I Appreciate My Freedom of Choice

Flags at Washington MonumentToday is Independence Day in my country and I’m reminded that “freedom” means so many things to many people.  I do appreciate that I live in a country where the ideals of freedom are engrained in our constitution. The Bill of Rights contains 10 amendments, some of which protect our freedom of religion, speech, and the press.

But this post isn’t about our constitutional freedoms, but rather an appreciation of how I always have freedom in my choices of how I react to any given situation. Observing social media outlets, I see some strong opinions expressed and sometimes hateful remarks towards others who disagree with these opinions. I’m reminded that we all have freedom to express what we believe, but we don’t have to agree with everyone. We get to choose. That’s freedom right there.

I appreciate that when I read or see hateful messages on social media, I can choose to ignore them. Things I don’t want or that cause me to feel negative feelings are called “unwanted contrast” in law of attraction circles. I appreciate the feelings that sometimes result from reading hate-filled comments as opportunities for me to focus in on what I truly want. I appreciate that I have learned the value of unwanted contrast in creating a more happy life.

Anytime we’re faced with something or a situation that causes us to have strong emotions of dislike, anger or other negative feelings, it’s an opportunity for us to exercise our freedom of choice: you can either simmer in those emotions and let them get stronger or practice focusing in on the opposite end of refining what you want. I’ve found that when I find myself getting heated up with passion about unwanted contrast, it’s a good time to jot down the opposite of what I don’t want, which is what I’d rather see and feel.

Once I’ve clarified what I want, I can exercise my freedom of choice in taking softer steps in getting there.  It might mean that I stop looking at social media for awhile, or that I don’t talk or associate with a certain people for awhile (until I can clean up my energy about them), or that I turn off the TV, or that I just distract myself with something else. I might meditate, go take a nap, do something that’s fun, pet my cat, talk to friends and family, or any number of things. I use Abraham-Hicks’ tip of reaching for that feeling of relief to move myself up the emotional scale into a better feeling place. I appreciate these tools for the happiness that I enjoy from using them!

I always have the freedom of choice in my relief from unwanted situations, and you do, too. Some people may interpret my reactions to people, things and situations sometimes as uncaring when I don’t engage in augmenting the negativity of the situation. But I do care – I care how I feel, I care about others and intend for their happiness, too, and I know how my happiness is dependent on me, just as yours is dependent upon you. I care enough to not let outside events destroy my well-being.

We always have a freedom of choice in how we react to anything, even in the most horrific situations. Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl expressed this beautifully in these statements:

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.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

I appreciate my freedom of choice. I appreciate it so much as it’s contributed greatly to my personal growth and made me a much happier person.   I appreciate that you don’t have to agree with me, and that’s just fine. We travel our own journeys in life and I appreciate all the people who have contributed to mine in all ways: the good, the bad and the ugly. For all these situations have served me well in learning how to appreciate any person or situation. I’m happy and looking forward to more freedom of choices in my life for the growth that they foster in me.

 

I Appreciate Websites That Work

IMG_1212 (1)I appreciate websites that work! I’ve had my main website off-line for some months and got some help from my host a few weeks back but some items are still not working.  My pages (albeit 1) keep giving me the error page.

While I could get help for this again, I’ve been busy with other things so I will fix it when I make time for it.  I appreciate that I can relax in the knowing that it will work out in the end.

This unwanted contrast really makes me appreciate websites that work, like this appreciation blog! This free blog has always been rock steady – always there, always working. I appreciate the ease and flow of these free services. I appreciate wordpress dot com for its ease in making a blog or website and I appreciate that I can easily change the look of this site and it all works.

When we run into things we don’t like or want, it’s always an opportunity to appreciate what is working or on what we already have. Technology does make our lives easier in so many ways! Computers, cell phones and social media have added many things to our lives to appreciate.

BUT, writing this quick post has caused me to reflect on the number of times I complain about my computer at work: it’s slow in booting up, it crashes often and forces me to re-start, or a program just freezes. There are a lot of glitches. And I’m not alone, as others in my office complain of similar problems.

