Why do we have so many words in the English language? We’ve swiped/adapted many of the thousands of words that make up what we call “English” from other languages.
Trivia question: what percent of the English language comes from French? Answer: 45%. That’s amazing, isn’t it?
We love variety in our lives. And one of the ways we express that desire for diversification is in our everyday use of language.
One of the reasons I cringe when I hear the overuse of “four letter words” is that it’s such a lazy way of speaking. You need only a miniscule vocabulary to use the F-bomb as a verb, adjective, adverb and noun in every sentence. We English-speakers have an incredibly rich language open to us to explore and use. So let’s use it!
We use different words to mean similar things, but think about the words “pretty” and “beautiful” – both mean someone or something is attractive or pleasing to the eye. But they are different degrees of what we are trying to express, and usually beautiful is used for something of a higher degree.
It’s always subjective, of course, as is any expression of our thoughts via the clumsy use of language to define the indefinable and try to share what we experience in a way that others can get a picture of it in their own mind.
Back to Gratitude and Appreciation – are they completely the same? Think about it for a moment. All of us have our own reaction internally to different words, depending on how they were used in our family growing up, or in school and among friends and people who influenced our thinking.
Every word in our language is actually a vibrational use of speech that sets up a reaction in the person or persons who are hearing or reading that word and the complex construction of paragraphs, essays and books. Effective speakers and writers use language to paint pictures for their audience, but there is no way to resonate the same with every single person, because of our individuality and our own experiences with certain words.
If you have the practice of writing a daily Gratitude List, which is something I often recommend to my readers and in my coaching courses, you know that being grateful for something is also a way of saying that you appreciate having it in your life.
When we take gratitude further, we can generate the feeling in the present for what we want to magnetize to us from out of the “unseen” picture of it in our mind and into the physical so we can experience that new job or relationship or vacation.
But for many of us, if you grew up being scolded that you neglected to thank someone for a gift you hate, and being forced to say you are grateful for it, then the word “gratitude” can set up an invisible sense of dismay and anger inside. Perhaps even a big resentment! That energy will negate the good that you are trying to create with your Gratitude List.
If you sometimes have that feeling of resentment at the idea of “having to” be grateful when there are so many things going on in your life that you feel upset or unhappy about, try this…
Switch to the word “appreciate.” Here’s why:
When we shift into a word that resonates more happily with us, we can use it like a stepstool to reach that higher vibration where our results are waiting for us to catch up. Think about it a moment. In saying “I am grateful for…” we may unintentionally set up an image of someone else giving us something as if we are a lower sort of being, gifted with it and having to say thanks.
But when we say “I appreciate…” we may feel more empowered. We can look around us and say very easily, with no resistance, “I appreciate how pretty that flower is… I appreciate that I have clothes to wear and food to eat…”
And in that state of appreciation, we are feeling less resistance and doubt about deserving all the things on our vision or wish list…and we allow those wonderful outcomes to come to us.
Play around with the words you use to build your consistently higher vibration of happiness. You may discover that simply plucking a different word out of the vast dictionary of the English language will be the simple key to manifesting your desires.
When we turn our attention toward finding things and situations to “appreciate” in our lives, it uplifts us – we not only feel better about ourselves and our day, but we begin automatically attracting into our experience even more things to appreciate!
As Wayne Dyer put it: “What we appreciate appreciates.”
When money appreciates, it gains interest.
When we appreciate life, those things we are happy about multiply.
I appreciate that no matter how my day is going, I can start over by changing my attitude to a more positive and hopeful outlook.
I appreciate that I always have second chances in any situation.
I appreciate that I am here at this time in history for a purpose.
I appreciate that I can help others smile.
Smile, and appreciate your ability to do so!
When we learn to reverse some of our old thinking habits that we learned in childhood from others who were taught the old way of reacting to live instead of creating what we want, then we truly have the power of manifesting our desires.
We manifest all the time—whatever goes on in our lives is something we vibrationally had a part of, no matter how awful it appears. Does that feel discouraging or too preposterous to believe?
What it means, though, is that we are already very high level manifestors!
You don’t have to “learn” how to create things on this planet. You’re already doing it all day long—but when we do it without realizing we are even doing it, then we’re acting in a haphazard way.
Try appreciating everyone around you. Today, find something to like about each person you encounter. Begin each day feeling more appreciative, and yes, grateful, for the incredible opportunities to create more joy in the world, and to be a part of progress for humanity.
If anyone has the justification to feel hopeless, we might imagine it would be the spiritual leader of Tibet who was run out of his own country nearly sixty years ago and has been in exile in northern India ever since.
