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Thankful Thursday Courtesy of the Poet, Hafiz

thankfulthursdaygratitudeAs Simrat at Akal Ranch says,

Gratitude creates its own attitude.

Once again, It’s Thankful Thursday, and I’m taking a moment to consider all the things I have to be grateful for. Part of mindful awareness is living gratitude every moment of every day, and not just while writing Thankful Thursday’s post.

The poet Hafiz writes in his poem It Felt Love,

How did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
All its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light
Against its being,
Otherwise,
We all remain
Too frightened

Elisha Goldstein, PhD writes that it is easier to open up and reveal our own gifts to the world when we feel positive loving encouragement.

Every day we have an opportunity to practice mindfulness with inspiration from this poem, learning to cultivate gratitude and lovingkindness (metta).

Goldstein suggests this practice to feel that encouragement:

•  Think of a person or animal who represents light, who represents a loving and kind presence in your life. This can be a good friend who is alive, maybe someone who has passed away, a pet, or maybe a spiritual figure such as the Dalai Lama, Jesus, or even the hand of God.
•  Take a moment to imagine that presence here, with you, looking into your eyes.
•  Now imagine that person saying to you, “May you be safe and protected from inner and outer harm”, “May you be happy,” “May you be free from fear”, “May you be healthy in body and mind”. •  You can also create your own wishes and aspirations here.
•  Now turn toward that person and say that with the same intention to them.
•  Now imagine your family and friends with you (those who you feel difficulty with and those who you feel more ease with) and with intention, saying those same words.
•  Take a moment to just feel into how you are doing and whatever is there, just letting it be.

This is the core of mindfulness practice, which is founded upon gratitude.

Take a few minutes today to create your own Thankful Thursday. If you don’t have a blog of your own, you are welcome to post your thoughts here. If you have a blog, post what you are grateful for there, and please link back here. Feel free to tag other bloggers. We are trying to get a mindful movement of gratitude going.

For more thankfulness try out Akal Ranch, From the Horse’s Back, Tired Dog Ranch, Earth Dancer Spanish Mustangs or the Pony Expression.




© 2009 enlightened horsemanship through touch and Kim Cox Carneal

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist and conducts a private practice in West Los Angeles. He is co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook (New Harbinger, February 2010) Check out Dr. Goldstein’s acclaimed CD’s on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety and Depression, Addiction and Relapse Prevention, and Success and Stress Reduction at Work.

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Thankful Thursday

thankfulthursdaygratitudeAs Simrat at Akal Ranch says,

Gratitude creates its own attitude.

Once again, It’s Thankful Thursday, and I’m taking a moment to consider all the things I have to be grateful for. Part of mindful awareness is living gratitude every moment of every day, and not just while writing Thankful Thursday’s post.

Sometimes the suggestion to integrate gratitude can seem trite or to simple to really be a remedy for our difficulties in life. So, why would we want to do that?
For the same reason that neuroscientists are finding that discipline can retrain our brains (e.g., neuroplasticity). So when we’re exercising or practicing meditation, the idea is not to do these with the goal of “being relaxed” in mind, but to do them to lay down new tracks in the brain so that our “auto-pilot” doesn’t automatically default to ineffective and destructive habitual strategies in the future.

Elisha Goldstein, PhD, who writes a blog on neuroplasticity at psychcentral.com and is the co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, suggests that as we practice techniques of gratitude, we will begin to recognize that there is a choice and we don’t need to engage in self-destructive behaviors such as self-criticism, anger, binge eating, or self-isolation. This can only really happen as these new neural tracks are laid down. The immediate result of counting our blessings is not the point: it is the retraining of the brain that does the work.

To this end, Robert Emmons and Michael McCollough conducted a 2003 study a while back called Counting Blessings versus Burdens. They divided their subjects into three groups of people and asked one group to count 5 blessings per day, one group to count 5 burdens per day and another group to write about neutral events. Surprise! The people who counted blessings reported less stress and more feelings associated with wellbeing.

Part of retraining the brain is the willingness to be present with the discomfort which comes up for many people (especially during this holiday season). Approaching all the feelings about our lives with attentive observation begins the rewiring process. Goldstein likens the beginning of the process to planting a seed. Starting to pay attention to what we are grateful for in life (just for a moment or two each day) is like laying down a row of seeds. As we repeat the process, it’s like watering the seeds. All plants take a while to grow, but given proper care and attention, grow they will

Today I will start the process by sharing that I’m grateful for the opportunities my job has given me. It’s not just a job, but a life-giving force that has expanded my mind and heart.

