Advent of Kindness Calendar

Many Wishful Thinking Works Facebook followers have been using an Advent of Kindness Calendar to share a bit more kindness this holiday season.

Visit Wishful Thinking Works on FB to join in the fun. I am posting daily about the Calendar to keep us on track for kindness! There is still plenty of time to jump-in! read all about the Calendar and more on FB.

Thanksgiving Tales

@ Wishful Thinking Works

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Oral traditions are almost as old as mankind. Telling stories has been bringing families and communities together for thousands of years. Writing them has been going on for hundreds of generations.

The type of stories we tell, shape our relationships and our realities.

Why not start a new Thanksgiving tradition by sharing a short personal story about someone or something you are thankful for as you sit down to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner? Many Americans will be sharing what they are thankful for, but why not expand the moment and the feelings by telling a story?

Your story does not have to be long or earth-shattering, just real and heartfelt.

We are much more inclined to complain about our lives and the trials and tribulations we face than we are to celebrate the moments that make life and magical and memorable. And, yet, most of us have lives filled with touching tales – small moments or momentous events when something or everything went well or turned-out right, or someone reached out to us at just the right time.

What better time than Thanksgiving to share simple, sweet, touching tales of who we are and why others matter to us?

Here are few of my tales to get you in the storytelling mood . . .

I often think of Mrs. Grace Weidenthal and how her kindness and support helped me get a women’s group scholarship for “Older Returning Students”, which led to my finishing college and eventually my Masters. (I was 28 at the time!)

I will never forget the kindness shared to me as a child by my mother’s friend and one of my younger brothers’ godmothers. When Mrs. Werner brought my brother a gift for his birthday or a holiday, she always made sure to include something smaller, but no less special, for the other siblings closest to his age. A small gesture on her part, but one that filled my heart and head with pleasure and promise! I knew I would be included, and looked forward to her visits with anticipation, not only for her gifts but also to her boisterous and booming voice as she bestowed our treats upon us. She spread joy and generosity with gusto.

I often think of the help Professor Potteroff at Cuyahoga Community College gave me. Without the time he spent tutoring me, I am not sure I would have had the confidence to finish his Algebra class or to later take, and fall in love with, statistics.

I love it when someone does something small and kind, like holding a door, pausing to let me or others turn left, or slows a bit to let me enter a lane. Friendly cashiers can also make my day!

Sharing tales of positive moments in our lives might take some getting used to or may seem a bit awkward at first, but all great traditions must start somewhere, why not this Thanksgiving?

Here are 5 tips for starting your Thanksgiving storytelling tradition:

  1. Keep it short.
  2. Keep it positive! No fair, sharing tales that shine a less than stellar light on anyone – no matter how funny or memorable the tale might be! Besides, sharing your happy moments, increases the odds other will be happier, too. (Happiness is contagious.)
  3. Suggest a lead-in or place slips of paper with printed lead-ins at everyone’s place or in a basket to pass. (Creating the slips and basket is a great pre-Thanksgiving task for kids. Let them use their creativity on the leads and the method of sharing. If you are short on kids, simply print them on paper and cut them up.)

1)    “I will never forget . . .”

2)    “I love(d) it when . . . ”

3)    “It felt really good when . . .”

4)    “I was so excited when . . .”

5)    “I often think of  . . . “

6)    “When I was a kid . . .”  Only use this lead in if what follows is strictly positive and not shared to teach a lesson or illustrate a point.

  1. Make sure you or one of the most outgoing children go first, this will “warm-up” the crowd.
  2. Really listen when folks are sharing; make sure they have the floor. You can even provide something fun to pass as the “Speaker’s Sharing Tool”. Anything related to the holiday will work; ceramic turkey, battery-lit candle, serving spoon, etc. The sillier or sentimental the item is, the better. Remember to thank each person who shares, before moving on.

Hopefully, reading this post has already brought good memories to mind and gotten you into the Thanksgiving spirit. If not, no problem, you still have plenty of time to think of a thankful tale or two, and to get things ready for your guests to share in your new tradition.

Have fun!

“Your life is your once in a lifetime opportunity; what you do with it is up to you.” 

Patrice K. Robson

Fall is the time for awakening or realizing dreams

The subtle changes in the weather delight me most.

Autumn has a way of making each of us imagine we are the first to notice the changes it brings, or that the awareness is a private joy, like a new love or a special gift just for us. We embrace the change, assuming no one has ever felt exactly like this before, or that we are special.

And, yet as the day unfolds we realize everyone is talking about the change in weather. We quickly come to understand that others are noticing the changes in the air, the dusty, drier scents and the way the light softens and takes on a golden hue, but instead of being disappointed that others are enjoying the same sensations we are – as we might feel while competing for the same person’s attention or the disappointment that the gift received was given to others, as well, – autumn has a way of making us excited that we will have others to celebrate with.

The change of season hold gifts for all of us.

Explore and enjoy all the ideas, tastes, and plans that pop-up in the weeks ahead. Eat the chili, bake the pie, watch the game, spend time strolling through the woods, or sitting by the fire, pick the apples, meander through the booths at the fairs, and take time to listen to the whispers of your heart that might have been drowned-out by the heat and activities of summer.

Now is it the time to take a deep breath, renew your spirit and follow the path that will light up your life.

Peace in the storm

Happy Thursday Morning.

