Ingredients to Create a Blissful Life #10: Appreciation

Ahhhh… I have been on the run for the last few weeks and have found myself feeling somewhat rushed and a bit over-scheduled. Have you ever felt that way? Funny how we do that to ourselves isn’t it? The thing is that sometimes in order to do the things we choose, we need to stretch ourselves a bit, but I’ll tell you, this weekend – nothing but family and me time! Yay! Which leads me to this week’s ingredient.

Week #10 Ingredient to Create a Blissful Life is: Appreciation!

I chose this word this week for a very specific reason. Yesterday was my son’s 26th birthday. I am amazed at how quickly the years have flown past and sometimes find it hard to believe it’s even possible.

In the truest sense of the word, I believe that my son was a gift to me. I was 17 when he was born and had really lost my way. Having him to take care of gave me something important to focus on and slowed, if not stopped, my journey toward self-destruction. You see, at that point in my life I didn’t really see myself as important or special. There had been a lot of “stuff” and by then I was pretty battered and bruised, at least on a spiritual level. Then along came this beautiful creature who gave me the opportunity to focus on something outside of my pain. What an incredible gift!

To have been able to watch him grow and share in his life has been challenging sometimes, but mostly has been pretty amazing and an absolute privilege. He has grown into a person I love with all my heart (of course), but that I also really like and for whom I have a deep respect. How I got so lucky, I will never know, but I am eternally grateful for having this phenomenal person in my life.

I just got back from a class to become a Laughter Yoga Leader – meaning I can teach people how to laugh on purpose and for absolutely no reason. How fabulous is that? The greatest epiphany came to me while I was there, with my sides and cheeks aching from laughing for hours and hours over the 2 day class. Of course, I’m going to teach laughter! Of course, I can help people by sharing joy! Of course, this is who I am!

As long as I can remember, I have had what you might call an “infectious” laugh. I remember my brother calling me a laughing hyena when I was very small because if I started giggling and you were within earshot, it was a fairly safe bet you’d start too. And I’ve always found lots of things to laugh about. Not in a mean way because that’s not really how I’m wired, but if you look around and really pay attention, I promise, there are things around us all the time that will cause us to feel all kinds of wonderful things. Awe at the beautiful colours in the sky as the sun rises or sets, gratitude for our hearing when we hear the laugh of a child or a bird’s song, warmth and comfort when we smell a meal being prepared for us by loving hands, joy and laughter when we see someone dancing down the street or singing in their car…

So I guess that’s where my choice for you comes into play this week. As I go through this world, I try to find things that catch my attention and cause me to feel amazement, awe, joy… that is a conscious choice. I look for beauty, and guess what! I find it! If I looked for misery, I’m sure I’d find that too. And I have appreciation for that as well because it does give me something to measure against so I’ll know when I’m really happy. Like everything else, what we see and perceive and even what we feel is all about choice. Did you know that if you choose to laugh, regardless of what is happening in your world, your body has no idea that it’s not real laughter and will produce all of the endorphins, happy hormones, and health benefits it will when you’re laughing because something strikes you as absolutely hilarious? Did you know you can feel appreciation even when your circumstances are difficult? Do you know that you always – always – have a choice?

What do you choose?

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