Tag: Appreciation

Walk in beauty

My dear sister Alma passed away last week. Unexpectedly. Too young. And too suddenly too. I have known and loved her from the day I was born. 45 years she has been there serving as my compass, my muse, my inspiration for finding beauty, building bridges, creating a home, connecting with family and living in joy. As I go through photos now I am given a visual reminder of our hearts’ connection. She was 12 years older than me. My godmother. My mentor. My teenage mother. As time passed our roles evened out and I became less the little sister and more a peer and a friend. Even though we lived far away we connected via notes, packages, emails, phone calls and even the occasional telepathy.

I’ve received lots of notes and cards since she passed. Some from dear friends and family of both of ours. Some from people in her world who want to let me know how lovely she was in their life. Some from friends of mine who didn’t know her but knew how connected we were. Each card brings some nugget. Some memory. And the realization of just how lucky we were to have each other all the years we did.

In her passing there are no regrets. We had let each other know how much we loved and appreciated each other. Sometimes it was in a big way through a lengthened visit. Other times it was a one line text to say, “busy but thinking of you…” And in between those there were various sentiments of appreciation, true connection and deep, deep love and respect for each other.

I’m telling you this because she was amazing. Because I want to shout from the mountain tops that she was here and now is gone. Because I miss her so, so much. And, because I am glad that when she died, she died in joy and in the knowledge that she was loved and appreciated. By me of course and by so many.

I’m telling you this also because I want to share the joy I feel in knowing that she knew how I felt when she died. If you have someone in your life who is important to you, tell them how you feel. Send them a note. Give them a call. Text them a line. Message them on your favorite social network. Just tell them. And if you live in the same house – be they your partner or your children or your parents or a roommate, share with them your appreciation of their existence. Leave a note on their pillow. Look them in the eye and let them know the joy they bring to your life. Tell them today and then tell them again and again and again.

And if you meet someone today, someone new, someone who does or says or is just something beautiful, let them know their joyful impact. Fill them with your love and appreciation and your joy and you will be filled with love and appreciation and joy too. And you will both walk in beauty.

And you will hold that memory as part of you your whole life long. They will be a part of you. And you will be a part of them. Truly all one.

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imagesI can’t prove that this is coming directly from the Dalai Lama. Regardless, it seems like wise words to live by so here you go…

1. Spend 5 minutes at the beginning of each day remembering we all want the same things (to be happy and to be loved) and we are all connected to one another.

2. Spend 5 minutes breathing in, cherishing yourself; and, breathing out cherishing others. If you think about people you have difficulty cherishing, extend your cherishing to them anyway.

3. During the day extend that attitude to everyone you meet. Practice cherishing the “simplest” person (clerks, attendants, etc.) or people you dislike.

4. Continue this practice no matter what happens or what anyone does to you.

These thoughts are very simple, inspiring and helpful. The practice of cherishing can be taken very deeply if done wordlessly, allowing yourself to feel the love and appreciation that already exists in your heart.

This quote, and a treasure trove of others, can be found here.

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25 ways to simplify your life

I came across this great post today on a site called Zen Habits. It’s a simple list about simplifying life at home with children. Ways to stay present. Stay connected. And still get stuff done.

at home 033At our house we’ve decided to revisit the world of gratitude and appreciation. It’s needed. And it’ll bring us all where we need to be. And it’ll be the chance to focus on what’s working instead of what’s not.

As for the slide picture, well, I got such a great response to the last one I figured I’d put another in there with a different angle. As a little nod to all the free range kids and parents out there in the world. And to answer the question someone sent me about “is it really as big as it looks in the photo??” Yes is the answer.

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Ten women participated in our eight hour mama’s retreat Saturday at Carrie’s house. We wrote and talked and pondered and meditated and sewed and cried and slept and pondered some more. One of the things we did while we sewed was an Appreciation Round. Each time round the circle we offered up a different subject starting with self. An appreciation for self, partner, friends and each child. It was a powerful moment for me as I listened to each one sharing a completely heartfelt appreciation for themselves and the important people in their lives. It felt good too to think about each person in my own family and really identify something we truly appreciated about each one. And as I spoke I realized I could have gone on and on and on. What a great thing to realize and to share in a circle: first that there are so many people to appreciate and second that there are so many things to appreciate about each one.

In our home we have an Appreciation Banner with a pocket for each person. For many months we kept it active, sharing the sentiments each Sunday night around the dinner table. It’s been stagnant for a while now but I think it’s time to reactivate and bring back the air of appreciation that the practice generated in our home.

I highly recommend starting it up in your own home. It just feels good. Both to be appreciated and to appreciate.

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