Take a few minutes today to create your own Thankful Thursday. If you don’t have a blog of your own, you are welcome to post your thoughts here. If you have a blog, post what you are grateful for there, and please link back here. Feel free to tag other bloggers. We are trying to get a mindful movement of gratitude going.

For more thankfulness try out Akal Ranch, From the Horse’s Back, Tired Dog Ranch, Earth Dancer Spanish Mustangs or the Pony Expression.

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Thankful Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

Thankful Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

thankfulthursdaygratitude

Once again, It’s Thankful Thursday, and I’m taking a moment to consider all the things I have to be grateful for. Part of mindful awareness is living gratitude every moment of every day, and not just while writing Thankful Thursday’s post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Simrat at Akal Ranch says,

Gratitude creates its own attitude.

What a year it has been since last Thanksgiving day. I don’t like roller coasters. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you. County fairs and amusement parks will see Kim on the midway shooting paper ducks and throwing rings at bowling pins instead of riding crazy hills and valleys. Ups and downs, crazy curls and straightaways, near-stalls and sudden accelerations. My life provides enough of those, thank you.

This time last year I was in a personal turmoil I don’t actually care to remember. I was awaiting surgery for my damaged disks, which were torturing my spinal cord with a skill that rivaled even the worst pain of labor and childbirth. And I was juggling the varied and pressing needs of my daughter at the same time. Yet there was a tiny ray of light–my job, which was to provide me with the key to my present day freedom and contentment.

I did not use the word, joy, you will notice. Things seem to have leveled off at the moment, and I’m taking it one day at a time. I’m not going to create a roller coaster of an opportunity to rise and then fall precipitously. A steady state of contentment will not only do nicely but is my ultimate goal.

For today, I have found it in the following:

My daughter’s delightful reveling in her freedom to live her own life, unhindered by constraints of mom. Her new apartment is a study in modern cool: the browns, blacks and oranges a reflection of her desire to remain grounded. The deep greens reveal her hope for growth. In our phone conversations, she has shared with me her reconnections with friends form high school, her activities with friends of the family, and all about the new friends she is making. It appears there is never a dull moment. I am incredibly proud of her, and full to bursting with gratitude on her behalf. She is 21 years old. She is healthy. She is living life.

Take a few minutes today to create your own Thankful Thursday. If you don’t have a blog of your own, you are welcome to post your thoughts here. If you have a blog, post what you are grateful for there, and please link back here. Feel free to tag other bloggers. We are trying to get a mindful movement of gratitude going.

For more thankfulness try out Akal Ranch, From the Horse’s Back, Tired Dog Ranch, Earth Dancer Spanish Mustangs or the Pony Expression




© 2009 enlightened horsemanship through touch and Kim Cox Carneal

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Thankful Thursday: Autumnal Arias

Thankful Thursday: Autumnal Arias

thankfulthursdaygratitudeAs Simrat at Akal Ranch says,

Gratitude creates its own attitude.

Once again, It’s Thankful Thursday, and I’m taking a moment to consider all the things I have to be grateful for. Part of mindful awareness is living gratitude every moment of every day, and not just while writing Thankful Thursday’s post.

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I’ve been singing. The praises of my friends Angela and Shawn, and Victoria and my new friend Sarah. And my brother-in-lay Paul and his brother Patrick, and of my sister Shelly and my nephew Finn. And of the stunning hues that painted the landscape of my home. I only felt those colors tug at my heart once or twice.

By some mysterious agency, what we have long hoped for, my daughter returning home to Virginia to live, became possible. The freedom she has always wanted presented itself. She deserves it. Along with her independence comes freedom for me for the first time in my adult life. We can barely contain ourselves!

We jumped at the chance, and went to Virginia. With lots of giggling and the signing of more credit card receipts than I care to remember, we set her up in a beautiful apartment in Charlottesville. She will attend college there in the spring.

Now I’m in Santa Fe with some of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met, learning about the minds, bodies and spirits of horses and how touch can change all of them.

I am so grateful that our mutual liberty has enabled my daughter and me to follow our individual journeys. Though our paths now diverge, I know they will come together again and again. And so she can always find me, no matter where I go, I will keep singing.

