No need to oversell it. Today, we want to slow down and be grateful because we can miss it. We can miss our parents, our family, our children. We can miss the focus on our health, our resources and all the good when we are distracted by stress, obligations, and the things that are shouting the most loudly at us. Our intent is to be grateful for today.
We all look for a secret recipe for a successful marriage, as if following those steps is going to give us the result we desire. The reality is that there is no such universal recipe for successful marriages. It depends on how you use the ingredients, the quantity and quality of them, the time and effort you invest and your personal touch. Every dish has certain key and basic ingredients and if they are missing, you cannot make it.
In the same way, every marriage should have certain key elements which are extremely vital in order for it to be successful, joyful, nurturing, caring and expansive. This is something I have personally discovered through my five and a half years of being married and creating a joyful, fun, kind and caring relationship with my husband that has contributed to my personal growth and expansion as well as his.
So what are these key elements you wonder? Here is a simplified list. Please be aware that a relationship always begins with you. So these elements can be used to create a loving relationship with you first before you create it with your partner! It is only when you have a nurturing relationship with you personally, you can bring that element to your marriage. Continue reading →
Take away everything you have; you now have nothing. Imagine this for a moment. Now bring back just the critical things you need. Some food each day. Some kind of shelter. Some clothes to wear. Some social connection to others. Pretty basic. Just the essentials to make it through the day.
Nowhere on this list is the second house, the rooms full of stuff, the refrigerators and cabinets filled with food, the Starbucks’ lattes, the imported leather sofa, the widescreen television, the fancy car, restaurants, the soccer teams and dance lessons, the matching coat and gloves, Monday night football, movies, or even school. You don’t need them. They can surely make life better but you don’t need them. I think we have blurred the lines between want and need and until we see the difference, we sometimes find it hard to be grateful – to be “thanks giving.”
I am not saying that we shouldn’t go after the things we want in life. Rather, we should just keep the perspective that nothing in life is owed to us. Rather, everything is truly a gift and all gifts deserve gratitude when received.
I, like most of us, can take the things in my life for granted. What if I were more aware of what is in my life and were more grateful for each? For example, I can go to a food store and can choose from a seemingly limitless supply of any food I can think of – available to me in this exact moment. Thank you. I can get in a car and go wherever I need to go without security checkpoints and hassles and in both comfort and safety. Thank you. I can communicate in a moment with friends and family around the globe. Thank you. I can open a book or turn on a computer able to read ideas, recipes, fiction, research and poetry. Thank you. I can decide where and how to spend my next hours and days. Thank you.
Not only should we be grateful but what if were to change how we act to the things in our lives? For example: There are those who have been hunting for work for extended periods, and those of us with jobs take them for granted by not bringing our A-game to our work. There are those with health challenges who would love a pain-free day, and we take our health for granted by eating unhealthy food and smoking. There are those who miss the people they love ones dearly because their worlds have them far apart, and we take the people in our lives for granted because they are always around.
See everything as a gift. With this attitude, things become more valuable. We treasure our world, our planet, our family and our friends. We appreciate our food, our work, our houses and our health. We find the greatness in life.
Reinvent what “thanks giving” means to you and your family – make it about awareness and appreciation. Perhaps as it starts with us, we can then inspire it in others. This is how we can change the world. Happy “thanks giving.”
The other day I supremely woke up on the wrong side of the bed. It got me thinking about how much of every day I spend just slightly annoyed or frustrated about one thing or the other. It’s like a heavy backpack you unknowingly tote around. Your shoulders stay tensed, your chin stays down, your eyebrows push closer and closer together. I know, real attractive. A bad mood affects so much more for so much longer than I realized.
It’s Thanksgiving week and if you’re on Facebook or Twitter, maybe you’ve spent the past 25 days watching people post about all the things for which they’re thankful. Great. Here’s an interesting fact- research shows us that not only is there a correlation between happiness and gratefulness, people experience the greatest levels of happiness when they express their gratefulness.
I’m grateful for a place in a big city that finally feels like home. It’s a home where, in just two months, we’ve had three birthday parties, watched a dozen movies, had three house guests and are on the verge of our second major holiday. It’s not a lot of square footage, but it does the trick.
I’m grateful for like-minded, crazy-talented people who push me to take bigger risks and push for bigger visions to become realities. They are writers and actors and business owners. First time moms, third time moms and single people alike. They are wonderful.
I’m grateful for time. Man, there is something so frustrating about waiting but when I look back at all the time I’ve spent in limbo, I’ve always been grateful for the preparation time. I spent four years in Nashville between leaving my home in Florida and arriving in Los Angeles. Maybe those four years were a waste? I’d like to think that the time I spent writing comedy, shooting videos, making connections and lifelong friends was more than that. It was preparation for something bigger. It was the time I spent building experience and growing the confidence I would need to come to LA and not buckle.
So what are you grateful for? In what ways have you been ungrateful?
FYI- Every Monday Intent.com features intents set by our users in our weekly newsletter so you can get involved! Next week is about gratitude so head to Intent.com and post in our Inspiration category. And if you have a project or idea you’d like to spread the word about Email MeLissa@Intent.com! We want to help!
