Monday, March 24, 2014

Blessings, gratitude, and the overflowing glass.

March 24, 2014

Daughters of my heart, and other readers,

We've all heard or read that the optimist sees the glass as half-full, and the pessimist sees the glass as half-empty.  When it comes to blessings, my belief is that the glass is always, always, overflowing.

Many of us take the multitude of blessings we have for granted.  There is a passage in the Bible that says, "I will pour blessings down upon you, in full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing."  And the Creator has done exactly that.

If you are reading this letter in electronic or print form, already you have the blessings that you can read, which means you can see, understand the words, think about them, and decide whether or not you will accept this message.  In electronic form, there is the additional blessing that you were able to purchase the unit or use one that is available to you.  You have learned how it operates.  Your brain has stored that information for you to access whenever you have need of it.  In the meantime, without any direction from you, your heart is beating, your lungs are breathing, and blood is circulating to every cell of your body.  More blessings.

More than likely, you have a home that shelters you; food enough that you are not hungry; a table upon which you can put the food; a chair to sit on when you decide to eat; a body that will process the food and deliver nutrients to every part of itself; a bed to sleep on; hot and cold running water; a body that works 24/7 to keep you healthy whether you acknowledge it or not; clothes to cover you; friends to talk to; someone you can call when you feel lonely or afraid; family that loves you; a current job or retirement income that enables you to pay your bills; a mode of transportation, private or public; books to read for pleasure or knowledge; the list is virtually endless.  The glass is always overflowing.

Pick up a book on anatomy, read all that your amazing, incredible body does for you, and never again disparage any part of you.  Be grateful.  We are miracles in motion.  No one will ever convince me otherwise.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, and regardless of the state of your health or wallet, you are alive at this moment in time and you are able to see, think, read, and understand.  Consider how huge these blessings are by themselves, then take five minutes to look around you and be grateful for every single thing you see or touch.  Walk into any room of your home and, silently or aloud, thank the God you pray to for each individual thing you see or touch.  Include the room itself, the walls, the ceiling, the floor, the lights, the door, etc.  When you do this, you will realize, as others have, that we live in a sea of blessings above us, around us, and beneath us.  Be grateful.

Look out a window or go outdoors and see the miracle of Nature, Divine Mother Earth, in its infinite variety and beauty.  Plants, flowers, bushes, grasses, and trees, most of which produce food with the help of the insects and bees that pollinate them.  Butterflies and birds are little splashes of color, flitting her and there.  The sky is a constantly changing background of color, sometimes vibrant, sometimes subdued, and all the myriad shades in-between.  Be grateful.

There is the sun that warms us, the rain that falls so that plants will grow and all of life will have the water it needs.  The trees absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale, and release the oxygen that we may live and breathe.  Everything in Nature is a reflection of the Creator and beneficial to us in some way.  Be grateful.

Don't be too busy to acknowledge, appreciate, and enjoy who you are, what you are, what you have accomplished, and all that you have.  The planet will not cease spinning, stars will not fall from the skies, and civilization as we know it will not end if you stop and take five minutes to appreciate the never-ending blessings poured down upon us, in full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing.

Be grateful for all that serves you and gives you pleasure.

Be grateful for your amazing, incredible body.  Thank your body for its many years of service.

Be grateful for the job(s) you have or have had that enable you to pay your bills and take care of yourself.  Many cannot.

Be grateful for every bill you can pay.  Thank God for each check you are able to write, or electronic transfer of funds you are able to make.  Many cannot.

Be grateful for the Country you live in and willingly support it with your tax dollars, and your prayers.

Be grateful for the wise decisions you have made.

Be grateful for the lessons learned the hard way.  Nothing is a mistake if we learn and benefit from it.  Those 'mistakes' give us the wisdom to know not to go down that path again, and those 'mistakes' give us the empathy and compassion to help others.  When we are able to do that, the so-called mistakes become blessings in disguise.

They say the sweeping broom always finds more dust.  Blessings are like that; the more you look, the more you will find blessings, blessings everywhere.

Be grateful for all that is.  Gratitude is a prayer that quiets the mind and heart, allowing us to resume our daily work more peacefully.  When we are peaceful, the mind is clearer and better able to make wise choices, the body is more relaxed, the soul is refreshed, and more can be accomplished easily and effortlessly.  When we are truly peaceful, we can be calm in the midst of chaos and know instinctively what needs to be done and do it.

Daughters of my heart and other readers, let every breath, every step, every beat of your heart be a "Thank You, God."  Open your eyes and see that the glass has always been, is now, and always will be, overflowing.

