The True Gifts of Thanksgiving

English: Saying grace before carving the turke...On this Thanksgiving holiday, my heart is just bursting with gratitude for all the wonder that I see in the world.  Yes, political problems, economic difficulties and areas of unrest still abound – but now I’ve lived long enough to know that something wonderful is at work behind the scenes.  My new way of living is to try not to judge situations based on first appearances but instead to foster an eye for the bigger picture.

People are basically good.  Sometimes fear and mistreatment can lead us down a road that is beneath our highest vision of ourselves – but if so, it’s only temporary.  We’re multi-sensory beings who soak up our environments and are designed to learn from our mistakes.  That’s why when I see someone doing something that I feel is misguided, I just say a little prayer that the lesson is learned quickly so that they may once again return to their naturally loving and peaceful state.  There is method to the madness – and for that I am grateful. Metal is forged out of fire – but the result is something strong and purposeful.

Friendship

I’m also grateful for family and true friendship. Last year at this time I was sitting in a hospital room hoping that my mother would make it through a difficult open-heart surgery.  Since then, I have been blessed with another year of her guidance, laughter and support. She is a blessing in my life – one that I intend to cherish, enjoy and appreciate for as long as I’m given the privilege.

I’ve made a few friends whose souls have actually merged with mine – and they’ve not only become part of my support system – but in some way an actual part of my heart. These are those rare individuals that you can tell anything and they never forget who you really are.  They’re there for you always, offering encouragement and a laugh just when you need it most.

18/52 - Motherhood

While my children have the ability to wreck my inner peace like no one else in my life – they’ve also given me the greatest joy and feeling of purpose.  I’m constantly learning from my children (that’s a surprise – wasn’t I supposed to be the teacher?) and their lessons make me a better person.  I’m so glad I got the opportunity to take on the all-consuming but ever-rewarding role as a mom.

I’m also grateful for the ability to express myself – and perhaps touch someone’s heart in the process.  I’m oh so aware that “I of myself am nothing, but through God I can do all things.”  I’m so humbled that I’ve been able to function as the Hands of Spirit on occasion – and being lifted up outside of my own self-consciousness really felt like truly expressing my own greatest, divine nature.

I suppose feeling gratitude is a daily thing for me now – instead of just one day a year.  I’m amazed at the chance meetings with the right person at the right time; the unexpected opportunities that present themselves; and the perfect words to the song on the radio – delivered at the exact moment when I need them the most. I can sense a Divine plan working diligently behind the scenes.  Nope, we’re not alone – and all is happening as it should be.  So glad that I’ve learned to put down the reins and simply enjoy the ride for a change!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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Marci Wise is the award-winning author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. Copyright © 2013 marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address.

Using the Gifts of Silence

(Excerpt from Pain, Passion & Purpose )

SILENCE
SILENCE (Photo credit: Anders Printz)

It’s an interesting irony that in a space of purposeful nothingness (silence) you actually discover something valuable. Creating a quiet space holds rewards that can range from the mundane to the miraculous – but first we must shut out the world and surround ourselves with the silence. This means not only quieting our outside environment but also our mental chaos. Reaping the rewards of stillness requires intention, focus and discipline but the riches it can provide are legendary.

Stress relief – When compared to expensive vacations, exhausting exercise and side-effect filled medications seeking out a little quiet time seems like a very reasonable thing to do. Yet, life’s distractions can keep us away from silence. Make a conscious effort to find a peaceful space on a regular basis. Studies have shown that immersing ourselves in restorative solitude can lower blood pressure, aid in healing and increase our overall satisfaction with life itself.

English: Le Silence, painted plaster sculpture...

Creativity – In silence we can reach a level of introspection that we can’t achieve while surrounded by public interaction. With all distractions taken out of the equation we’re more able to hear our own “inner” voice and connect with creativity. This sacred space enables us to think outside of the box more easily and entertain the new and novel.

Clarity – Learning to silence obsessive thoughts can offer us a stronger sense of clarity that we can seldom achieve while surrounded by life’s normal hustle and bustle. Solutions to long-held dilemmas often float in with such ease that we’re surprised we didn’t see them sooner. In the stillness it seems that we have access to mental reserves that we weren’t even aware we had.

Gift of Peace
Gift of Peace (Photo credit: YardSale)

Peace – Torment, confusion and pain often force us to seek the silence as a place of temporary shelter. By removing ourselves from the chaos, the quiet offers us a safe place to withdraw from the world, rest and rejuvenate. While the craziness of the world may rage on relentlessly, in the stillness we can find peace, if only for a fleeting moment. With time and attention we can learn to still our thoughts and fill ourselves with peacefulness whenever we desire.

