Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

Continuing my list of '100 Gratitudes', I am grateful for...

65. family time - this christmas was spent with my partner and my mum, and Bobbie the dog. We were curled up on the sofa playing marathon Wii sessions and eating delicious nut roast and chocolate pudding with ice cream for dessert. I was reminded of how much pleasure I get from just hanging out with family, doing nothing in particular - just enjoying each other's company. The past four days were filled with laughter! The only thing missing? The rest of my immediate family who are in sunny Australia. Looking forward to seeing them in 2011!

66. Wii - sure I know video games can be addictive and can bring on moments of frustration and anger, but they're also a lot of fun! For christmas I got the Super Mario Bros game and we've had a number of lengthy sessions on it already! I love it! Not only is it fun to challenge myself and see how well I can do, but it also brings out the kid in me. I used to play Super Mario Bros on my gameboy as a child, and then on our Nintendo. What a great time that was! I'm grateful that the video game playing kid inside me can still come out to giggle and scream at the screen with excitement. I know virtual games can't replace the joys of reality, but man can they come close! :-)

67. spectacular scenic views - looking out my lounge room window today I am confronted with a dreary gray London winter's day. Normally I embrace winter as another beautiful season, but right now I am longing for a picturesque view of some sparkling water or some shining greenery! So I want to brighten up my day by including on this list a few of the spectacular scenic views I have seen on recent summertime trips away. I'm very grateful for the peace a beautiful, natural setting can invoke in me. It's why my partner and I travel so regularly - to see the wonder of the natural world.

Land's End, England. 2009 -

Switzerland, 2009 -

Lake Como, 2010 -

68. trees - I have taken a lot of photos like the ones below because I love the sight of trees meeting together over a path; their canopy forming a sort of green wonderland to walk through. There is something magical about it that I just can't describe.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

Continuing my list of '100 Gratitudes', I am grateful for...

61. Christmas - our tree is standing tall in the corner of our lounge room with gold, red and silver tinsel and baubles. Presents are spread out underneath. I have a nut roast recipe ready to try on saturday and I've got a couple of family members to spend quality time with. The weather outside is cold and wet - perfect for a cosy christmas day! I can't wait! Three more sleeps.

62. my 2011 diary - I like having a new year spread before me and I love my new, crisp diary with its pages of empty day notes to be filled up with activities and events. Who knows what I'll get up to in 2011? Only time will tell. :-) Of course, there is one major event I'm looking forward to - my wedding day! Yes, 2011 is going to be a life changing year. One that will forever stand out from the rest. Bring it on!

63. friends - when my partner and I announced our engagement we were flooded with congratulations and well wishes from friends. I was amazed by the response. Not because I considered myself friendless, but because I was reminded of all the wonderful people I know and just how much I am cared for. It was brilliant to be able to share my joy with those closest to me; the people in my life who really understand what this all means to me. The people who will be with us to celebrate our big day. I'm so grateful for my friendships, and glad that I am able to be a friend myself. My only hope is that I am always able to offer my friends the same level of love, support, joy and compassion that mine give to me.

64. the moon - reading about last night's lunar eclipse got me thinking about how grateful I am for the moon's existence. And while I'm amazed by her celestrial magic and tidal forces, that's actually not the reason I've included her in this list. I include her because of a particular day in my life that occurred not long after I'd moved to London. I was home alone, in a new city, with nothing to do so I took myself off to see a movie...alone. I'd never gone to the movies alone. In fact, on that day as I rode the bus to the cinema I felt as if I'd never done anything alone in my entire life. This wasn't true of course, but the feeling of independence and freedom flooded me. So much so that I consider it a real turning point in my life. I was twenty-one years old and away from everything that was familiar to me, and yet I wasn't scared. It might sound crazy, but that simple act of going to the movies alone, in a foreign city, made me feel liberated and empowered. I spent the whole day out on my own, with a smile on my face, and that night as I was cleaning my teeth I looked out of the bathroom window and saw a beautiful bright white full moon staring down at me from the clouds. Seeing the moon then, in my enlightened mood, was life-affirming. I felt as magnificent and capable as the moon herself. And that was something I'd never, ever, thought of before. My mind and heart had opened a little that day. And it was the beginning of an important shift in me. Even now, whenever I spot a full moon, I'm reminded of how I felt on that day. And I always smile.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

Continuing my list of '100 Gratitudes', I am grateful for...

57. swings - getting on a swing always brings out the child in me! I love them - another simple pleasure. I was afraid of heights as a kid so it took me a while to drum up the courage to swing high. But eventually I was able to swing ferociously enough that it seemed like the entire swing set might pop out of the ground with the force of it all! I was also brave enough to jump from the swing - I loved that split second when I was actually flying, before my feet hit the ground.

