So I have always been drawn to some of the principles of Buddhism and last summer I was determined to find the perfect Buddha statue for my room. The statue would be a reminder of some of the teachings that appeal to me. I had laid my eyes on the most beautiful statue and had it stuck in my head that I would find the perfect one. Every Sunday for about 2 months I would meet my good friend for a coffee and we would browse about the stores. She was the first hand witness to the start of The Great Buddha Hunt.
I began to look everywhere, but none were right. She looked everywhere. We would message each other all the time - 'oh found one but it's not quite right' or 'saw one but it wasn't your colour'. And after much searching she found it. I was so excited! She gave it to me and I brought it into my space, it fit perfectly. Then one afternoon my Dad and I were talking and I said "oh, look at the buddha my friend gave me" ... he responds ... "you mean temple god" and we bicker back and forth for a bit, until I finally admit that 'The Great Buddha Hunt' was really NOT! How embarrassing!!! How can I respect Buddha and mixed him with temple gods?? So now I have a temple god, which is equally pleasant to have in my space. Here in lies my purpose for sharing today. Whatever you believe in, whether it be simplicity in universal karma, god, source, anything that you connect with - respect all other forms that people connect with. We all choose some way to live and if in doing that we are honouring our own unique path, we all deserve space and respect to do so. In our space of belief we must also respect ourselves and be open to what others belief. And in the end? Well, the beauty is, we've got a lot of freaking awesome people to learn and grow from and with. That's a pretty cool way to look at life. And in the realend? Well...let's see what Buddha believed:
note: my belief is there is no end and life is infinite - we'll meet again ;)
"In the end only three things matter; how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you."
The grace in that quote alone gives me shivers. Be love. Be gentle. Let go. <3
For the next week I am going to focus on identifying how this quote shows up in my life and look for any ways I can improve myself and I invite you to do the same...and let me know how it goes!!!
About 3 years ago I was going through a rough spot. I had just finished dating someone and began questioning so many things along my life path. I felt unbalanced, hurt, confused and scared. I would ask myself or whoever was listening when I would feel like myself again. The truth is, we never fully go back to being ourselves. With making the right choices we can expand and grow into a more beautiful self or revert back into a self that's comfortable - this is where things become stuck. Stuck. Life seems to stop flowing. It's annoying. And you don't have to stay here long, because guess what - it's a choice...well this is what I have learned anyways. What helped me get on my feet again and become the better version of myself was a simple gratitude list. In a conversation with someone they had suggested 100 days of gratitude to get myself back into a place of joy. To put this simply - it worked. It was a big commitment and a very unique experience but it helped me remember all of the simple things in life that I am presented with every single day that are so wonderful, amazing and AWESOME!
Definition of Gratitude: Gratitude, thankfulness, gratefulness, or appreciation is a feeling or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. (Wikipedia)
There is a key word in this definition - ATTITUDE! - we have so much power to control how we feel about anything. It's really incredible. When I read this definition though, I don't want anyone to misunderstand the word receive - this isn't referring to anything material - well I guess in a basic way maybe - but isn't waking up to birds chirping and the sunshine something to feel good about? Something to feel grateful for? We receive blessings in weather, sound, light and more...I think people sometimes overlook these little things that can make us have a positive feel good attitude. It is a process to genuinely acknowledge all of the amazing blessings we have received, such as a safe drive to work, a delicious meal, the smell of a campfire, a conversation with a friend, a job that makes you smile, having food, having clothes...we can and should thank our lucky stars every day for where we are, who we are, and who is with us.
What did my 100 days look like? Well, the first day went something like this;
Day 1: I'm grateful for....this grateful list.
I actually laughed at my first entry...this is going to be easy.
Day 2: coffee and fresh air.
At this point I had a lot more to include and it was rushing through me, I could feel the joy that I was creating. But I stuck to it with the same amount of entries as the number of days in...I carried around this notebook with me EVERYWHERE I went. And I made a promise to myself - write it when you feel it. I may have been grateful for fresh air a few days in a row - but I needed to stop and acknowledge what I received and how I felt. This is important with the grateful list, everything needs to be intentional. If you just wake up and start writing your families names in order and the same things in order everyday - you're losing the intention. The intention is to remember what you have that makes you grateful and find that feeling it gives you inside. And believe me - my family was in there, but i made a point to think about them, and why I loved them so much and why I was thankful for them.
It started to get a little hard around Day 50 (even more by Day 80) - finding the time became a little bit more difficult and my book was starting to fill up, I actually started to tape in more pages. This list was staying in one piece. I made it fit into my life, if I was working the book was out with me so that I could quickly jot down my feelings of gratitude as they happened. If I was out with friends, it was with me. It was a transformational journey. An amazing one.
