Tag: learning

The Wind and The Rain

It was the kind of day when the sun could melt the sidewalk. There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky, nor had there been for weeks. The farmer’s patience was regularly tested in his profession, but this drought seemed unwavering. It had been weeks since his crops last tasted water. The farmer bent over and picked up a small handful of soil. The bed of earth planted to support the farmer’s crops was expectingly dry and crumbled in his calloused hand.

“I know you’re hurting”.

The farmer spoke quietly to his plants. He had done all he could to prepare his fields for a barren summer, but had he done enough, the farmer wasn’t certain. A farmer without rain is like a fisherman without a rod. It would only take a few more days of dry heat to spoil his future fall harvest.

It was just before dawn but the sky was still draped in darkness. The farmer stirred in his sleep and awoke to a familiar baritone rumble outside his secluded cabin. The sound shook the very foundation of his modest home.

“It has to be thunder“.

He had pleaded and prayed for the promise of rain. The farmer lifted himself from his bed and rushed outside with a childlike eagerness. The sound was a devine message the farmer dare not misinterpret. It was thunder alright but it was also so much more. Directly overhead, the farmer saw outlines of storm clouds and streaks of lightning. Again, the thunder roared with power.

As the wind picked up with an unmistakable intensity, what the farmer saw next was no apparition. Lightning illuminated a part between the clouds and there the farmer saw what he believed to be the face of God.

The farmer marveled as The Wind spun, guided, and twisted a school of rain. A gentle hold bound the pair as they moved in the sky with grace. Now, The Rain started to fall gently to the Earth, seemingly, one at a time. The farmer kept his curious, sunken brown eyes locked above him.

The Rain turned heavy and slapped against the farmer’s flesh. The Wind now deafening, caused the farmer to retreat inside. The farmer took up a new viewing point from inside his cabin, dripping on the wood floor beneath his boots. The farmer now saw what he couldn’t before from inside the storm.

“They’re dancing”.

The farmer’s memory flashed with the same brevity and intensity of the lightning. He saw his wedding day and his beautiful bride. He remembered them glide across the dance floor, alone in a crowded room. He blinked and he saw The Wind, always changing, moving The Rain with a determined unpredictability. He blinked again and his mind returned to the past. They were in love. He saw himself and his wife give their vows and solidify an ancient and sacred connection. A connection like the one between The Wind and The Rain. One always finding and supporting the other.

His mind wavered between two realities, unsure where to anchor. The farmer snapped from his trance as The Rain rolled down the face of the farmer’s home.

The rainstorm didn’t dissipate, it just moved. The Rain turned to a quiet patter on the glass window in use. The sun was coming up and brought clarity to the panorama outside the farmer’s home. He returned outside and felt the dirt turn back to soil. Once again, his crops could grow with a fervent fashion. The Wind sang with a different tune. The song, played for the lonely crop fields, brought the farmer peace.

The farmer was always grateful for The Wind and The Rain. He would spend his whole life searching and waiting for its return. The cycle regularly tested the farmer’s faith and patience. To the farmer, it was like falling in love over and over, and over again. He was grateful for The Wind and The Rain but never expected the pair to stay. Too much would destroy everything the farmer worked so hard to grow. Even in the farmer’s old age, he had still yet to find an everlasting and ethereal balance between love and work. The eventful morning would hold him over for the time being. Eager, for the return and renewal of The Wind and The Rain.

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Time with my family and time to reflect
  2. Teamwork and encouragement
  3. The process of learning
  4. The warmth of the summer sun
  5. Sharing gratitude

Daily Gratitude: Life On Mars

Through time and space, I arrive anxious and uncertain. I am in a dark place, isolated by my own doing. I controlled the launch. I selected the destination. Fear of asphyxiation lies right outside the comfort of my shuttle.

What if I’m not ready?

What if I’m not good enough?

Often times, this is what self questioning and depreciation can feel like. We retreat to the darkest places of our mind, only to be met by irrational fears and a contorted view of our reality. We may not travel to Mars but these thoughts certainly can make us feel hundreds of millions of miles from anyone who can help or understand. The same two questions presented prior to any kind of major change or transition in our lives. These questions, have an answer.