The title doesn’t lie. This video offers a poignant a message on the power of service, compassion, and gratitude, told through the lens of one incredible and fleeting act of kindness.
This video was made by TrueMove-H, an arm of Thai mobile conglomerate True Corporation. The video serves as a commercial, but also doubles as a meditation on the importance of real human connection in changing people’s lives and spreading empathy to every corner of the world.
Take a look and let the video’s message go to work in your heart:
If you look at your life and how far you’ve come, there are undoubtedly faces sprinkled throughout who had an impact on you along the way. They may be teachers, parents, mentors, or friends. They may be strangers. Sometimes it’s those fleeting, half-developed conversations in passing – on the subway, in the supermarket, on an airplane – that struck you most potently and in some way influenced the course your life would take.
We invite you to reach out in gratitude to those important people who helped you become the person you are today. And for all those unnamed strangers, the briefly known, angels in disguise, send your thanks outward. Pass it on. Pay it forward. Love and service make the world go ’round. And you are part of that essential cycle.
Did this video inspire you? Who are you grateful to? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!
If there were one secret we could find the answer to, one code we could forever crack and have access to, it would be happiness. Because fundamentally, everyone wants to be happy, right?
We’ve heard this question a thousand times: Is there an ultimate key to happiness? And if there is, then why doesn’t someone spread the good news? The reality is that there isn’t a pill you can simply take to forever say goodbye to grief, anger, dissatisfaction, etc. No single possession or lifestyle condition can forever change your emotional state for the better, and the internal shifts that can often seem daunting and unrealistic.
Though we may not be able to hand you a “one size fits all” recipe for happiness, there are several tools you can incorporate in your life that are bound to have a profound affect. And top on the list is gratitude. Research has shown that shifting your outlook to one of gratitude and appreciation can enhance your overall feeling of well-being, as can engaging in acts of kindness and selflessness.
But nothing is more powerful than seeing these studies play out in real life. Soulpancake decided to test the gratitude theory out on a group on volunteers, not previously briefed on the reason for the experiment. Participants took an initial survey measuring their happiness, then did an amazing gratitude exercise (which you’ll see in the video below), and finally took another happiness survey, with slightly different wording so that they wouldn’t know exactly what was being measured. The results were staggering. Check it out!
It is so simple, and yet easy to forget, that the surest way of increasing our immediate happiness is to reach out to someone in love and gratitude. By the same reasoning, the best way of increasing overall happiness – the deep and satisfying joy we all long for – is to cultivate a heart that is open to both receiving and expressing love.
Express gratitude regularly, all the time, whenever you feel it! And let us know if and how this affects your overall feeling of happiness.
When the Buddha was dying, he gave a final message to his beloved attendant Ananda, and to generations to come:
“Be a lamp unto yourself, be a refuge to yourself. Take yourself to no external refuge.”
In his last words, the Buddha was urging us to see this truth: although you may search the world over trying to find it, your ultimate refuge is none other than your own being.
There’s a bright light of awareness that shines through each of us and guides us home, and we’re never separated from this luminous awareness, any more than waves are separated from the ocean. Even when we feel most ashamed or lonely, reactive or confused, we’re never actually apart from the awakened state of our heart-mind.
This is a powerful and beautiful teaching. The Buddha was essentially saying: I’m not the only one with this light; all ordinary humans have this essential wakefulness, too. In fact, this open, loving awareness is our deepest nature. We don’t need to get somewhere or change ourselves: our true refuge is what we are. Trusting this opens us to the blessings of freedom.
Buddhist monk Sayadaw U. Pandita describes these blessings in a wonderful way: A heart that is ready for anything. When we trust that we are the ocean, we are not afraid of the waves. We have confidence that whatever arises is workable. We don’t have to lose our life in preparation. We don’t have to defend against what’s next. We are free to live fully with what is here, and to respond wisely.
You might ask yourself: “Can I imagine what it would be like, in this moment, to have a heart that is ready for anything?”
If our hearts are ready for anything, we can open to our inevitable losses, and to the depths of our sorrow. We can grieve our lost loves, our lost youth, our lost health, our lost capacities. This is part of our humanness, part of the expression of our love for life. As we bring a courageous presence to the truth of loss, we stay available to the immeasurable ways that love springs forth in our life.
If our hearts are ready for anything, we will spontaneously reach out when others are hurting. Living in an ethical way can attune us to the pain and needs of others, but when our hearts are open and awake, we care instinctively. This caring is unconditional—it extends outward and inward wherever there is fear and suffering.
If our hearts are ready for anything, we are free to be ourselves. There’s room for the wildness of our animal selves, for passion and play. There’s room for our human selves, for intimacy and understanding, creativity and productivity. There’s room for spirit, for the light of awareness to suffuse our moments. The Tibetans describe this confidence to be who we are as “the lion’sroar.”
If our hearts are ready for anything, we are touched by the beauty and poetry and mystery that fill our world.
When Munindraji, a vipassana meditation teacher, was asked why he practiced, his response was, “So I will see the tiny purple flowers by the side of the road as I walk to town each day.”