However, the Dalai Lama is the embodiment of compassionate understanding of the ways of the world, and his thoughtfulness is reflected in every message, speech and teaching he offers us. What can we learn from his words? To look at each situation not from the perspective of finding the pain in it, but to find the seeds of growth and optimism.
It is always our own choice how we view every incident in our lives, both private and public. We can take the position of fearing that the world is falling apart and there is no hope for future generations, or we can realize that we are always in a time of growth and evolution and change. When we look to ways to evolve in an upward direction, we make world peace an eventuality instead of simply a wistful wish.
Please enjoy the following excerpt from The Washington Post, Opinions, dated June 13, 2016.
Why I’m Hopeful About the World’s Future
by The Dalai Lama
“While it would be easy to feel a sense of hopelessness and despair, it is all the more necessary in the early years of the 21st century to be realistic and optimistic.
“There are many reasons for us to be hopeful. Recognition of universal human rights, including the right to self-determination, has expanded beyond anything imagined a century ago. There is growing international consensus in support of gender equality and respect for women. Particularly among the younger generation, there is a widespread rejection of war as a means of solving problems. Across the world, many are doing valuable work to prevent terrorism, recognizing the depths of misunderstanding and the divisive idea of “us” and “them” that is so dangerous. Significant reductions in the world’s arsenal of nuclear weapons mean that setting a timetable for further reductions and ultimately the elimination of nuclear weapons — a sentiment President Obama recently reiterated in Hiroshima, Japan — no longer seem a mere dream.”
The following excerpt is from the book Seth Speaks by Jane Roberts.
“Your rate of learning depends entirely upon you, however. Limited, dogmatic, or rigid concepts of good and evil can hold you back. Too narrow ideas of the nature of existence can follow you through several lives if you do not choose to be spiritually and psychically flexible.
“These rigid ideas can indeed act as leashes, so that you are forced to circle like a tied puppy dog about a very small radius. In such cases, through perhaps a group of existences, you will find yourself battling against ideas of good and evil, running about in a circle of confusion, doubt, and anxiety.
“Your friends and acquaintances will be concerned with the same problems, for you will draw to yourself those with the same concerns. I am telling you again, therefore, that many of your ideas of good and evil are highly distortive, and shadow all understanding you have of the nature of reality.
“If you form a guilt in your mind, then it is a reality for you, and you must work it out. But many of you form guilts for which there is no adequate cause, and you saddle yourselves with these guilts without reason. In your dimension of activity there appear to be a wild assortment of evils. Let me tell you that he who hates an evil merely creates another one.
“From within your point of reference it is often difficult for you to perceive that all events work toward creativity, or to trust in the spontaneous creativity of your own natures.”
One of the core principles of using the law of attraction to our advantage instead of unconsciously magnetizing results that we don’t really like or want, is to understand the power of focusing our thoughts so that we appreciate what we want to experience even before we get it.
When we enter into a practice of being appreciative of all that we already have, we set up an internal vibration that brings us into harmony with a higher quality of circumstances. We thus draw those conditions and circumstances and relationships into our life, simply by being grateful. And then, to take the practice even further, if we start being grateful in advance for all that we desire, being thankful we have already received it, the law of attraction will match our energy with what we want to get.
Here’s an excerpt from my book GET HAPPY TODAY: No More Excuses! that explains more about building up an attitude of gratitude.
Chapter 5 – Action Steps: Cultivate gratitude
- Don’t expect yourself to be a magical mystical being who doesn’t have fear and who dances through life with a song on your lips every moment of every day. That’s not what being “happy no matter what” means. Happiness is an intention to accept the ups and downs with good humor.
- Be grateful for every chance to love someone who is, at this point in time, acting in an unlovable way. Isn’t that what love is all about?
- There’s no mystery to how I went quickly from panic to acceptance in the dentist chair. But there is indeed a secret that I will share with you, and here it is: I used gratitude as my path.
- Make gratitude a habit in your daily life. It works.
- From now on, in everything you do, even the mundane tasks, find ways to say to yourself, “I am grateful for this situation because…” Try it. With practice, it leads you to feel more empowered about your life. As well as happier.
Perhaps you saw the film “Invictus” starring Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, and Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar, captain of South Africa’s national rugby team, who was entrusted with an idea Mandela had to help unite the bitterly divided country following the end of apartheid in 1994.
Invictus is the Latin word for “unconquerable.” The poem of that title, which is an integral part of the film mentioned above, was written by William Ernest Henley at age 26 while he was recovering from a leg amputation due to complications from childhood tuberculosis. Knowing that true story, we can step into Henley’s thoughts and imagine that he wrote this poem as a commitment to himself that he would not give up, no matter what came next.
