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Every Day at 3:16…

An alarm goes off on my phone every day at 3:16 that plays a beautiful violin song. It’s my reminder to stop whatever I am doing and feel gratitude for the things happening in my world – no matter how small or few.

Lately I have been quick to dismiss the alarm and continue on with my day, but today (despite feeling totally overwhelmed) I stopped. I set that alarm for a reason, with an intention to have a moment – even just 10 secondsto say thank you. 

But life is having some weird twists right now – many of them very stressful and a bit scary. When the 3:16 alarm went off today, I struggled to find gratitude. How does one find gratitude in total chaos?

Then I remembered that chaos always brings change. The world crashing down brings surrender – usually to a higher power. The demon on my doorstep was forcing me to face it head on (doing so would actually give me peace of mind). And yeah; maybe rejection really is god’s protection. The closed doors were nudging me to change direction – toward something a little scary, but much more fulfilling for me. This mess was sparking action – the action my life desperately needed.

Maybe this chaos is guiding me toward something better, building something new within me, or clearing away things that are no longer serving me. Maybe this chaos is propelling me to take the action needed to heal old wounds, break patterns or overcome setbacks.

Sometimes we have to break down before we can break through.

And sometimes chaos is simply our art “getting ruined” so we end up with something far better.

That epiphany changed how I see the mess and chaos in life. I can now find gratitude and blessings in those places – no matter how small or few.



3:16 is my moment to view the world with fresh eyes each day
. The numbers 3:16 represent the time of my birth. This is my reminder to renew my life force each day… to be in wonder, awe and gratitude with where I am right now, every day – just as I did the moment I took my very first breath.

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Gratitude is the single most powerful change I’ve made in my life.

Intrigued? Try my Gratitude Challenge.

An Epiphany @ Cafe Gratitude

I’m in San Diego for a dance event, but I feel incredibly sad. These weekends are supposed to be inspirational, energizing and rejuvenating. Sure enough, I find myself profoundly inspired by a tango performance that is the epitome of what I hope to become; it’s magical in every way.

However, my failure to find a skilled, dedicated partner has me feeling especially ungrounded. I’m suddenly feeling the angst of unfulfilled potential. I feel incomplete. I feel unchallenged and bored. I thought I had something unique to build upon; something that would attract an amazing partner who shares my aspirations. But right now, I feel that my “magic” is gone and I’m losing hope. I feel lost in the crowd. It hits me hard today and the confluence of all this has me nearly in tears.

I have time to kill, so I seek a place for lunch. I find myself at Café Gratitude; by the name alone, I know I will be at home here. I order a green drink and a black bean burger. The waitress brings the drink first. “You are complete,” she says as she places it before me with a reassuring, loving smile.

I’m a bit startled until I realize that “Complete” was the name of the drink I had ordered. The irony of this flashes through my mind as I take a sip. I don’t feel remotely “complete”, so I quickly distract myself with my phone until my food arrives.

And then it arrives. I turn from my phone to see a waiter holding my veggie burger before me. “You are magical,” he says with a powerful gaze into my eyes. He says this as if it were an indisputable truth. He says it as though he is commanding it to the universe. He says it like he intuitively knew that I’ve written myself off.

That’s when I got it. I ordered precisely what I needed to hear. I needed to be reminded that I AM complete – even without a partner. Perhaps my magic hasn’t worn off just yet – maybe I still have a shot at being a captivating dancer and living my potential after all. At Gratitude, everything on the menu is named with a word (i.e., worthy, extraordinary, brave) that is then used to present the customer with an affirmation.

I went to Café Gratitude for lunch. Yes, I got fed. But in a most unusual way, I also got validated. I felt that my soul got the hug it needed. I got reassuring whispers from angels and encouraging nudges to keep going. I heard the very things that I felt the greatest doubt about.

They could have just served me lunch and left me with a great impression of an amazing plant-based menu, awesome ambiance and flawless service. But I felt touched by their business model. I felt impacted by the experience. I felt re-centered and grounded by their thoughtfulness. One waiter, Rowan, talked about the company and menu names with such conviction and passion that I teared up.

The little things count so very much. Café Gratitude didn’t just serve me – they impacted me. And I really, truly, deeply needed that today.

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Lunch at Cafe Gratitude was the turning point for my rough day. My experience there totally shifted my energy, which led to an amazing evening of dancing. Thank you ❤

 

 

When It’s Hard to be Grateful

It was a rough summer for me. Between a 24/7 noise issue with a neighbor, feeling severely burned out with work and ongoing food sensitivity issues, I had been feeling overwhelmed and fatigued.

