Tag Archives: Gratitude

Sowing Seeds of Gratitude to Cultivate Wellbeing


Paul J. Mills, Tiffany Barsotti, Meredith A. Pung, Kathleen L. Wilson, Laura Redwine, and Deepak Chopra

Gratitude, along with love, compassion, empathy, joy, forgiveness, and self-knowledge, is a vital attribute of our wellbeing. While there are many definitions of gratitude, at its foundation, gratitude is a healing, life-affirming, and uplifting human experience that shifts us from focusing on the negative to appreciating what is positive in our lives. Gratitude provides us with a more intimate connection to ourselves and the world around us. In the feeling of gratitude, the spiritual is experienced.

For those who are ill, feelings of gratitude and awe may facilitate perceptions and cognitions that go beyond the focus of their illness, and include positive aspects of one’s personal and interpersonal reality in the face of disease. Such beneficial associations with gratitude have accelerated scientific interest in and research on gratitude and wellbeing. The number of publications on gratitude appearing in the biomedical literature in 5-year increments since 1960-1965 shows almost no publications until 1996-2000 with about 20 studies. That number doubled from 2001-2005. From 2006-2010 publications jumped to 150, and from 2011 to the present over 275 studies on gratitude have been published.

Much of this growth of scientific interest in gratitude can be traced to the early pioneering gratitude research of psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough. In general, studies find that the frequency with which one experiences the feeling of gratitude, as well as the depth of emotion when experiencing it, are linked to improvements in perceived social support as well as reduced stress and depression. Among groups seeking to support this work, the Greater Good Science Center (Berkeley, CA), in collaboration with the Templeton Foundation (West Conshohocken, PA), has been a strong advocate of advancing the science of gratitude and expanding that science into diverse areas of human health and wellbeing. Continue reading

Laura Ling Shares the Ritual that Saved Her Life

In early 2009, international reporter Laura Ling found herself in China standing on the boundary of North Korea as she sought to bring attention to North Korean refugees escaping the region. This was not the first time Ling was in a high-pressure area but she was not expecting to find herself captured and indefinitely detained by North Korean military.

She was so far from her family and was unsure whether she would ever return home. She was able to receive letters from home and knew that candlelight vigils were being held in the hope of seeing her safely returned, but in the midst of a tumultuous political climate, who know if that would happen? In the space of not knowing what her future would hold, Ling began a practice that would change her life forever. She shares her moving story here: Continue reading

From Intent.com: Staying Grateful


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Thanksgiving is usually when we’re reminded about thankfulness and to consider the things we can often times take for granted in our lives. But gratitude and thankfulness are not only cute for crocheting sweet messages on pillows. Studies show that the importance of gratitude is such that it affects stress levels, depression and an increased quality of life. Gratitude is good for you. Continue reading

Kindness – It Does Your Body Good

Helping the homelessI remember being told to be kind as a kid, primarily as it related to how I treated any of my five siblings. I was thinking about this again this week while watching how little kindness there seems to be in the news. Between political battles of ideology, fighting for land, arguing over resources and fighting over egos, we have forgotten how to be kind. “Be kind for everyone you meet is fight a hard battle,” is a quote attributed to Plato. Regardless who said it, its message rings true now more then ever. What would it take for us to be more intentionally kind? And, how would our world change we did?

To me, the word Namaste says it all – “may the divine in me acknowledge the divine in you.” May whatever is great in me focus on seeing the greatness in you – even if I don’t know you. And if I did, I would be kinder. If I did, I would be more generous, more loving and more forgiving. I would see the greatness in you, trying to express your inner divinity. “We must find out for ourself that inside us is a god or goddess in embryo that wants to be born so we can express our divinity,” says Deepak Chopra in his book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.

Here is an exercise I regularly use for myself and as a challenge I share with my audiences. The next time you are on the highway and someone cuts you off, or you are in line and someone steps ahead of you, how will you make a point of seeing their greatness and their divinity instead of feeling offended? How will you see them as related to you, part of you and part of a greater plan? It isn’t easy because we have been trained to focus on ourselves more than on others. We feel violated, slighted or insulted. But it doesn’t have to be this way – our reaction to this is our choice. As we can choose to be unkind, we could also choose to be kind.