With an undefended heart, we can fall in love with life over and over every day. We can become children of wonder, grateful to be walking on earth, grateful to belong with each other and to all of creation. We can find our true refuge in every moment, in every breath.
If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep at night, you are richer than 75% of the world.
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the one million who will not survive this week due to illness.
If you have money in the bank, any money at all, money in your wallet, spare change in a dish some place in your life, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy. 92% of people don’t even have that.
(All three quotes above are from Dr. Wayne W. Dyer and his presentation on Gratitude.)
One time a couple of years ago, I left money in the console of my car. I deal mostly in cash. I had skipped going to the bank and left a wad of ones and fives in my console to the tune of hundreds of dollars. Not smart, I know. At the time, I was pregnant, and I was also raising my eight year old boy. This meant, when I exited the car each afternoon, I had many elements to manage — book bags, yoga bags, grocery bags, etc.
One night I absentmindedly left my doors unlocked. When my son and I got in the car the next morning to hustle to school, I realized my car had been broken into, the console had been raided and my wad of cash was gone. I was very bummed. I was irritated with the perpetrator and myself for leaving the money there in the first place. I grouched and grumbled and was so animated, that my son began to cry. He was concerned, anxious, and scared. Recognizing this, I started to pull it together. That’s when it hit me: the thief had not only taken my hard earned yoga money, he/she had also stolen all my spare change. I had no idea how much that even totaled. It was certainly not something I even noticed. So the thought occurred to me: Maybe the thief needed the money more than I did. I mean, maybe not too of course. But maybe, given that they stole every last penny, maybe they did.
Right then, I turned it around. I released my anger and my frustration. I wished the thief best of luck and love. And I started to comfort my son, while also simultaneously pledging not to leave money in the console again. And of course, to this day, my son double checks to make sure I have locked the doors each evening.
According to Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, treasuring our divinity means being in a constant state of appreciation. Dyer professes that it is in this state that we train ourselves to look for things to be joyful about, happy about and grateful for. When I am steeped in gratitude, life seems so much simpler. I am not overwhelmed with things I wish were different. I am not viewing the world from a lens of lack. I am not drowning in self-pity or sorrow. I am abundantly aware of the blessings in my life. I am full of… I am just full. It’s such a delightful way of being. I offer you this humbly. Gratitude. It’s a practice worth engaging. It’s the practice of looking for the beauty around you at all times. It’s so fulfilling and enriching. Give it a try.
“We see a world where people are helping each other; where we are open at all times to support others and give assistance to whoever needs it with whatever they need it for.
We see helpfulness being the watchword of the day so that when we meet someone new our first and foremost inclination is to help them. Can you imagine it – because if you can, you can create it! For, it leads us to a world where we truly care about one another; where we are grateful to each other for the help we've received; and where we are all expressing a willingness to serve our fellow travelers.
With an attitude such as this we've charted a course that will, most assuredly bring us peace of mind and the experience of Oneness with All That Is.”
–The Intenders for the Highest Good; Vision Alignment Project
Make Thanksgiving last all year by practicing gratitude!
In studies conducted by the founder of the positive psychology movement, Dr Martin Seligman, participants who kept gratitude journals every day for a week ranked higher in happiness and lower on stress levels, and many were found to be continuing the practice on their own a year later. These appscan help you turn gratitude into a daily habit.
1) Gratitude! Gratitude! has been my personal favorite for a long time and is also a big hit among bloggers. It allows you to rate your day from 1 to 5 stars, list several things that you’re grateful for, and then attach a photo if you so desire. When you’re done, you get rewarded with an inspirational quote delivered by a cartoon figure of a blissed out monk that is just too cute!
2) Live Happy Live Happy may quickly become my new favorite app. Psychology professor and “The How of Happiness” author Sonja Lyubomirsky teamed up with Signal Patterns to offer people a slew of clinically-proven tools for increasing happiness. Far more than just a gratitude journal, Live Happy also facilitates goal setting and tracking, expressing gratitude directly to others via text or email, replaying happy days, keeping a savoring photo album, envisioning your best possible self, nurturing relationships, and remembering acts of kindness.
3) Daily Gift from Deepak Chopra
How could I resist including a little Deepak for the Intent.com community? This clever app delivers Daily Karma, videos, and inspirational quotes from our favorite spiritual guru each day at a time that you specify.
4) Gratitude Stream
I just discovered Gratitude Stream from Signal Patterns (same folks who developed the Live Happy app). I love this app because not only does it encourage you to record what you’re grateful for on a daily basis, but even better, it allows you to share your positive feelings with the rest of the world. You can follow the worldwide stream of thankful thoughts either via the mobile app or online by searching Twitter for the #LiveHappy hashtag.
Similar to Gratitude Stream, ThankfulFor.com offers a free online gratitude journal with the option to share your posts with others. They’re still working on iPhone and Android apps, but these should be coming soon. The good news is that you get 500 instead of just 140 characters to express your gratitude on the website. You can also post and follow other user’s tweets by using the #ThankfulFor hashtag.