What would make you dance around the living room before 10 a.m.? GRATITUDE CHALLENGE!!

Poinsettia leaf on snow

I have had the most amazing day ever.

I am the happiest I have been since…well, since recent memory. 

You know those kinds of days?

When you can’t quit smiling and your life feels like pure bliss?  Joy pulsates through everything you see and do and think.

Finches

What?   you’re wondering.  Why?  (What’s she talkin’ about now?)

OK, settle down and I shall tell you a Story.

This morning I meditated for 45 minutes.  These weren’t 45 minutes of hell.  (Which meditation can sometimes be.)  These were 45 minutes where the Monkey Mind finally shut up and pure silence reigned.  (This is what everyone thinks meditation should be about every day.  But usually, folks, meditation is about witnessing the Monkey Mind do its Thing.)

Then I came upstairs and started yoga.  It’s been kinda challenging to do yoga since November.  First, because I hurt before my gall bladder surgery.  Second, because I hurt after gall bladder surgery.

Today it all felt magic.  And YES!  it was finally possible to do the Upward Dog without stretching all those internal stitches!

It was during the Upward Dog that I heard The Voice.

Snow against the evergreens

The inner voice said, “You should do a 30-day gratitude challenge.”

I moved into Downward Dog and thought, “What are you talkin’ about now?”

“You should do a 30-day gratitude challenge.  And post it daily on Facebook.”

“Really?” I said, moving into a lunge.  “Why do you think so?”

“Lots of people are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder,” said the voice.  Which was really more like a thought.  But I knew it didn’t come from me.  “Look at yourself, for example.  Aren’t you weighted down by all these endless gray days which seem never-ending?”

“You got that right!” I agreed.

Snow on chain link fence

“So, start a 30-day gratitude challenge,” the voice continued.  “Post every day on Facebook.  Start a gratitude revolution!  Not only will YOU feel better, everyone in your world will feel better.  That’s how it works.  What you focus on increases.  I guarantee it.  Go ahead, do it.”

What is a yogic practitioner to do when a voice such as this interrupts practice?

I agreed.  30-day practice here I come!  Gratitude will rule during these days of gray skies!  (I haven’t yet decided if I should post these every day of WordPress too.  What do you think?) 

It's snowing so hard you can barely see the mailbox!

I scurried over to Facebook and posted:  “The 30 day gratitude challenge! I am going to post on Facebook things I’m grateful for–for the next 30 days. Anyone want to join in? (If you really want a challenge–post four things you’re grateful for each day. You’ll be grateful for 120 jewels in your life by February.)”

Here are my first jewels:   Today I am grateful for being able to do the Upward Dog without discomfort (YES!), for Kashi cereal with blueberry clusters, for being able to sleep most of last night (OK, except for that hour) and for that inexpensive ticket to San Diego.

Fence. Snow.

Yes, yes, yes!  I was so excited that I started dancing around the house!  (See what gratitude will do for you?)  I thought, “Hey, this is odd.  I am dancing around the house before 10 a.m.!  Why am I dancing around the house?”

When, suddenly, unexpectedly, just as I was dancing, my friend, Lorraine, posted this message:   

Good morning to you! As I posted this on my page this morning, I thought of you: “We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.” – Albert Einstein
~ Keep dreaming, keep dancing!
 
How is that for serendipity?  The Universe was obviously expressing its approval of gratitude, of listening and responding to something larger than the small self.
 
Anyone want to join me in this 30-day gratitude challenge?  You can write in your journal, on your Facebook page, in your blog.  Let’s fill the world with so much gratitude and appreciation that the entire planet feels it!  Let’s keep dancing and creating dreams!

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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55 Responses to What would make you dance around the living room before 10 a.m.? GRATITUDE CHALLENGE!!

  1. Emma says:

    I’ll accept the challenge! I think I’d like to do “Things I Love” each day. Is that OK? 🙂

  2. Sue says:

    Today I am grateful for witnessing the moon this morning as it set over the river.
    Today I am grateful for the bluest of blue skies and sunshine that shone on me all day.
    Today I am grateful for the massage I received.
    Today I am grateful for friends that remind me to be grateful!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, Sue, this is a most lovely gratitude list. I am imagining that moon setting over the river…those blue skies (you lucky dog, you!) and a MASSAGE! How wonderful that massage must have felt. Grateful for you, dear friend on the Mississippi.

