Inspiration & Ideas

I recently came across this wonderful mind map… Lots of inspiration and ideas. Too often we take for granted the simple things…  Hopefully you’ll be inspired to practice some of these , or make a mind map of your own 🙂

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Thanks! I Really Didn’t Enjoy That At All…

Yes, I’m finally appreciative for the not-so-satisfying events in my life!

Just the other day I went to, what I thought, was going to be a great collection of artists, writers and thinkers. I planned the day for weeks. I couldn’t wait to spend countless hours wandering and talking to engaging thinkers and creative types. And I was disappointed when I got there. “Why did I spend my money and time to even get in here!?,” I thought to myself as I tapped my foot and pouted like my 3 year old does SO well. Then, I stopped. Between the many people buzzing around me, so excited to be in this place, I TOO caught on to some joy. “Wait!,” I said , and I realized that I wasn’t happy to be there. This place that I THOUGHT would bring me joy and ideas and maybe even some networking, didn’t. It just didn’t. And that is just fine  with me. It actually was a lesson in proving to me just how powerful thoughts are (thank YOU, Byron Katie!) and that experiences of non-joy can be learning experiences too. I now know that I do not want that experience. I do not want that particular network and I do not want to follow just that exact direction.

Yes, it was WORTH every minute and penny to be there. And yes, I actually did find one or two organizations that were of some interest, but I was SO very grateful as I left for the true knowing of just what I didn’t want. I’ve embrace the feeling so I can recognize it again and learn more.

Every person, every event, every situation is brought to us for a REASON. Always. There’s no way of getting around it. Every one of those people and places is a learning opportunity. We just need to understand that those opportunities aren’t always blue skies, blue birds and cherry blossoms. They’re also cranky people, grey skies and spilled milk. We learn – always – and we can embrace it and move on or ignore it and have it repeated and repeated until we finally get it. Until the light bulb finally goes ON. I’ve had some light bulb moments, but this was more like “WAKE UP!” as someone had been slapping me in the face and I FINALLY got it!

I look now, every day, at all of the experiences I conceive as “negative,” and I take a nice breathe in and learn how truly appreciative I am. Yes, I’ve know there are no coincidences for some time now, but I had this fairy tale notion that they just had to all be that – fairy tale-like coincidences. No, they’re not. They’re ugly at times. Ugly, mean and rotten. But once you embrace and accept them. Once you recognize they’re just thoughts about events and people and they’re not all “real,” they stop. There is this door that opens and there is a BIG sigh of relief. There’s light and no dark. It’s an amazing transformation. It’s a beautiful thing, understanding. It can be so simple and yet, take us so long to “get” – but once you do – it’s truly wonderful.

I’m going to take out the garbage and clean out my office now, it’s not pleasant but I’m SO appreciative  – who knows what I’ll find! Ugly cleaning projects just went from “ugh” to “OH!!!”

Grateful Symbols

The word alone, Grateful, is beautiful. I make myself aware, every day, of at least 3 or 4 things of which I’m grateful. I have a gratitude journal , and on my phone, I even had a Gratitude app 🙂   It’s not a new idea, and there are lots of authors and creative types who have directed us to be aware of being more grateful, every day.

Today, after purchasing some groceries, the 16-year old cashier thanked me then carried on a conversation with her buddy at the next register. I could tell there was a certain “odd air” about the store, and it had nothing to do with the rainy day syndrome. The store was closing and soon a lot of “new hires,” would, once again, have to go job hunting for yet another “first job.” However, the girl who rung up my groceries started to talk to her friend, also a teenager, and said, “you know, I’m nice to sales people now, I see what they have to put up with. I’m pretty lucky to have had this job. No, I’m VERY lucky I had this job.”

I didn’t say anything, but I left her with a smile. I was grateful for her words and her wisdom. At 16, this young woman realizes and appreciates the art of work. All too often we take work for granted. “I HAVE TO work,” but so few say, “I LOVE my job.” or “I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here.”

Maybe the words “work” and “job” give off a sour note, for those who don’t enjoy what they do. I know, for me, “work,” is an enjoyable word. I don’t even hear the word, I see it as a symbol. A school. Kids. Adults. Teaching… All ideas, symbols, things I enjoy.

Try thinking in symbols, instead of words. What ideas come to mind? Maybe symbols and pictures leave a better taste about the work you do?

You don’t like your boss? You can’t stand your co-workers? Hours are too long? Your desk is full of paperwork? (I am guilty of the later!)… Be grateful. Haven’t you learned what you like and you don’t like?  Can you define what you DO want more so now? What symbols come to mind with those concepts? Be grateful for learning more about yourself, from work, from others.

Like I said, every day I write down what I’m grateful for. I never repeat things, ever. At times, I draw things I’m grateful for, just because they give me such a better definition.

Try it out – just for a week… Keep a list of 3 to 5 things for which you are grateful. Words , symbols , pictures – whatever works best for you. Don’t repeat items at any time. After a week, look at your lists , breathe , and smile.

ps- don’t forget to listen and be aware… And maybe you too will soon be inspired by someone else, a stranger or a friend, a little “reminder angel” of just what gratitude is all about.