You are ready.

You are good enough.

You were born for this.

I step out on to the surface of the foreign planet. The sun, warming my suit and finally reaching this side of Mars. I grow more confident with each motion forward. I forge a new path in a strange place leaving behind the comfort of my ship.

Up-Hill

Does the road wind up-hill all the way? Yes, to the very end. 

Will the day’s journey take the whole long day? From morn to night, my friend. 

But is there for the night a resting-place? A roof for when the slow dark hours begin. 

May not the darkness hide it from my face? You cannot miss that inn. 

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night? Those who have gone before. 

Then must I knock, or call when just in sight? They will not keep you standing at that door. 

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak? Of labour you shall find the sum. 

Will there be beds for me and all who seek? Yea, beds for all who come.

As the old adage goes, we don’t know unless we try. Words of change fill and circle my mind like wind trapped in a bottle. The journey will not be easy. The answers we seek may not always be clear. But we must begin if we wish to find our way. Indecision and complacency leave us stranded in the recess of our minds, on the cold side of distant planets.

Begin today, and do it with gratitude for what got you here.

04.24.19

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Clear blue skies and warm spring days
  2. The sound of the wind, a song and a reminder
  3. Creative outlets and opportunities
  4. Coaches, teachers, mentors, and role models
  5. Late night ice cream
  6. A couple deep breaths when I need them
  7. Time to reflect and decide
  8. Inspiration, in all its forms
  9. My family and the support they provide
  10. The here and now, this present moment

Check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I started writing about gratitude and why I want you to start writing a list of your own. 

If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)!

With The World At My Feet

Hello Internet!

Happy holidays to those that celebrate. Otherwise, I hope you are enjoying your spring weekend in fun and inventive ways. Yesterday was a big day for me. After what has been two years of graduate school, one semester of writing, and months upon weeks of planning my presentation, I have successfully completed and presented my Integrative Thesis Recommendations. This assignment has loomed over me and consumed my time and energy for far too long now and I’m grateful to be done.

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I couldn’t have done it without these people among many others. Something I have learned through this process is the importance of asking for help. This project was a culmination of long nights and worried weekends. The support and encouragement given to me was the fuel I needed to march on.

“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” – T.S. Elliot

My hope is that with the conclusion of my research I can propel myself into whatever comes next. Uncertainty continues to mark my visions of the future. Maybe I learn to poorly play the violin, the instrument’s strings wailing under the pressure of my practice. Maybe learning a new language would be most fulfilling. Exploring new corners of the Earth I have yet to consider simply by listening. Whatever comes next, it is time I am most eager to learn about.

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

I’m not interested in easy and I detest the idea of being average. I hope to change the world in extraordinary imperfect ways with time as my accomplice. One day at a time.

Community Post: Finding My Identity

This post is written by Katie Lemons, a wonderful blogger, and creator you can learn more about at (Hot & Sour). Katie was recognized as a recipient of Amazon’s Top 35 Family Lifestyle blogs. 

I am a woman. I am Chinese-American. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a scientist. I am a writer. I am all of these things, yet none of these words can accurately portray my individuality or even begin to explain the essence of who I am.

It wasn’t until after my son was born that I truly began to think deeply about my own identity. Before then, I had taken it for granted that I knew who I was, that it wasn’t something that needed to be reflected upon. But after having a child, my identity became inextricably intertwined with the little person who was now a permanent fixture in my life. It was only when I tried to separate myself from the role of motherhood that I realized I didn’t know where to begin.

Little by little, I began to realize that my identity is not defined by my roles, my job, or my hobbies. Rather than looking for labels to describe me, I began to look at the various aspects of my life as the things which bring me overwhelming joy. It wasn’t until I began to appreciate and be thankful for the things I have that I was able to shift my focus and live life to the fullest.