As a matter of fact, it wasn’t long before his doctors announced that it was necessary to perform a life-saving operation and amputate his other leg, but by then Dr. Joseph Lister, the scientist who championed antisepsis (anti-germs in medical settings and health matters), was on the scene and was able to save the young man’s limb and life.
What in your own life is calling to you to be brave? Perhaps you are struggling with poor health, or financial challenges that just won’t seem to go away. Although it may not seem like it, we always have control over our own thoughts and attitude, and as you learn more about accessing the power of using the natural laws of the mind, you’ll discover you aren’t the victim of circumstances at all, but rather the captain of your soul.
By the time you reach the end of this poem, you’ll recognize an often-quoted excerpt, which has become part of our lexicon: I am the master of my fate/ I am the captain of my soul.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of Chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet this menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll.
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley
(written in 1875; published in 1888)
In our busy lives, we tend to have a running commentary about time. We’re planning next week, next year. We glance at the clock and exclaim “Four o’clock already? Where did the day go!” And we also talk about “killing time” when we run up against an unexpected delay that leaves a hole in our schedule.
Even when we devour books like “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, the message about learning to live in the present moment can slip right past us. We pay it lip service and we put it into practice during a meditation, but the rest of the day speeds past in a blur. Do you ever have the experience of blinking at a calendar as you realize what day it is, and wonder what happened to last week (or last month or last year…)?
This is a common factor of our culture, but it doesn’t mean you can’t break away from being a slave to busyness. It doesn’t mean you can’t learn to pause, breathe, and mindfully enjoy the moment you are in, whether you are taking a sip of tea or washing a dish or walking up the stairs to an office building. When we dash along through our lives with our minds focused on what we said and they said, or what we’re going to say and going to do, all of it runs together in a blur.
It’s as if we unwittingly scoop up the banquet of our lives and toss it into a blender, to whirl into one big homogeneous glob.
What if you made a daily practice to pay more attention to the life you are living, while you are living it and not in retrospect as you look back at photos or a diary entry?
What would it feel like to “look to this day” and pay heed to what you are experiencing right now, the delicious feel of air against your skin, the taste of a ripe mango, the scent of roses and jasmine, the sight of a tree or a beautiful work of art. No need to get esoteric about it all—enjoy the satisfaction of washing a dish that you like, or neatening the bed covers. In those few moments, be real and be alive, and look to the joy of your life. It is created in the moments, not in the rush from one thing to another.
Kalidasa was a 5th century Sanskrit poet and dramatist. You may have seen quotes from his poem translated to mean “Look to This Day” which is a beautiful reminder to us to enjoy the present moment.
Look to This Day
Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendor of achievement
Are but experiences of time.
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!
When I was in the early weeks of developing the “Restoring Tibet” project whose working title was “The Dalai Lama Is Home Again,” I knew that I could use all the support I could find, particularly since I was working on the project in solitude and utmost secrecy, and would be for many months before the public announcement on 7/6/16 (the Dalai Lama’s birthday). I created meditation audios and videos for my own use – which I began using twice a day and still use at least twice daily.
I bought a rose quartz bracelet that had 21 small beads strung on pink knotted threads, and meant to be used as prayer beads. I was raised Catholic and still have a favorite wooden rosary, so the use of beads for easily counting prayers was nothing new to me. I decided a mantra would be nice, but I didn’t know which one to use. I did a quick online search and found various selections, but none of them resonated with me. I felt this prayer needed to be specific to help me envision HHDL (His Holiness the Dalai Lama) already living at home in Tibet, after nearly 60 years in exile, after having fled the Red Army to live in safety in India all these many years.
I wanted a prayer that would inspire me to love, peace, and happiness, with the concepts of freedom and joy for all. There’s no room in a true prayer for pointing fingers or feeling resentment toward a government or other people. Even the prayers that would mention wishing your enemies are free of suffering didn’t sit well with me vibrationally—that word “enemies” immediately caused a sense of resistance inside me.
And so, I sat down at my computer and wrote my own prayer, patterning it after mantras I had seen at meditation and mindfulness websites. As I worked on it, and edited a word here or there, I felt the rightness of it. We can always tell when the vibrational “hum” is right, because we feel uplifted and lighter in our hearts.
I heard once that the Dalai Lama substitutes a phrase for “enemy” in his own life—and that upgraded phrase is “sacred friend.” Our sacred friends are people, groups, organizations, etc. who challenge us to still be loving. They aren’t doing that on purpose, it’s that our unguarded reaction to their behavior and actions can prompt anger, fear, resentment—thus giving that sacred friend control over our own lives and emotions. True freedom means we are the ones in control of our thoughts and how we respond to conditions and circumstances.
