Gratitude: The energy igniter. Burn, baby, burn!

By: HeatherAsh Amara

What one thing are you grateful for right now?

The next time you find yourself in a situation full of stress, overwhelm, or suffering, take a moment to get still and ask yourself this simple question: “What one thing am I grateful for right now?” When you find that one thing, repeat it over and over in your mind. Stay present and notice if your internal energy begins to shift from suffering to surrender, even if it is only a very slight change. Allowing yourself to notice even the smallest shift acts as signal that it is okay to relax further. This is the first step toward releasing your suffering by placing your conscious attention on gratitude.

Please understand, I know firsthand that life can be challenging. Loved ones die. Finances collapse. Health issues arise. Relationships end. It’s in these moments when we must be incredibly courageous to choose to focus on gratitude rather than on the negativity we may be experiencing. Be gentle with yourself and remember that it’s possible to be grateful and experience sadness simultaneously; that’s the complexity and beauty of being human.

In moments of overwhelm, it may be difficult to find things to be grateful for. But by reconnecting each moment to your true work, you create space between you and the turbulent emotions of the present moment so that you can take action from a place of conscious gratitude rather than reacting in ways that ultimately will not serve you and only make you feel crummy to boot. ~ From Awaken Your Inner Fire, Lesson 7

Your gratitude for life, with all of its ups and downs, is one of the best ways to ignite your inner fire and keep it sparkly. In each moment you have the choice to perceive what is happening through the lens of frustration, judgment, or victimization or through the lens of gratitude. Why should you be grateful for the hard times, the frustrations, and the upsets? Because gratitude will help you find your way to the other side in a creative, wise manner. And it feels better.

Judgment and victimization dampen our inner fire with stories of “it’s not fair” or “they are bad, wrong, awful, impossible!” I’m not asking you to ignore reality and pretend everything is fine. I’m inviting you to look for what you can be grateful for in each moment so you can make better, more efficient, clearer choices from your heart.

How do you become a gratitude fireball of love? Here are some suggestions:

• Say “you are a worthy obstacle” when difficult situations arise. Then wink at the obstacle and be grateful that the game is on to find your way through!

• Separate out your stories or thoughts from this moment – can you practice just being with what is happening without your mind’s opinion or judgment about it?

• Be grateful that you are learning tools to stop dampening or leaking your inner fire, even when you find yourself falling into old patterns.

• Each morning name five things you are grateful for. Keep saying thank you for these things throughout your day.

Gratitude is something you can learn to embody, and it is the antidote for a lot of bad mental habits. Negativity and disaster mind drain your energy; naming what you are grateful for turns your attention towards what is right and enlivens you.

Make gratitude your new habit and you’ll start seeing more and more things to be grateful for. The air you breath. Gratitude. The water coming from the tap. Gratitude. The way your dog looks at you in the morning. Gratitude. The way your elbow bends as you open the door. Gratitude. The color of the door handle shining in the sun. Gratitude. So many things to be grateful for!

The Carcass In The Web

By: Leahanne Woods Smith

All the years of not using my voice I’ve been caught in a web.

The web was of all the things I accepted as truth that were just part of the noise of fear.  The web was made of the social construct I was born into.  Those who I trusted told me the web was real.  The web was made of those perceived limitations that I held like cement within.  The web was made of obstacles that I had taken on as permanent holding walls.  The web was things I unknowingly kept as secrets.  I watched others thrive.  As a school girl, I sat still accepting my death comfortably.  I knew I couldn’t act because I knew I couldn’t speak.  I was a trapped animal within.

But, I understand why I got comfortable sitting still.  There is so much to benefit.  You get to take in a lot of life through watching others.  Through allowing yourself to sink in and be still, you understand and feel a lot beyond what is said to be necessary for living as a human child in society.  You become a beacon of compassion.  But, you also become a confused bucket of fear when it comes to action.  I got so nervous that it would cause me to be sick when I knew I would have to play baseball in physical education class.

For the first half of my life I have been paralyzed by fear.  I’ve stepped out to do certain things.  But, anything that would take a lot of communication with others I’ve mostly avoided.  I didn’t know for a long time that much my avoidance of life was due to the voices in my head, which repeated in their own unique way.  The voices told me that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t like other people, and that I wasn’t capable.  I did the world a favor and stayed hidden and quiet.  I lived apologetic for my being.  As I grew older, into teenage years, people’s words and actions continually hurt me.  I was a mere dehydrating moth floating into death in the webs of others.  No one saw me.  I was glad.  It was more comfortable to be alone if I had to be that vulnerable and die that way.

There were times in my younger years that I was so dried out and hopeless.  I remember realizing that I had no personality of my own.  I just reacted in the ways I saw that was considered to be normal or polite when people spoke to me. I was so afraid of my own voice, so afraid that it would cause me to be rejected.  I’d much rather that they just stay guessing at who I was.  And, I’d rather have quick moments interacting with people, and then be left alone instead of trying to have meaningful conversations.  It’s no fun to keep talking when you’re pretending to be OK.

That was then.  This is now.

Now I practice sharing my voice with whomever is around me.  I’ve shared my voice enough now that the right people wind up around me to hear the messages that come from me, from deep in my soul, from spirit.

I dare myself to dig deeper, to find more and share it openly.  It has become a fun game to play.  Life has opened up to me wider each time I break an old agreement of unworthiness and share my truth.

I’ve found that others were going through the same things that I have been through.  Both the good and the bad are beautiful now.  There’s no need to hide and feel ashamed of truth.  It helps others and myself whenever I dare and share.  It opens doors into life we never knew was there.  Life feels limitless and loving now that I love myself and all of life unconditionally.

Over the continuing markers of my true voice appearing to me, I am realizing that I am no longer a dead carcass hanging in a web.

A breeze came.  After I let go of the life I thought was mine: my sufferings, my shyness, my need to hide, my vow to stay silent and hidden, the breeze took me away.  My carcass remained as a marker of where I had been.

I was taken away by death.  I floated into life again.  Within the same body, in the same lifetime, I am new.  I am full.  I am well and able.  I am my true work which is love/light.

Instead of waiting for others to ask me a question before I speak, I now share my stories, my experiences, and spirit that moves through me.  I love my life.  I love my being.

My grandmother used to tell me, “Leahanne, you have just as much right to be here as anybody else”.  She used to worry about me being so shy.  I get it now.  I thought I got it years ago, but I didn’t, not the full message.  I got the message now, much fuller, in my own unique way, in my own sweet time.  I got it the only way I could- through befriending, and freeing, my voice.

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