What can I appreciate about all of this? For starters, we’ve gotten to know the cool people in our IT department over the years and they’ve gotten away from their desks and traveled to ours. – Stepping away from your desk is a healthy thing. 🙂 – Every staff member in my office can rally together in the collective desire for an improved efficiency of computers. That’s a lot of energy for an improved system just waiting for us to align to.  We get opportunities to share our appreciation of the IT staff when they “fix” the problems, too. Collective appreciation makes everyone feel good! When the computers are “down,” we have opportunities to engage with one another, make a phone call and reach out to someone, step away from our desks, and take a break from looking at the computer screen all day. I can appreciate those moments for that.

So in the spirit of appreciating websites that work, I also am appreciating all that unwanted contrast at work because I also realize how much of what I have at home works like a charm: every time! I have 2 computers, one that is older but still works and a laptop that is fast, efficient, cool and fun. I so appreciate that. I appreciate the fact they are mine. There are people who don’t have computers so I don’t take that for granted.

So the next time I find myself complaining about the lack of speed of my computer at work, I will remember this post and it surely will make me smile as I remember that unwanted contrast is just an opportunity to appreciate what is working. And there’s a lot in my life that works: even if I can’t get to all the pages of my main website yet!

 

 

 

Let’s Celebrate The Lottery Winners

Photo courtesy of PHPhoto.org
Photo courtesy of PHPhoto.org

The Powerball lottery jackpot is expected to reach around 1.3 billion dollars this week, the highest in all the world’s history of lotteries. When you talk to people, there’s excitement in the air with people dreaming and sharing what they’d do with their winnings. You also hear the nay-sayers, too, who point out the odds of winning.  Those nay-sayers are my unwanted contrast and a reminder that I love to bask in the feeling of fun, excitement and celebration of winning. Feelings of excitement for what is to come and for the possibilities of realizing dreams is what makes playing the lottery fun for me. It unites strangers in conversations that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. I see clerks smiling and laughing as they give out tickets, too. Everyone is talking about it, so people are more engaged with each other. That’s such a good thing to see and feel. I appreciate how the possibility of winning a lottery jackpot brings people together in a vibe of excitement, joy and fun.

When I turn on my TV or am on the internet, I hear and see stories of past lottery winners who either lost it all or are in debt. I’m really tired of hearing these negative stories! Aren’t you? Wouldn’t it be nice to focus on stories of all those people who have won the lottery that are doing quite well? Wouldn’t it be nice to hear their stories of how they paid off their debts, set their families up in an abundance of financial security, took their dream vacations of a lifetime, bought a house, gave generously to causes they care about and other success stories?

Pointing out the odds and focusing on the people for whom handling all that financial abundance didn’t go so well is taking away from the good vibes of excitement, fun, and the joy of winning. It creates doubts, fears or a let-down, frankly, if you allow others to influence you about your chances of realizing any of your dreams, whether it’s winning the lottery or going for that dream job, for example.

Instead, let’s celebrate the winners! Let’s celebrate that we are in it to win it! After all, you have to play in order to win. Let’s celebrate that we have the finances to play and be happy if we win or not! Let’s not judge who wins or wish for a group to win it, as opposed to an individual. In law of attraction terms, that’s splitting up your energy of being happy only for certain people, so you can’t possibly attract pure joy in that. Let’s be happy for whoever wins!  Let’s celebrate the joys we’ve had in the journey of playing the lottery and be happy, no matter the result.

We’ll all be happier when we quit casting doubts and fears about our chances in life, when we quit feeling jealous of what others have and we find a way to celebrate the little things in our lives and exercise our imagination about what is possible.  Appreciation is our best friend for happiness. I celebrate whenever I find money, even a penny I find on the ground. I celebrate I have the funds to pay my bills, too.