Here’s the prayer I created. As you read and repeat the mantra, you may find yourself wishing to edit or change a phrase in the prayer so it better fits your own “hum” –but be sure to always keep the energy fine and bright and inspiring.
21-Beads Prayer or Mantra
I am grateful the Dalai Lama is home in Tibet
May I be happy
May I be peaceful
May I be free
May I be loving
May I radiate joy
May my friends be happy
May my friends be peaceful
May my friends be free
May my friends be loving
May my friends radiate joy
May my sacred friends be happy
May my sacred friends be peaceful
May my sacred friends be free
May my sacred friends be loving
May my sacred friends radiate joy
May all events be happy
May all events be peaceful
May all events be free
May all events be loving
May all events radiate joy
The 21-beads bracelet in the photo is from the Hands of Tibet store on eBay. http://stores.ebay.com/handsoftibet/
We live in a digital age, where sharing is the norm. Or is it? We share photos and comments and videos on Facebook and Twitter and YouTube. We share with friends and their friends and even with “the public” a.k.a. strangers. We post our opinions on world issues and we share what’s on our mind. But this kind of sharing doesn’t take much commitment, does it? It doesn’t require more than a few moments, and in general it is a fun thing.
I was returning from an errand this afternoon and encountered a young mom coming out of a cookie store with her daughter, who appeared to be about four years old. They were clearly in the middle of an important conversation about the nature of sharing, and it was also clear the topic revolved around cookies. The mom said, no doubt wanting to give a parental lesson that would stand her child in good stead as a polite child and generous person, “Well, I don’t mind sharing. I don’t mind it at all.”
They were walking in the direction I’d just come from, so I didn’t hear the rest of the conversation, but I could read that child’s mind and here’s what she was thinking (because I know we all secretly think this many times but particularly when we’re young and it comes to sharing a cookie): It’s easy for you to say you don’t mind sharing, Mommy! You can buy more cookies. You can get more any time you want. But I can’t. I don’t have the money. I can’t go to the store by myself. The only time I get to go to the cookie store is if you take me, and I can only get what you allow me to pick out. And then you expect me to share it?!
Okay, so maybe she wasn’t thinking all of that. But seriously, how often are we really “sharing” from a willing heart, and giving something away that we want for ourselves? Or something that would be hard to replace and we might even miss? What are we attached to that we try to hold onto for ourselves, and stress out over the idea of losing it?
When we share in social media, we don’t give up our photos or our quotes or our videos. We get to keep them, and share them at the same time.
When we share our clothes by donating them to charity, we give away the stuff that got scuffed, torn, dingy, or that we outgrew, or never liked to begin with.
Are you familiar with the cartoon strip called “The Family Circus” created by cartoonist Bil Keane (in 1960) that is still syndicated and now created by his son Jeff? I’ll never forget a particular “episode” in the cartoon family’s life. I guess it stuck with me because at the time my daughter was in middle school and it seemed we were always being called on to donate for a food drive or newspaper drive or cans drive to help the school raise money for supplies or special activities. In this cartoon, the mom was gathering cans from the cupboard to donate for the food drive and commented to little Billy that it was food they didn’t like anyway–to which he replied that the poor people were helping them by taking the food away! Hmmm, that was an interesting concept and as I say, it was a cartoon that packed a memorable punch I still recall years after first seeing it.
Sometimes we are admonished by charitable groups to “give until it hurts” and that’s not what I’m talking about. I don’t think we need to be in pain in order to be more generous in our sharing. But where can we share by giving more of ourselves? Let go of the attachment to possessions. Freely give away smiles. Kindness. Loving thoughts toward that driver who just cut you off. There are dozens if not hundreds of ways we can easily share more from our hearts and help this world of ours be more peaceful and compassionate.
Here’s a quick secret: Appreciating what you’ve got opens the door to more. More what? More of whatever is in harmony with what you are being grateful and appreciative about. So if you’re feeling dissatisfied with your old car that keeps needing service, it’s a really bad idea to grip about it to yourself and others, and to diss the car itself (e.g. cursing it when it won’t start, etc.)
Today you’ll probably be reading lots of posts, shares, comments and recaps of the 9/11 tragedy that took place eleven years ago in New York City. You’ll see lots of footage on news channels. You’ll hear friends and family reliving how horrified and upset they were that day. What’s really going on here? Are we honoring anyone’s memory when we live in fear of a date? When we dredge up every iota of sorrow, guilt, horror and pain? Actually, no. And that’s why I’m writing this post, to help you shift your perception of 9/11 as well as any other events in your life that produce ongoing grief.