Gratitude #50: Heaven. A Night With the Most Beautiful Girl in the World

This post was originally published in SathyaWrites.

‘Heaven. It was.’ I told my friend. He knew it.

My work keeps me busy – at office and at home. My family doesn’t take that nicely. The uneventful travel plans add to their misery. So most of the time, my daughter doesn’t get to sleep with us. She usually sleeps in the ‘thottil’ with her grandmother on the side.

That day, it was different. The grandmother has gone back to the native. We didn’t have an option. We had to accommodate our little girl to sleep with us. And making an 1-year old sleep with the adults in not an ordinary feat. Just ask my wife who lost her sleep.

It was bit different for me.

The cuddles, the little noises, the naughtiness, the kisses.

It was HEAVEN. My little girl sleeping with me.

It’s incredible! So unforgettable.

Joy in Small Little Things

The greatest gifts in life come in small packages.

  • Late night fight with the loved ones
  • A leisurely walk
  • A tea in the late evening
  • Listening to that old song
  • A hearty meal
  • An afternoon nap
  • Unexpected phone call
  • A surprise party with friends

Let us rejoice in the little things and lose our temptation for everything big!

Let us let go off ambition and carve for meaning!

Take this very moment to think of those little things – those little moments of joy.

Remember that this is Heaven. For the Kingdom of God is right here, right now!

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Gratitude #40-49: 10 Things I’m Grateful for in 2016

This article was originally published at SathyaWrites

I have figured out the easiest way to attain englightenment.

A simple way to be happy. A cooler path to be joyful.

And in fact, a scientific way to create peace.

It is to be grateful.

To be grateful for the experience that life takes me through… To appreciate what has offered you.

But what about when one is going through moment of fear, anxiety – a time full of stress. Robert A. Emmons has an answer.

“It is relatively easy to feel grateful when good things are happening, and life is going the way we want it to. A much greater challenge is to be grateful when things are not going so well, and are not going the way we think they should.”

~ Robert A. Emmons in his book, Thanks!

So, what’s bothering you right now? You get a parking ticket? Lose your job? Relationship not working? Kids being a challenge? Get sick? My personal recommendation? Flip it around and think about all the things for which you’re grateful.

  • Get a parking ticket? Be grateful you even have a car. Be grateful you’re going to be able to help pay for someone’s wages for part of the day.
  • Stub your toe? Be grateful you HAVE a toe to stub and such a great life that that’s probably the worst thing that’s going to happen to you today.
  • Kids being a little challenging? Be grateful they’re healthy enough to make so much noise and honor them for the growth you both experience together.

In fact, in their New York Times best-seller, The Tools, Barry Michels and Phil Stutz takes this to the next level. They recommend to discipline your mind to *always* see the amazing things in your life. They suggest to get your grateful flow flowing. There’s no (!) better way to connect to the Source of all higher forces/joy/love/all-things-good than gratitude.

I agree.

For me, 2016 was year of success, it was year of failure. It was year to cherish and a year to learn. A lot did happen over the past one year. I am using this post as an opportunity to capture this. I did a similar exercise at the end of 2015.

But, Why?

Because it is the easiest path to joy.

As David Steindl-Rast captures this his TED Talk ‘Want to be Happy? Be Grateful’

“The root of joy is gratefulness… It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.

Look closely and you will find that people are happy because they are grateful. The opposite of gratefulness is just taking everything for granted.”

He says ‘Look closely’ and you will find ‘people are happy because they are grateful’. The opposite for being grateful is just taking things for granted.

My goal is simple – to take a moment to reflect, to thank. I want to be happy. I want to one among those who are happy. So, without much further adieu, here are the list of things that happened last year and I am grateful for.