I am grateful for…

  1. The feeling of sinking into my bed, after an exhausting day
  2. Watching my son eagerly absorbing everything the world has to offer
  3. Reading a book that truly resonates with me
  4. Finding something in common with someone else that is totally unexpected
  5. Witnessing the immense love my son continuously receives from his grandparents
  6. A long hug with my husband after work
  7. Sleeping in on the weekend when my son visits with his grandparents
  8. A big bowl of delicious noodle soup
  9. Discovering a TV show that my husband and I both love
  10. Amazon Prime Two Day Shipping
  11. Coming home to a house cleaned top to bottom by my husband
  12. Creative inspiration
  13. Making a difference and being recognized at work
  14. Connecting with old friends without missing a beat
  15. Financial security
  16. The feeling of comfort and nostalgia when eating food I grew up with
  17. Doing something random and silly that causes my son to laugh from his belly
  18. Finding a great deal on something I was going to buy anyway
  19. Listening to podcasts
  20. People and situations that are placed in my life that facilitate personal growth
  21. My health and well-being
  22. Knowing that what I do makes a difference in patients’ lives
  23. A workplace and supervisors that are incredibly supportive of parenthood
  24. Changing into my pajamas and snuggling under a blanket on the couch
  25. Being a homeowner with two parks within walking distance of our neighborhood

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For more from Katie, check out her blog at Hot & Sour, where she writes about motherhood, marriage, food, culture, and much more.

Check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I started writing about gratitude and why I want you to start writing a list of your own. 

If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)!

Sharing Gratitude and Creating Something Bigger Than Ourselves

Hi, internet!

As I have taken a step back from the daily posts, I have given time and thought to what my next Gratitude project will be. One of the most powerful lessons I learned during my 365 Days Of Gratitude was that Gratitude is meant to be shared. It is important to have Gratitude for yourself and for your process but others deserve to hear the same. A handwritten note or a big ol’ hug can go a long way for a friend or mentor.

I love the idea of paying it forward and I hope to inspire the same with Gratitude. Below you will find The Gratitude Wall. A digital wall to share, post, create, draw, and design.

Made with Padlet

I have been inspired by those before me who have created colorful, thoughtful, spaces for people to show their love and appreciation. In today’s digital age, this wall can grow beyond the confines and access of a single space. We have the opportunity to share gratitude across the globe in so many different ways. I’m hoping you will join me in this venture. Post on the wall and share it with a friend. Encourage them to do the same and we can create a chain reaction of Gratitude.

I have aspirations of changing the world but something like that does not just happen overnight and it’s not something I can do alone. Change starts in ourselves, it extends to our communities and environments and continues on to shape the lives of others. The best part is, we have the power to start today. Sign the wall and post something of your own.

Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
― Barack Obama

Check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I started writing about gratitude and why I want you to start writing a list of your own. 

If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)! I’m looking for list makers and gratitude writers! 

My Next Project!

Thanks for watching! Still trying to master video but I’m excited to share this first installment. Now that I have completed 365 days of gratitude, I’m ready for what comes next.

Follow The Gratitude Journal for bi-weekly videos and posts in-between about living life with positivity. I want to hear your story!

If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)!

Check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I started writing about gratitude and why I want you to start writing a list of your own. 

I need help to get published!

The Gratitude Journal is a personal blog meant to inspire. Donate to help generate more content and posts on gratitude, life, and positivity. With your contribution, I can hopefully publish and bind my blog into a real book. Follow the blog for exclusive information on original book copies and production. Send it with your friends and together let's share gratitude.

$10.00

365 Days Of Gratitude

All I can hear are my thoughts. The forest surrounds me on my accent to the top of the mountain. The Earth crunches beneath each step I take, always moving forward. The days come and go. The darkness of each day leaves subtle reminders of its presence and power. I feel lost despite only just beginning. It is a story of overcoming, adventure, and gratitude.

I started writing about gratitude because of my depression. I needed to fight my inner darkness one way or another and was desperate for a solution. I saw writing as a positive outlet for my thoughts and feelings and was interested in something different. “Why not start a blog?” I thought. I needed a way to hold myself accountable, and I knew others struggle with mental battles similar to my own. The Gratitude Journal evolved over time. I connected with fellow bloggers and found a new community. I shared posts with friends and families that responded with gratitude lists of their own. I was inspired by loved ones and mentors to keep moving forward.

