Gratitude

Thanksgiving is coming up. How are you giving thanks every day?!

Did you know that gratitude is more than a thought or idea?

Gratitude is a way of being.

When we’re in touch with gratitude, it’s a full-bodied experience. That means feeling your appreciation when you are thinking about all of the things you’re thankful for. It is a game changing way of cultivating a deeper, fuller experience of gratitude. When we cultivate that fuller experience of gratitude on a regular basis, it enriches our lives.

Gratitude: An invisible, powerful leadership skill

Gratitude is a leader’s secret for success. When leaders are genuine in their appreciation, and they express it in natural ways, the people around them feel it and respond positively. Think of the changemakers you admire and the leaders you’d like to emulate. How is gratitude part of their magic?

When leaders practice gratitude as a way of being, they build a positive emotional reserve to draw on when faced with stressful situations, allowing them to stay grounded and present. Leaders connected to their internal gratitude easily express gratitude to others, which cultivates loyalty and goodwill, making individuals, teams and cultures more creative and effective.

Benefits of Gratitude

Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. has devoted his career to studying gratitude. He has studied over a thousand people who kept a three-week happiness journal. Their experience found that gratitude:

  • Helps you sleep better
  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Lowers your blood pressure
  • Brings more joy, optimism and happiness
  • Motivates you to be more generous and compassionate
  • Decreases feelings of loneliness and isolation

So gratitude is really a superpower, in both personal and professional life.

Gratitude Tools

How can you develop gratitude as a way of being?

UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center has some great ideas. Here are two different ways to experiment with cultivating gratitude:

First, try a savoring walk: a quiet, solitary walk for tuning into mindfulness and appreciating your surroundings. Dew drops on leaves, trilling birds, the dance of sunshine and shadow: experience them fully with all your senses and feel your appreciation for them.

Another tool: a guided gratitude meditation, directing you inward to experience your appreciation of the people and things which make our lives complete.

Embrace giving of thanks as a way of being. Really feel it and savor it, then share it. You’ll be grateful for the practice.

Hear some of my thoughts on the practice of gratitude:

Mary

Energizing and Refreshing Retreat Experience

RainbowsThis fall Mother Nature has been putting on quite a show in the Midwest. We had a long run of warm sunny days, beautiful blue skies and glowing gold, orange, and red trees. And rainbows! I have never seen so many fall rainbows. It has been breathtaking.

Our house has been full of activity: decorating the yard, carving pumpkins, creating costumes, picking out treats, and making plans to celebrate with friends. October was an exhilarating month of transition.

November has been and continues to be a busy month of celebrating. We are looking forward to gathering with family and friends for Thanksgiving. I will be celebrating my 29th birthday again. (wink, wink) And the most important part of November: Our 25th wedding anniversary. It seems like we just got married last year! My husband and I are thoroughly pleased to celebrate such a remarkable milestone.

All this transition season busy-ness motivated me to create some quiet, restorative time for all of us. Michelle Burns and I have cooked up an energizing and refreshing retreat experience to entreat you to SLOW DOWN and immerse yourself in the experience of GRATITUDE! I hope that you will join us for the event. All the details are listed on my Upcoming Events page.

Yours in gratitude,
Mary

Here comes the sun…it seems like years since it’s been here

Woman Celebrating Sunrise 600x400

That song is running through my head today. I can’t believe how terrific it feels to see the sun – even if it is through my office window!

It was a long, cold lonely winter so I have been reveling in the sunshine as much as I can. Each morning I take a quick moment to greet the sunrise as it sparkles and sifts through the trees. I interrupt my work routine with lunch outside or a 20 minute walk break. The energy of this season is so vibrant and contagious! Transformation is in high gear and it transforms, energizes, and inspires me.

How does the spring sunshine light you up?

Mary

Retreat: An Essential Daily Practice

It is a gray and chilly day here in Minnesota. Every now and then a few snowflakes drift by. What a perfect day for a retreat!
Today in the Growing Edge Teleclass, my friend and Retreat Coach Extraordinaire, Michelle Burns, treated us to a lovely mini-retreat. She guided us to an inner landscape of renewal; helping each one of us experience a wonderful, relaxing, peaceful retreat. Here is where I went…

In less than 10 minutes, we felt refreshed and refueled.

AMAZING!

All of us left the teleclass with a renewed commitment to carve out some sacred down time each day. Some people will be taking walks in nature. Others will be creating time to meditate. Still others decided to create Technology Free Zones during their week. I renewed my commitment to no screen time for 30 minutes before bed each day.

With the barrage of constant connectivity from cell phones, emails, mp3 players, texting, iPads, laptops, etc. — we need down time to reconnect with ourselves to know who we are and what we want.

How are you going to create a retreat for yourself today?

Click on the comment link below and tell me!

PS. If you want a two hour time block for yourself, join Michelle and me for a VIRTUAL RETREAT on November 20. Click here for the details

Hello Darkness

“Hello Darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again…”

P. Simon 1964 “The Sound of Silence”

I love the quiet darkness of winter. It brings a peaceful calm to my heart and mind. In the midst of a frenetic time of year, the darkness invites me to sit down, to slow down, to just be in this moment. When I embrace the quiet darkness, I am treated to wonderful surprises – the sharp contrasts of the shadows cast by a full moon, the fiery brilliant colors of the sunrise, a wonderful sensation of being connected to everything and everyone! My heart tingles with aliveness! I am grateful for the invitation to slow down and come home to me.

Thank you Winter Solstice!

What surprising invitation do you find in the quiet darkness?
Leave a comment and let me know!

Gratitude: It Takes Practice

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.”
~Melodie Beattie

What are you grateful for today?

Sometimes it is as simple as that – taking a moment to notice. I have a gratitude journal that sits by my bed collecting dust most days because I forget that gratitude takes practice.

When I take the time to simply notice what I am grateful for and write it down, I become aware of the fullness of life. My attitude shifts. I am able to let go of the thoughts and habits that artificially stir up trouble. I feel more centered, more grounded which means when I bump into a real problem, I am able to respond with more grace and a sense of humor.

Today I renewed my commitment to a simple practice of gratitude. I started the day by writing down 3 things for which I am grateful and I am committed to do this simple practice for 40 days. Hopefully by then it will become a daily habit!

What simple practice of gratitude will you do?

THANK-FULLNESS: The Practice of Gratitude

November is a month full of giving thanks around my house. We celebrate Thanksgiving, our national holiday of appreciation for life’s bounty. I also celebrate my birthday and my wedding anniversary, too. My birthday gives me the chance to appreciate all the gifts in my life. My anniversary allows me to stop and appreciate my soul mate and the relationship we have been cultivating for over 20 years. I get a lot of practice being thankful in November!

Join me this month as I dive deeper into the PRACTICE OF GRATITUDE. Each of the Growing Edge blogs, the free teleclass and my special event: The Practice of Gratitude Virtual Retreat, all revolve around what gratitude is, what it means, how we can share and learn from the wisdom of others, and how to develop a daily gratitude practice.

  • Watch for my weekly gratitude blogs
  • Sign up for my Nov 11 free teleclass – The Wisdom of Retreat HERE
  • Join me for our first virtual retreat – The Practice of Gratitude hosted by myself and Retreat Coach Michelle Burns on Nov 21. Click HERE for more information

I invite you to take time this month to get grounded in the practice of gratitude, rejuvenate your spirit, and marvel at how this powerful practice can make your life rich, meaningful and magical!