Changing a habit takes intention. To change a habit of focusing first on us takes the intention of wanting it to be different and committing to make the change. The starting point is awareness. We have to be able to see when we are kind and not kind. We have to be present enough to see ourselves in action – to notice our triggers and be aware of our responses. Only then will we be able to stop the “go-to” reaction of selfishness and retaliation, and instead see that we have a choice. That choice could include kindness. In the example of the car cutting you off on the highway, it could mean not blaring the horn and passing a gesture, but instead slowing down, letting the other car in and be entirely unaffected by the event. This is a choice.

The most amazing thing about being kind, is the greatest benefit is not for the other person; it is actually for you. The more unkind we are, the more damage we inflict on ourselves. I was coaching a client this week who is getting ready to leave an employer for some unfair and unprofessional things the employer did. This employee has the ability to “stick it” to his employer; be upset, carry a grudge and bad-mouth his employer. Or, he can realize that in a win-win termination solution, the employee can choose to not be at the effect of the situation, but actually choose to show up kinder, more aware and more committed to greatness. He can choose a mutually beneficial response that treats both sides kindly and professionally. He took the higher ground. His mood, health and spirit were left intact from the event. Kindness, it does a body good.

In what ways can you be more intentionally kind today, this week and this month? Feel the effects of it. See the effects of it. Though kindness does a body good, it also can do a planet good. Choose kindness.

5 Steps to Handling Life When Things Get Rough

SadnessDo you secretly ache for something more? Do you celebrate the miracle that is your life or are you constantly running, frustrated by the never-ending to-do list at home and at work?

When life is not going our way, it can be hard to look on the bright side. And what about the people who tell you “It’s all good” when your life is in a state of overwhelm, collapse, or just plain sucks. What’s good about it?

The key is to realize that you are creating everything in your life, that it is all perfect, even though you might not recognize it at the time. Hold the faith – understanding will come. Rather than seeing yourself as a victim, ask yourself, for example: “Why am I creating this difficult, angry neighbor who refuses to discuss the parking situation with me?”

In this very question your freedom starts. By refusing to get angry back, which creates a power struggle, you step past the ego, which would love to be ‘right’ and ‘win’, and create a calm spaciousness, in which amazing outcomes can happen.

By sending love, and compassion, to your antagonist, miraculous changes can occur.

In addition, you discover a rich well of creativity, strength, and wisdom inside you that you didn’t know you had.

What if we allowed ourselves to fully experience our challenges and grow and expand because of them?

Concerns and fears will still arise but we can learn to meet them from a place of spaciousness and calm. With these proven strategies below you will gain the understanding, and courage, to overcome challenges, and no longer run from your fears, but stand self-assured knowing you can navigate whatever comes your way.

1. Acknowledge Your Present Moment Reality

Accept what is. This doesn’t mean you have to like it, but you do have to accept it. Fighting reality only make things worse. In the very acceptance of what is happening, you relax, and a spaciousness opens up, that allows for a shift to happen. You are now entering the miracle zone, where all kinds of unexpected goodness can appear. Stay open to possibility.

2. Experience Your Moments Of Joy

This might sound obvious, but a lot of us have a pattern of expecting the other shoe to drop when life is going well. Become aware of this habit, and put your attention, energy and focus on really experiencing your moments of joy without assuming that disaster awaits around the corner. What if, around the corner, there is even more joy?

Love, joy and happiness are our natural state.

It is only our programming of fear, lack, and scarcity that tells us otherwise. The more you become aware of this negative programming, and ignore it, the more joy you will experience.

3. Allow Yourself To Experience Your Fears and Challenges

Instead of shutting down, and running from fear with all kinds of distractions, like obsessively checking your social media, too much TV/Internet, and so on, sit with yourself, and allow the feelings, however uncomfortable, they might be. In the very feeling lies the healing. In the very allowing, fears dissolve.

Don’t be afraid of fear: befriend, and embrace it. Open the door, look inside and realize that there is no skeleton in the closet. This will free you up to experience more joy, and less fear.

4. Let Go Of Desire

At the root of fear is desire: your agenda that things have to look a particular way. Let go of your attachment to the way you want things to look, relax, and see what happens. And I don’t mean that you fall into an apathetic, aimless state of passivity. Have your desires, but let go of your attachment that they have to manifest in a particular way.

