HAPPY GRATEFULNESS THURSDAY EVERYONE!!!
uh … gratefulness THURSDAY? I know, I know. The past three gratefulness posts have been regularly occurring on a Friday as a way to end the week with positive reflection and feel-good vibes — so why Thursday for today’s post?
Today is full of positive reflection and feel good vibes instead because I am currently at the Independent Fashion Bloggers Evolving Influence conference!!!!
Yes, as you read this very blog post, I’m probably schmoozing and stylin’ with other NYC-based [and beyond!] fashion bloggers and creative types extraordinaire. This is my second time to the IFB conference, and chances are it’s going to be a very network heavy, adrenaline-rushed day.
I’m actually a bit nervous because I’ll be meeting some seriously stellar writers, photographers and stylists. But I try to remember that intimidation is a sign that whomever is in front of me is my teacher [more on that in the post below!] and I’m looking forward to connecting with those who can inspire and teach me, too.
Tomorrow will be a recap of the conference — complete with “conference style” photos from other bloggers and of the digitally famous speakers — plus some of the insights gleaned from everything I learned. Because the only reason I’m attending is to become a more tuned in, conscious fashion blogger to the benefit of those who read me — YOU!
Keep reading after the jump for the rest of this week’s gratefulness post — we’ll just call it a Think Happy Thursday post, instead ;-)
I know that you can embrace this day for what it is — and not what you want or think it needs it to be. Everything, at every moment, is happening for our best interest. Have faith and the positive will become illuminated!
I am grateful for … The Daily Love
I first met The Daily Love in my Twitter news feed. Someone retweeted a TDL quote that was striking enough for me to push “follow” and ultimately, subscribing to the newsletter. And my relationship with The Daily Love has been a very happy one ever since.
The daily-delivered email gives me comfort, if not inspiration, and a reason to immediately read an email that isn’t from a friend or family member. Because in a way, TDL has become a member of my family — the family of self-love, self-respect and self-awareness that the world is not working against us — but for us. All we have to do is trust.
Here’s one quote from the newsletter that has remained in my consciousness and beat warm in my heart since reading:
“Though we can’t always see it at the time, if we look upon events with some perspective, we see things always happen for our best interests. We are always being guided in a way better than we know ourselves.” – Swami Satchidananda, was an Indian spiritual master.
I briefly spoke on how every single moment of our lives is “meant to be” in last week’s post. But this idea of “events happening for our best interests” is more specific to letting the path of life lead us — and to have faith that it is the right path for us because otherwise we might follow the wrong road.
The wrong road seems right at the time. We’re thinking deep thoughts, making deep decisions and all-in-all, forcing a deep dissection of each and every event that we force to happen in our lives. With all that thinking and deciding and forcing, we should be moving in the direction that’s naturally right for us … right?
Not necessarily so if you are always forcing it. I emphasis “force” because it is force that can lead us down the wrong path. Swami’s quote illuminates the idea that we do not have to force anything in our lives because we are “always being guided” in a way we know better than ourselves. Force is a negative word with connotations of pain. So if our life is characterized by force, and we are feeling pain because of this force, we are walking the wrong path.
The best way to lose the pain of force? Simply let things be.
Maybe you didn’t get that job you wanted — it’s because it wasn’t the path for you. Maybe that dashing chap or charming girl didn’t return your affection — there’s someone else out there, waiting to be naturally connected to you. Maybe your grandmother passed away unexpectedly, maybe you didn’t get a pay raise this year, maybe you crashed your car! — each and every one of these events happens because they are steps leading you through the magical moments of your life, and which are not meant to hurt or harm or punish you, but to lead you because you have faith in that direction.
Part of this understanding is accepting that we will never fully understand why tragedies happen, people die, homes are lost, lives are destroyed. These are very saddening events that when set against the quote above, seem hardly justified. There is no cause, there is no effect. It just is. And when we can breathe easy on the “is,” we can react with the “is,” too — your mother dies and you are reconnected with estranged family. Your home is lost, and your perspective on the value of material possessions is positively transformed.
We can’t see the outcome, but if we believe in the event and it’s fated reason for occurring, the outcome will always help — and not harm — us on our path.
I am grateful for … The Teacher Before Me
Thanks to the philosophy course I’m taking at a school called Philosophy Works, I’m now in ownership of this powerful mantra: “Whatever is before me is my teacher.”
You too, can own this empowerment to learn from everything in front of you, too. But it’s not just about hearing this mantra one time. It’s about repeating it during moments of frustration, moments of peace, moments of pleasure, moments of pain, moments of … well, every single moment.
I know I talk a lot about moments. But moments are the cells of life — and it is when they are grouped together that we have the minutes, the hours, the days, the years and the everlasting lifetime of an individual. But it’s not in the “minutes” or “hours” that we have opportunity — it’s in the immediate NOW that we have opportunity. Right this very moment, and only you can choose to recognize that opportunity.
By maintaining consciousness that the good, bad, ugly before you is a teaching moment, you will not feel the adrenaline of heightened states of emotion. You will only feel peace and control of those emotions because you know that no matter the circumstances or the outcome of any given moment, you are absorbing something positive from it.
We will never be fully taught. We will never be fully aware. We will never be fully … full. And that’s a good thing. It’s a good thing because as we journey, or as we stay put exactly where we are, we are always on the move somewhere in our minds, in our hearts and within something much greater than our “self.”
I am grateful for … Not Wanting What I Don’t Have
A few months ago, I began meditating. I had no idea what I was doing, or really how to do it, other than I could close my eyes and try to focus … try to relax … try to calm the monkey-chatter of my mind.
One of my favorite paths to run in New York is from my apartment in Spanish Harlem to the George Washington Bridge in the Heights of Harlem. I run on a path alongside the Hudson River with views of the bridge and New Jersey’s shores, and of the historical brownstones that make uptown living unlike anywhere else in NYC.
After running to the bridge one day, I sat below its great arches on the rocks that made up the banks of the Hudson, and I meditated. I focused on the sounds of the cars on the highway behind me and the bridge above me, the light splash of waves of the Hudson before me, and the slow but steady breathing within me.
And like a light bulb pops when it’s lost its light, a thought entered my mind that has yet to leave — and which I know will always stay. “Thank you for helping me to see that I have exactly what I need right now, and that what I need will continue to come to me without wants, desires or cravings.”
And as soon as the enlightenment finished entering my mind, the horn of a train blew from behind me. It was a powerful moment that’s difficult to articulate here — but imagine realizing an epiphany in your life, and its validity is confirmed with a loud vocal that “just happens” to occur as your epiphany takes deep impact upon your mind.
I want. I need. I must have. I don’t have. I can’t have. Desire is a dirty word, and to know what it is we are, we must also love what we are now and not what we want to become. Or for our lives to become. Or for our material possessions to become.
It’s frightening to hand over your life to this faith. That’s why so many of us never do it — we want to fill our minds with monkey chatter instead, telling us how to make another “move” to have more and be happier as a result. Sure, having goals is healthy and an example of how we can receive what we need by sending positive thoughts to the external world around us.
But striving for more because we feel that we are lacking or that we aren’t good enough right now and must improve will not reap the same positive benefits of acceptance and understanding that our greatest need is just to take comfort in what we have now, not what we hope to have in the future or dwell on what we once had in the past.