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Survival Kit for the Holidays: Grace, Gratitude and Random Acts Of Kindness

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  • Laura Turner
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      Article Title: Survival Kit for the Holidays: Grace, Gratitude and Random Acts Of Kindness
      Article Author: Laura Turner
      Article Copyright: 2004

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      Survival Kit for the Holidays: Grace, Gratitude and Random Acts Of Kindness
      Copyright � 2004 Laura Turner
      New Body News
      http://www.new-body-news.com



      If you're like me, the holidays always have a way of sneaking
      in. And - like an unexpected visitor who shows up the week I
      haven�t cleaned my home - I�m caught in a frenzy, desperate
      to scrape up the tumbleweeds of cat fur and make the place
      look presentable.

      For me at least, it�s easy to forget the true meaning of
      Christmas and Thanksgiving. Time is short and usually so is
      patience. So this year, all this got me to thinking: How can
      one neutralize the stress and get more enjoyment from the
      holidays true intention? Read on for this girl�s remedies.


      Finding Grace:

      When meditating on the true meaning of this season, three
      ideas came to my mind: grace, gratitude and random acts of
      kindness. At first I wasn�t sure why.

      Grace? I mean, how could I afford this? It�s been a rough
      year full of deadlines, long hours and a whole lot of doing.
      Who�s got time for grace? And therein is the answer: so
      often the business of life far overshadows its true excitement;
      the thrill of living in the moment, the anticipation of events
      yet to come.

      How to get back to this state of childlike wonder?


      My #1 RX: Motivational Tapes

      When I�m feeling frazzled there�s nothing that gets me centered
      faster than hearing the voice of my favorite authors. And over
      the years I�ve built an extensive collection of tapes just for
      this purpose. This can work for you, too. I think you�ll find
      when you need a portal to peace and guidance,it�s almost
      instantaneous.

      Feel free to try some of my favorites:

      Dr. Wayne Dyer � There Is A Spiritual Solution To Every Problem
      Neale Donald Walsch: Conversations with God, Book One
      Iyanala Vanzant: Live! Audio: Piece of Mind
      (all available from your favorite bookstore or Amazon.com)

      How do motivational tapes work? In my assessment, they provide
      comfort. They calm the mind and center the emotions. Then,
      when the stress of modern-day life comes along, the mind draws
      forth the inspirational words into the consciousness like a
      helpful data base. Moreover, I believe this exercise, when
      practiced consistently, can provoke a state of grace.

      Need grace this holiday season? I invite you to use my method.
      In doing so here�s what evolves:


      Gratitude:

      The reward for seeking grace? Gratitude. What is gratitude? I
      would say it's an instrument of faith. Here's an example.
      Often during stressful times, I ask for guidance: During a
      vulnerable moment this holiday season, I received an angry email
      from a critical reader (calling me unmentionable names). And so
      I ask: "Please help me understand and make peace with this."

      In the act of asking and placing faith in the universe I soon
      received the answer: forgive. And for me, this process of grace
      and forgiveness is solidified in gratitude. Gratitude gives me
      the faith to (as one of my favorite authors Thoreau once quoted)
      "move confidently in the direction of ones dreams."

      Therefore, when I am grateful for what I have and trust that
      I am moving in my own particular direction (regardless of what
      others - perhaps having a rough and stressful day tell me), I
      find my truest treasure: joy.


      An Exercise In Gratitude:

      Each day (especially during this time of year) I've committed
      to taking a long look around myself. In doing so, I find
      everything I can to be grateful for: a kind and loving family,
      my health, my passion for writing. Soon I am overwhelmed with
      gratitude for what I have been given and every ounce of
      negativity has fallen away.

      With this, I say �Thank You!� aloud, in praise of the gift I
      have received. When I have taken the time to do this
      (which often involves sitting down with pen and paper in hand)
      I continue to be offered more in the way of positive experience.

      Now I invite you to try this exercise for yourself. Ask: What
      do I have to be grateful for right now? Take the time to notice,
      make a list and say "Thank You!" I truly believe if one
      continues offering positive statements forward to the universe:
      the pathway to beautiful joyful experience is opened. We are
      then in a state of co-creation.


      Random Acts of Kindness:

      The completion to the circle comes when we have reached some
      measure of emotional and spiritual equilibrium. When I have
      reached this place of balance with my (or what I perceive to be)
      problems and stress, I have followed what Philosopher Joseph
      Campbell calls "bliss."

      Are we ever truly in bliss? Well, this is real life after all.
      However, when I've taken the time to become more grateful and
      accepting of where I am right now there is a way I can continue
      to expand my gratitude. How?

      By sharing it.

      I've noticed, if I continue to give away what I have in earnest,
      it expands. Therefore, If I choose to create more joy in my life,
      I can do so by causing another to feel joy. How? Here's my
      favorite way: random acts of kindness.

      Perhaps I may sound certifiable to some. But, I invite you to try
      this exercise for yourself. Need some ideas to spread the love?
      Here's my method.

      Usually I begin by asking myself "How is it I may serve?" Can
      I give a few extra dollars to charity in this holiday season?
      Can I send a card and a short message to someone who I haven't
      seen in awhile? Can I send flowers to my mom "just because?"

      If you look around, it is not hard to find ways to share a
      loving thought or message. For a small amount of time, effort
      and money it's easy to cause an earthquake of joy. Furthermore,
      In these times of war and fear, every moment and thought of
      joy and love counts.


      In Closure:

      When I become stressed-out and unfocused, I always try to remind
      myself: it's all in the attitude. If I think it�s raining
      outside, dark, cold, and lifeless, this is the life I create.
      Yet, if I face my obstacles with grace, love and gratitude, I
      create more of that. By giving love and kindness - there's just
      that much more to go around.



      Resource Box:
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      Laura Turner is a writer and author. She publishes the
      bi-weekly New Body News and Wellness Letter, The Online
      Magazine Healthy People Read. ( http://www.new-body-news.com )
      Her latest book: Spiritual Fitness: The 7-Steps to Living
      Well is currently available. Learn more here:
      http://www.new-body-news.com/Spiritual_Fitness.htm
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      Posted: Wed Dec 1 04:12:12 EST 2004


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