Self Improvement


Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend… when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present — love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure — the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth.
– Sarah Ban Breathnach

As I write this month’s article I’m filled with gratitude. Five years ago I was in a job I hated. Today, writing newsletter articles and sharing my experiences of self-care with you is part of my job – what a joy!

And though some days I can still get caught up in what I DON’T have yet, what I HAVEN’T done yet and what I’ll probably NEVER have or NEVER do, all it takes is a few moments reflection about what I have to be grateful for and my thoughts are completely turned around.

Two experiences over the past month have helped me to get into the right frame of mind.

During eight weeks of the winter I’m blessed with a volunteer opportunity at a program that provides dinner and shelter to those in need. While I started out three years ago as a dinner helper, I soon realized that my music could be a real gift to our guests and volunteers – infusing the atmosphere and creating opportunities for camaraderie, nostalgia, relaxation and joy. Not to mention lots and lots of singing.

Now my “job”, for 8 Wednesday nights every winter, is to set-up my guitar and songbook (complete with a list of songs that guests can thumb through to make requests) and fill the room with music. I absolutely love it.

I’ve noticed that many of our guests are often cheerful, friendly and helpful, and deeply appreciative of what they receive. With all they’re struggling with in their daily lives – struggles I can only imagine – they manage to celebrate the moment, show kindness to others and express their gratitude.

The other mind-altering event was of course the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami of December 26, 2004, that destroyed so many lives and has impacted the entire world.

The gifts of gratitude I receive from my awareness of both of these realities so different from my own are many. Whenever I’m outdoors in the Canadian winter weather and I notice myself thinking that’s it’s too cold or too wet I immediately express my gratitude that for me the experience is only brief and temporary. In light of all I’ve seen and heard about in the last few weeks, what do I have to complain about?

Tonight, when you’re getting ready to sleep, why not stop for a moment and make a list of everything YOU have to be grateful for. I’ll get you started with the basics:

I’m grateful to have a roof over my head.

I’m grateful to have money in my wallet.

I’m grateful to have food in my fridge.

What would life be like without even one of those things? What else can you think of to be grateful for?

(c) Copyright 2005, Genuine Coaching Services.