that has happened to you recently.

It doesn’t need to be anything major. It might be someone letting you change lanes in rush hour traffic. It could be a chance meeting with a good friend. Relive the experience in your mind, and give thanks to the architect of the universe for making it happen.

Think of a person or animal you love.

Allow yourself to relive the feelings you have when you spend time with this special person or pet. Again give thanks to the architect of the universe for bringing you together.

Think of an occasion when you were honored or appreciated by others.

This doesn’t necessarily mean something huge, such as a presidential citation. It could be your fifth birthday party. Allow yourself to relive this special event in your mind, and then thank the architect of the universe for enabling it to happen.

Think about your present situation and what is going on in your life.

Accept that the experience is occurring and there’s nothing you can do about it. You can become angry and upset, but you realize there’s no point in doing that, as it won’t make the situation go away. You can also tell yourself that you’ve experienced difficult times in the past, and that eventually the problems were resolved and life got back to normal. You know that this problem will soon be behind you, too.

In your imagination, thank the architect of the universe for giving you a chance to grow spiritually.

Ask how you can turn the experience to your highest good and how you can make the most of your current situation.

Sit quietly for a minute or two, paying attention to your breathing, and wait to see what ideas and insights pop into your mind.
Finish the ritual by saying thank you to the architect of the universe and affirm that you’re growing spiritually.

Count from one to five, open your eyes, stretch, and when you feel ready, get up.
You should repeat this ritual as often as necessary until the difficulty has been resolved.

Creating a gratitude ritual is excerpted from Rituals for Beginners: Simple Ways to Connect to Your Spiritual Side, by Richard Webster.

rituals-for-beginners

Happiness Means Starting Over #weekendcoffeeshare

Happiness Means Starting Over #weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee, I’d wish you and yours a very happy and creative New Year. I’ll ask you how your year went and talk to you about the many things I didn’t achieve or complete in 2016 and  Some are personal, some blog related. Incomplete projects on this blog, almost abandoning the Write Tribe site in the last few months, missing my book reading target for the year, giving up my regular gratitude posts….just some of the ‘failures’ of 2016.  My word of the year for 2017 is ‘happy’ and happiness means starting over too.

Happiness Means Starting Over

Just yesterday, I came across a new blog – Christine Everyday – and loved her words about the New Year: “Don’t expect your life to change just because the year does. You have to make change for yourself.”
Yesterday, as I sat down to write my ‘vision for 2017’ and create my bullet journal (yes, I’m trying out a bujo this year), I realized that unlike past years, my feelings were of anticipation and not of regrets. Practicing gratitude and mindfulness have certainly helped me to go easy on myself and not beat myself up about things I didn’t achieve in the past year.

“Mindfulness, or the ability to be present with our experiences without the intrusion of so many old habits, cultivates our inner resources. And when we develop those resources we become not so defined by the things that are going on around us, and we’re more able to let go gracefully, we have a sense of grounded-ness, and I think that makes us very happy.” — Sharon Salzberg

I have many ideas for 2017, but I want to start over some unfinished projects on this blog.

1. My Happiness Project that I started in 2014 and shared here but abandoned
2. The Artist Way series that I started last year and didn’t complete
3. My #everydaygratitude posts.

I also want to create a lot more resourceful content here. I tried a few such posts last month and was happy with the response. In case you missed them, here they are:

1. 7 Ways to Find Joy at Work
2. 7 Simple Ways to Design Your Day
3. 7 Steps for Perfecting Your SEO Campaign
4. 7 Simple Everyday Habits For a Healthier Life

It does seem like I’m hung up on the #7 but believe me, it’s just a coincidence. 🙂

Be warned. You can expect a lot more posts from me this year.

Is there anything you would be starting over in 2017?

Failure means that I have an excuse to start over. #weekendcoffeeshareClick To Tweet

Motivational quote image via Shutterstock

20 Inspirational Quotes to Inspire a Practice of Gratitude

20 Inspirational Quotes to Inspire a Practice of Gratitude

On Thanksgiving Day, it’s only natural that I should talk about how gratitude has changed my life and share with you some inspirational quotes to inspire a practice of gratitude.

Although this last year, I’ve quit hosting the Gratitude Circle and haven’t been able to commit to my #EverydayGratitude posts, gratitude continues to be the fuel of my life. I’ve been going through my old posts  and realized that my second post 9 years ago was on gratitude.  It is a theme that continues to resurface over and over again in my mind and in my writings.

Over the past several years of learning to live a life focused on the things most important to me, I’ve often relied upon an attitude and practice of gratitude  see me through. I have begun to recognize the truly life-changing effects of gratitude.

An Attitude and Practice of Gratitude

inspirational-quotes-to-inspire-a-practice-of-gratitude

20 Inspirational Quotes to Inspire a Practice of Gratitude

“We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count.” ~Neal A. Maxwell

“As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world. ” ~Adabella Radici

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~Albert Einstein

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ~Marcel Proust

“Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.” ~Doris Day

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” ~Frank A. Clark

“Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.” ~The Hausa of Nigeria

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” ~Buddha

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” ~Robert Brault

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” ~Denis Waitley

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” ~Alphonse Karr

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” ~Oprah Winfrey

“If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would suffice.” ~Meister Eckhart

“Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.” ~John Wooden

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” ~John F. Kennedy

“Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant—a seed—this plants the giant miracle.” ~Ann Voskamp

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” ~Epictetus

“Two kinds of gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we take; the larger kind we feel for what we give.” ~Edwin Arlington Robinson

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” ~W.T. Purkiser

 

Image of rustic Thanksgiving background via Shutterstock

Gratefully Present In The Present #MondayMusings

Gratefully Present In The Present #MondayMusings

There are days when I’m attempting to play catch up on all the promises I’ve made, especially the ones to myself.