  3. Susan D says:

    Oh, I’m so glad you were able to do the Upward Dog w/o discomfort, and that you got a good night’s sleep (except for that hour)and that you got the inexpensive ticket to SD! WoooHooo! Love your Gratitude Revolution on facebook and am so happy (and grateful) to be a part of it. It’d be cool if you published your list here, too, I think. I don’t think I suffer from SAD but there is something challenging about January for me. And facebook, lately and again. Refreshing to focus on what we’re thankful for… have been wanting to cyber shake some of my relatives lately for their daily posts of complaints. Well, hmmmm… Physician, heal thyself! Thank you, Kathy! I am particularly in love with the finches photo. Something so sweet about it!

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Susan D, it’s just the thing for us, isn’t it? I am SO glad you’re jumping on the Gratitude Wagon. I mean Revolution. January can be so challenging…I think we covered many of our challenges during our conversation last week. Now I am going to focus on what’s right and beautiful and positive! So glad you are in love with the finches photo. Aren’t they adorable? Aren’t they yellow? Very important when the sky is gray.

  4. LOVE IT….dancing. Dancin dancing

    • Kathy says:

      Kim, when my daughter was a teenager she used to laugh and laugh when her mama danced (exercised) around the house. I have to remember to dance more often these days. You like to dance, too?

  5. Elisa's Spot says:

    YEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSS! I am so very grateful to have other to be grateful with…

  6. Susan Derozier says:

    Kathy – My first thought of gratitude came with your finches picture above. I think it is one of my all time favorites of yours! Also I, too, had kashi blueberry cereal this morning and it is a favorite. Years ago when my daughter was small and going through an “I hate” stage (ie. playing outside, playing inside, her toys, her food, etc.) I pulled her aside (she was six) and told her that she was going to make a list of “I loves” and I would do the same. I wish you could have seen her list…”the sounds of cars passing in the night”, “the sounds of pages turning” and more beautiful things. I had sat her at her desk in her bedroom with a candle lit and I placed myself at the kitchen table with a candle and my own list. It was a transforming experience for both of us. Thanks for taking me back to the importance of gratitude. You are a light in my heart and I’m grateful for you and your shared beauty of words and pictures.

    • Kathy says:

      I am glad you liked teh finch picture, Susan. I actually took it with the wide-angle lens out the window. They are too skittish if you’re outside with them. Unless you’re very very patient. I smiled to hear of your cereal choie. 🙂

      How I love love love your “I love” list. That was an excellent idea! So transforming…I’ll bet a lot of parents would benefit from doing this with their own children. Thank you!

  7. barb says:

    I’m already practicing gratitude on my One Good Thing blog, Kathy. You’re right – noticing the positive makes the day seem a lot more magical. It’s a good practice – for thirty day or for forever.

  8. photobyholly says:

    YAY! This is a wonderful thing that you are doing!! 🙂

  9. Karma says:

    I love that quote by Einstein – struck a chord with me! (Perhaps you guessed it might?) I’m grateful that you are back to regular blog posting! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Karen, it’s amazing how this can fluctuate. One minute you’re done with blogging for awhile, and the next moment you’re ready to post like crazy! I love it!

  10. Dawn says:

    I think your finch picture is beautiful…and that there’s a chickadee in there too, just to the right and below the top finch…sneaky little cutie!

    I was thinking on my way home from performing at a concert tonight that I was grateful for being able to still play music, I was grateful for sharing the evening with so much talent, I was grateful for remembering what it was like to be a 7th grader…and tonight as I drove home I was amazed and grateful for the beautiful moonlight…

    • Kathy says:

      There is a lovely little chickadee hiding in there, too. Glad you spotted it. Thinking about how–when we slow down–we so many more things. How wonderful to be grateful for being able to play music. That is such a gift that so many don’t have. And–always–blessings for the moonlight.

  11. Martha Bergin says:

    OK! Me take your challenge, and will post 4 things I’m grateful for every day on facebook, and I’ll like to your blog today. Thank you for this wonderful idea!

  12. flandrumhill says:

    Kathy I’m grateful for having so much to be grateful for, that I don’t know where to start 🙂

  13. john says:

    Ok Kathy, here I go and break the mood with a strange question (actually I have money riding on this one) A) Isn’t there a third bird in the Finches picture at about 5:00 from the top finch? B) Assuming there is what kind of bird is it?

  14. Robin says:

    I had a similar day on Monday. It’s so wonderful to experience days of such joy. 😀

    I started a new gratitude journal at the beginning of the year. I was just laughing at yesterday’s entry which went something like this (taking out some of the really personal):

    Today I am grateful…

    * For everything. Life, the universe, the day, my husband, love, family, friends, the cats. Everything.
    * To the universe. For everything.
    * For my health and strength and body and everything.
    * For winter and learning to ski. And everything.

    Must have been a good day. lol!

    • Kathy says:

      Gratitude journals can really help us re-focus us to what’s important. I love how your entry was “For Everything.” Just think if we were truly 100% grateful for EVERYTHING!

