Gratitude

The small and the large. The significant and the insignificant.   I am thankful to be witness to the little things, and to the big things in life.  The Metta Sutra says, “Wishing: in gladness and in safety, may all beings be at ease.  Whatever living beings there may be, whether they be weak or strong, omitting none, the great or the mighty, medium, short or small, the seen or the unseen, those living near or far away, those born and to be born-May all beings be at ease…”

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Wildflower, Northern, CA 6/2016 CMG

I started writing just gratitudes, in letter form, to the Divine, in April 2016.  I had a regular writing practice, my Morning Pages, that I had been doing for 5 years.  Morning Pages are Julia Cameron’s invention from her book, The Artist’s Way.  Morning Pages are 3 full pages of spontaneous, flow of thought without too much thinking.  Morning Pages morphed into Gratitude Pages.   They worked really well for me for years and they removed the sludge that had to be auggerd to allow a clean, direct connection to My Creative Self, which is my True Self.  Now that that is relatively cleared (it does need auggering now and again), I have this direct path to the Divine which was and is my birthright.

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Redwoods, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Crescent City, CA 6/2016 CMG

These pages, 2-3 each morning, are in letter form.  “Dear Divine Beloved”, they say… “Thank you for this glorious morning.  Thank you for these eyes that see the rain clouds, the ears that hear the rain fall to the ground, and splash the leaves, my nose that smells the wetness in the air, mingled with the moist grass, dirt, and leaves, my skin that feels the damp and shivers as it takes in the wet wind.  Thank you for another day, a new day, with new choices, new awarenesses, new possibilities.  Thank you for your Divine plan, whatever that may be.  I know only this moment, this is the only moment that I can be in.  Thank you for the grace to let go when I need to let go, to accept when I need to accept, reject when I need to reject.  Thank for love in all of its forms.  I am loved and I am love.  I am forgiven and I forgive.  Thank you for the strength, the intelligence and the humility and the insight to know when I need to use them and which one to use.  Thank you for being a mother.  I am so blessed with two beautiful children who have taught me so much.  Thank you for allowing me to teach them.  Thank you for our deep connection, our ability to be open, honest and accepting of one another. Thank you for the love between us that never goes away.  Thank you for my insight and clarity in all that I do to make good decisions that benefit the highest good of all.  Thank you for the people that I connect with daily.  Thank you for all that I learn in my interactions, all that I give and all that I receive.  Thank you for my talents, skills and abilities that are unique and allow me to do good work, in a good way and for good pay.  I am blessed to always have food in my belly, to have choices about what I want to eat and to be able to make delicious, healthy meals for myself, my family and friends.  I am so grateful for my loving, supportive family .  I am thankful that they believe in me, and that we have healthy ways of communicating our needs.  I am thankful for music in my life.  I am thankful for my healthy, strong, fit and youthful body that enjoys dancing freely to the sounds of music.  Thank you for this body that is able to do all the activities I love doing. Thank you for the woods, the forests, the beaches, the fields, the sidewalks and the country roads that my body moves so freely in and through.  I am blessed with so much abundance in my life!  Thank you.  I release these words into the Universe as Law, let them be so.  With love and gratitude, Carrie”

The idea of the gratitude list first came to me through a 12-Step program.  The letter to the Divine came to me via May McCarthy’s book The Path to Wealth which led me to the book, The Game of Life and How to Play it by Florence Scovel Shinn. Thank you for the path that led me to them and to here, where I am.

Why do people lie, yell or steal?

I am re-reading “A Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson.  I read it almost 20 years ago and it changed my life!   Years went by, at times living life unconsciously, forgetting that in order to maintain my connection with SELF, my connection to the Divine or All That Is, I have to consciously work at it.

Marianne says, “When someone has behaved unlovingly – when they yell at us, or lie about us, or steal from us – they have lost touch with their essence.  They have forgotten who they are.  But everything that someone does, says the Course (she is referring to The Course in Miracles), is either ‘love or a call for love’.

