Monday, September 28, 2009

Weeding the Garden of Life, with Gratitude

Weeding the Garden of Life with the Miraculous ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE

Our life is like a garden. It requires nurturing and love.

When you remove the weeds from your garden, the flowers become brighter, stronger and healthier.

When you remove toxicity from your life, you become brighter, stronger and healthier.

Have you ever noticed that when you have plants and flowers growing closer to each other, they look more beautiful and plentiful?

So it is too, when you allow others into your world of friendship, you become richer, too. Love and friendship grow with honesty, trust and appreciation.

Your garden needs nourishment and love, along with the sunshine and the rain. And, so do you.

Even if you try to remove all the weeds from your garden, they manage to sneak back in somehow. There must be a purpose for these weeds or God would not have planted them there. Just as weeds sometimes invade the flowers, our lives become tainted with sadness, frustration and difficult moments. Although we may not know what it is, just as there is a purpose for weeds in our garden, there is a purpose for the pain, sorrow, tribulations and misfortunes that invade our lives.

Years ago I discovered my first purpose for the hardships, problems and misery. I thought about it one day, at one of the darkest moments in my life. Suddenly I realized - how would I know the happiness, pleasure and joy, if I didn't have the troubles with which to compare it? That was my very first revelation. Although I didn't welcome the agony, troubles and misery into my life, I recognized they were there for a reason.

Then my real "AH-HA" moment came when I learned that those moments of difficulty must be welcomed and embraced. We must feel the pain in order to get through it and move on to something more rewarding.  We must have rain for the flowers to grow, just as we must have challenges to gain strength and to grow.


It was then I began to understand GRATITUDE. True actions of being thankful have helped me to transform my life and turn around the difficulties, allowing them to be a part of me for whatever time they are meant to be, and then moving forward with whatever crosses my life's path. It's almost impossible to be able to get through the challenging times without love and gratitude. Okay, maybe it's possible, but not probable. And, without acceptance and appreciation, it takes longer to work through the misery.

I've discovered that there is nothing in this life that is so devastating that we cannot find something for which to be grateful. It's contagious. The more you focus on your blessings, the more you will find. They are there. They are with you always, but sometimes you just need to recognize what they are.

When you choose to place emphasis on your hardships and suffering, you will give them power over you, and they will remain attached to your life. But, by diverting your concentration from your lack to the miracles and wonderment in your life, you give power and strength to the blessings that are already in your life.

Instead of using your thoughts to dream of what you desire and do not have, use your mind to be grateful for what is already there. By doing this, you will attract more into your life for which to be grateful. It's contagious, I tell you! It works!

Although it might require a little more focus to make it effective in dealing with the huge devastating issues, it easily manages the little nuisances we each face almost daily. You know those little nuisances - the little ant hills that we sometimes turn into overwhelming mountains, simply with the distortion in our minds. This is a great place to begin a journey in GRATITUDE.

As I said, it's contagious, so the more you are able to diffuse the ant hills, the easier it naturally becomes to place your attention on that for which you have to be grateful. And, this helps create a habit of being grateful for even those mountains that surface. They do have their purpose, even if you don't understand them.

Someone who doesn't know me might think that I value this way of life, because my life is already easy. But, for those who really know me, already know that is not true. My life has been filled with 60 years of struggles, sadness, depression and moments, which I wouldn't want my worst enemies to ever have to face. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. Not all 60 years have been filled with challenges, but there have been many.

Everyone has weeds in their garden of life. It's not about the weeds, but it's about how you choose to deal with them. I choose GRATITUDE. And, I hope you will, too.

written May 25th, 2008 G.G.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What "stuff" are you made of ?

What is it that determines who YOU are - really ? 
  1. Your age?
  2. Your race or ethnicity
  3. Your religion?  (or lack of...?)
  4. Your income?
  5. Your education?
  6. The home you live in?
  7. If you're messy?  Or tidy and clean?
  8. The car you drive?
  9. Your job?  (or lack of...?)
  10. Your friends?
  11. Your family?
  12. Your sexual preference?
  13. Your political party?
  14. Your ancestors?
  15. The way you dress?
  16. If you're skinny or fat?
  17. Male?  or Female?
  18. How powerful you are?
  19. How successful you are?***
       *** Success is subjective and may be defined differently for each of us. 
              Do NOT base YOUR success on the success of others.
              Be the very best only you are able to be,
                  without comparison to others.

Think about these answers carefully? 

Now, review again......................

 Absolutely NOT 

Those are simply exterior particles of what you are attempting to show the world.  They are NOT the real YOU.  We too often hide behind the mask of those elements.  Take charge of YOU and proclaim who you are.