When we insist that things have to be a certain way, we can miss what life is offering us.

5. Understand & Be Grateful For Your Fears

The key to dissolving fear is to understand it. This means that you have to drop all judgment, condemnation, and evaluation that fear is wrong. Fear is a reality in our lives, it is a part of being human. Once it is faced, and understood, it can be transformed. You experience more love and joy, and fear lessens. Your challenges become easier to navigate.

37 Life Lessons in 37 Years

Today is my 37th birthday.  And, I must say, it’s been a pretty interesting ride so far.  As I look back over the years and 8874397636_8fce870bcf_omany phases of my life, I realize how each stage, success, stumble, triumph and heartache has had a significant impact on where I stand right now.  And despite the rough patches, I love it all.

From a shy yet studious little girl, to an artsy and somewhat rebellious teenager, to a happy-go-lucky big-dreaming twenty something with a bit of a wild size, my metamorphosis were plentiful in my early years.  Now into my thirties, my heart has grown a few sizes larger and overflows with motherly love as I’ve discovered what matters most in life.  And, my entrepreneurial experiences have been a crash course in lessons of life, business and self that, at times, brought me to the brink of what I thought I could handle, only to be rewarded nicely for sticking it out and seeing it through.

As I continue to step more fully into myself each day and bring to light my mission of helping others build their own dreams with joy and ease, I’ve racked my brain to think of my top 37 life lessons so far. On this day of celebrating another trip around the sun, I share these with you and hope you find inspiration as I have. Enjoy!

Top 37 Life Lessons So Far…

  1. Happiness comes from within.  We spend way too much of our lives looking for outside validation and approval that eludes us. Turns out, it’s been an inside job all along.  Go inward.

  2. Be grateful for everything.  The good, the bad, the ugly.  Our entire life is a precious gift.  The pleasure, the pain – it’s all part of our path.

  3. Subtle shifts in perception will transform your entire life. When feeling fearful, angry, hurt – simply choose to see a situation differently.

  4. In being true to yourself, you can’t possibly make everybody else happy.  Still, it’s better to risk being disliked for living your truth than to be loved for what you are pretending to be.

  5. The world is our mirror.  What we love in others is a reflection of what we love about ourselves. What upsets us about others is a strong indication of what we need to look at more closely within ourselves.

  6. Everybody comes into our life for a reason.  It is up to us to be open to the lesson they are meant to teach.  The more someone rubs us the wrong way, the greater the lesson. Take notes.

  7. Trust.  In troubled times, just know that the Universe has your back and everything is going to be alright.  If you’re not there yet, trust in hindsight you will understand.  Your higher good is being supported, always.

  8. Never take things personally.  What others do is a reflection of what’s going on in their own life and probably has little or nothing to do with you.

  9. A walk in nature cures a lot.  Taking in some fresh air and the beautiful landscape of this earth is amazingly head-clearing, grounding, and mood-lifting.  Bonus:  you can learn a whole lot about life in your observation of the awesomeness which is nature.

  10. Hurt people hurt people.  Love them anyway.  Although, it’s totally okay to love them from a distance.

  11. You have to feel it to heal it.  Bring your fears and weaknesses front and center and shine a blazing spotlight on them because the only way out is through. The hurt of facing the truth is SO worth it in the long run, I swear.

  12. Perfectionism is an illusion.  A painful one at that.  Ease up. Strive for excellence, sure, but allow yourself room to make mistakes and permission to be happy regardless of outcome.

  13. Take the  blinders off.  Don’t become so laser-focused on your own goals and desires that you miss out on the beauty in life and the people around you. The world is stunningly beautiful when you walk around with eyes wide open.

  14. Celebrate the journey.  It’s not all about the destination.  Savor all of your successes, even the small ones.

  15. Forgiveness is not so much about the other person.  It’s about you and for you so that you can gain the peace and freedom you deserve.  Forgive quickly and often.

  16. We are all incredibly intuitive.  When we learn to become still and listen, we can tap into some pretty amazing primal wisdom.  Listen to the quiet whisper of your heart. It knows the way.

  17. Let your soul shine!  Be authentic. There  is nobody else on this earth just like you.  Step into your truth wholeheartedly and live and breathe your purpose.