This resonated with me.  This is ME!  This is my family, the people who I love.  I have behaved in ways I wish I had not.  But that action, that CRY for love, not love from someone outside of myself but for that love INSIDE, was my awakening.  The negative behavior from others was a cry for love.  Now the awakening didn’t happen overnight… but it comes around.  Right now, the awakening for me has come at a price of loss.  It is a struggle with my ego on a daily, no minute by minute basis to choose love and not fear.   To forgive others for wrongful behavior instead of condemning them.  To forgive myself.  Back to Marianne’s words: “When we are shaking a finger at someone, figuratively or literally, we are not more apt to correct their wrongful behavior.  Treating someone with compassion and forgiveness is much more likely to elicit a healed response.”

I choose LOVE. I choose to forgive. I choose to BE the change.

I imagine that this is what Essence/Love looks like.
Photo by: Carrie Garcia- 7/4/13 Circle Pines, MN
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Freedom is…being yourself

I am reading “The Five Levels of Attachment” by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr.  If you have read “The Four Agreements”, the name Don Miguel Ruiz may look familiar to you.  His son has written this book which helps you to gain awareness of the agreements you have been making with yourself for years and how to let go of the attachments to the person you think you have to be so that you can be the person you REALLY ARE.

Here is an excerpt from his book that begins to describe how we attach on to certain ideas and images of who we are throughout our lives.  From there, awareness sets in and we can choose to accept and love ourselves for WHO WE ARE- RIGHT NOW!

The Five Levels of Attachment

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Positive thoughts create positive outcomes- go after what you want!

“You become what you think about most of the time.” – Brian Tracy

 “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” – Claude M. Bristol

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CMG original photo

I, like most humans, can worry about things.  There were times in my life that I felt there wasn’t anything else to do but either be in a state of bliss or be in a state of dysfunction and worry.  I know now that there is a way to be more balanced, to be more present- two things, meditation and positive affirmations.

Meditation provides me with a tool to become more present and by living in the present, more positive.  By focusing on my breath during meditation and allowing thoughts to arise and fall away, by coming back to my breath, I more quickly recognize the moments I fall into worry and distress or thinking about the past or the future.  Many times, thinking about the past or the future can cause people distress or do the opposite by taking you away to a fantasy of better times or a special moment you keep reliving but doesn’t exist anymore.

I have learned that my future is created in the moment.  What I do today, right now, is creating my evening, my tomorrow.  Live in the present and live it well.

Affirmations help me to live in the present in the best way I can and to feel good about myself while I am doing it.

We all have these negative tapes that we replay in our heads.  “My hair is horrible.”  “My clothes don’t fit right.”  “I can’t do this.”  As a yoga instructor, I even hear people saying them aloud!  “I am so out of shape.”  REPHRASE that!!!  “I am getting stronger….I am here doing yoga, I am soooo awesome!”

Affirmations are positive statements that you say to yourself, beliefs that you wish to change.  Some places that you could use affirmations in your life might be around your body image, your career, your relationships and your money situation. When do you hear that voice that says you can’t or you don’t?   Create positive statements for some of these.

If you hear yourself saying negative things around money, maybe you need to say, “Money comes easily and frequently.”  If it is around your body image, maybe you need to say, “ I have a strong and healthy body.”  Try some.  They aren’t permanent.  You can change them but say them daily, write them down and post them around your house.  We receive so many negatives on a daily basis.  We need to remember for every negative we must hear 10 positives to counter that one negative.

Note: affirmations aren’t LIES!  Some people have said to me, Carrie, I am 30 pounds overweight, how can I say I am healthy when I really am not?  I say, what you think and say is what you become.  Imagine yourself without that weight, imagine yourself eating differently, is it getting you to where you want by telling yourself how unhealthy you are?  I don’t think so.  Is worrying about a situation going to make it better?  No.  Think positive, create an affirmation for yourself and your life today!