The Blessing of Being

Seven years ago today I became a Mom.

Although my journey to motherhood was not one I ever would have chosen, I can truly say I am grateful things turned out just the way they did.

It wasn’t always that way.

Being grateful is so hard to fathom when you’re going through a challenge.

It’s often only afterwards, when we look back and reflect on our experiences, that we realize how much our struggle helped pave the way for us to become what we needed to; much like a caterpillar struggles to emerge from a chrysalis as a beautiful, elegant, divinely perfect butterfly.

That’s not something you can ever help it do. In fact, if you were to help, the butterfly would die. The struggle IS the path. The path to growth and completion.

So while I’m not a big fan of struggling forever, I believe our struggles are what shape us and give our lives meaning.

Had I not struggled to become a Mom, I would not be the Mom I am today. I would not have the son I have today. I would not have the grace, humility and appreciation I have today.

So for today, I am going to bathe in gratitude, in celebration of my son, Milo.

Today, Milo, I am grateful for:

The sweet way you smile at me first thing in the morning. I am so lucky you are the first thing I see when I wake up.

The way you love to snuggle and be snuggled.

Your clever sense of humor.

The way the music you create on your piano makes my heart dance. It seems to flow out of you with perfect ease and joy. It surely lives inside you.

The creative way you invent and play games.

Your lightening speed when we ride bikes together. You are keeping me in shape.

The deep and special connection we have between us. It’s almost like you know what I’m thinking sometimes.

Your short temper, as it reminds me to be gentle with you.

You’re stubbornness. It reminds me you are your own person.

Your questions. May you always ask questions.

Your love of reading. It is a gift and a joy to share with you.

Your warrior personality and love of victory. May you always triumph.

Your ability to make friends. May you always be surrounded by people who love you.

Your ability to make people laugh. That is a gift to be cherished.

The amazing structures you build in our living room.

The way you just interrupted me to give me “one thousand, million kisses.”

The way you make me feel grateful, every single day, that I GET to be your Mom.

Thank you, Milo, one thousand, million times.

And thank YOU for reading.

I realize not all struggles have a happy ending. But I do believe gratitude can play a role in how we handle life’s big challenges. If we can find something in our experience to be grateful for, however tiny it may seem, it can make all the difference.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Bankim Desai on Unsplash

10 Years Later, I Still Miss Her Terribly


My Mom passed away suddenly on May 18, 2010. It was the biggest shock I’ve ever experienced. She was here one day and gone the next.

But through my grief, I felt an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the Mom that I had, and the years I had her.

Since that time I have prioritized the power of gratitude in my life.

A few years ago, I was lying in bed on the winter solstice, just a few days before Christmas, the holiday my Mom loved most. 

I don’t think I will ever meet someone who loved Christmas as much as she did.

When we were kids, she once organized an entire neighborhood event, shepherding all the children from house to house singing Christmas carols. This was followed by a gathering at our home with hot chocolate and her large assortment of homemade Christmas cookies, which she had been joyfully baking for weeks. At the time, my brother, sister and I thought this was a common occurrence in the new neighborhood we had just moved into, but as it turns out, it was all my mother’s doing.

Christmas brings up many beautiful memories along with a great longing for the days when I could hug my Mother any time I wanted to, and her warm embrace would soothe me for days.

Among her many talents, my Mom knew how to hug.

As I thought about my Mom that night, missing her terribly, that same overwhelming feeling of gratitude took over and I silently sent 100 million thank you’s to her in heaven.

This year, as we shelter in place, my six year old son and I decided we would create a project called the 100 Million Thank You Project. The project is meant to inspire gratitude at a time when we can all use it. I hope you will check it out! #100MTYProject

Mother’s Day 2020, like all things lately, will feel a bit different for many. My heart goes out to those of you who won’t be able to hug your Moms due to the social distancing and lockdown measures that have been put in place, and for those who may have lost a Mom recently.

Here is a Mother’s Day gratitude meditation you can do to help you remember that feeling of Mom around you. Feel free to share it.

I am also co-hosting a Live Mother’s Day Gratitude Healing and Meditation free online event this Sunday from 9:30 – 10:30 am – you can register here!

Stay well and may gratitude be with you always,

 

 

 

 

Photo: Mother’s Day Thank You Card created by my student, Kathleen Williamsen

5 Ways To Beat The Blues

When we first began sheltering in place, I immediately began focusing on silver linings – the best way I knew of coping with the reality and utter shock of what was happening.

Spending more time at home felt like a blessing in disguise and I was thrilled to finally have a chance to rest, sleep in, bond deeper with my family and catch up on laundry.

But now that we are seven weeks into this quarantine, I have to say, it’s getting a bit much and the doldrums are starting to set in. Here are 5 things I’ve found to be helpful in this situation:

Five Ways To Beat The Blues

1. Get Fresh Air and Exercise. I made a point to get us all out on a family bike ride every single day (unless it’s raining) and I have to say this is my number one remedy for staying sane in quarantine. Fresh air and exercise help clear the mind, boost mood and are essential to keeping your immune system strong, so make sure you are getting some as often as possible. Always remember to appreciate yourself afterwards – self-gratitude is an important part of self-love.

2. If you’ve never taken a Gratitude Walk, give it a try. What better way to combine two great immune boosters—gratitude and Mother Nature! Start by taking a few deep breaths. Notice the sounds, smells, and depending where you live, you might notice new signs of spring. This helps get you in the present moment. Say thank you for trees, flowers, grass. Say thank you for birds chirping and any other sounds you hear. Next focus on your body. Thank your lungs for breathing, your heart for beating, your legs for walking and your eyes for seeing. Think of 5 people you are grateful for and 5 more things as you walk. If you’re walking with a friend, exchange gratitudes with that person. When you are finished, appreciate yourself for getting exercise and fresh air and for focusing on all the positives that exist in this moment. Make this a daily or weekly ritual — a very special and sacred time where you remember how blessed you are.