I took The Gratitude Journal with me everywhere I went. Each moment from the start, intertwined with lessons learned and celebrated breathsI brought The Gratitude Journal with me abroad. I traveled to places I have only dreamed of visiting. Despite my feelings of fear and uncertainty, I framed my experiences with gratitude and appreciation. I sat silently in the black sand and watched the waves leave the shores of Iceland, listening to wind howl and sing. I walked the streets of London, in tune with the beat of the city and the life of the summer sun.

I came home energized and eager to start my last year of my Master’s degree. Gratitude, still a present thought, had taken on a new form. Gratitude needed to be more than just a collective appreciation of fond memories and busy days. I had to learn to be grateful for pieces of myself that I had previously scrutinized and detested. Especially, if I was going to have gratitude for everything else. I possessed a renewed thankfulness for my past and present. Although at times I struggled to find balance in my routine and posted less consistently, the skills I learned were ever present. Gratitude is many things. I have learned gratitude starts with a breathe. It is an anchor to the present moment and a tool against the darkness. Its power grows when shared with others and can be communicated in many ways, both big and small.

Looking through old entries at quotes, stories, and pictures, I feel joy. In some ways, I never saw the end until it arrived. I was so ingrained in my process that the end result was never what was most important. I am proud I got to celebrate milestones, birthdays, adventures, and friends along the way. Although this chapter may be coming to a close, I will still carry The Gratitude Journal with me on my journey.

I stand at my mountain top, my chest rising and shrinking with each breath. The horizon gleams in the distance, each ray of sun reflecting off of rain covered trees. My vision clears and I see new peaks and valleys, invisible from the base of my climb. I stop to rest and reflect but my muscles and bones ache for the familiar and constant pain of the trail. New mountains call out, signal flares of opportunity rocket to the dusk-colored curtain above my head. The stars peek through. A chance to begin again, guided by gratitude. 

03.10.19

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. My family
  2. Worldly experiences and safe travels
  3. Frank and Holly, for teaching me about my process
  4. Exercise to clear my head and help me breathe
  5. Learning to ‘be myself’
  6. Teachers, Mentors, and Coaches, that pushed me to be my best
  7. Being a part of something bigger than myself
  8. The Good Days and the Bad Days
  9. Name tags, Helen’s Tree, and late night talks on the steps of Boyden
  10. Rain, for its touch brings new life and the sound brings me sleep
  11. A peanut butter sandwich when I need it
  12. Sharing music with friends
  13. My cat Ned, for his company and intelligence
  14. Late night ice cream, always
  15. Pickup soccer on Tuesdays
  16. Chasing the sunrise before school
  17. World cup games and perfect pronunciations
  18. Comfy pillows and warm blankets
  19. Tattoo stories and reasons why
  20. Quiet talks and fall colors at Horn Pond
  21. Hope for the future
  22. Space and time to journal and recharge
  23. Home cooked meals and cooking together
  24. Shared values and going deeper
  25. The precious present, for it, is a gift

 

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

The Gratitude Journal Cover.png

 

Thoughts On Impermanence (#364)

I’ve struggled with deciding on a topic for my second to last gratitude journal entry. Ideas and thoughts on love, life, and gratitude seem to just be more of the same of what I’ve written in my previous 363 posts.

I have been thinking a lot about impermanence lately. There’s a quote in one of my classrooms that reads,

Work hard to make something as meaningful and beautiful as you can. And when you’re done, pack it in and know it was all temporary. You have to remember that. It’s all temporary.

Yoga Jones, OITNB

The quote has stuck with me over the last couple of days. This same idea was what made me fall in love with books like Tuesday’s With Morrie and Walking To Listen. Both protagonists had incredible adventures full of important learning, only to end due to eventuality. This to me is what makes gratitude so important.

The thing is, life goes on and the world keeps turning even when we aren’t ready. Change is always happening and it is gratitude that keeps us grounded. As I draw closer to finishing my Master’s degree and plunge into uncertainty, I remind myself it’s all part of the process. I learned that this summer as well when I misfiled my VISA paperwork. The experience I was trying so desperately hard to hold on to ended. It was up to me in that moment to make a choice, a choice to carry on.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost

Nothing is meant to last forever. Because of that fact, I know gratitude becomes more important. I have learned a lot by posting and reflecting daily on what I’m thankful for. The writing process itself has been both fun and cathartic. As I enter into a new phase of my life, I have accepted the things I cannot change. I know I have done everything I can to prepare for the future and I have to trust the rest will figure itself out. I’m grateful for the people who have supported me and helped me get here. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had and the love I’ve shared.