So celebrate and appreciate where you’re at right now. With the lottery jackpot being so high, I celebrate that I can stretch my imagination of what I’d do with all that money and stretching my imagination is something to celebrate! I’m appreciating and savoring the fun in all of this, just as I do when I find a penny on the ground. And if you can’t feel excitement for finding a penny, I suggest you start a daily habit of appreciating. When you appreciate daily, you may just find more pennies or a dime. Or maybe that lottery jackpot! Can you imagine? I can!

So let’s have fun and celebrate the lottery winners, no matter what!

Negative Labels and Limiting Beliefs

Unique TwinsThis week I tuned into Joel Osteen’s television sermon about getting rid of negative labels. It spoke to me so much that I took notes, thinking that I’d get around to writing about it here.

So on what’s left of this Christmas Day/Evening, I am appreciating the way that Joel Osteen and others can deliver a message about a familiar topic in a way that it speaks to me in a new or renewed way. I always love Joel’s sermons as they are uplifting, positive and inspiring. I really love that he starts out with a joke, too. As a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader, I am very aware of the value of laughter: it truly is one of the best ‘medicines’ out there.

But this post is about appreciating the message he had in this sermon: that of ridding ourselves of negative labels, often spoken (either directly or implied) to us by others in our lives. Then we embrace these labels to the point of making them our own “story” about ourselves. Below are some of the quotes from his sermon.

“You cannot stop the negative comments. You can’t prevent the negative labels, but you can choose to remove them.”

“Words are like seeds. If you dwell on them long enough, they will take root and become what is said.”

“The only power that that label has over you is the power that you give it.”

“The real battle is taking place in our mind.”

“Nothing that was spoken over you has to define you – even if it was from people who raised you.”

“You are not who people say you are…Hurting people end up hurting other people. Bitter people are quick to stick on those negative labels.”

So in other words, we have the power to choose to think and feel differently than any negative label has over us. It is in our hands. If we buy into the negative label or image of ourselves and keep repeating it, it does take root and becomes a belief that limits us. Limiting beliefs are often there because we feel we’re not deserving or worthy in some way. The negative labels are just examples of limiting beliefs like: others are better than us, that we don’t have what it takes to succeed, that we’re not good, pretty, handsome or smart enough, etc…The key to understanding how limiting beliefs restrict us from living life to the fullest is that they are not who we truly are! We are not defined by these negative labels. We are all worthy and deserving and we all have unique gifts and purposes in life. So look inside yourself for your own inner beauty and discover your gift to this life that you are.

Today I appreciate Joel’s sermon for reaffirming that message. I appreciate people like him and the venue he has to reach so many people through his ministry. It is truly a blessing and I imagine that there are others out there who were touched by his words of encouragement. If not, I don’t think he would have a ministry that is so large.

I am grateful today. I appreciate positive messages that change peoples’ lives, from different people who deliver the messages. The world is full of many “teachers” and I appreciate that as we don’t all learn in the same way. We are unique and need diversity to thrive. No one “label” fits all!

I am particularly appreciating my own knowing that I can choose to change any belief that may be holding me back from my highest potential, too. I appreciate that I have the tools I need for myself and to help others in getting rid of these limiting beliefs and creating new ones that are positive, loving, inspiring, uplifting and fun.

Now that’s a good thing to celebrate as I end this year and get ready for another!

I Appreciate These Past 41 Days – Day 41

41 Days FB group on wine barrelsToday is the last day of my 41-day challenge and I appreciate that! As part of my Facebook group on “41 Days of Appreciating Rampages,” I committed to blogging here for 41 days with photos. I am feeling quite good, now that the 41st day is here.

I started the Facebook group ten months ago and have done several rounds of “41 days.” After a break when I let myself get a bit too busy, I decided 41 days ago to be more deliberate through this blog on the next round of 41 days. I’m so glad I did! While this is not the end of my daily appreciation habit, there’s something about reaching the completion of something that feels really good. So today, I’m appreciating these past 41 days, the new blogs I’ve discovered from people commenting or liking my posts and most of all, the joy that comes from this daily practice of appreciating.