This week, I opened my gratitude journal. I noticed that my last entry was a full month ago. I pride myself on doing my gratitude journal almost every day, and seeing this took me aback. Had I really been that distracted?

We all hit times when it is hard to feel grateful. It’s hard for me to be grateful for anything when I’m in a standoff war with the neighbors about constant noise over my bedroom and haven’t slept in four days.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t written at all in that last month. I journaled frequently to clear my head. In fact, I had journaled more than usual this past summer. Then I realized why.

I couldn’t focus on gratitude until I acknowledged what was blocking it first.

This past summer, I had often journaled about what I was feeling. But, I was careful with this. I made sure I didn’t write things like, “I am so burned out” or “I am so mad”. I knew that any statement starting with “I am” is an affirmation to the universe – it has the power to create and confirm your reality. When you say, “I am…” you are basically creating a self-fulfilling prophecy – which can be great or awful depending on how you finish that sentence.

I was mindful to write statements that focused on the emotion I was experiencing. I wrote things like, “I am feeling so overwhelmed…” and “I feel taken for granted… “.

I wrote and wrote and wrote until I felt that I had exhausted the emotion – and then I shifted focus.

Only then could I write about what I wanted to experience moving forward, and the things I was grateful for. I even wrote about things that I will be grateful for – once they happen (I write about them as if they had already occurred). It’s one method of manifesting exactly what you want before it happens.

I love the concept of gratitude, but I recognize that we always have to honor our emotions first. Honor, acknowledge and accept what you are feeling, and give yourself permission to vent. Be raw, uncensored and honest. Allow your emotions to have a voice.

Once the emotions are fully and authentically expressed, purged and cleared, the energy will shift. And then you’ll find it a bit easier to find those golden nuggets of gratitude in your world again.

A Gratitude Challenge

I consider my Gratitude Journal to be my most powerful tool in life. Each morning begins with writing down all the things I am grateful for. This simple act has had a stunning impact on my life today, but it wasn’t always this way.

After many years of doing gratitude journal and NOT having any significant changes  in my life, I had a major epiphany.

Most people are introduced to the concept by being told, “Write down 5 things you are grateful for each day”. They do that and after six months they say, “Well, that’s very nice, but my life isn’t much different.” So they stop.

If I told you that you could get flat abs by doing 5 sit ups a day, you’d think I was crazy. Gratitude is the same way. You get flat abs by working at it constantly. You get an attitude of gratitude by working at it until it becomes second nature.

At first, I began every day with a list of 10 things. Nothing changed in my life. I was about to give it up when I had a small epiphany. I decided to write down anything that made me happy, that I loved, enjoyed or appreciated. I was easily filling my book with 20-30 things each day.

Then one day, I had a crazy thought. Could I find 100 things that I was grateful for? It seemed intimidating. I knew I would be struggling to list 100 things; I’d have to stretch hard to do it…. But I felt inspired to give it a shot.

I was on fire for the first 50 items. The more I wrote down, the more passionate and excited I got. Items were filling my head faster than I could write them down. I was on a total high.

Then I slowed down… and I had to really think about my world, the different parts of my world, the people I knew, the decisions I made, the experiences that shaped me, the things I took for granted. All the beautiful things that I never really “saw” until that day.

That was when I “got” it. Gratitude is about retraining your mind in how it experiences the world. If I hadn’t been challenged to find 100 things, I wouldn’t have been pushed to see how incredibly beautiful and wonderful my world truly was. I became grateful for things I hadn’t been acknowledging. And with 20/20 hindsight, I was finding gratitude in things that seemed dismal at the time.

I felt amazing when I hit #100. The next day, I reflected on this challenge and I found myself wondering whether I could do it again. I took my journal and once again, listed 100 more things I was grateful for. As before, I struggled to fill a list of 100 items. It forced me to take an even deeper look at all areas of my world

This simple challenge changed how I saw my world. It sensitized me to the beauty and grace of everything around me. It made me aware of all the phenomenal things in my world that I had taken for granted. This simple exercise is exactly what created the stunning impact on my life today.

Need some ideas on things to be grateful for to help you get started?

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Finding 100 Things to be Grateful For

A few months ago, I challenged myself to find 100 things in my life to be grateful for. When I share this story with others, people oftentimes look lost and express their doubt that they can do the same. If you want to take on this challenge and you find yourself struggling with getting to #100, here are some thoughts to nudge you along.

