#346 Happiness

Happiness never ever leaves us; it does not abandons us; it never withdraws. It is we who leave it. And it is we who can can return to it.
Happiness remains, even when we’re not aware of it. There certainly are times when happiness is not really appropriate—when we’re deep in grief, or fear, or sadness, or anger. Yet happiness is always there, leaning against our backs, always keeping in close contact. It’s there when we need it, when we’re able to turn towards it, able to take it up and dance with it again.
The knowledge that happiness remains with us through it all can bring a touch of sweetness, an awareness of love, to our grief or anger or even fear.
And there are times when we truly forsake happiness—when we’re tangled up with too much useless thinking; when we’re caught up in being judgmental; when we’re stuck in self-loathing; when we’re mired in addiction. I’m sure you can add to that list! Nonetheless, happiness remains in close contact, always there should we decide to choose it.
Can you feel it? It’s there, at your shoulder. Always.

#345 Negative again

“No negative talking or thinking about anyone, including oneself.”
I made it three days! 😂😂😂 
Though I must say, this practice is filling me with gratitude. I’m grateful when I don’t go negative. And I’m grateful when I catch myself going negative—because then I have the opportunity to make a different choice. 
I’m even grateful when I recognize that I’m going negative and yet continue on the negative path—there’s learning in everything. 😊

#344 Nothing Negative

I saw a sign on Facebook: Try to say nothing negative about anybody for three days, for forty-five days, for three months. See what happens to your life.”

I’m going to give it a try! I put it on my calendar: “say nothing negative about anyone.” I put it on every day until February 14! What do you suppose my odds are? I’d say they’re not great.

I suspect I’ll be parsing out what exactly “say nothing negative” means! Such as, “but what if it’s true?!”
Wait! What if I THINK something negative about someone? Does thinking count? (Yes Jett, thinking counts.) 
Okay, I’ll give it a try.

#343 Gratitude and Generosity

Whatever happens in your life, never forsake gratitude!
Do you brush your teeth? What do you do while you’re brushing? Think about the government? Compose your shopping list? Worry about your family? Try this—while you’re brushing your teeth, feel gratitude for them, each and every one. Perhaps even love them!
And consider this: the gratitude and love you experience for your teeth is a form of generosity. What are other ways you can enhance your practice of generosity? Toward yourself. Toward the land. Toward your neighbors. Toward anyone and everyone. Seize every opportunity to be generous! Ramp it up!

#342 Miracles

Love is power. Wait, let me rephrase that—UNCONDITIONAL love is power.
Or say it this way—UNCONDITIONAL love creates the space where you can access your power.
And let me tell you something else—that’s the space where miracles happen. Power accessed within the space of UNCONDITIONAL love is the power that can do miracles.

#341 Gratitude for no reason

Gratitude For No Reason.
When you get up from sitting, pause, take a breath, and feel gratitude—for no particular reason. 
When you sit down, pause, take a breath, and feel gratitude—for no particular reason.
When you enter a room, pause, take a breath, and feel gratitude—for no particular reason.
When you get in your car, pause, take a breath, and feel gratitude—for no particular reason.
When you—you name it—pause, take a breath, and feel gratitude—for no particular reason.

#339 My Life’s Purpose

Someone shared a letter that Rev. Shari Prestemon, from the  Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ, sent to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz.

In it she said that hers is a denomination that “strives to seek justice and share extravagant love with the most vulnerable among us.” I like that phrase, seek justice and share extravagant love. I think I’ll take it as my life’s mission statement. Seek justice and share extravagant love.

And now I know my life’s purpose to be this: to live up to my mission statement.

#338 Ways of Gratitude

This issue of Signal Fire is written entirely by a reader. It’s something I’ve been wanting to express for a very long time. I just could never put it as clearly as this. But then, clarity of thought and word is Jeff Nygaard’s way. If you don’t already read Nygaard Notes, I highly recommend it. Here’s what he says:

I’ve noticed a difference in how I resonate with gratitude depending on how I frame things.  It’s hard to express, but I’ll try.

The more specific and/or personal I get, the less energizing it is.

It seems like the difference between “grateful to” and “grateful for”

“I’m grateful to Mark for donating to 
Nygaard Notes.” vs “I’m grateful for the generosity and solidarity that allows me to do my work.”

The first one is true, and I feel good about it.  The second one makes me feel joyful and blessed to be part of a broad community.  And it includes the gratitude I feel toward each individual.

I think the first one is more conditional, and depends on a specific action in order to be “true.”  The second one rests on a long history and doesn’t change day to day. I’m ALWAYS grateful, and each specific act only reminds me that I am.

Another example:
“I’m grateful for the beautiful day today.” vs “I’m grateful  to be alive to experience a day like today.”

Good days come and go, but my gratitude for being a part of the unfolding is always there.  My gratitude practice serves to remind me that I can live in a state of gratitude no matter what any given day offers me.  What a gift that is!

#337 Generous

Bear with me, as we take a trip inside my head.

“What in the world is wrong with these republicans?! They’re either working people with machine guns or they’re billionaires who use everything as a way to increase their hoard of wealth. Good grief!”

Recognizing that disturbers are always allies, I wonder what these particular allies might have for me today. It’s this: “Today I am generous in thought, word, and deed.” 

Perhaps more accurately put—I want to be; I intend to be; I will learn to be; I choose to be. Generous in thought, word, and deed. 

We’ll see.

#336 Hug a Tree

If you can’t hug other people right now, hug a tree!
And you can do more than hug. Try this. Most of you are familiar with this type of grounding exercise. As you lean on your tree, imagine that you have roots in the earth, too. Mingle your roots with the roots of the tree.

Trees have a strong communication system, though different from ours. As I see it, trees understand need. And if you’re clear about your needs, and if your intention to have your needs met is clear, when you mingle your roots the trees will communicate your needs far and wide. And who knows who else the trees communicate with?