  15. Dawn says:

    Yeah for healing!

  16. Barbara says:

    Oh, those precious brave finches and their little chickadee companion, making the best of winter! I’m grateful that you took this picture and gave me something pleasant to think about today. (Even if I am a day late…)

    • Kathy says:

      You saw the chickadee companion, too, Barbara. They are indeed so precious. (And I must check to see if they are out of seed. They eat it so ferociously on these cold days.)

  17. Pingback: When a log lands on your toe…will you remember your gratitude practice? « Lake Superior Spirit

  18. Pingback: The Nots and The Ams | Wanderings of an Elusive Mind

  19. holessence says:

    Kathy – Each night before I go to bed I go through the alphabet (A through Z) and say outloud something that starts with each letter that I’m grateful for. I try not to repeat myself, and try to keep it as relevent to the day as possible. I guess you could say that mine is a verbal journal.

    “Poinsettia leaf on snow” is STUNNING!

  20. Debby says:

    I am grateful for my friend Laurie who sat with me and talked about my recent loss of my daily friend. Laurie helped me understand that I am in the process of mourning the deprivation of the physical presence of my friend. I am working through that which could take a long time. Once I’ve mourned that sufficiently, then there will be room for my friend to join me spiritually. It felt really good to talk with someone who understood loss, and the joy of eventually being connected spiritually. I am grateful that I had a friend who was my soul mate. I am lucky and happy that I could have the experience, even though there is pain in the absence of my friend. Thank you Laurie, for taking the time to help me understand better.

    • Kathy says:

      A good friend like Laurie is an incredible blessing, Debby. Sometimes we just a need a friend to help us through those hard times. My good friend lost her partner/husband a few years ago. It was a gift to be able to sit with her through those challenging times. She just started dating again recently. To see her go from tears and utter devestation, to acceptance. Nodding to you in understanding where you are now–missing your beloved friend.

  21. Ginny Adams says:

    I’m joining, too – today’s gratitude list is fresh snow, clear skies, sunshine, and much work done at home.

  22. Faye Sleeper says:

    Perfect timing – I am joining. I need this as I go through a crazy month of home rehab and very cold Minnesota weather. I love the moon. Today as I left for work, I saw the beautiful moon before it was setting. I am grateful for that beauty

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Faye! I know the Gratitude Challenge will help you during this cold winter. I think Minnesota may even be colder than the UP of Michigan these days. (Although tonight it’s about 4 degrees…brrr…) Thank you for joining in. I think even the moon appreciates it. 🙂

  23. Comment #23 from Suzi of the Berkshires:
    I am grateful for dancing, especially Kathy dancing, and also my swing dance class meeting in our attic this evening.
    I am grateful for the prospect of another snow day tomorrow. I am getting good at them.
    I am grateful for my immune system working so well.
    I am grateful for my Moon Circle dancing in the snow around a fire on the Full Moon.

    xoxoxox Love, S

    • Kathy says:

      Ms. Suzi, you are a Queen of Gratitude Lists! I know you’ve done the gratitude challenge before…you remind me to put sense-filled gratitude into my list. I love reading your words! A swing dance class in your attic? Precious!

  24. Marianne says:

    This is great Kathy! I love the dancing quote. It makes me feel like dancing.

  25. Patricia says:

    I love it.
    Today I appreciate that I woke up and my heart didn’t feel so broken.
    Today I appreciate fellow human beings that remind me to quiet the Monkey Mind.
    Today I appreciate my family.
    Today I appreciate my hair for growing long again.

    • Kathy says:

      Patricia, what a gift that you woke up with a heart less tender, less broken. I so appreciate your gratitude list…it is so sweet and beautiful.

  26. Colleen says:

    Kathy, how wonderful!! I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for several years now and will happily join you in your challenge. So good to share and to pass it on. Love the A to Z ending to the day…. never make it past the first few letters thought. So have not yet ended a day being grateful for zydeco. Or zebras. Even though I am!

    Will be home next week and will catch up properly then.

    • Kathy says:

      Colleen, whenever I have written in a gratitude journal I have been amazed by how much GOOD happens in our lives. Good that we tend to forget–or minimalize–for too often. It is especially good to remember when there are lots of challenging things happening in our lives. It all balances out so much better.

  27. Faye says:

    I am over a week into this and have had amazing comments – folks like reading these posts. And, a friend who is emerging after a very private battle with breast cancer started these….it was very humbling. I love reading her posts. Thanks for this idea and link!

    • Kathy says:

      Faye, I am so happy for you! Isn’t it wonderful how gratitude can spread? Blessings to you and your friend…and for all the wonderful things in our lives which can change the way we look at the world.

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