From Gratitude

Ten TEDTalks to Change Your Life (for the better)

Here are 10 TEDTalks to change your life, per a request from Grandview Heights staff who took the Mindful Growth course with me last week.

#1- Kelly McGonical, “The Upside of Stress” – McGonical shares how the way we view stress changes the physiological repercussions that stress has for us.

#2- Brene Brown, “The Power of Vulnerability” – Brown discusses her research on the “whole-hearted” and how their ability to be vulnerable also allows them to be courageous.

#3- Brene Brown, “Listening to Shame” – Brown talks about the inverse of vulnerability and how shame keeps us from connecting with others.

#4- Matt Killingsworth, “Want to be Happy?  Stay in the Moment” – Killingsworth shares his research on how “mind wandering” keeps us from being happy; his study is the largest on happiness to date.

#5- Carol Dweck, “The Power of Yet” – Dweck explains how mindset shapes our ability to grow.

#6- Angela Lee Duckworth, “Grit: The Power of Perseverance” – Duckworth describes the key to success in any field (grit) and why we should bring it into schools.

#7- David Steindl-Rast, “Want to be Happy?  Be Grateful” – Steindl-Rast describes gratitude as the root of happiness, not a product of happiness.

#8- Julian Treasure, “Five Ways to Listen Better” – Treasure gives a quick, informative talk on the value of silence and listening.

#9- Amy Cuddy, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” – Cuddy explains how a two-minute practice can give you more confidence and change the ways others see you and the ways you see yourself.

#10- Larry Schwartz, “Nature.  Beauty.  Gratitude.”  – Videographer Schwartz presents the video on gratitude narrated by David Steindl-Rast along with his other time-lapse nature images.

Stop, Look, Go: A Mindful Gratitude Practice from David Steindl-Rast

As I reflect upon my own mindful gratitude practice and gather resources to reboot my Mindful Gratitude workshop, I am continuing to explore the work of Brother David Steindl-Rast.  The “Stop. Look. Go.” practice is one of the new tools I found and wanted to share.  It is an informal practice that happens in the comings and goings of daily life and takes only a few minutes and some reflection.  Here are the three parts:

1.) Stop.  This alone is a quite valuable practice.  We live in a culture that is all productivity, rush and noise. Can we take a moment and be still? What benefits might we experience if we do?  In Steindl-Rast’s words, we need to create “stop signs” in our lives that create a pause and be still.

Take a moment and reflect: where might you create a stop sign in your own life?  What cue will you use as a reminder?

2.) Look.   Be curious about your own experience in this moment.  What do you see? Hear? Feel? For what can you experience a sense of gratitude? You don’t need to manufacture anything, and if something quite difficult is happening, there is no reason to try and change it. Perhaps you just remember that you are alive. That you are breathing. That there is no moment exactly like this moment.

3.) Go. What seed for action is this moment offering you? Living is an art that you create as you go. How can you make it beautiful for yourself? For others?  Ask yourself these questions and wait patiently for an answer. When you get one, do it, act on the insight that comes from your own intuition and reflection.

Need inspiration to start this practice?  Here is a beautiful video from gratefulness.org’s website.

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   Did happened when you took a moment to stop, look, go?  What did you find?  Please share your thoughts below.

Light a Candle: A Mindful Gratitude Practice from David Steindl-Rast

In reflective conversation and in the surveys I send out to participants after working with me, I find that gratitude practice is consistently the most impactful in daily life.  Many months later, even people who are not doing formal mindfulness meditation are still using the Beautiful Moments practice and experiencing gratitude as a part of daily life.

I am doing a gratitude workshop with two amazing administrators on Monday who are trying to implement mindfulness practices into their whole building. We are going to explore gratitude together, and I am happy to have this opportunity to find some new resources and revisit some old ones.

While reconnecting with the work of David Steadl Rast, whose TEDTalk is below, I once again came across Gratefulness.org.

I took the opportunity to engage with the “light a candle” practice they provide through their site.  I used the moment of pause to be grateful to all those people who support my work in the world and are willing to engage in the process of growing with me. Then I made this dedication:

“This candle is dedicated to my grandma Rose.  She taught me everything I need to know in order to live in the world as a whole person.  I love you, Grandma Rose, and your spirit is always with me.”  
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After making a dedication, the candle burns for 48 hours, and there is a link to click and be provided with a mini-candle for your laptop during that time.

Mine is burning right now, and every time I see the flame, I am mindful of the love it represents.

For what can you be grateful today? Please leave your thoughts below. 

Beautiful Moments: Smoky Mountain Sweetness

Thought I would share some of the Smoky Mountain sweetness from my vacation in North Carolina last week.  Enjoy!

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Catching the rolling clouds overhead,

powerful forces of beauty

reshaping the landscape’s light and shadow

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Admiring the flowing elements softly changing the earth,

inhaling the sweetness of less inhabited air

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Finding a kindred soul while searching a cabin bookshelf,

reliving my pilgrimage through the written word

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Beautiful Moments: Cold Winter Days and “The Love that Let Us Share Our Name”

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The table set before my birthday dinner with my little family.

Feeling held by candle light and love

appreciating the magic of regular moments

made particular by caring hands and connected hearts

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Making the gift bags for the kids and Jamey before I went on my ten-day silent retreat, one for each day I was gone to tell them how they help me, why I am proud of them, the reasons and ways I love them.

Translating absence to deeper appreciation

attempting to express with inadequate words

the “love that let us share our name”

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Confessions of a Struggling Minimalist: The Joys of Tidying Up and the Struggles of Living with Less

     When my husband and I moved into our 960 square foot house (plus partially finished basement) eight years ago, we originally thought that it was a “first home.” In other words, a place that we would eventually leave for something different- and probably larger.  My family confirmed that this was so. “When you have more kids,” they said, this place will seem small really quickly.
     And there have been challenges.  When we first moved in, there was no dining room. Our narrow alley kitchen had a small space for a table, and we had to get a bench seat so that we could walk through the room when we weren’t eating.  When someone wanted to get up to get a glass of water, there was a lot of shuffling. (Since then I converted a living space into a partial dining room, too.)
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We were considering building on a dining room space via a four seasons room, but after watching the documentary Tiny: A Story About Living Small about people who choose to live in tiny (much smaller than ours) houses, Jamey came home to a dining room in our living room. Problem solved!

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