Possibly, there is a little minute speck of something of each of the above that "may" have some slight influence on who you are.  However, that does not necessarily create who you really are, or who your authentic self is.  Your genuine authentic self is within YOU.

Search deep within your heart and soul to find the truth, and to discover the real YOU.

The truth is.....................
  1. You are your respect of others
  2. You are your respect for yourself
  3. You are the smile on your face
  4. You are the sadness within
  5. You are the amount of sincerity you display
  6. You are the love you share with others
  7. You are the love you have for yourself
  8. You are the honesty within yourself
  9. You are the amount of gratitude you express
  10. You are your generosity
  11. You are your level of compassion

You have the unlimited potential to be all of these.  It's YOUR choice.

Conversely, you also have the potential to be...........................
  1. filled with hatred
  2. disrespectful
  3. deceitful
  4. dishonest
  5. selfish
  6. ungrateful
  7. ignorant
  8. rude
  9. angry
  10. stressed
  11. frustrated 

Who YOU are, and what creates the authentic YOU is completely in your control.  It's YOUR choice, and no one elses.  YOU are responsible for who YOU are.  It is your sole responsibility and no one else's.  Your environment or your circumstances do not dictate who you are.  So, don't use those as a crutch or an excuse.  You're only fooling yourself.


REPEAT - your past is NOT you.  Although you cannot change the past, you do have the ability to change who you are TODAY, this one NOW moment. 

You CAN create the person you desire to be - TODAY.  By transforming your energy into a direction of acceptance, you have the ability to create a future, filled with more  - 
  1. more happiness
  2. more satisfaction
  3. more love
  4. more compassion
  5. more smiles
  6. more fulfillment
  7. better friendships
  8. better feelings within yourself, about yourself
  9. more self-respect
  10. more self-confidence
  11. less stress
  12. better health 
  13. peace and serenity
  14. the ability to accept difficulty, learn from it and know it's only temporary
(or not - it's your decision) 

Begin today - begin right now, at this very NOW moment -
As each NOW moment passes, know that it's gone forever, never to return.  You will NEVER get that time back again.  Make the most of each moment, with a fresh renewed attitude.

  1. See the world from a different perspective
  2. View others in a different light than you've ever seen them before
  3. Understand each other's differences and know it's okay to be different from each other
  4. Feel love for everyone whose path crosses yours
  5. Find compassion for others - realize you don't know what's going on inside of them, or what could possibly be hurting them
  6. Learn to express gratitude - - - - -
Find gratitude in EVERYTHING that crosses your life's path - EVERYTHING - even the crap of life - It's there.  It will surface, often when we least expect it.  We cannot avoid it.  It's a "given".  But, we do have the ability to transform our attitude toward it.

Know that each difficult moment in life is a potential for education.  

Instead of asking, "Why me?", when something unpleasant or even devastating enters your life; ask "Why not me?  and "What lesson can I learn from this experience?".

Whatever it is that your choose, regardless of what anyone else says or thinks



Remember ~~~  Perfection does NOT exist.  Embrace your imperfections, as well as those of others.  Know that there will be challenges.  Allow yourself to feel emotions as you experience them.  Then move on into the next moment.

P.S.  Some random thoughts.........................
  • The goal is not to HAVE more, but to GIVE more
  • Generosity is contagious - Pay it Forward
  • The more we share with others - the more we have

If I could put the wisdom of gratitude, attitude and generosity into a bottle for sale .........

I would not sell it, but I'd give it away to anyone who wanted it, in hopes they would pay it forward.

With Gratitude,

Sunday, September 13, 2009


If you haven't read Part One, I suggest you read it first.

....and now, Part 2......
(I wrote this in November 2007, shortly after writing Part 1.)
This is not meant to be religious, nor is it meant to judge, criticize or convince you that my beliefs are right. They may not be right for you, but right now at this time in my life, they are right for me. This is simply an introduction to my personal beliefs. It is not my intention to offend anyone, so please read this with an open mind.

Some people believe in one specific organized religion. This is okay. Some people believe that they must attend regular services at a church or temple, or some type of brick-and-mortar building. This, too, is fine.

Many people believe that only their particular method of worship is the right one. Many people believe that the entire world should be converted to their own religion. In my opinion, this is where those people are invading other’s territories. This is where they are infringing their personal beliefs on others. To me, this is not right.

Many of these biased ideas are based on guilt and fear. “If you don’t do it MY way, you are wrong and will suffer.” What I say about this, is “Why is any one way right?”. It’s not. It may be right for you, but not for me or anyone else you are attempting to persuade. I say – stop trying to change the world – stop trying to change other people – and simply do what you believe is right. It is right, but it’s right for YOU, not for everyone.