  1. I had a major career leap this year. I changed job (in August 2016). This meant changing places, plans and lot others. There were many a reasons for the shift, but the most important was to work on my strengths, rather than on my weaknesses. I know that I’m not a people-friendly person, in fact I’m so shy to the point that I fear human interaction, sometimes. I needed a more quieter, less interaction intensive job. The new job seems to fit well.
  2. We, I and my wife, celebrated our second Wedding Anniversary. With lot of quams that showed up in between, with restlessness from different areas of life, I was indeed not a very calm and easy partner to live with. But things did work out, thanks much to the patience of my wife.
  3. We celebrated our little girl’s first birthday. Yes, while we invited her into this world in 2015, we had moments to cherish with her during the past 1 year. The little angel brought us, me the family more closer, more lovelier and more entertaining. The cute hands, legs and her ever warm smile doesn’t fail to melt a heart and render happiness. Thank God to make her part of our lives.
  4. I learnt to let go. This time more strongly and more maturely. I had trouble, but I realised that life does go on and this time I didn’t push life to go on, but it did go on to surprise me. I am feel more grateful than ever before for this wonderful cherishing moment to have me let go of the past, of guilt and regret.
  5. 2016 got me proud on achieving few key goals. One of the best was in achieving my writing goal to post 100 articles at SathyaWrites.com.
  6. I learnt to say enough. I have become less ambitious, aiming more for meaning in life than achievement.
  7. I have joyfully contributed some good money. Though small, it was a contribution to my family and to a social cause. I thank God for the opportunity given to contribute.
  8. I took a choice to be a more of a follower, as an employee, than being a leader, or a boss or an entrepreneur. I’m going to someday write a post saying ‘Dear Internet! Stop asking me quit my job!’
  9. I lived a relatively minimal life – there is no cable, internet connections at home. I don’t or more correctly can’t (because my daughter doesn’t allow to) use my laptop at home. Though it sounds puny, but I have mentally prepared or preparing myself to shut myself off about work at home. It’s a big achievement in my life. I am using ‘StayFocusd’ chrome app to allow only 10 minutes of Facebooking per day.
  10. My obsession for productivity is slowly reducing. I now use something called ‘enough list’ or sometime a ‘no-list‘. Though I do tinker around exploring the two big areas of — productivity and financial independence, I guess in the coming year I will be more fortunate not to be obsessed by it.

I did fail in certain areas. And I’m sure I will use those opportunities as a learning path in the coming year.

Gratitude Exercise 2016

The famed humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow notes

“The most important learning lessons… were tragedies, deaths, and trauma… which forced change in the life-outlook of the person and consequently in everything that he did.”

Whether 2016 was year of success or failure, I recommend you to try the gratitude exercise. Take a moment to record those moments and appreciate for the opportunity to have faced it. More importantly be grateful that you have bestowed with such a blessing in your life.

Gratitude #39: Simplest Way to Happiness

“Abundance can be had simply by consciously
receiving what has already been given.”
— Sufi Saying

The past 5 months at my new job has been the most productive.

  • Most productive in my writing/ blogging,
  • Most productive at work, and
  • More importantly most balanced – had the luxury to spend quality time with my family.

To say that is an achievement is an understatement.

Dr.Christine Carter has this to say,
“Everywhere I go, people ask me this one question: “If you had to pick just one thing that could make me happier right now, what would it be?” …
I believe an authentic moment of gratitude is the simplest way to boost our happiness — especially when we’re feeling stressed or wishing for more of something…like more time, or more money.
When we aren’t seeing what we appreciate in our lives in a given moment, often it is because we are stewing about unfulfilled expectations, or because we believe that we don’t have what we “should” have. We are uncomfortable in some way, and we feel entitled to our comfort. Entitlement makes us more likely to feel disappointed when we don’t get what we think we want, rather than grateful for what we already have.”

I too believe that gratitude is the simplest way to boost one’s happiness. Do take a moment to write what you are grateful for. You are indeed blessed and take the time to cherish it.

8 Things I learnt from 10 Days of Gratitude Journaling

So you know I am big on gratitude journaling. I even started a blog to count my blessings (literally) – 1000gratitudes.

One of the best formats that I found was the Five Minute Journal. Tim Ferriss says the 5 minute daily exercise revolutionized his morning routine.

The Five Minute Journal is one of the simplest ways I have found to consistently ensure improving my well-being and happiness. Both in terms of achievement and actual measureable, quantifiable results.”

five-minute-journal

So, I was tempted to give it a try. No, I did not buy the uber-expensive journal, I simply made a DIY version of it. It started on 17th Oct. I have consolidated the learning as on 27th Oct. I missed a day 26th Day.

Totaling 10 days. One of the key concepts in the 5 minutes journal is the gratitude journaling part of it. Here are few things I learnt from it.