Days when I feel the burden of guilt for not getting posts out by the schedule I’ve promised. It’s easy to think that I’m ever so important, that you’re hanging on to my every word.

It’s easy to lose perspective.

Gratefully present in the present?

It’s easy to look back with regret. Asking myself a whole series of questions about the bad choices I’ve made at some point or the other. Wondering why I allowed myself to be manipulated in some relationships. Remembering hurtful incidents or times when I’ve been rejected….

It’s easy to look forward with fear. Wondering what will become of me if I was left alone. How would I manage if I fell ill or was bedridden. Fearful of who will look after us when we grow old.

Anger, fear, regret, hurt, can become the currency I deal with every day. Comparing myself with another and wondering why I can’t have the life she has. So easy to lose sight of all I have. To take it all for granted. To feel entitled.

What is sometimes the hardest thing to do is to be present in the present.
Marvelling at the preciousness of life.
Revelling in the fellowship of good friends
Basking in the glow of love
Savouring experiences of good food, good weather, sunshine and rain.

Being grateful for the abundance of all I have.

Today I will be gratefully present in the present.

The beauty of life is that we can stop and take stock
Rewrite and reinvent.
Pledge to live differently.

Today I pledge myself to these words…….

If you must look back, do so forgivingly
If you must look forward, do so prayerfully
However, the wisest thing you can do
is to be present in the present….
gratefully.
~ Maya Angelou

pablo

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Would you like to take part in #MondayMusings?

Here’s how it works:

  • Write a post sharing your thoughts with us – happy, sad, philosophical, ‘silly’ even. Make it as personal as possible.
  • Use the hashtag #MondayMusings.
  • Add your link to the linky below
  • Use our #MondayMusings badge to encourage other bloggers join in too.
  • Visit and comment on the posts of other bloggers linked here.
  • Share the love.
#MondayMusings

Also linking to Mackenzie Glanville’s post.

Reflectionsfromme


99 Things I Am Grateful For #FridayReflections #everydaygratitude

99 Things I Am Grateful For #FridayReflections #everydaygratitude

If I only had one attitude to pick from, one value to treasure, one concept to choose from, then without a doubt, I’d choose Gratitude.

Gratitude is an attitude that I picked up on some 9 odd years ago, although, I heard about it’s value for so many years before that. I incorporated it into my life and I know that it has made the world of difference to how I view life.

Today, I’m attempting to write a ‘99 love list‘ but turning it into a ’99 Gratitude list’ instead.

99 Things I Am Grateful For

In no order of importance, things past and present I’m grateful for –

  1. Life
  2. A body
  3. Love from my parents
  4. Two protective and caring brothers
  5. A loving extended family
  6. 50 plus years of health
  7. 50 life lessons I’ve learned
  8. Happy childhood memories
  9. A safe childhood
  10. Opportunities to study in excellent schools
  11. Introduction to reading at an early age
  12. Music
  13. Chances to act and sing in public
  14. Good jobs
  15. Supportive bosses
  16. Friendly colleagues
  17. Friends
  18. Laughter
  19. Flowers
  20. Beaches
  21. Sunsets
  22. Trees
  23. Access to clean water
  24. Hot baths
  25. Cold showers
  26. Electricity
  27. Warm clothes
  28. A safe place to live in
  29. A supportive husband
  30. The joy of togetherness
  31. Financial security
  32. The internet
  33. Blogging
  34. A desire to keep learning
  35. Access to medical facilities
  36. Telephones
  37. Cooking gas
  38. Washing machine
  39. Vegetables
  40. Fruit
  41. Cooking skills
  42. Takeaway food to add to variety
  43. Good meals
  44. Dogs and their love
  45. Ability to help the less fortunate
  46. Transport
  47. Books
  48. My Kindles
  49. Blogging connections
  50. Movies
  51. Inspiration that’s all around
  52. Fountain pens
  53. Notebooks
  54. Interesting conversations
  55. Dog sitters
  56. Holidays
  57. Tea
  58. Coffee
  59. Chocolate
  60. Massages
  61. Scented soaps
  62. Essential oils
  63. Incense and joss sticks
  64. Faith in God
  65. Writing
  66. Mentors
  67. Inspirational people
  68. Feelings
  69. Thoughts
  70. Imagination
  71. Polite people
  72. Kindness
  73. People who irritate me
  74. Painful situations
  75. Gifts
  76. Surprises
  77. A bed
  78. My own space to work in
  79. Working from home
  80. Bubble wrap and cello tape – making life easier!
  81. Discounts
  82. Online shopping
  83. Training skills
  84. Living in a democratic country
  85. Freedom
  86. Walks
  87. House help
  88. Public servants
  89. Birds
  90. Intuition
  91. Personal space
  92. A good memory
  93. Letting go of the past
  94. Photographs
  95. Comedy shows
  96. Things I learn every day
  97. Plenty of spare time
  98. Comfortable clothes
  99. You, my dear readers!

99-things-i-am-grateful-for

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I’ve been slacking off on my #everydaygratitude posts, so today I did a combination with Finish The Sentence Friday and Friday Reflections.

Finish-the-sentence-friday

The hosts are Kristi  and this week’s sentence-thinker-upper Deirdre Conran. The prompt : If I only had…..

Also joining Lizzi Lewis and gang for Ten Things of Thankful.

Also, happy to announce that Sanch and Write Tribe are now hosting a weekly feature, Friday Reflections, passed on to us by Janine and Mackenzie. Do join us.

Write Tribe