November is Appreciation Month

November in Michigan finds the weather on a definite march toward Winter.  Frosty mornings, white caps on the lake many evenings, and me still too stubborn to put the paddle-board  away in the garage, on the off chance I can use it one more time before the air temperature is too cold until spring!  And even though the winter’s snow and ice are inching ever closer, early November gives us a brief pause to reflect on a year rapidly coming to a close, before the business of the holidays are in full swing.  

I encourage you to stop your day’s hectic pace long enough to take 3 deep breaths.  And to consider a few things in your life that you can be thankful for in this year that is passing quickly.  For you if may be big things, or it may be little things, tucked into some things that may not seem like a reasons to celebrate at all.

I am grateful for a tiny kitten that was abandoned in the grocery store parking lot on the 6th of June, I carried his screaming little body home, and my son and I tried desperately to get milk into his little mouth, that had never known anything besides his mother.  Needless to say, after we got three drops into his mouth and he started purring, he was not going anywhere!  Our little Munchkin, as we affectionate called him from the beginning is a source of joy every day.  And our 1 year old male cat Milo, mothered him from day one!!  The two are like living teddy bears, and a constant source of contentment for us.  

I am also very grateful for my intuition getting stronger as the days march on. I have never been able to say that before this year!!  I never thought that intuition existed, or that I had an ounce of it until recently.  It is only in LISTENING  to the little inner voice, that you can develop that sixth sense.  Tuning in this year led to start meditation as a daily practice. I have been trying (as in repeatedly starting and failing miserably) for 15 years!  So for anyone else that has tried and not been able to “get it” right away, rest assured that there is much hope for you!!  I always wondered why everyone else in a room full of people was so blissful and calm, when my body and mind were saying to me “get up and do SOMETHING, you can’t just be sitting here!”  My fits and starts with trying earnestly, were not a match to the ingrained workaholism that got me through a several tough patches in life.  I am grateful to it, in some ways, as it helped me, at the time, feel in control, to some small degree in situations where the amount of control seemed near zero.  And it gave me a positive feeling of being productive with all the energy I always have. But in the longer term, it pushed me to a point of burn out, and I had to figure out how to teach myself a different way, but my old programming didn’t give up easily!!  

Enter the health challenge at work, for one month every year, my company has a health challenge, where you walk 10,000 steps a day for the month, and the reward is a nice discount on your health insurance.  I love to walk, and it usually takes place in August, which is a beautiful time to spend walking on the many path ways that pass the lake, the rambling brooks that lead to it, and the forested park nearby, so I am always content to join in!  Last year, the month was changed to November, and instead of idyllic late summer evenings, the walking days were 40 degrees and in the cold rain, almost daily. 

Here’s where my intuition kicked in:  just before the challenge, there was a single week in which three separate conversations brought up the name Dr. Joe Dispenza.  I had been studying brain science and the new discoveries hoping to shed some light on how to help my son with anxiety and depression that can hit him at times like waves.  Having never heard of Dr. Joe before, it would have been very easy to overlook, but that tiny inner voice said to pay attention!   As I now had more than 2 hours every evening for a month to walk inside my house, due to the cold rain I started listening to  Dr. Joe’s videos on YouTube.  First, it seemed a bit hard to get into what he was saying.  “Get over the habit of being yourself.”  That sounded downright weird.  Until you listen for the explanation, and realize he is saying that you can literally re-program you mind in any way you wish.  If you start to use your mind in a proactive fashion, you can train your brain to think and feel, happier, more relaxed, joyful, appreciative, confident, any choice that you would like.  Simultaneously, he says that we can un-do programming that leads to anxiety, frustration, depression, anger, and all the stress responses that lead to major health challenges over time.  I heard enough in that month to know that I needed to know more.  My journey from trying to find solutions for my son, lead to listening to Dr. Joe’s guided meditations to fall asleep at night.  I had always tried to meditate on my own, and with rigid rules, such as not being able to move at all.  The guided meditations were so much easier for me, because I could listen to the music and the voice, and that kept my attention long enough to stick with it.   There are walking meditations as well. After a few weeks, I noticed that my resistance to sitting for 20 minutes stopped.  I could sit for 30 minutes, even, and not be squirming like a two year in a car seat!   That in itself felt very free!  

It has been nearly a year since I started regular meditations, breathing exercises and daily practice of reflecting on my truest intentions, making sure that my actions for the day are aligned with what I really believe. I am happier, calmer and more peaceful!! Our destination in life is awesome to look forward to, but making the everyday journey more whole and complete has been an awesome experience!!  I wish the same for you!!