8 things I learnt from 10 days of Gratitude journaling

  1. I apparently noted ‘progress’ – both at work, personal and at spiritual plane. I am assuming this was inspired my recent understanding on progress as against achievement.
  2. I have not failed to be grateful for my good health. Reflecting upon it, I just realized that I had one of the best weeks in following up with my physical exercise routines. I am just trying to make a connection whether being grateful made me appreciate my health better and subsequently took more consistent effort keeping it there. A point worth pondering.
  3. Not trying to be boastful, but I feel that the past 2 weeks had been one of my best productive weeks. My gratitude journal reflects that I have been noting increased will-power as evidenced by consistency in my writing, exercise and work habits.
  4. Every other alternative day, I have noted a good night sleep to be grateful of. I have even attempted at being poetic about the experience.
    • ‘I am grateful for cool air and warm bed, last night.’
    • ‘I am grateful for cold night and warm sleep, yesterday night.’
  5. I always had an insatiable thirst to ‘to learn’. I have taken time to appreciate the time and space I was to quench my thirst.
  6. Overwhelmingly, I have been noted gratitude for my loving family, friends – for their love, support and care. I have my reasons. They are indeed one of my richest blessings 🙂
  7. Spirituality had once in a while been appreciated. I have noted being grateful for the  peace of mind and contentment of soul.
  8. I remember the growing sense of clarity of my vision and increasing opportunity to make it come true. Being a deeply spiritual person, I’ve been noting my appreciation for the same.

Few More Interesting Observations

Interestingly, almost everything I noted in my gratitude journal are easy to achieve, in fact it’s right there – for free.

  • Good health, peace of mind and caring relationship were all that mattered.
  • Progress and meaning were more important than achievement and ambition.
  • More than what was in the journal – to realize what was absent was yet another pleasant surprise. I noted nothing related to
    • wealth or luxury,
    • having/ owning anything,
    • competing/ conquering/ winning,

None of the above were there.

It feels true that the more one feels blessed, the more blessed one becomes. In other words, the more things I felt grateful for, the more things I felt I had to be grateful for.

Realizing the benefit of the gratitude journaling and the structure the Five Minute Journal is giving me, I have committed to continue this practice.

gratitude-journal

I highly recommend the same to you.

Happy Journaling!

This post was originally published at SathyaWrites.com.

Gratitude #36, 37, 38: Life is Full of Unexpected Surprises

I was searching for an inspiration. An inspiration to make a list. As you must already know, I am obsessed with list making. So when I don’t come up with an idea to make a list, I become anxious.

But I got help. When I googled for ‘list making ideas’, I got this.

List Love: 101 List Prompts For Your Art Journals.

I randomly chose the number 89 on the list. It said,

Things You Didn’t Plan: Life is full of unexpected surprises. What good things have happened in your life that you didn’t plan?”

I immediately took to making a list.

What good things happened in your life that you didn’t plan for? 

Here is the list I came up with.

Gratitude #36: A Divine Partnership: I and my wife recently celebrated our second wedding anniversary. I couldn’t be more grateful. No, my life didn’t drastically change after marriage (even if it did, I think my ego wouldn’t accept it). So, here I write – my first best thing that happened in my life is my marriage – and a divine partnership with my wife. It’s really hard to live with me – have enough proofs. She has not only put up with me – but also loves me unconditionally. More than that the partnership turned out to be my luckiest charm. It wasn’t planned.

Gratitude #37: Job: Yes, it’s a rare mix when one’s aspiration, one’s skill sets matches in a job. More so that it rewards one handsomely with good pay. I recently transitioned to a new job. The job is giving me enough breathing space to be relaxed, to exercise my thinking and creative skills. Besides, I able to maintain a work-life balance. I couldn’t have asked nothing better than this. Thank you God for that. It wasn’t planned.

Gratitude #38: The Little Angel: When my father first saw here, he said, ‘kutti devadai‘, meaning little angel in Tamil. A gift – she is – my daughter. Such joy she brings everyday to us. This wasn’t planned. 

When I writing about it, I realized that I may have not gotten what I wanted, but I got everything I needed. Nothing was planned.

Life indeed is full of surprises.

wayne-dyer-miracle

Though small, I recommend you to try this exercise out.

What good things happened in your life that you didn’t plan? Take a moment to relive those surprises.

And don’t forget to share those with me and our community by commenting below. 

God bless!

This post was originally published on Sathyawrites.com.