I, personally, do not need a building to go to once a week to be a good person. I do not need to follow specific religious rules to be a good person. These rules have been made up by human people, who are interpreting what they think their God meant to say in the Bible or whatever religious book they read. I’m not knocking this. If it works for you, then by all means, continue following what is best for you. But, please do not keep trying to convert everyone else. And, even more importantly, please do not criticize or judge others for not following your path. We each need to discover what is best for us on our own, with whatever knowledge we are fortunate enough to grasp.

I have difficulty understanding how some people can attend church services and go through all the outward motions expected by their religion to be a good person and do what they believe God wants, and then immediately upon leaving the building, (a church or temple), go about their lives treating others so badly. Being a good person does not stop when you leave that building. It’s important to continue the path you’ve chosen whether you’re in your place of worship or not – whether you worship in any way, or not. Being a good person is meant to be a way of life, at all times.

To me, it just seems hypocritical to be kind only when someone thinks others are watching. If one believes in God, then it would seem they would believe that He is always watching; not only while one is in church.

Briefly, these are just a couple of reasons I have made the choices I’ve made in my life.

I do understand that not everyone who is involved in organized religion is hypocritical. There are many who do follow the path of being kind and considerate to others at all times, whether they are in a church or not. I was simply pointing out that there are also some who are deceptive, because they are simply in it for the show. These are the very ones who believe others will judge or criticize them if they don’t make their weekly appearance in church. These are the very ones who will criticize and judge you for not attending. These are the ones that are so preoccupied with other’s lives that they forget to take care of their own lives.

I would prefer to associate with people who never go to church, but are good people and who are kind to others, than to associate with church-goers, who are rude and uncaring to others. It’s NOT important to me what your religion is, or if you attend church services or if you are an atheist. None of that affects my life. What is important to me is the person you are and if you are compassionate, honest, loving and kind to yourself and to others. Those are the people with whom I choose to surround myself. And, this is the type of person I wish to be.

Preaching to me and imposing guilt and fear will not change me. This type of behavior only pushes me away from whatever you are trying to convince me to believe. Of course this is strictly my own personal feeling, of which I’ve learned I have a right to believe – exactly as each of us does. I will take care of my life, and you should take care of yours. Thinking this way helps create harmony in my relationships with others, allowing us to be more compatible. I respect other’s feelings and beliefs, just as I expect other people to respect mine.

That being said, if you are a part of my life, you are here because I have faith in you. I respect you and love you unconditionally, regardless of your beliefs, and regardless of any other differences we may have.

I appreciate the uniqueness of who you are.  Remember to always remain true to yourself.

I'm grateful for you, just the way you are.


Saturday, September 12, 2009


Grateful for Individuality and Uniqueness

The beauty of this world is that it is comprised of so many different types of people, each with different beliefs, each with their own personal perspective, and each very special in their own unique way.

Why is it then, that there are many people who consume so much energy on attempting to convince others to conform to one type of belief or to view only one side of an issue?

Personally (and I can only speak from my own personal place), I do not wish to live my life looking into the eyes of my friends and see only myself. I want to experience new ideas and fresh perspectives on life and all there is to discover. I do not wish to limit my experiences based on only my life and my beliefs. I want to expand my knowledge to that of as many different options as possible during my life. The only way to do this is to allow myself to be accessible to new things, and to be willing to expose my mind to all possibilities.

Each of us has valuable opinions to contribute. Instead of trying to influence the world to be a mirror image of myself, I find it absolutely refreshing and educational to learn about others, and what makes them tick and why they have the beliefs they have. There is such an appreciation to be felt in being open and receptive to others.

To me, it seems close-minded and selfish to believe that everything I have to offer in this world and to myself is only what I know and what I believe. How inflexible and rigid is that to believe that I know it all? Well, I can say that I do not know it all and neither does anyone else. That’s why it’s important to allow ourselves every chance possible to learn and discover more. We do not necessarily need to agree with all the information we are able to gather. What we do with that knowledge is a personal choice. But, it’s valuable to have additional information with which to help in making new choices and decisions in our lives. Without being exposed to new ideas, we are missing new opportunities.

If you stop to think about the numerous different people in this world, each with different perspectives, you can become aware of the potential you have for opening up your mind and your world to new and exciting phases of your life. By listening to others, you might gain a new healthier perspective and your life could improve, allowing you to be a happier person. You may also gain insight as to what you do NOT wish to have in your life. It’s all so invigorating and rejuvenating. But, you must maintain an open mind.