  18. We are powerful creators. Seriously, bad-asses. With intention, focus, and persistence — anything is possible.  Know this.

  19. I am full of light.  You are full of light.  We are all full of light.  Some cast shadows on their own brightness.  Be a beacon of light to others and show them the way.

  20. Don’t take life too seriously! Nobody gets out alive anyway. Smile.  Be goofy.  Take chances.  Have fun. :)

  21. Surround yourself with people who love and support you.  And, love and support them right back! Life is too short for anything less.

  22. Learn the delicate dance. Have big beautiful dreams and vision.  Chase them with much passion. But, also hold on to them all ever so lightly.  Be flexible and willing to flow as life comes at you.

  23. Giving is the secret to receiving.  Share your wisdom, your love, your talents.  Share freely and be amazed at how much beauty in life flows back to you.

  24. On that note, be careful not to give too much.  If you empty out your own cup completely, you will have nothing left to give.  Balance is key.

  25. Say ‘YES!’ to everything that lights you up.  Say ‘no’, unapologetically, to anything that doesn’t excite you or you don’t have the bandwidth for.  Time is one of our most precious resources that we can never get back. Manage it wisely.

  26. Sometimes we outgrow friendships.  It doesn’t mean they’re bad or you’re bad.  It just means you’re on different paths. Hold them in your heart, but when they start to hurt or hold you back, it’s time to give space or let go.

  27. Fear is often a very good indicator of what we really want and need in our life.  Let it be your compass and enjoy the exciting adventure it leads you on.

  28. Overcoming your fears is one of the most empowering things you can ever do for yourself.  You’ll prove to yourself you can truly accomplish anything! Major self-confidence booster.

  29. Our bodies are our vehicle to our dreams.  Treat them with love and fuel them with the best health to feel vibrant and energized.  But, never obsess over image.  Looks are subjective and will fade in time, anyway.  Feeling good, healthy, and comfortable in our own skin is what matters most.

  30. Let those that you love know it often and enthusiastically.  You can never say it or show it too much. Your time, total presence, love, and genuine concern for their wellness is the greatest gift of all.

  31. The present moment is where it’s at.  It’s the only one promised to any of us.  Learn from your past & enjoy the beautiful memories, but don’t cling or let them haunt you.  And, dream big and be excited about the future, but don’t become obsessed.  Love this moment, always.

  32. Life is full of highs and lows.  We need them both to grow to our fullest potential. Just hang on tight and enjoy the ride.

  33. We are all connected as one human family. Nobody is better or worse than anyone else — just at different stages of our journeys and dealing with life the best way we know how.  Recognize that the other person is you.

  34. Practice daily gratitude for all the blessings in your life, large and small. Not only is this a high vibe practice that feels amazing, in practicing regularly you are creating space for even more abundance – of joy, love, health, and prosperity.

  35. We are not the center of the Universe, although our ego can make us feel that way at times.  Step outside of that way of thinking and see the world and other people’s perspective in a whole new beautiful light.

  36. The world needs more love, light, and laughter.  Go be love. <3

  37. You are the guru.  For much of our lives, we have been told what do, how to think, what looks good, what “success” is. You don’t have to buy into any of it. Feel free to peel back the layers. Think for yourself.  Break the mold. When you stop doing what everybody else wants you to do and start following your own intuition, you will be ridiculously happy.

In looking back at your own life, realize that every high and low is all part of your amazing story. Own it!  Take cues and guidance from the Universe and you will continue to go on an incredible ride as you fully step into your truth and power.

Age is just a number, but the higher it gets, the more wisdom and life experience we’ve amassed.  You are never going to be younger than you are in this present moment again.  So embrace it, love it, and enjoy it fully!

Here’s to many more beautiful years of seeking-truth, questioning all that does not sit right, and making your greatest impact in the world!  I look forward to adding more lessons as life continues to give me the opportunity to learn, grow, transform, share and expand.  Hope you will too.

With much love,

(For more inspiration, visit the Dawnsense site and sign up for weekly love letters. Also, join the supportive Dawnsense community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).

Inspiring Quotes in Honor of MLK Day

Today we honor a motivational leader and speaker, who advocated for non-violent pursuits of equal rights far ahead of his time. Martin Luther King Jr.  is known now as the face of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and President Barack Obama has declared the national holiday of MLK Day to be a national day of service. As you go out today and serve – in whatever way you can – Intent wanted you to carry the words of a man beyond his years.



