Gratitude

As I sit and enjoy the last few days of summer, blissful and carefree, I am filled with so much gratitude! All of the amazing trips to a cottage by the lake, weekends with loved ones, catching up with friends, and celebrating new love; my heart is so full!

IMG_0002

Daily gratitude became a practice of mine many months ago as a reminder that there is something to be grateful for everyday. Even amongst the disappointment, let downs and chaos there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for or someone to give gratitude to. And let me tell you, this is a life. Changing. Practice.

I’ve always believed myself to be a positive, optimistic person. The glass is half full outlook on life. But, daily gratitudes have completely transformed my outlook. Knowing at the end of the day I am going to write down what I am grateful for makes me so excited. As things happen throughout the day, I capture them in mind and tell myself this needs to be apart of my gratitudes! The practice keeps you accountable, but it also brings so much joy. It is literally a transformative experience. I was listening to a Jen Hatmaker podcast on my way to work one day and her guest was talking about how important it is to change your perception. By doing so, your brain chemistry changes too and you wire yourself to start thinking in a positive way. I immediately thought of my daily gratitude practice and how positively true it is. My outlook on life has completely changed. No matter what I am dealing with that day there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. Big or little.

I keep a bullet journal where I record my daily gratitudes and at the end of each season I like to write out highlights. So, I thought it would be fun to share them with all of you! Here are my top 5 highlights of this season:

  1. Getting engaged!!! That’s right, I get to marry my best friend and spend our lives happily ever after.
  2. Our best friend moving back from Alberta and spending all of our time with she and her fiancee this summer.
  3. Camping with our friends
  4. Blissful, relaxing summer days
  5. Being re-energized by the lake.

IMG_0040

Of course I have so much to be grateful for this summer, but I wanted to share just a few of my favourites from this season. A while back, I challenged my readers to write out daily intentions, and now I would like to challenge all of you to follow daily gratitudes!

xoxo,

Life’s Loves

Challenge: Share with me your top 5 highlights of this season!

Advertisements

Girlfriends

My most recent obsession is listening to podcasts. I no longer turn on my music, instead I download the latest podcast from one of my many favourite people and start my commute to work. This is such a great new practice for me, because it totally shifts my thinking in the morning. Rather than drowning out the sounds of the bus with music and getting lost in my thoughts (which isn’t always a bad thing) I am so focused on my podcast I feel as though I am sitting in the room with them. My mind is present on what I am listening to and I feel a sense of peace wash over me. No longer anxious about what the day is going to bring.

As I am so new to the podcast world I am listening to so many different channels right now trying to get a sense of who and what I like. In one of my most recent podcast searches I stumbled upon Jen Hatmaker. She recently started her podcast For the Love of, where she takes the listener on a journey through different short series. The first podcast series she did was called For the Love of Girlfriends. I immediately feel in love with the series because it is totally relatable. Though Jen is a different life season than I am, she is a mother of 5 and a well established author, and I am navigating my 20 something life the best that I can, the concept of girlfriends and just how important they are is beyond relatable.

Jen’s very first podcast in the Girlfriends series just hit home! Not only is Jen honest and transparent in how she approaches a topic, she is down right hilarious. Trust me when I say that if you are not listening to her podcast or following her on social media, you need to right now. Her first Girlfriend on the series was Shauna Niequist. I had not heard of Shauna before listening to the podcast. But, before the podcast was even over I was checking out online at indigo with all of the books she has written in my cart. She is that amazing. Shauna shared stories about how good girlfriends will stand by you through anything and how important it is to make time for those girls. For me, this was the biggest take away.

Having been out of university for one year, I can honestly say I have never experienced so much change. You begin your season of change when you start college or university and are living away from home for the first time, but then things become comfortable, you are in a routine and have your group of girlfriends. Looking back now that season of life was the amazing. The perfect balance of responsibility and recklessness. But, faster than expected those 4 great years come to an end and the girlfriends you once shared everything with are living 2 hours from you. You are all navigating your way through finding and working the “big girl” job and before you know it 2 months have passed since the last time you saw each other. These were the girls that stayed up with you all night laughing for no reason. The ones who cried with you when you were heartbroken, and all this time has passed without seeing each other.

Shauna put it so perfectly in the podcast, these are the people you have to make time for. Yet, time is always the biggest excuse. There is never enough time in the day. However what I have learned in this past year, is that these are the people you must make time for. Even if you have to drive for 2 hours to see them on the weekend. I have a great group of girlfriends and we try to get together every couple of months. We’re all living our separate lives but, for one night we come together around the table, whether we eat out or stay in, chatting and laughing about old memories and new stories. Then we hit the town for a night of dancing. When the night is over and we all go our separate ways we always comment on the fact that its been too long, or we should do this more often.

My commitment after listening to this podcast is to not have to say those words anymore. I want to gather my girlfriends, near and far, monthly to get together and enjoy ourselves! I want to never feel like too much time has passed because these are the girls that I have shared so much of my life with and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Life’s Loves

My challenge for you is to commit yourself to be the one to reach out to your girlfriends. Even if there is no response or time is an issue, be the one to always reach out. Check in on your girlfriends and treasure their friendships. Make time to gather with your girls and share stories. Continuing doing life with the girls that were so intertwined in your life for those years at college. Commit yourself to being a loyal friend.  

Intentions

I began writing down daily intentions about 6 months ago… and it completely changed my outlook on life. What I have realized is, that everything comes down to perspective. You wake up and realize you forgot to buy coffee yesterday after you ran out; your car starts making a funny noise; or your boss won’t stop criticizing you. Life comes down to perspective. You have one of two choices, to view these daily occurrences as negative or positive. Its a choice to view these events as terrible inconveniences that will ruin your day. Or you can chose to view these events as speed bumps in your day. The same goes for life’s larger obstacles. Even the most negative experience can be turned into a positive learning opportunity through perspective.

Obviously this practice is much harder said than done. Which is why I am in the practice of setting a daily intention.

A daily intention is a word or a phrase that you can remind yourself of when your day is not running smoothly. It is a practicing of grounding yourself and harnessing the choice of perspective. More often than not my daily intention is to practice patience. Working in a classroom with 22 two and three year olds requires an abundance of patience and when I lose that patience, not only does it ruin the children’s days but it ruins mine as well. So in those moments of total chaos, I take a deep breath and remind myself to have patience.

It is an ongoing practice that does get easier over time. I have found in my life when I set my day up with an intention my perspective is completely shifted. I don’t sweat the small day to day obstacles. Rather, I face these obstacles with a new perspective and ground my day in my intention.

Life’s Loves

My challenge for you is to keep a journal for one week, while setting daily intentions. At the end of each day write down the obstacles that came up for you and how you shifted your attention back to your intention. By tracking your days you will be able to see what a difference intentions make in your day!