All are invited to join my Facebook group and post your joys as your inspiration leads you. There are some wonderful people in the group! I love them all and find reading their posts very uplifting.

Appreciating The Contrast – Day 14

Focus is possible through contrast

Today’s appreciation has to do with the law of attraction. The law of attraction works, whether or not we focus on what we want or we focus on what we don’t want: we get what we focus on. And we get what we focus on, whether we’re consciously creating it or just living life, reacting to events, people and circumstances. When I talk about focus, I’m not referring just to your thoughts, but also your feelings as we’re really talking about energy. So when you focus on being well, for example, but worry inside because you’re sneezing and fear you’re catching a cold or getting the flu, you’re really focusing on what you don’t want. Guess what happens? You likely will get that cold and end up in bed with the flu!

Contrast doesn’t have to be “bad,” but often we focus on what is unwanted because it doesn’t feel good. Unwanted contrast truly serves as a tool to clarify and focus on what one really wants. When you’re sick in bed with the flu, you really, really want to get better. Those desires are great, but if you keep reminding yourself of how sick you feel and tell others about how awful you’re feeling, you’re not aligning yourself to becoming better.

So as crazy as it sounds, you get what you want when you learn to focus and appreciate the contrast (the good and the bad). You learn to let go of “what is” and appreciate it because you know that something so much better is on its way.

So today, I’m appreciating the contrast. Contrast such as:

how sickness reminds us to take better care of our bodies, or can serve as a reminder to self to S-L-O-W down and relax

the confession from a child that s/he broke a favorite family heirloom as an appreciation of telling the truth (and our great relationship with the child who felt comfortable confessing)

rain on a picnic outing for the value it brings to making things grow (and appreciation for the shelter at the park where we can still have our picnic)

the loss of a job to help us focus on pursuing a better job or our own business

a family crisis for the appreciation it brings in bringing people together and strengthening ties

an earthquake for the appreciation of new buildings designed to withstand earthquakes, the emergency-preparedness of the community, the people who come together in times of tragedy, the emergency workers and the opportunities to re-build in new ways.

Tragedies serve to remind us to appreciate what’s important: people, our pets, the joy of life and being present.

In times of appreciating great unwanted contrast, others may feel that we are not truly caring. But appreciating unwanted contrast is truly caring: it’s caring about how we feel enough to not re-tell the unwanted contrast story that digs a hole of pity and sorrow so deep that we become depressed! It’s caring in a way that helps us find peace with where we are right now.  In doing so, we are offering ourselves and others a focused energy of appreciation, peace and love in being OK with “what is,” as we anticipate better times ahead.

I Appreciate Unexpected Money in the Mail! – Day 4

Photo courtesy of PHPhoto.org
Photo courtesy of PHPhoto.org

Woo hoo! I really appreciate abundance in my life, and how it shows up in unexpected ways. Abundance isn’t just about money but this rampage of appreciation is all about that!

I love how I receive unexpected money when I align myself to a better feeling vibe. I’ve been shifting my vibe lately, making time for myself and deliberately slowing down to experience the “now.” I came home yesterday to find two unexpected checks in the mail!

One was part of a class action lawsuit against a bank I used to frequent. It felt really good since I had no idea I was part of the group and I didn’t have to do any fighting to get it.  Easy! The other was another rebate of an insurance premium because they had “a very good year.” This is the 3rd time that this has happened to me with this insurance company (which just happens to be located in my home state of Iowa) and I have to say each time it’s a joyful surprise.

The amount of money isn’t the issue for my excitement – it’s the excitement and fun of getting the surprise abundance in ways that I was not focusing on!  l absolutely LOVE when that happens! So since I’m appreciating joyful surprises of abundance, that means there’s a lot more on the way. YAY! I can’t wait to see what’s next!

I’m convinced that refocusing myself on writing down my rampages of appreciation daily is a key reason why I’m creating fun and easy joyful surprises.  If you’re just reading my blog now, I invite you to join in on my Facebook group called 41 Days of Appreciating Rampages and appreciate away!