First, I recognize that some of these are not going to apply to you. You may be recovering from an illness or an accident or had a childhood of hardship. If that is the case, shift your focus to being grateful for whatever good you can find. Whatever hardship you are experiencing in your life, recognize that it could be much worse.

The key here is to be specific. When you write about your family, friends or yourself, write exactly what traits you value and appreciate. You can always use it later to create the most touching and best gift ever.

Lastly, when I do Gratitude Journal, I start every entry with one of the following: “I am SO grateful for…” or “I love…” or “I deeply appreciate…”. Let yourself get emotional and REALLY feel the love and appreciation. Be effusive and gushy. Emotion deepens the power of gratitude. It makes it real, and not just words on paper.

So… what kinds of things might you be grateful for? Here are some ideas to draw from.

Your Health and Body

  • The gift of sight, speech, hearing, smell, taste (and what do you LOVE seeing, hearing, tasting, sensing?)
  • Having strong bones, smooth skin, healthy teeth, strong digestion, healthy heart, etc.
  • The ability to walk, reproduce, move freely, think clearly, or carry your own child.
  • What features do you love? Your hair, your smile, your laugh, your hands, your eyes, your cute butt, etc.

Your Friends

  • Their sense of humor (can they always get you in a good mood, raise your spirits?)
  • How reliable they are (when did they really come through for you?)
  • How fun they are (what makes them so fun? Common interests? Quirky personalities? Adventurous spirits?
  • The way they give great advice (when did they help you through a tough time?)
  • How they inspire you or motivate you (when did they made a big difference in your life?)
  • Thoughtful things they do (remembering your birthday, treating you to coffee, baking your favorite cookies).
  • Remembering to invite you or include you for outings and parties.
  • Favors they have done for you, gifts they have given you, kind words or meaningful compliments they’ve given you.
  • The way they just listen when you need to talk.
  • Friends who stood by you during difficult times and hardships.

Your Family

  • Did you have enough food growing up?
  • Were you raised in a reasonably safe neighborhood?
  • Were your basic needs provided for?
  • What traits did you love about your mother, father and siblings?
  • Did your parents take you on vacations? What special memories do you have from those trips?
  • Did they make meals you loved? Take good care of you when you were sick?
  • Did they give you special gifts for holidays or birthdays? Maybe something that meant a lot to you at the time? Did you like how they celebrated your birthdays or graduations?
  • Did they pass on heirlooms to you? Or give special possessions to you?
  • Did they financially support you when they didn’t really have to?
  • Did they sacrifice for you? Work two jobs to put food on the table?
  • Did they instill values, beliefs or practices that positively affected your life?
  • Were they good role models? Were they caring? Honest? Dependable? Did they show you unconditional love?
  • Any favorite memories from childhood? What moments still warm your heart today?

Your Own Characteristics

  • Consider traits like your sense of humor, intelligence, intuition, dedication, discipline, commitment, persuasiveness, kindness, compassion, etc.
  • Are you a helpful person? Do you do volunteer work? Are you a good cheerleader for others?
  • Do you have common sense, good judgement, integrity, strong morals/ethics, or unshakable integrity?
  • What knowledge or skills are you grateful for having? Are you handy? Creative? Have a great sense of style? Always know the right thing to say? Good at handling conflict? Learn things easily? Have a natural talent for sports? An amazing cook or a great writer?
  • What values are you most proud of? Who or what ingrained those values in you?
  • What parts of your work life are you most proud of? Are you always on time? Excellent with following up? A strategic thinker? Good at planning things? Give stellar customer service? Great at solving problems? Addressing conflict?
  • What kinds of things have you accomplished or overcome? A fear of public speaking? Run a 5k? Have you published something? Performed or competed?
  • What attributes of yourself are you most proud of? Are you thoughtful? Reliable? Have integrity? Romantic? Creative? Friendly? Extroverted? Witty? A great story teller? Fun at parties?
  • What hobbies have contributed to your quality of life? Did you have teachers, trainers or coaches who you learned from or who encouraged you?

School

  • Did you have teachers who inspired you?
  • Classes that you especially enjoyed?
  • Any fond memories of old classmates?
  • How did school inspire you or prepare you for life ahead?
  • Did you receive financial aid for school? Did your parents pay for your education? Did anyone help you through school? Tutors? Study groups? Counselors?

