For those who expect everything, there are many curses

“For those who expect everything, there are many curses. For those who appreciate everything, there are many blessings.”

James Clear, Writer, Entrepreneur and Behavior Science Expert

Image from Unsplash by Yasin Yusuf

As we get older and hopefully wiser, many people come to learn that the myth of “having it all” is a lie. At some or many points in their lives, they learn that life forces us to choose and make many difficult tradeoffs.

If I say Yes to this it often means saying No to that. If I grasp this, I will likely need to let go of something else.

EXERCISE:

What have you discovered over the years regarding expecting everything versus appreciating everything? In what ways have your blessings outnumbered your curses with this added wisdom?

Take pleasure in what’s already here

Take pleasure in what’s already here.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Lala Azizli

For many people, pleasure seeking is almost a full-time job. They seem always on the hunt for the next great experience to place a check mark on their bucket list. Life, however (for most of us) is what happens between those peak experiences, and can seem routine and boring.

Years ago, there was an TV ad campaign for Van Camp’s pork and beans with the catchy jingle, “Simple pleasures are the best.” Although pork and beans may not be your thing, we can all recognize that simple pleasures are also the most abundant if we heighten our awareness and appreciation of them.

EXERCISE:

Turn on your pleasure-seeking radar to see what’s already here. Keep a log or list to capture the things you easily recognize and perhaps a good number of those you often overlook. Consider placing all of your senses on high alert to expand your list even further.

Divine seeds are scattered throughout our mortal bodies

“Divine seeds are scattered throughout our mortal bodies.”

—Seneca, ancient Roman Stoic philosopher

Image from Unsplash by Annie Spratt

I’m sad to say that over the past few years, I’ve attended more funerals than at any other time in my life. Beyond the sadness and grief I’ve felt, I’ve come to more fully appreciate the celebratory stories often told by friends and family. Learning about these individual’s lives and discovering their gifts, talents, and contributions to the world is heartwarming and inspiring.

How often do we truly see and appreciate the divine seeds in one another? Why does it often take someone’s passing for us to discover their best qualities and gifts?

EXERCISE:

How can you seek out, more fully appreciate, and acknowledge the divine seeds in others today? How can you look beyond all the mortal and imperfect aspects of one another to see and celebrate their soulful virtues and wisdom?

Appreciate each small step and every glimpse of progress

Appreciate each small step and every glimpse of progress. It’s almost always about the journey.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Joshua Sukoff

Where are you at this very moment? What are you doing? Who are you with? What are your thoughts, feelings, and emotions?

We have all been told that life occurs in the here and now and yet we often jump into our mental DeLorean to revisit the past or jump ahead to the future.

Of course, taking occasional trips down memory lane can be helpful to point out pivotal moments and possible missteps.

Lessons learned can also help guide you and offer suggestions about who you may wish to travel with to support your efforts.

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways have you progressed this past year? What positive qualities have you developed or enhanced? What journeys do you intend to take and what progress do you intend to make in the year ahead?

“To be a good fisherman you must detach yourself from the dream of the fish. This makes whatever is caught or found a treasure.”

“To be a good fisherman you must detach yourself from the dream of the fish. This makes whatever is caught or found a treasure.”

—Buddhist saying

 Image from Unsplash by NOAA

I have a client and good friend named Rich, who loves to fish. Hearing him talk about his passion is a blast. Last year, he invited me to join him in his passion at a local lake.

With an early start on a promising day, we switched places and Rich became my coach. During our five-hour excursion he caught numerous fish and I — with all my giggling — came up with a single small-mouth bass, just prior to us calling it a day. Later, over a meal, I came to the realization that it was our treasured friendship that was the big fish I caught that day.

EXERCISE:

Where have you caught or discovered new things to celebrate and appreciate on your way to some other intended place? Where might detaching yourself from things you expect open you up to new people and experiences to treasure?

How can you more fully observe and appreciate all the good things in life?

How can you more fully observe and appreciate all the good things in life?

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Tom Barrett

What has a recent hardship made you appreciate?

As you go through difficulties and darkness, make it a goal to appreciate all the good things in life. By observing this contrast, we can experience much gratitude for everything and everyone who brings richness and joy to our days.

Seek the good stuff and you will find it in abundance!

EXERCISE:

Where has experiencing some dark and difficult patches in life helped you see and more fully appreciate the light of all the good there is on your path?

Which simple things in life do you appreciate?

Which simple things in life do you appreciate?

Calm app Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Maarten Deckers

We often complicate our lives with a multiplicity of stimulating things, only to realize that we have lost much of our sense of peace and well-being.

Keeping things simple will bring back the calm and serenity you hope to have fully present in your life.

Appreciate the simple elements of life. Look to natural things versus man-made things for lessons.

Simplicity is a source of peace and well-being.

Seek it, and remove the complexities of the world where you can.

EXERCISE:

What are some areas in which you can reduce or eliminate the complexities of life?
Where would simplifying your personal or professional life provide you the peace and greater well-being you seek?
Where will you begin, and what will be your first few steps?

“If all you did was just look for things to appreciate, you would live a joyously spectacular life.”

“If all you did was just look for things to appreciate, you would live a joyously spectacular life.”

—Esther Hicks, American channeler, inspirational speaker, and author

Image from Unsplash by Gabrielle Henderson

Esther Hicks narrated and appeared in the original version of the film, The Secret, as well as being a central source of the film’s inspiration.

One of the basic tenets of her teachings says that people create their own reality through their attention and focus.

Another aspect of her teaching is that the basis of life is freedom, the purpose of life is joy, and the result of life is growth.

EXERCISE:

Please consider working your appreciation muscles extra hard today.

Let me know what you see and how spectacular things go.

 

“The stars we are given. The constellations we make.”

“The stars we are given. The constellations we make.”

—Rebecca Solnit, American writer

Image from Unsplash by Robson Hatsukami Morgan

The night sky has been watched, enjoyed, studied and interpreted since the dawn of mankind. Today we look up into the sky less often — perhaps because there is less to see. The lights from our cities are easily seen from space, and our preoccupation with looking down at laptops and phones has stopped all but a small group of us from seeking and finding the constellations seen just generations ago.

EXERCISE:

Examine how and in what ways we may be limiting our own view and appreciation of the cosmos. How can we continue to seek, find, and even make our discoveries more meaningful for ourselves and for future generations?

“You don’t need superpowers to be someone’s hero.”

“You don’t need superpowers to be someone’s hero.”

—Ricky Maye, writer and public speaker

Image from Unsplash by H. Shaw

I recently had a small basal cell carcinoma removed from my back. Once I got the OK from my insurance company (which took weeks), my dermatologist took a good sized chunk out of me, to make sure he had a significant margin of clean tissue. This left a two-inch boo-boo with numerous sutures.

The wound care instructions required periodic dressing changes which I was unable to do on my own due to the location of the wound. Unfortunately, my wife was out of town supporting my dad with his assisted living efforts. Vidal – and a few other folks who go to my health club – came to my rescue and patched me up.

EXERCISE:

Who are the heroes in your personal and professional communities? How can you more fully acknowledge and appreciate their contributions to your life? Where and with whom can you don your own cape to be a hero to others in your world?