Saturday, November 1, 2008

Honoring my authentic self with Gratitude

Here it is, November and I am ready to accept the challenge I have put in motion - to be in gratitude in a bigger way than ever before. So how did my gratitude show up today and how did I express it?

Well, I started my morning by deciding I needed to be true to myself, to express some resentment I had been building toward my sweetie, so I did, we had "The Talk" and I ended this uncomfortable discussion by sharing with him my gratitude idea and asking if he'd like to engage in this meaningful act along with me. He agreed! Today there were several times when things were tight for one reason or another we looked at each other and said - "I'm grateful..."

I am grateful that my underlying core value is to be true to myself, to be authentic, even when it is hard to do. I'm getting so much better at it too. I am grateful I am standing up for myself more and more, asking for what I need no matter what.

I feel grateful that even though my Retreat Hike was rained out today, and I was disappointed, that it meant I got to spend the day with my daughter. I enjoyed her company so much, just sitting and talking, preparing lunch together, cleaning up, looking at videos online of fetuses (she's 15 weeks pregnant). It was a day I would not have had, if I hadn't cancelled the hike.

Is it possible to just fall more and more deeply in love with your pets? Well I feel that happening in my life. We have a weiner dog and two male cats, all of whom are getting older. My orange boy is the most lovable feline. He just looks at me and purrs. It's enchanting. As lovable as he is though, he is picky about being touched and is not a lap boy. Until last night as he climbed into my lap and fell asleep. I felt so grateful that as he is aging he wants to be closer to me, and grateful that I could take the time to sit and do nothing, so that I can enjoy him while I can.

Those are my noticings of today. I felt good overall today and found unique and enlightening ways to be in gratitude which also honored me and my needs.

Are you on board with me? Let me know your thoughts on being in gratitude and my 30 day challenge.

Friday, October 31, 2008

November Gratitude Challenge

I am a big believer in the power of expressing gratitude, how it can shift our thinking, change our feelings, make miracles occur. I have kept gratitude journals with regularity during different points of my life.

I love Thanksgiving and the opportunity it brings for deliberate focus on being in gratitude. For the month of November I am calling for a challenge to anyone who wants to take it on, to take on a daily practice of gratitude. Many people already practice gratitude -- writing in a journal at night or in the morning, itemizing 5 things they feel grateful for. If this is the case for you, I say great and invite you to pump it up. Find other ways that you can be in deliberate gratitude everyday. Perhaps this means you involve other people in your life in the practice. Perhaps you create a space in your home -- an alter of sorts, where you can add slips of paper with gratitudes, actual objects or pictures of people. What other creative ways can you come up with to express your gratitude?

I came across a great website focused on giving This site focuses on giving something every day this month. You could choose to do that as an additional show of gratitude.

If you are not currently participating in some kind of deliberate gratitude, then I encourage you to start one this month. 30 days to see what a difference it might make in your life. What have you got to lose? Try it out this month and then let me know. Post to this blog what you notice. What shifts for you? What outcomes show up? I will be posting my own awarenesses, and invite all of you to do the same. Let's encourage each other on this magnificent ride which can only lead to our collective better good.

I'm going to get the ball rolling on this November launch a day early by sharing a few things I've noticed today where I spoke a quiet "thank you":

1. Pomegranates - what a fun fruit. I hadn't had one in awhile and yes, they are messy, but those little seeds taste crunchy, kind of tart and sweet and what a beautiful bright red.

2. a sweet coaching session with my original buddy coach. I coached her on a topic but really we were two friends sharing and I loved hearing her stories and catching up. I love her and can't wait to meet her someday.

3. the seasons that have changed before my eyes out my office window today -- we started with rain, followed by sunshine, some clearing in the sky and now at 83 degrees we have a light wind, and the trees rustling which is a beautiful dance for me to watch.

4. my pets. My orange kitty Willy was right there looking for me this morning as I came down to get coffee, waiting to love me with his eyes big as saucers looking like Puss in Boots from Shrek. My wiener dog nosing up to me as I did my yoga on the floor, wanting to be near, her nose edging under my arm to pet her.

5. Talking to my daughter on the phone everyday. I am so grateful to be so close to her at this time in her life, grateful for the healthy baby growing in her womb - 15 weeks along!

OK, come November 1st, want to take on the challenge?

In search of Authentic Self

I think we hear a lot about finding one's authentic self. Unless you have been in that position, of feeling like you are not sure who you are or what you want, this phrase doesn't really resonate for you. If you have been in this place, you know the power of those two words.

About 10 years ago, I was married, and on the brink of divorce. I knew I wasn't happy, but really wasn't sure why. When I would ask myself what I wanted, I felt so confused. I knew I wanted to be happy, but how could I do that? What did I need to do? I wanted my kids to be happy too which meant I couldn't get divorced. Then of course there was my husband. I really felt sorry for him for the grief I was causing. I felt so lost and unsure, turning to my friends and ultimately a therapist to help me figure out what I wanted.

What I discovered as I pulled back the layers, were little bits and pieces of me. Apparently it hadn't been OK for me to display these parts of myself. I thought as a mom, employee, wife, etc I had to be a certain way, mostly in order for all of them to be happy. The more I did this, the less I knew who I was or wanted, until I came to the place where I couldn't remember, hence the confusion.

Fast forward 10 years, over five years with my therapist, 4 years with a 12 step program and lots of classes and education, including all of my coach training, have brought me to a much greater understanding of who I am. Yet this searching for, and craving to hold onto my authentic self does not go away. I still feel lost sometimes, unsure what to do, able to see the possibilities in going either way as well as how certain people would be happier if I went one way vs another. When I feel myself feeling confused, I know it is time to come back to my place of authenticity, to reconnect with Cindie at her core and what she is wanting and needing.

I know you might be thinking well yeah, but how? And what do I do about those people counting on me to do X and I want to do Y? To this I say (and believe me, following my own advice is my own personal challenge) take time to be alone and quiet, to be with only your own thoughts and more importantly feelings. When I get in my head and analyze things I am usually thinking about what I should do and trying to be the way I imagine I should be in that particular role. If I can take quiet time for myself -- write, talk out loud or work with my own coach, I can get to the heart of what I am feeling. And the truth is, I need to do this on a regular basis. It helps keep me feeling more ME.

What are some ways you stay connected to yourself? I go hiking or walking and have a conversation while I'm moving. I try to meditate regularly. I listen to what my inner voice is saying and not just listen but pay attention.

Wishing you peace on your path...