58. my first bike - one birthday (I think it was my ninth?) I awoke to find a bike in my room. It was standing there waiting for me. Great day! :-) I loved my bike. I loved riding it to school and around the neighbourhood. And it wasn't just about the freedom it gave me; it was mostly about how grown up I felt! I was finally big enough to have my own bike, old enough to be trusted to ride off on my own. Heading off somewhere on my bike, alone, helped me to feel strong and courageous and independent for the first time in my life.

59. pianos - I played the piano for many years when I was a kid. I enjoyed it so much. Nothing beat the feeling of getting a piece of music right after practising and practising for hours on end. Playing the piano taught me discipline and the joy of accomplishment. Playing the piano taught me to love music. I really should never have given it up (but kids do dumb things sometimes!). I'd love to own a piano now and to take up playing again; to have the sound of a piano fill the house once more.

60. my one and only trophy - I won a trophy for tennis when I was eight or nine. It was for 'Most Improved' and the engraver spelt my name wrong. :-) But boy was I proud of that trophy! I can still recall the moment I received it. We'd finished our tennis training for the day and the teachers had taken us inside the tennis club room and sat us all down. They announced a few other names first and then lo and behold I heard my own name being called. I was shocked, surprised, nervous, excited, and happy all at once. I didn't consider myself a sporty person back then (i'm still not!), but I knew I'd worked hard and it was nice to be acknowledged for it. I'm grateful for my one and only trophy because winning it was a giant pat on the back, from someone outside of my immediate family. And the shy little girl I was then had obviously needed that.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

Continuing my list of '100 Gratitudes', I am grateful for...

53. Christmas trees - decorating a christmas tree takes me back to a time when I wasn't able to sleep a wink on Christmas Eve because my stomach would be churning with anticipation. It reminds me what it feels like to be completely consumed with excitement. I absolutely adored Christmas as a child. Now that I'm all grown up, though, its thrill has become a little tarnished. But hanging the tinsel always brings a bit of that old thrill into my life again.

54. fairy lights - they remind me of that christmas excitement too. And they make me feel joy because fairy lights always seem to come out during celebrations; christmas, birthday parties, weddings. A tiny light twinkling and sparkling - who would have thought it could bring such a big smile to my face? Ahh the simple things in life! :-)

55. bubbles - while I'm on a roll here, why not write about all those simple pleasures from childhood. :-) What was it about dunking a plastic wand (that had a circle or star shape on the end of it) into a bucket of soapy water and then dancing around the garden making bubbles? Why was that so much fun? And why does the sight of bubbles now, as an adult, still manage to make me giggle with glee?

56. trampolines - my sister and I had a big blue trampoline. The amount of time I spent jumping on that thing! wow! And I wasn't one for tricks either. I might have done the odd somersault, but most of the time I just jumped. Up and down. I suppose I was doing what is called living in the moment. :-) Jumping up and down was enough for me. And it was fun!!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

Continuing my list of '100 Gratitudes', I am grateful for...

49. snow - the past few days in London have been filled with snow. I love looking out my window and seeing the flakes cascading down. I love seeing the mounds of it settled on the rooftops and amongst the tree branches. I love how a dusting of pure white can really bring out the beauty in something. I also love that each snowflake is unique, and yet they are made up of the same stuff. Sort of like humans! :-) It's nice to be reminded of our uniqueness, isn't it?

50. my sister - there's only the two of us, and I'm the youngest. Growing up I idolised my big sister, as all younger siblings tend to do. And as most older siblings tend to do - my sister considered me annoying. :-) Eventually, though, we both got a little older and a little wiser, and now we're the best of friends. But that's the thing about siblings - you're more than just friends aren't you? There's a connection that goes much deeper than friendship. My sister knows exactly what it's like to be me because we share so many of our memories. My sister has been there for all the big moments in my life. She's supported me, unconditionally. I might still bug her from time to time, as all younger siblings tend to do, but I know I can always rely on my sister's love. I know we share a bond that can never be broken. And that makes me feel so very, very grateful.

51. angels - I choose to believe in angels and I've felt their presence in my life. I know they are always around, guiding me and protecting me. I'm a big fan of anything that brings comfort to people. And I know the angels bring comfort; I've witnessed the peacefulness that washes over a person when they recount an angelic experience. I've felt that peacefulness myself. Quite acutely, in fact. If I do anything in my life that could be remotely considered prayer, it is communicating with the angels. I ask for guidance and the answers always, always come in some form or another. Having faith (in whatever you choose to believe in) is an integral part of being alive. I'm grateful for my faith in the angels.

52. Louise Hay - anyone familiar with Louise Hay's book 'You Can Heal Your Life' would agree that she is a remarkable and inspirational woman. Not only did she heal herself of cervical cancer without any conventional medical treatment, she also found a way to reach out to millions of people and help them on their own healing journey. I'm grateful to Louise for what she taught me about positive thinking and letting go of old hurts and resentments. These old wounds do nothing but create illness in our bodies and minds. It's much better for us to forgive and let go. Learn from life, but live without regret.
Louise Hay has daily affirmations on her website. Today's affirmation is -
"I'm a student of Life, and I love it!"