Enjoy your day, keep smiling and keep your mind open.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Priorities and Gratitude Discovered between the Flames and the Falling Ashes

The loud blaring noise of the water-dropping helicopters was comforting

The Angry Fire

Sadness of frightened wildlife, displaced from their natural habitat

It was just nine and a half months ago that I wrote about the gratitude, which victims had discovered, after their devastating loss from the Sylmar fire. That was the last time I wrote in this blog. Now, today, even more so than last November, I have a much deeper appreciation for the blessings in my life. The compassion, I had for those who lost so much last year, has grown.

Just one week ago, our neighborhood was under a mandatory evacuation order, due to the Station Fire. I was driving home from a hair appointment about eight miles away, when I received a call that we were being evacuated. As I got closer to our home, the smoke thickened, flames flared up and ashes fell like rain. My only thought was to get home quickly to rescue my dog and the mounds of old family photos. Suddenly, nothing else mattered.

In a moment of panic, I realized what was really important. A house-full of "stuff", the material possessions on which we place way too much value, suddenly were not the treasures we had thought they were.

It was an eerie feeling when I arrived home to find the neighbors loading their cars, my husband loading up his car - with mostly photos. A neighbor was inside, helping to remove the photos in frames that hung on the walls. The dog was anxiously pacing in the backyard, as the turmoil continued. It was quite apparent he felt our anxiety.

Our cars were all packed up and ready to go............... BUT, my husband didn't want to leave. We were ready, if the fire came any closer. I wanted to go, but I couldn't abandon the man I love. A few other neighbors remained behind, too.

For three days, we walked up and down our street, to the end of the cul de sac and back again - taking pictures and videos - talking to neighbors - watering the house - then back inside to see the latest news on TV, sometimes forgetting to eat and being unable to sleep. It's frightening to see your own neighborhood, with flames on the hillside flaring up on the TV newscast - not just any news either - it was always "Breaking News". And, it's even more frightening to be standing outside of your home to see those flames and feel the heat generated from them.

Last Saturday - the first day of evacuation - never having experienced anything like this before, I grabbed LOTS of old photos, some clothes, toiletries, dog food - and just threw it all haphazardly in heaps inside the car. What a mess. I thought, "Would I ever find what I needed after we left?"

Early Sunday morning, Murray (the dog) and I took a walk. Even with the high temperatures of the heat, there was a "chill" in the air - an eerie atmosphere. It was before the water-dropping helicopters began for the day. Our neighborhood is normally quiet, except for the occasional car driving by. However, on this morning, there were NO cars on the streets - no birds singing. The QUIET was so abnormally loud. It was strangely comforting when the helicopters began their daily routine.

Murray and I walked to the corner, and came face-to-face with three frightened baby deer. A sadness came over me, as I thought about the wild animals who've been displaced and driven out of their mountains by the fire and smoke.

Although it was still scary on Sunday morning, I removed many of the items from the car, organized it and re-packed it in a more orderly fashion. The longer we stayed, the more treasures I found to add to the car. With all the photos being priority, how could I have forgotten our wedding albums? Jewelry?

But, the area inside the cars reached capacity. It was then I realized what's REALLY important.

Excess clothes in the closet, extra shoes, collectibles, baseball cards, old toys, my old children's books from the 1950's, other sentimental items - no longer was any of this "stuff" the treasure we had cherished in the illusions of our minds. Surprisingly, reality set in. And, in reality, it's just simply "stuff".

Something I've learned to focus on, and believe in my heart ~ ~

There is ALWAYS something for which to be grateful - even in the midst of the crap and challenges of life.

Fleeting thoughts that passed through my mind, as we experienced last week's wildfire ~~

1. Gratitude for having donated many usable items to charity only one week earlier.

2. Gratitude for a disaster bringing neighbors together; for getting to know neighbors down the street, to whom I've never or rarely talked. We have some awesome neighbors on our street! I'm grateful to now know them.

3. Gratitude for the awareness of what is really valuable to me.

4. Gratitude for finally looking through the numerous old family photos, instead of allowing them to remain hidden and packed away. What's the point of having a treasure, if it cannot be enjoyed?

5. Gratitude for the peace and serenity of our neighborhood, which appears to be back to "normal" - unless, of course, your eyes happen to gaze upon the burnt charred mountains in the background, or you detect the faint traces of lingering smoke.

And, most of all, I am grateful for the firefighters, who worked so very hard to prevent any structure loss and to help keep our neighborhood safe; and who are still fighting this same fire in other areas, as it's only 49% contained.

The firefighters are amazing! To see them in action is unbelievable.

Although it's understood that they are our heroes............. it's much more apparent now, to me. I've always respected them, but now I have a whole new increased respect and appreciation for our heroes.

THANK YOU TO ALL THE FIREFIGHTERS - EVERYWHERE! Your hard work is greatly appreciated!