The Blessing Tree

Writing out your blessings can be a powerful thing and, for those who are more visually inclined, putting those written blessings on display to view can make the experience even more powerful. Why not add a Blessing Tree to your Blessing Altar?  I used dried magnolia leaves and gift card tags to add written blessings to twigs I got on clearance at Family Dollar.  You could also use sticks and twigs from your yard or a small tree. You could also make your tree a garland instead and string your blessings up to hang on the wall. There are so many options for how you can visually see your written blessings on a daily basis.  Both writing and seeing your blessings cultivate daily gratitude.

And remember, you are writing blessings for all events, circumstances, and people in your life.  Here are some examples of blessings on my tree that show how you can cultivate gratitude in all ways and all things:

  • I am grateful for a low bank account because it teaches me to be financially aware.
  • I am grateful for lack because it teaches me I am not living in my abundance.
  • I am blessed by Mitch because he mirrors what I don’t like in myself.
  • I am grateful for my childhood because through it I learned to overcome and have been able to help others.
  • I am grateful for Crystal because through the ebb and flow of our friendship I have learned I am not in competition with anyone.

 

Use magnolia leaves, or similar, for your longer blessings.

(I use a metallic marker to write blessings)

 

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Use smaller bay leaves to write blessings that you like that can be portrayed in one or two words.

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Use gift tags to add the names of people you’ve been blessed by – remembering that even those we believe have hurt us also brought us blessings. Use the back of the card to write how you were blessed.

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You can also use the tags to write about how certain emotions or behaviors brought you blessings, like looking at how noticing resentments offers you a chance to practice forgiveness and acceptance.

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I will add blessings to my tree throughout the month until I put my Yule tree up. Then, I’ll transfer my Blessing Tree branches and blessings to the Yule tree. 

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More Blessings posts to come – if you want to see these posts in your inbox subscribe!

Satisfied with Life

When I fall down the spiral of the human condition I get lost in the darkness of what might have been, could have been, and should have been. This limits me and holds me back. All of my choices held gifts for me. All of the times in my life when I thought it couldn’t get any worse – it got better. All of the things I’ve gone through have shaped who I am.

I am here; I am now.

I am where I have been.

I am who I will be.

I am where I am, and where I am – I am.

There is no other place I could be, no other person I could be. When I really stop and consider that and trust it then I am completely satisfied with myself and my life.

Taking Responsibility to Awaken

Yesterday I led a beautiful group of people in the Awaken the Goddess workshop at Yoga Fire. This workshop was all about waking up the power we all have within us. One way I helped this group claim their power was by helping them take responsibility for ways they’ve given away their power, or dis-empowered, themselves in the past.  A piece of this experience came to me on the fly as, though my workshops are structured and outlined, I leave space for organic aspects to evolve. Asking each person in the group individually if they were willing to take responsibility for how they’d given away their power in the past, and if they were not only willing to take back their power but also willing to give up the ways in which they had given away their power. It was an aspect of the workshop that set the tone for the rest of the time we had together.

By taking responsibility for our lives we step out of our victim story and stop living in victim consciousness. By doing this, we wake up more and more to our authenticity.  Sometimes the victim story has so much hold on us that even when we believe we’re past it something happens in life and the hurt comes rushing in and we step right back into the story. So how do we get back to truth when we’re struggling in the web of victim?

Remember, we are the weavers of the web but we are also the web. The web is the story – all of our history bound together. But we wove the web, so we can also unbind those aspects that are not true, that hold us back, and that keep us living as the victim.

We are not victims.

We are spiritual warriors.

For me, doing practical work to unbind the false parts of the web helps me the most. There are many ways I do this and I offer them to you as well in hopes that you will find for yourself the miraculous growth that I’ve gotten from doing this type of work.

Radical Forgiveness:  Colin Tipping’s book, Radical Forgiveness, and it’s accompanying worksheets changed by life. When I read the book I had a basic concept of true forgiveness that the teachings in the book helped refine. By living by the principals of Radical Forgiveness and turning to the very user friendly worksheets I have been able to get deep growth and help others.

The Work: The Work of Byron Katie offers a different aspect from Colin Tipping in that it goes more specifically into the limiting beliefs we have about ourselves, others, and life. Her books and worksheets offer me similar growth opportunities as the Radical Forgiveness work. Both philosophies present ways to re-frame a situation in order to get to truth.

The More to Life Weekend: This is where my true growth began. I took this weekend training the first time in 2008 and learned more about myself and how to deal with life than I could have possibly imagined. This training is powerful, intensive, experiential, compassionate, and moving. I’ve retaken this training twice since 2008 in order to recenter and regroup when life handed be some pretty big changes. This training is presented in many states in the US and many countries around the world. In fact, there is a training upcoming in my area in September 2015 about which you can find more information here: MTL Huntsville.

You have the ability to create change in your life. Are you living with resentment, fear, hurt, pain, sorrow, grief? Are you willing to be willing? Are you ready to at least put a toe in the water and take responsibility for your own life in order to create the life you deserve? If so, I deeply encourage you to research any (or all!) of the three options above. I utilize the Radical Forgiveness work, the Work of Byron Katie, and the workable tools and processes I received during the More to Life Weekend in my life daily.  With these tools – I empower myself and wake up to my Truth.

Safe Word: Hourglass

A friend is reading “The Mindful Way Through Depression” and sent me the following email regarding an exercise in the book:

 

“I read this in my book tonight and felt like this was potentially useful.  *Not verbatim*

The Three Minute ‘Time Out’

This is a mindfulness exercise that’s meant to be performed when you’re in the thick of it.  The point is to take the thoughts that are happening right now and steady the mind in order to prevent yourself from getting caught up.  The authors ask us to imagine the idea of an hourglass to describe the process:  we take unfocused thoughts in the first of three steps, focus the mind in step two and then allow it to expand in step 3.

Step 1:  Aware and acknowledge

Become aware of what’s happening and then change your stance.  Sit or stand straight up; close the eyes if you can.  Ask yourself:

What am I thinking?  What are the feelings?  What does my body feel like right now.  There’s no judgment – just statement of experience.

Step 2:  Focus on the breath

Redirect the focus of the mind from the bodily and mental sensations back to the breath.  And .. just experience that in its entirety.  This is where the mind is ‘stilling.’ 

Step 3:  Expansion

Allow the mental focus to move beyond just the breath and stay within the body.  Breath into those places that feel tense or uncomfortable.  This is where we transition back to the rest of the world, finishing our ‘time out.’ “

 

I read this email aloud to my husband and he liked the idea of utilizing the exercise. After we talked I kept having the image of an hourglass and how it could help us with reactivity and communication. I presented my idea to him and he was in fully. I pulled a small timer out of my Boggle box and we were set.

I put the hourglass on the bookshelf in the main room of the house. Any time we’re in the reaction or one of us is reacting to the other our safe word is hourglass. Our commitment is to stop immediately and turn over the hourglass and for that minute we do those three steps. And that no matter what we want to say in that moment – we don’t. We take the time out. And if after the minute we need another – one person will say hourglass again.

 

We’re both committed to living more authentically each day and to being able to communicate effectively, openly, and honestly. It’s difficult to be authentic, effective, open, or honest in the midst of reaction.

Give the Hourglass Challenge a go and see how it works for you. Feel free to let me know how it goes in the comments.