How are you doing today? I hope your are feeling well and enjoying some peaceful moments no matter what is swirling around you.

I used to think that if I was surrounded by chaos I had to jump in and tame the waves. I felt it was my job to calm the seas, no matter how overwhelmed I felt by all the crazy swirling around me.

In my 20’s and 30’s I was often the carrier of bad news and gossipy comments, and I was more than willing to take most things personally.  Defensive mechanisms for sure, but hurtful to others, nonetheless.

Lucky for me, over the years and with lots of trial and error, reflection, and meditation I realized I can observe and care but not connect in ways that create chaos for me or others, and that even in the saddest or scariest circumstances it is possible to find moments of joy, peace, and balance – without guilt!

Trusting in the goodness of others and their abilities is key, and listening and letting people know that we are connected, that we care, and that they are capable, lovable, and worth listening to and being loved is a much better approach – for everyone. 

Today, I wish you joy and peace and the courage to find them during stressful and difficult times. I know you can do it, and I know at times it will be difficult, but I trust that you won’t stop trying. I believe in you and know you are wonderful, lovable and worth it.

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Your life is your once in a lifetime opportunity; what you do with it is up to you.” 
Patrice K. Robson

Meditation and mirrors

The focus of Day 15 of Oprah and Deepak’s free 21 Day series on “Miraculous Relationships”, which I and many folks around the world are participating in is, “The world is my mirror.”

We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.” – The Talmud

So true and sometimes such a bitter pill to swallow. Our lives truly reflect our souls. What we share in our relationships, we receive in return.

On a good day this is easy for me to accept, but on a bad day I seldom remember to ask myself, “How did I contribute to what is happening?” It takes courage and trust in ourselves to ask the tough questions. (I am not saying everything that happens to us is our fault, but I do believe being kind, loving, aware, and brave can the lessen the impact negative or trying events or people have on us.)

I also try to remember that interactions – loving or otherwise are all a gift. I admit that thought is not my first reaction when times or people seem to be tough or unfair, but it is part of my life now more than ever, which I believe is the result of reflection, meditation and gratitude and many other Wishful Thinking ways.

The benefits of mediation do not only occur as we are taking the time to focus inward, they flow into our everyday lives. I am much slower to blame, more understanding of myself and others, and less likely to judge myself or others as harshly as I did years ago as my awareness and peace increase. I am also better at celebrating my successes rather than allowing myself to wallow in my faults – and there are many, focusing on them could take up most of my day! 🙂

My overall goal is to use the practices that bring me joy and peace and trust that the awareness and insight they offer will help me create the life I really want.

What practices make your life better? Are you happy with how the world is treating you and how your relationships are going?

If you are, make sure to celebrate your joy and growth. If not, no problem, there are so many ways to change what is in going on around you! Begin by believing things can change and then add meditation, practicing gratitude, or simply being kinder to yourself and others to your life. Read and use the hundreds of posts on Wishful Thinking Works and other blogs written to help you change your life for the better. There are more free resources available to you than ever before, take advantage of them.

You can do it.

Namaste.

Your life is your once in a lifetime opportunity; what you do with it is up to you.”

Patrice K. Robson

7 ways to capture gratitude

Yesterday’s meditation from Oprah and Deepak’s latest free 21-Day meditation series inspired me to write this post. I love their meditations, especially on the topic of gratitude.

Gratitude Doodles

I spend part of almost every day thinking about how gratitude impacts my life, reading about gratitude and its benefits, or savoring and capturing my gratitudes.

Do you have a regular gratitude practice – journal or otherwise? If not, research shows you are missing on out on a plethora of benefits!

Here are a just a few methods I have enjoyed using over the years. Match your practice to your personality – for me, switching up my methods keeps my practice going strong.

  1. Gratitude journal – write 3 a day each morning or evening.
  2. Penny in the jar – simply dropping a penny in a jar for every gratitude I took the time to savor that day – fun to see the pennies pile up – you will feel rich inside and out!
  3. Tiny strips of paper in a jar – same idea as above, but fun to read later.
  4. Gratitude chain – similar to a Christmas tree chain except I write a gratitude on each ring and watch my chain grow.
  5. I also love doodling one to three-word gratitude descriptions in all sorts of configurations – up, down and all around – with glitter pens or colored pencils in a 6 x 8, 30 page sketch pad I carry around with me. Using glitter pens on heavy sketch paper delights me, and creates a book of sorts for me to review whenever I have a quiet moment, or life seems a bit much! It’s colorful, slightly artsy and always makes me smile.
  6. Gratitude letter – 300 words of detailed thanks to someone in your life, who is special to you but you may not have taken the time to let them know – I love this method – good for everyone’s soul.
  7. Write a simple, brief, and heartfelt email, text, message, card, etc. at least once a week thanking or complimenting someone one whose actions have touched your life and made it better. You can write to a friend, family, colleague, waitress, barista, bartender, company or customer service representative – get creative!  

No matter the method you use, always remember to savor your gratitudes, it is the savoring that changes your brain chemistry and lets your entire body benefit from the practice. Over time, you will feel a positive difference in your outlook and your life.

You can read more about gratitude, its benefits, and ideas for capturing its goodness by entering the word “gratitude” or “savor” in the search bar on the right.

“Your life is your once in a lifetime opportunity; what you do with it is up to you.”

Patrice K. Robson

A Mid-Summer’s Thought

Wishful Thinking Works Who I am (2)

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