MLK day








mlk education


Be Inspired to Make Intents in 2014

intentAs the New Year arrives, many of us are apt to pronounce our New Year’s resolutions, be they in the privacy of our minds or promulgated near and far.

Mallika Chopra’s December 11 post, Set Intents Not Resolutions For 2014, got me thinking.  She set a clear distinction between intents and resolutions.

I took a look at the definitions of intent and resolution.  An intent is the thing that you plan to do or achieve, an aim or purpose. I love that an intent is also the state of mind with which an act is done. A resolution is the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc.; the act of resolving something.

This distinction makes me recognize the subtleties of the comparison. An intent sets the stage for choices and decisions related to a plan or purpose, while a resolution is more associated with the end result, a goal.  And with a resolution, you are “finding an answer or solution,” which involves a process of searching for a resolution. With an intent, you already have identified what it is you want to PUT INTO ACTION.

Today I had an epiphany about how to activate my intentions so that they can flourish, rather than announce resolutions that remain unfulfilled. Like any new behavior or habit, it takes dedication to implement new intents and goals. And starting with a state of mind of positivity and purpose can go a long way towards the blossoming of intentions into what you want in your life. That’s all well and good, but HOW do I actually make my intents HAPPEN?

Now take a leap with me.  One way to accomplish the activation of your intents is to “attach” them to something you already do regularly. This enhances success. For example, I have an intent to do the daily exercises prescribed by the PT I have been seeing for a torn meniscus in my knee. Not easy to incorporate this new routine into my daily schedule. So, I “attached” the new series of exercises to my existing morning yoga ritual. That way, what I intend to do actually happens. But, I took it a step further. I found that I was bored doing the exercises and rushing through them. Calling a friend during the process was not conducive to counting the repetitions. And lo and behold, it occurred to me to express gratitude at each rep. Gratitude for what? For each cell in my body involved in each movement. For my knees. For the fact that I could count. For the PT. For taking deep breaths.  And between each repetition, I thought of something I was grateful for, taking up the 3 or 5 second “hold” between each repetition of the exercise. I felt so accomplished. I completed the routine, fulfilled my intent and felt really grateful for lots of things!

In short, adding a practice of gratitude as  you embark on activating intentions just may make the process more, well — intentional, as in done in a way that is planned or intended.

Cheers to 2014, the year of fulfilled intentions for which to be grateful!

24 Intentions to Manifest in New Year

So there are just a few days left of this year! What are you intending to manifest for this coming year? Do you have any unfulfilled goal from this year that you wish to accomplish next year? There is no better way to manifest your desires than to release your intentions out into the universe and allow it to unfold on its own accord! The best moment to plant seeds of your intentions in your consciousness is during your meditation. In meditation, you connect with deeper levels of your awareness, making a better foundation to manifest your deepest desires. I recommend bringing your awareness on your heart and set the intention that feels just right at that moment. Then release it and don’t worry about when and how it will manifest…just know that if it is meant to be it will. Just have full faith on the energy of your heart. The power of love is magical enough to create many miracles!

Here are 24 intentions that you may use for a better and happier new year. Try working with 2 every month and see where it leads to. Don’t attempt to use one for each hour of the day… this is too much.  Just take it slow and steady.

  • Expressing love more often.
  • Understanding that forgiveness is an everyday ritual.
  • Witnessing the temple in your physical body and taking care of it.
  • Practicing compassion towards all.
  • Spending time in nature.
  • Creating thoughts that lead to optimism and courage.
  • Building an attitude of gratitude.
  • Meditate everyday even for a  few minutes.
  • Being bold without being a bully.
  • Treating work as a way to serve others.
  • Respectfully parting from those who discourage and lower your self esteem.
  • Stop blaming destiny and start working on manifesting your own goals.
  • Staying present.
  • Staying in touch with old friends.
  • Taking a break from work to relax.
  • Eating healthier.
  • Reading books and articles to expand awareness.
  • Staying offline often to connect with the people in your life.
  • Fall in love.
  • Letting go off regrets.
  • Release the need to treat yourself so seriously.
  • Being kind, but not weak.
  • Complimenting others more often.
  • Breaking the norms.

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