Tag Archives: video

Gratidue and Generosity: Karma Kitchen

I can’t tell you how many times I have begun the process of learning one thing only to find that I am meant to learn a different (but often related) lesson. This is what has been happening for the past 10 days with the 428 Days Gratitude Challenge. I started with the idea that I would explore gratitude and gratefulness. I imagined that I would write some letters of thanks to people that have touched my life or meditate on messages of gratitude. Yes…I will probably do those things. However, I find that each day my focus on gratitude is motivating me to explore generosity. I am being led to acknowledge the beautiful parts of our world AND look for ways to contribute to them. It is an unexpected, but valuable lesson. Take a look at the work of Karma Kitchen. They are a beautiful example of this idea!

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A Lesson In Gratitude

My experience with 428 Days has been life changing. For the past three months, I have been tweaking small parts of my life in an effort to become more open to change. It has been a wonderful journey that, like most journeys, has come with its own set of forks in the road, potholes, and beautiful sunsets.  What has been most interesting is the ways in which the different challenges are connecting with each other. For example, two months ago, I challenged myself to see more beautiful in my world. It was a transformative challenge, and the impact has stuck with me. In short, Seeing Beautiful has become a habit.

Now, on Day 3 of my 428 Days Gratitude Challenge, I am learning that my attempt to be more grateful is connect to my experiments with Seeing Beautiful. This film by cinematographer, Louie Schwartzberg, is a perfect example of this. In it, he connects an awareness of the beauty in our world to a lesson in gratitude. In the same ways that I learned to acknowledge the beauty of my world during Septembers challenge, I am now learning to celebrate that beauty through gratitude.  In the same way that I realized just how much beauty there was around me during the September challenge, I am now reminded that there are just as many opportunities to be grateful.  And just as I realized that much of the beauty in my world was found in my relationships with other people, I am also realizing that many of my opportunities for gratitude are connected to others in my life.  These same ideas are expressed simply by the older gentleman spotlighted in the film:

And so I wish you that you would open your heart to all these blessings and let them flow through you that everyone who you would meet on this day will be blessed by you. Just by your eyes…by your smile…by your touch…just by your presence. Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you then it will really be a good day.

With that being said…I wish you a good day.

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The Science of Happiness – An Experiment in Gratitude

This month, I have decided to commit to changing one small thing in my life…for the next 28 days I focus on being grateful and showing gratitude. The idea was inspired by the video above. I stumbled across it one day while browsing around on the net.  The title contained words that I immediately connected with…Science…Happiness…Experiment…and Gratitude.  I figured I could give 7 minutes of my life to see what an experiment in gratitude actually looked like.  What I witnessed was video of individuals engaged in the simple act of showing gratitude.  However, what was even more inspiring was the immediate effect the act seemed to have on their lives.  They smiled. They laughed. They cried. They experienced what seemed to me to be a rush of love and joy by simply connecting with another human being in a celebration of gratitude.  That’s all it took for me to realize that I also wanted to experiment with gratitude.

Like many people, I’ve been reminded to be thankful for the blessings in my life.  I must admit that sometimes the pressures, frustrations, and disappointments in my life make it very difficult to say, “Thank you.”  More often, I find myself asking, “why” during those moments.  I often forget or take for granted those parts of our world for which I should be grateful, and, as a result, my world can seem bleak and disconnected from things like…happiness, passion, joy, beauty, and love.

For the next 28 days I am committing myself to the work of being grateful.  However, I want to go beyond merely acknowledging the wonderful parts of my life.  While this is important, I don’t feel that it would represent a true 428 Days experiment.  I want to do more.  I want to find ways to rediscover those parts of my life that I have forgotten; those relationships, passions, and ideas that, for whatever reason, I have taken for granted.  I also want to go beyond simply being grateful.  I want to celebrate the blessings in my world by showing gratitude. Like the people in the video, I want to look for opportunities to share my gratefulness with others in ways that go beyond a polite thank you.  This will be the true challenge for the next 28 days.  However, it is also the part I am most excited about experiencing!

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Learning from the Masters of Play

I watched this video today and was reminded, once again, that somewhere along the road to adulthood, I forgot how to truly play. These past three days have really challenged me to think about my ideas about play. Every day, I am pushing myself to break through the barriers of the responsible adult for just a moment. I want to experience true play. Here is what I am learning: First, I need to move to space that may be unfamiliar to me. I need to challenge myself to feel comfortable with exploring something I don’t really know much about. Second, I need to put aside my need to judge things as good/bad, effective/ineffective, worth/unworthy, and useful/useless. This need to evaluate my play is limiting my opportunities to play. Finally, I need to be comfortable with being an authentic human being. It seems that somewhere along the way I learned about appropriate behavior for adults. Unfortunately, those lessons made very little room for play…real play. I may need to leave those lessons behind if I really want to learn the new lessons waiting for me in these 28 days.

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Never Too Old To Play

Today began my new For 28 Days Challenge…Play! For the next 28 days, I will look for ways to incorporate more play into each day of my life. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Here’s the crazy part…I’m actually a little nervous about this one. After all, I’ve pretty much replaced all the moments of play in my life with “responsibilities.” Don’t get me wrong. I still play the occasional game of basketball. I’m good for game on my iPad when I have a moment to spare. I’ll even take my kids to the neighborhood park now and then. But rarely do I really, really PLAY!
Truth be told, I miss the days when I played with enthusiastic passion whenever I could. There is a part of me that wonders if I will be able to “do it the way I used to.” After all, it’s been a while. Then, there is the adult side of me that is over thinking every part of this challenge. It is the part that is planning for tomorrow’s play (Is it really play if you schedule it on your Google calendar?). It is the part that is wondering if I’ll do it right (Is it possible to play wrong?). It is the part of me that is concerned that I will look childish if someone sees me (Don’t adults need to play too?). These were the questions that were flooding through my mind as I sat drawing a huge chalk flower on our driveway with my kids this evening. I had a great time, but for much of the time I was questioning everything about the experience. My children, on the other hand, were playing like virtuosos. They moved effortlessly…gracefully…from one experience to another (drawing with chalk one second…digging for ants the next). Meanwhile, I stressed over the shading on the petals of my chalk flower. It seems that I have a lot to RE-learn about play, but I have 28 days to learn these lessons. After all, you are never too old to play!

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