Remember always to take care of yourselves with respect.  Walk in dignity and grace.  You are important to God, the Universe, and all those who love you, including me.

                                                                                              Love, always


Copyright 2014

email comments to:

For a print copy of this letter, email your name and
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Thank you for sharing this site with those whom you
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within two weeks.

(Zizi is a diminutive form of Zia, Aunt in Italian).

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Things I learned along the way about.....Laughter

March 13, 2014

Daughters of my heart...and other readers,

One of my favorite poems is "Laughter" by Serene S. West:

                 "Laughter is a melody, a concert from the heart,
                  A tickling of the angels, creative living art.

                  Laughter heals and comforts, it's sometimes gentle---sometimes bold.
                  Laughter is a freeing dance, performed within the soul."

This year, Sunday, May 4th is World Laughter Day, the perfect day to gather with friends to celebrate friendship and laughter.

The study of laughter and its effects on the body, both from a psychological and physiological perspective, is called gelotology, from the Greek 'gelos', meaning laughter.

Laughter has been used since the 13th Century to distract patients from pain.  The study of humor on physical wellness, however, didn't begin until sometime in the 20th Century.  Some believe it began after the publication of, "Anatomy of an Illness," published in 1979.  The author, Norman Cousins,  after years of pain from a serious illness, tells how he cured himself by watching comedic movies.

Since then, it has been scientifically proven that laughter does indeed contribute to the healing process.  Laughter reduces the stress hormones.  The brain releases endorphins when we laugh, the 'feel-good' hormones with pain-killing and tranquilizing abilities.  Laughter causes dilation of the inner lining of the blood vessels, thereby increasing blood flow.  Laughter relaxes the muscles, enhances oxygen intake, eases digestion, and massages the inner organs.

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America include laugh therapy sessions as part of their Mind-Body Medicine Department.  Other hospitals do laughter therapy with children and the handicapped.

In 1995, Dr. Madan Kataria of India, began a Laughter Yoga Club with five people.  Today, those Clubs number almost 6,000 and are located in 60 different countries, including the U.S.  In India, Dr. Kataria has taken Laughter Yoga into schools, facilities for the mentally and physically handicapped, and prisons.

Laughter Yoga International is a global movement to promote health, joy, and peace in the world by building a global consciousness of brotherhood and friendship through laughter.  To locate a Club near you, visit their website:  Training is also available to become a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader.  No fees to join Laughter Yoga.

A wealth of information on the healing power of laughter is available online, and many books have been written on the subject.  Social laughter clubs are becoming common in Senior Centers and other meeting places.  You may prefer to start a group of your own, meeting with friends for the sole purpose of celebrating friendship and laughter, a mental and physical health activity.

In the late 1930's, when my brother and I were still children, once in a while, our Mom would say to us, "Let's laugh."  At first, it would be forced and awkward, but then it would become real laughter...happy sounds.

It was wonderful to hear my Dad laugh.  It seemed to start from somewhere deep inside and gather momentum until it burst out of him, tears rolling down his face.  Even if you didn't feel the least bit amused, it was contagious, and it makes me smile to remember him that way.  (Eyes get moist during laughter as a reflex from the tear glands).

My brother's laugh could fill a room.  Years ago, for a while, I would write him totally ridiculous reports in the form of letters, pretending to be his Press Secretary.  I would put the letters in the mail and wait for the phone to ring the next day.  I knew he would call me while he was still reading, laughing for all he was worth.  Music to my ears.....happy memories.

I find it amazing that, in addition to everything else our bodies do for us on a daily basis, we come into this world with a sense of humor that lightens our moods, relieves stress, increases blood flow, and boosts the immune system that keeps us healthy.

There may well be times in our lives when events and circumstances present themselves and we may think we will never smile again, let along laugh.  So, I would suggest that you laugh whenever you can and, then, if dark days come, you will be emotionally stronger and physically healthier and better able to face whatever the situation may be, or may become.  Laugh when you can.  "Laughter is a freeing dance, performed within the soul."

Daughters of my heart and other readers, remember always to take care of yourselves.  Treat yourselves gently and with respect.  Walk in dignity and grace.  You are important to God, the Universe, and all those who love you, including me.

                                                                                                Love you, always


Copyright:  2014

email comments/questions to:
For a print copy of this letter, email your name and
address to the above.  Your personal data will not
be shared.

Thank you for sharing this site with those whom you
think may be interested.  The next post will be within
two weeks.

(Zizi is a diminutive form of Zia, Aunt in Italian).