And here's the result...by the end of the 100 days my feelings of hurt and upset were totally healed, my balance restored. Success. I think if you are ever in a bad place, any type of gratitude commitment is an extremely powerful tool for healing and for bringing yourself into a better state of mind. For me, this is exactly what I needed, some people might need more and that's okay....but what do we have to lose by giving gratitude a try?! It might actually surprise you.
Day 100: the last on my list of 100 Days of Gratitude: I'm grateful for this list.
Thank you for reading my blog today, wishing everyone a day filled with a GRATEFUL heart <3
A few weeks ago I received a book called "The Desire Map" by Danielle Laporte. This book guides you through creating goals with soul! As I was reading I realized that most of my goal setting over the last few years have been inspired by my dreams but not necessarily centred around how I want to feel in life. Needless to say, I can't quite put this book down. And then - I came across this quote which makes complete sense. I believe that we are meant to have what we desire. We all have desires that we yearn for. Except, we need to create a positive feeling to welcome these desires in. When creating goals to meet our desires we really need to focus on how we want to feel in all areas of our lives.
It was like a light bulb came on. It is so true. "what you seek is seeking you" - we create our experiences. If you want to feel good - then think good thoughts. Does this mean you'll never think a negative thought? Absolutely not - but over the last few years, one of the biggest things that I have learned is that we have the power to stop these thoughts right in their tracks and redirect them. This might be one of the greatest lessons I've ever had. I've generally experienced positive thoughts naturally; ones with beauty and gratitude. However, before this learning I didn't entirely believe that I deserved all of my desires because I had created ones that didn't focus on the feeling I wanted, and this was evident through my thoughts. I started to make excuses for things like "not having a contract in teaching because other people need it more" just to name one...except when I really think about my desire to help children learn and grow - I am 100% doing this - have been for most of my life - in the capacity of the truest care out there. The contract really doesn't matter. It will come when it is meant to. What really matters is that I have been seeking this title of "contract" which has confused my real desire to "help children" - and the universe has seemed to always present opportunities to do this. This is what feeds my soul - the good feeling I truly desire which is to help children and not the paperwork that says I can do it full-time.
So, my message for today is - figure out what you seek...and see if it is already in your life and if it is, then in what form is it there? Has it been showing up as something else or in a slightly different way? If it is not there, can you redesign what you seek? (I highly recommend "The Desire Map" as a tool to figure this out). And - remember....thoughts are only thoughts and they can be changed. It takes time, patience and energy...but from the many teachings I have had from people like Louise Hay and Dr. Wayne Dyer - and from putting these ideals into practised - it can be done.
Here's something to ponder from Rumi's teachings;
"When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy"
Definition of joy: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. (from good ol' google itself - lol)
How do we create more of this feeling in our lives? Last summer in the summer camp my colleague and I opened, a sweet little girl gave us a very wise lesson about "joy". From the words of this sweet little angel "I'm going to do good things, to earn more joy, so that I can share it with you". I'm not sure who else is with me - but I'm willing to put the effort in to feel more joy - because for me - feeling joy is one of my deepest desires.
This morning I woke up with the intention of beginning my blog with an introduction of ME! My purpose. My dreams. My hopes. All in relation to why I created this blog. And while, I will touch on that a bit in this post, I wanted to share a story from something that happened during this past week that might touch on the feelings that I hope to share throughout my journey.
I am currently teaching a Grade One class - my students are extremely loving, wildly awesome and bravely intelligent! They think critically, they communicate clearly with one another and they CARE for each other's well being. Sometimes, during a lesson I sit back and observe their conversations, they make eye contact with one another, they listen, respond and share. It makes my heart happy.
This week, on Tuesday morning, during my usual routine of welcoming the students in for the day, greeting them, asking them to line up nicely and exchanging smiles and excitement for the day to come, a boy approaches me and says "Miss Tilling, just to let you know...I have a crush on ______ and so, now you know" my response (well after the little head turn and chuckle to myself) was "Well, isn't that nice, and does she know?" he quickly responds and says "Oh she does Miss Tilling, and now I will get ready for agenda" he walks away with a giant smile on his face. And as I pass by his hook, I can over hear him telling his crush "it's okay Miss Tilling knows about us now". At this point I almost can't contain myself - like seriously way too cute right? These little beings are mirroring the reality that they see and know. So then the little girl looks up, sees me and says while waving her hand back and forth between herself and him, "it's true, we really are crushing on each other". REALLY - she actually said "crushing". The teacher in me just smiles, nods and says that's nice, and somehow I know that it will work itself out in a healthy way. These two expressed their feelings and that is exactly what I like to encourage - "tell me how you feel today" I say to my class - and they do. They speak their feelings because they feel safe enough to do so.
You see, I believe that we need to give children a chance to express themselves and their feelings before we expect them to learn. Whether they are experiencing happiness, tiredness, anger, upset or - "crushing" - let them TALK about it in a safe environment. It's up to me, the teacher to create this.
I hope that this little story brightens your day as much as it brightened mine!