Life in General

  • Do you like the sunshine? The rain? Cold weather? I am grateful every day for the warm, bright sunshine!
  • Are you grateful for having downtime to just relax, watch tv, or hang out with friends?
  • Are you grateful for where you live and what you live close to?
  • Do you like your home? What parts of your home do you love?
  • Are you grateful for having a roof over your head? Do you live in a generally safe neighborhood?
  • Do you have reliable transportation? Have a car with air conditioning or a heater that works?
  • What conveniences are you grateful for? Microwave ovens? Garage door openers?

This should give you some ideas of how to begin looking at your world differently…. Don’t forget that even some of the painful moments in your life may have been gifts that weren’t realized until later in life. Getting laid off from a job ultimately turned me into an entrepreneur who works from home (my dream life!).

I have found that virtually everything in my life was a blessing in some way – and therefore, something to be grateful for.

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I Won’t Wish You Good Luck

I stopped wishing people “good luck” a while ago. Not because they didn’t deserve it, but because I had an epiphany.

Luck is something that happens by chance – something that is out of your control. Whether good or bad, luck is what happens to you, not by you.

I don’t believe things happen randomly. And I would never wish random chance upon another.

I no longer talk about “luck”. I now talk about “fortune”.

I believe fortune is something we build with our own hands, with the power of our own creative and brilliant minds. Our level of fortune is something we control by our beliefs, our intentions, and our actions.

After doing gratitude journal, I often pause for a moment of reflection. I don’t think about how lucky I am. I reflect upon the fortune I am attracting and creating in my life. I rejoice in my power to build a life of fortune.

Every day, I am reminded of my own power as I do gratitude journal. I am clearly in control – look at all these pages of amazing things I am bringing into my life! Nothing is happening here by chance. My beliefs, actions and intentions are creating fortune in every area of my life, every day – bit by bit.

I’m constantly attracting opportunities, inspiration, kindness, generosity, creative ideas, the right people and the right circumstances. I set my intentions, dismantle the blocks and gratefully receive all that comes.

I don’t need luck when I am in control. Wishing “good luck” seems to  subvert ones power by suggesting that they don’t directly influence their own future. Instead, I’d rather convey my intention that good fortune will support them.

So I won’t wish you good luck. But when I say, “Good fortune to you”, know that I’m setting a direct and clear intention for you. And let that be an invitation for you to join me in setting the intention for the result  you are seeking.

All fortunes start with an intention. Whatever result you want, empower yourself by taking command instead of relinquishing the reins to the winds of chance. The power to create is within your hands.

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Photo Credit: Hooping as a Tool for Manifestation.

A Gratitude Challenge

I consider my Gratitude Journal to be my most powerful tool in life. Every morning I write down all the things I am grateful for. This simple act has had a stunning impact on my life.

After many years of doing gratitude journal and NOT having any significant changes  in my life, I had a major epiphany.

Most people are introduced to the concept by being told, “Write down 5 things you are grateful for each day”. They do that and after six months they say, “Well, that’s very nice, but my life isn’t much different.” So they stop.

If I told you that you could get flat abs by doing 5 sit ups a day, you’d think I was crazy. Gratitude is the same way. You get flat abs by working at it constantly. You get an attitude of gratitude by working at it until it becomes second nature.

At first, I began every day with a list of 10 things. Nothing changed in my life. I was about to give it up when I had a small epiphany. I decided to write down anything that made me happy, that I loved, enjoyed or appreciated. I was easily filling my book with 20-30 things each day.

Then one day, I had a crazy thought. Could I find 100 things that I was grateful for? It seemed intimidating. I knew I would be struggling to list 100 things; I’d have to reach, stretch, hurt my little brain to do it…. I figured it was worth trying.

I was on fire for the first 50 items. The more I wrote down, the more passionate and excited I got… items were filling my head faster than I could write them down. I was on a total high.

Then I slowed down… and I had to really think about my world, the different parts of my world, the people I knew, the past I had, the decisions I made, the things I took for granted, the beautiful things that I never really “saw” until that day.

That was when I “got” it. Gratitude is about retraining your mind in how it experiences the world. If I hadn’t been challenged to find 100 things, I wouldn’t have been pushed to see how incredibly beautiful and wonderful my world truly was. I became grateful for things I hadn’t been acknowledging.

I felt amazing when I hit #100. The next day, I reflected on my challenge to find 100 things and I found myself asking whether I could do it again. I took my journal and once again, listed 100 more things I was grateful for.

This simple challenge changed how I saw my world. It sensitized me to the beauty and grace of everything around me. That is what shifted me into naturally finding gratitude in most everything I do and experience.

The result? When you are truly, deeply grateful, life gives you more to be grateful for. The key to having a life of wonder, ease and joy? Gratitude.

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