The Gratitude Journal has been a joy to write but I’m excited for what comes next. I’m eager to take on new challenges and set new goals. The sun will rise on a new day with untold experiences and opportunities. It is up to us to make the most of it while we can.

03.07.19

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Warm tea to start my day
  2. A good book on the bike
  3. Clean water and texts from Cambodia
  4. Teachers, mentors, and coaches.
  5. My process and my learning
  6. A warm sunrise full of opportunity
  7. Getting ready for bed with my cat
  8. Walks around Horn Pond with my Grandmother
  9. A clean apartment
  10. Time with my family
  11. The sound of the waves crashing against the warm sand
  12. Safe travels and finding new places
  13. Late night desserts
  14. A couple deep breaths
  15. Signs from the Universe
  16. Sharing new music
  17. Saturday morning pancakes
  18. People who inspire
  19. When I get to support my friends and staff
  20. Peanut butter sandwiches to settle the nerves
  21. An acceptance of the things I cannot change
  22. Train rides home from BSU
  23. Trying new things
  24. Frank and Holly
  25. The here and now, this very moment

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)!

Featured image coming home from Cambodia.

Saved By Gratitude (#363)

I’m falling. Sinking.

I shouldn’t have jumped in this deep I tell myself.

My chest shoots with pain as the surrounding jellyfish welcome me to the ocean. I can hardly move. I’m gasping for air, precious air. I’m only inches from the surface. I can see the light reflect through the barrier that lay between me and living. I pull myself up with a single arm, the other clutching my abdomen from the pain. I swallow as much air as I have water. My legs growing tired as I tread water at a frantic and erratic rhythm.

What happened next occurred within an instant. My dad jumped right in and helped me swim to shore. I had barely screamed, I couldn’t even muster a sound of survival. He saved me then as he has many times since.

The hard truth is that gratitude didn’t stop me from drowning, people did. After almost a year or gratitude blogging, I’ve struggled with the concept. Part of me feels like this blog has simply been an expression of my privilege, boasted for everyone over the World Wide Web. Every day I think through these things I have and get to do that others can’t because of their background or adversities.

Maybe the real healing power of gratitude exists in the people we connect with. Maybe gratitude shouldn’t be about us at all. What good is gratitude when you’re suffering, drowning?

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

Viktor Frankl

Gratitude may not have pulled me from the water but it certainly has helped in other ways. That summer I was literally and physically drowning but I’ve felt like that at other parts of my life, hundreds of miles from the ocean. Gratitude has helped me get through my darkest thoughts and hardest days.

Viktor Frankl as many of you know is one of my favorite authors. He is a Holocaust survivor and an inspiration to purpose-seekers and meaning-makers every where. Our issues do not compare and I will not relate his experiences with my own. His message is what I ultimately want to focus on.

Gratitude, as well as our outlook on life, is a choice we make. Even on our toughest days, finding something to be grateful for can be a powerful anchor.

03.03.19

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Talking things out
  2. The stillness of the morning
  3. Warm tea to wake me up
  4. Time at the gym
  5. Family road trips and books on tape
  6. Sharing new music
  7. Good advice
  8. Board game nights with my family
  9. Shared laughter
  10. Lessons learned
  11. Signs from the Universe
  12. Old pictures and good memories
  13. Bridgewater State University
  14. Friendly animals
  15. Sales on Peanut Butter at Big Y
  16. A clean apartment and clean laundry
  17. My process
  18. Clean water and texts from Cambodia
  19. A little support and understanding
  20. My Peer Mentors
  21. The motivation to get things done
  22. Laying next to my cat, Ned
  23. Local bagels and pizza
  24. Sledding down the hill in the winter
  25. The precious present

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)!

Featured image from this morning