Take a few minutes today to create your own Thankful Thursday. If you don’t have a blog of your own, you are welcome to post your thoughts here. If you have a blog, post what you are grateful there, and please link back here. Feel free to tag other bloggers. We are trying to get a mindful movement of gratitude going.

For more thankfulness try out Akal Ranch, From the Horse’s Back, Tired Dog Ranch, Earth Dancer Spanish Mustangs or the Pony Expression.



© 2009 enlightened horsemanship through touch and Kim Cox Carneal

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Thankful Thursday: Thanks Readers and Commenters!

thankfulthursdaygratitudeAs Simrat at Akal Ranch says,

Gratitude creates its own attitude.

Once again, It’s Thankful Thursday, and I’m taking a moment to consider all the things I have to be grateful for. Part of mindful awareness is living gratitude every moment of every day, and not just while writing Thankful Thursday’s post, however. Please remember that even if you don’t participate in Thankful Thursdays, be mindful and grateful for everything.


I’ve been perusing my comments and stats today and thinking about all the great things writing this blog has brought me. The best thing is that I’ve gotten to “know” some really fine people. I’ve learned so much from all of you, and I hope to continue learning. My points of view are ever widening, thanks to your comments. Please keep them coming, and know that I am grateful for your presence here, and that you take the time to comment.

Take a few minutes today to create your own Thankful Thursday. If you don’t have a blog of your own, you are welcome to post your thoughts here. If you have a blog, post what you are grateful there, and please link back here. Feel free to tag other bloggers. We are trying to get a mindful movement of gratitude going.

For more thankfulness try out Akal Ranch, From the Horse’s Back,Tired Dog Ranch, Earth Dancer Spanish Mustangs, or the Pony Expression




© 2009 enlightened horsemanship through touch and Kim Cox Carneal

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Thankful Thursday: Good Friends and Determined Beagles

thankfulthursdaygratitudeAs Simrat at Akal Ranch says,

Gratitude creates its own attitude.

Once again, It’s Thankful Thursday, and I’m taking a moment to consider all the things I have to be grateful for. Part of mindful awareness is living gratitude every moment of every day, and not just while writing Thankful Thursday’s post, however. Please remember that even if you don’t participate in Thankful Thursdays, be mindful and grateful for everything.

Take a few minutes today to create your own Thankful Thursday. If you don’t have a blog of your own, you are welcome to post your thoughts here. If you have a blog, post what you are grateful there, and please link back here. Feel free to tag other bloggers. We are trying to get a mindful movement of gratitude going.

For more thankfulness try out Akal Ranch, Tired Dog Ranch, or the Pony Expression.

Last week was a killer. I say that with metaphorical intention, but it could have been literal in many senses of the word. It was a tough week. But I have much to be grateful for.

My daughter is out of the hospital, and for the moment, well. We have no concrete plans to return there.
My beagle, Ruby, not to be separated from her human, made not one, but two valiant but ill-advised attempts to gain her freedom and find me all the way in Kealakekua. One day I left her and my cats Evinrude and Gizmo in the house, with the doors and windows closed. All but a tiny crack in the upstairs sliding doors that lead to the lanai (pretentious Hawaiian word for balcony) for fresh air. It seems that Ruby took the “I WILL NOT BE CONTAINED” oath all beagles take at birth and took it seriously. When I returned home at dinnertime to feed them and let everyone out for their business and some affection, I called to her and heard no response. panic!

I went running out into the drive yelling her name only to be confronted by a smiling but uncertain Peter the condo manager, Ruby in tow. She had apparently leapt off the upper lanai, and fallen two stories to her freedom, and was on her way to find me when he caught her.

Adrenaline must have masked her pain, because she is still lame, though the vet assures me she is not terribly injured. The very next day she tried the same thing at Linda’s house, creeping silently off the upper lanai onto Linda’s front porch ROOF. She had to be talked down like a suicide attempt. She was given a treat and a thorough talking to.

Which brings me to the final object of my gratitude for this week: my boss, Linda. Not only is she my boss, but she is also my friend. And Ruby’s friend. She kept Ruby for the week, enabling the formation of a fast friendship between Ruby beagle and Rayne the Westie. I can’t imagine a better temporary human for an injured and disoriented dog than Linda Tellington-Jones. Now Ruby has friends in Hawaii, too!

Someone please remind me to issue them both parachutes the next time I have to go away.






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© 2009 enlightened horsemanship through touch and Kim Cox Carneal

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