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!

Gratitude for All Blessings

November has become the month of gratitude; we see Facebook status updates changing daily with posts on gratitude. But often, people only look at one type of event in their lives with gratitude – the events that they liked!  When events in your life occur that you didn’t want, that you didn’t like, or that you believe shouldn’t have happened – it’s often hard to have gratitude for them.  In some ways these events brought you pain, sorrow, unhappiness, anger, or hurt. Why should you be grateful for those events?  Many would argue that not only should they not be grateful but they should be downright angry the events occurred.  This is a victim mentality that comes from a space of fear and resentment.  All events in your life are for you – yes, even the ones you didn’t like and didn’t want. And yes, even the ones that were painful.  Even if you couldn’t see it when the event occurred, and even if you can’t see it now – chances are, the event offered you some sort of growth. That is a blessing.  All events in life are a part of your journey; they helped shape you.  How they shaped you is a result of what you believed about the event.  When you look at all events in life from the standpoint that they are all blessings then you are shaped in a much different way than if you see yourself victimized by life. You are no victim. Life is always for you and playing the victim limits you and keeps you from expressing as the beautiful spirit that you are.

Instead of just expressing gratitude this month for the things in life that you like I challenge you to also find gratitude for the things in life you don’t like.  A blessing altar will allow you to honor both the events that you wanted in your life – the events that you liked and have obvious gratitude for, but also the events that were perhaps painful and unwanted.  Both offered you blessings. By having gratitude for all the events in your life you can truly live in peace and acceptance of any moment.

This is a picture of my blessing altar. Yours can look similar or completely different; that choice is yours.  I will be adding my blessings to the branches on my altar (these additions will carry forward to my Yule tree) and will be journaling about the events and people in my life that were blessings. You may choose to also add to your altar, to journal, or to simply speak your blessing out loud. Whatever your process, a blessing altar can be a powerful way to shift into a space of forgiveness and acceptance that you can take forward into the reflective time of Yuletide and Solstice night.

Blessings Altar Main

40 Days of Gratitude

I recently embarked on a 40 day gratitude journey based off Melody Beattie‘s book Make Miracles in Forty Days: Turning What You Have into What You Want. (Melody Beattie also wrote Codependent No More.) The basis of this journey is that you bring an awareness to the events in your life and to your emotions by being grateful for each thing that happens – regardless if you give it the judgment of good or bad. This experience involves enrolling a partner that you’re willing to trust yourself with and be vulnerable with as they will be reading your daily gratitude list. (My partner and I use the Up To The Sky online journal.) There is no offering of opinion from either party. In fact, the daily gratitude lists aren’t discussed. They are simply read. This is in part a way to hold yourself accountable but also a way to be open and vulnerable because you know someone else will read even the deep dark things you may have written.

I encourage anyone who wants to create a change in their life to read this book and begin the 40 day journey. The daily gratitude writing truly helped me both see and create miracles. Not only did I complete all 40 days but I’ve committed to carrying on the miracles. It has become a part of my daily routine. I look forward to writing out what I’m grateful for even if it means writing that I’m grateful for feeling hurt, or angry, or for lashing out in hateful words. This process enabled me to have all of my experiences, accept them as just what they were, and have gratitude for them without shame or guilt.

If that’s not miraculous, I simply don’t know what is.