Bliss – For the lucky and disciplined people that have experienced it, this all-consuming feeling of joyous well-being creates an appetite for more. A powerful curiosity is aroused and we long to be reunited with it once again. It offers us the allure of answers to all of life’s seemingly unanswerable questions and broadens the boundaries of human possibility – reigniting our excitement and passion for living.

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Marci Wise is the award-winning author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. Copyright © 2013 marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address.

Tips for Escaping Drama

English: emotions

Sometimes in life we can find ourselves in places of great turmoil and wonder how we got there. Despite trying to do everything right it seems that trouble and strife just keep coming to the forefront. Ironically, trying too hard to “be good and do good” can sometimes get us off course instead of closer to the life we desire.  Here are some helpful tips to help you sort through the “whys” and get back to living a happy life.

 

Keep perfection in its place

Although it’s great to shoot for the stars and hold ourselves to a higher standard when pursuing our passions, sometimes passion can overwhelm us and force us to become too focused on ourselves and our goals – and make us lose sight of the way that we affect other people. We must guard against a personal commitment to excellence becoming self-absorption.  Kindness, compassion and the willingness to compromise are crucial to a happy and successful life so strive to keep perfection in its proper place. Not everyone is going to share your vision and that can be frustrating.  Know that perfection doesn’t exist – choose your battles wisely – and realize that some compromise on your part is almost always necessary to achieve your goals.

Realize that words have power

We all want things to go our way and proceed easily and naturally.  In order to successfully accomplish this we must realize that our words have power.  It’s crucially important to remember –“It’s not what you say – but how you say it” – that determines if your interactions with other with go smoothly or meet with resistance. Learn to speak with tact and patience.  Try to let people know that you appreciate them and fully expect the best from them – because people will always work to meet your expectations.  Keep in mind that works in reverse too.  If you let someone know that you don’t think much of them or their work – they will meet that expectation also – and in the process close themselves off from any further open, constructive interactions with you.  Each person simply strives to maintain their own sense of dignity, so personal attacks on other people will never help you accomplish your goals.  You must instead help to lift people up and out of their comfort zones through encouragement and patient communication.

Choose your words carefully

English: Handwritten words: "Motivation &...

The key to avoiding disturbing and unnecessary drama in your life is to simply fine-tune your personal presentation in a way that works effectively for you and leaves you feeling happy. Carefully chosen words and a thoughtful delivery are essential to smoothing the path that you walk upon. Psychologists tell us to always start our conversations with others with the statement “This makes me feel…” instead of “you do this…” That way it doesn’t seem like you’re attacking or judging the other person – just simply expressing the dynamics of the relationship based on tangible things that can be changed.  People will accept this verbiage much more readily and work to find a suitable solution – rather than take your words personally and put up defense mechanisms to protect themselves emotionally.

Controlling your breath keeps you in control

When emotions run high we can easily get swept away and start saying things that don’t help our case.  Anger, resentment and disappointment can become out-of-control monsters when we can’t keep our cool.  Protect your own sense of peace above everything else by ensuring that your intense feelings don’t run away with you.  Refuse to have important discussions when emotions are running high.  When in stressful situations, always place your thoughts back on your breath in order to maintain control – and speak from a place of empowerment.  Remove yourself from the situation long enough to take some deep breaths – from your belly – and calmly compose yourself.  Breathing is the anchor to your own clarity and true authenticity.

When you’re wrong, admit it

English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings

Living with dignity and integrity requires having the courage and fortitude to admit that you’re wrong when you’ve made a mistake. And everybody makes a mistake occasionally.  When you do – admit it and apologize as sincerely as you can muster.  Contrary to popular belief this is not a sign of weakness but instead an indication of great character.  Only the strongest people can own the entirely of themselves – both the good and flawed aspects.  As long as you learn from your mistakes and try to make amends for them – then you can change the experience into something positive and worthy of having gone through.

 

Chart your own path

In the end, never let anything turn you into someone that you don’t want to be.  Maintaining dignity and integrity in a world that appears to have forgotten such things presents a constant challenge – but remember that nothing is more important than your being able to express yourself with open-hearted authenticity.  Do not let the world harden you or make you compromise your values, kindness and compassion for others.  You must reiterate, through your actions, that there is only so much you’ll sacrifice to achieve your goals.  Luckily there are many paths to the same place, so know that with time, perseverance and patience you will reach your desired destination – and on your own terms in your own way.  It may take a little longer but you’ll be much happier when you get there – and the trip will be a whole lot more pleasant!

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Marci Wise is the award-winning author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. Copyright © 2013 marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address.