3. Try Meditation. For the past 7 weeks I’ve meditated every single morning. I absolutely love how I feel when I meditate and I focus on receiving love from above. I sit quietly and say this affirmation, “I am love, I am love, I am love, I am love, I am the highest vibration there is.” While I do this, I envision white light shining down on me, filling my body from head to toe with love. It’s delicious and it fills me up with positivity so I can go about my day feeling strong. If meditating does not come easy for you, try doing a guided meditation. You can download a free gratitude meditation here.

4. Write a Thank You Card to someone you love. Expressing gratitude with a handwritten card is a powerful way to tap into the juiciness of gratitude for both the giver and the receiver. Check out this new project I am working on with my son called The 100 Million Thank You Project to help you get started!

5. Take your Vitamin G daily! Download the Gratitude To Bliss app and make a commitment to use it for the next 30 days. Set a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget. Remember, gratitude is the antidote to stress so be sure you’re getting this essential nutrient each and every day!

SPECIAL BONUS: Join me for Gratitude Is The New Calm, a one-hour online group workshop May 5th (new date) 8-9PM EST! You can learn more and save your spot here!

Please post in the comments your favorite ways to beat the blues!

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

Write Your Gratitude Resume

I always get a chuckle in my talks when I ask my audience if anyone has stress in their lives. Stress is so epidemic that we have to laugh about it, as if it goes with the territory of just being alive.

What I believe is underlying most of our stress is fear – fear of not being enough, not doing enough and not having enough.

One way gratitude helps with this is by teaching us to appreciate ourselves. 

As a Mom, I often find myself in this predicament. No matter how hard I try, things don’t always go as planned. My child gets overtired and melts down unexpectedly. I pack the car for a road trip and forget a swimsuit. I plan a delicious dinner but everyone is hangry before it’s ready. Mom fails happen. 

Enter the perfect antidote – the Gratitude Resume!

The Gratitude Resume is something you can do to help you stay focused on how much you do,  every day, instead of focusing on what you didn’t do. 

Once you sit down and start to write out all the things you do, whether you’re a Mom, a daughter, a friend, an employee, a Dad, a teacher, something else or any combination of the above, it’s likely you have no idea how valuable you are.

So take a look at what I came up with when I decided to write my own Gratitude Resume for my most important position: Mom. Then take a moment to give it a try for yourself.

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Lorraine Miller
Mom Extraordinaire

Current Position (2013-present): Mom

Position includes: Personal Advisor, Mediator, Wardrobe Consultant, Refrigerator Inventory Manager, Cook, Baker, Sandwich-maker, Laundress, Band-Aid applier, Teacher, Homework Helper, Social Coordinator, Chauffeur, Travel Planner, Home Organizer/De-Clutterer, Nurse, Sleep Whisperer, Food Shopper, Meal Planner, Dish Washer, Housekeeper, Master Hugger, Master Snuggler, Task Juggler, Cheerleader, and Best Friend.

Special Skills include: 

Shoe tying, giving baths, finding lost toys, wallets and phones, making beds, kissing and rubbing boo-boo’s, packing lunches and snacks, giving reminders, negotiating terms, enforcing rules, creating routines, instilling tradition, inspiring teams, rallying troops, managing social calendars, empowering children, building character, teaching wellbeing.

Availability: 24/7/365

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One of my favorite things about gratitude is that it truly is an antidote to stress. So try this self-gratitude exercise and please post in the comments how it is for you!

Gratefully,

 

 

 

Photo by Tim Cooper on Unsplash

The thing about smartphones


Recently I’ve been selling my gratitude goods at my local farmer’s market and have been meeting so many great people who stop by to talk gratitude, make a thank you card with their kids, or buy a book, shirt or candle. 

A few weeks ago, a young man in his twenties named Peter shared with me that “writing stuff down” (i.e. what he is grateful for) has been really helpful for him.

I told him about my free app so he could practice gratitude right on his phone. 

What he said next was shocking.

He told me he doesn’t have an iPhone anymore.

“That’s ok,” I said. “It works on Android too.”

“No,” he said. “I have a flip phone. I find I’m much happier without a smart phone.”

“I believe it,” I said. 

“Yeah, but my generation has it so much worse,” he said.

“Good for you that you made that switch,” I said. 

In the past year especially, I have seen more and more articles about the link between smart phones and depression, anxiety and even suicide, especially in teens and young adults.

On the plus side, our phones keep us connected, informed, and able to record and share our experiences instantly. 

The downside is they take us away from actually living and experiencing life in the moment (which by the way is the key to happiness). Tweet this!

What Peter has done for himself is profound.

He has stepped away from the cultural norm and found what works for him. Kudos to Peter for having that courage!!!

He made me think, what are some things I have done to make myself happier?

Here’s what I came up with:

  • I have learned to prioritize sleep. 
  • I have found what foods make me feel good and I avoid those that don’t. 
  • I make an effort to schedule fewer activities for myself and my family, recognizing that less is more. 

These things may not seem like much, but they are actually the foundation for MY happiness and it’s taken me years to fully embrace these things in my life. These things are what happened for me when I started to focus on creating bliss.

My next goal? To limit my phone usage to designated times during the day like only noon-12:15 and 5-5:15pm. I’m already excited to see what I’ll do with all that extra time!

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the documentary, The Minimalists. It’s really quite fascinating. 

What’s something you can do to make yourself happier? Please share below!

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Tiago Almeida on Unsplash