Mon. Nov. 25, 2019: Gratitude – The Holiday #upbeatauthors

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Monday, November 25, 2019
Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

 

This Thursday is American Thanksgiving, which, to me, is the ultimate Day of Gratitude.

I don’t dismiss the concerns from communities who have a problem with celebrating a holiday that, for them, was the precursor to land theft and genocide.

What I hope is that we can turn it into a day of gratitude between family, chosen family, friends, and inclusive community.

Instead of denying that our ancestors did terrible things to each other (and too many of our fellow humans continue to do the same), we take the day to imagine our ideal society, a place of friendship and tolerance and progress and education and art and science and community. When we express gratitude for each other, and find ways to work on getting closer to our ideal, instead of moving away from it. We work to do better, to BE better than those before us.

Our traditional Thanksgiving (which I’ve attended for more than forty years) takes place in a rented VFW hall. Dinner is anywhere from 37 to 60 people. Everyone cooks; everyone helps clean up. It’s extended family and any friends people want to bring. There’s always room for one more at the table. Which is the way it should be.

I’ve missed a few over the years, due to distance (when I lived on the West Coast) or illness. But most years, I rearrange my life so I can attend. I mash the enormous vats of potatoes with a four-foot tall masher. Some years, I’ve had to stand on a step stool to get enough leverage.

Way back when this dinner started, it was agreed that there would be no arguments in that space on that day. I used to have a box right inside the front door marked “Ego Drop. Leave Your Ego Here.”

We don’t need it anymore. Even when people are in the midst of long-running disagreements, we suspend them for the day.

We remember that, in spite of everything, we are grateful that we have each other.

How will you celebrate gratitude this week?

 

Published in: on November 25, 2019 at 5:54 am  Comments (4)  
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Mon. Nov. 18, 2019: The Dark Side of Gratitude #UpbeatAuthors

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Monday, November 18, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Gratitude is presented as something positive and uplifting. But, as with anything, it has its dark side.

How often, when someone tries to lowball us at work, overworking and underpaying/undervaluing our contribution, do we hear, “You should be grateful for this job?”

Too often, employers forget that without a work force, they don’t have a company. As more and more workers are taught to value themselves and their contributions, let’s hope more and more companies who don’t are forced off the market.

There will always be times we have to take a survival job somewhere we loathe. But we need to immediately start looking for something else and get away as soon as possible.

We don’t have to be grateful when someone mistreats us. We need to get out of the situation.

The other dark side of gratitude is false martyrdom. Doing something not because we want to help, but because we want the other person’s gratitude in return. We want them to OWE us.

That can quickly get into a toxic downward spiral.

Again, that doesn’t mean you have to give more and do more just to give and be a doormat. There has to be some sort of reciprocal energy or it gets unbalanced.

Remember, in your working life, you deserve to ALWAYS be treated with courtesy and dignity. While many people can fill the same job, each individual brings something unique to it.

In the rest of your life, make sure you do something for the right reasons for someone else; and when someone offers you help, that they’re doing it to genuinely help, not to further their own agenda.

What kinds of toxic situations involving false gratitude have you found yourself in and removed yourself from?

Published in: on November 18, 2019 at 5:49 am  Comments Off on Mon. Nov. 18, 2019: The Dark Side of Gratitude #UpbeatAuthors  
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Mon. Nov. 4, 2019: Gratitude, Not Denial #UpbeatAuthors

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image by kumari sky via pixabay.com

Monday, November 4, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

November is “Gratitude Month” here on Upbeat Authors.

This has been a difficult year for me, on many fronts. Sometimes, it’s difficult to remember to be grateful. It’s easier to focus on what’s not working than what is working.

Also, far too many motivational or inspirational quotes feel like they trivialize pain.

Pain, on physical and emotional levels, is real. Everyone experiences it differently. Everyone must learn to cope, to heal, and to set and maintain boundaries. We need empathy and sympathy with each other; at the same time, we can take on, or be expected to take on, everyone else’s pain in addition to our own.

Creating a personal practice of gratitude doesn’t mean you’re in denial about what’s not working. It means using the things in your life for which you are grateful as a foundation on which to build the positive changes you need in your life.

There are basics for which I’m grateful every day:
My family
The cats
My friends
My creativity
My home
My food

On top of those basics, there are different things for which I’m grateful. On the days when I meet with my weekly meditation group, I’m grateful to have community with them and be able to practice.

On days when I participate in Remote Chats with one group or another, again, I’m grateful to be included and feel a sense of community with them.

A couple of weeks ago, when my car battery died, I was grateful that it happened in the garage at home and not out on the road somewhere.

I think of gratitude as layered. There’s Foundational Gratitude, which is includes the list above. Then there’s Transitional Gratitude, which are the different daily things that bring joy, peace, pleasure.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to find that list. But it’s always worth the time to make the list, even if you don’t write it down, and look for something, no matter how small that improves your daily life.

The basis of gratitude helps you build strength and energy to make the changes you need to make, so there’s less of “can’t I ever get a break?” and more of “I’m glad that happened.”

What you do consider your Foundational Gratitude?

Mon. Feb. 26, 2018: #Upbeat Authors — Gratitude

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” — Melody Beattie

 

Monday, February 26, 2018
Waxing Moon

 

The past few months have been difficult, on both personal and professional levels. So I’ve had to work at remembering to act with gratitude, and to remember gratitude.

Taking the time as part of my yoga and meditation practice, daily, to give thanks has made me feel better and given me the strength and optimism to face the challenges.

There’s so much for which to be grateful, in spite of what’s going on in the world that’s awful.

I’m grateful for:
my family
my cats
my friends
my creativity
the wonderful house in which I live
my garden
my neighbors
the food
the natural world around me, with its beauty and change
the people I meet through social media and my books and workshops
the creative team that helps me gets my books out to the world
my yoga and meditation practices, and all that goes with them
the people with whom I work to creative positive change in the world

That’s just a sampling; every day, if I look for it, there’s something that seems small in the context of the world, but is large in my own corner of it.

The practice of gratitude makes me realize that I can refuse to allow others to manipulate me and to hurt me to certain extents. These issues will still come up; but practicing gratitude gives me better tools with which to combat them.

Namaste.

 

Published in: on February 26, 2018 at 6:51 am  Comments Off on Mon. Feb. 26, 2018: #Upbeat Authors — Gratitude  
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Mon. Sept. 11, 2017: Trying to Balance the Good (Live Links) with the Sad (9/11, Hurricanes)

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

PLAYING THE ANGLES will release on October 2, 2017. It is available on the following:

Amazon

iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Monday, September 11, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Quite the weekend. Of course, most of the focus is on Hurricane Irma and its devastating path in Florida. And on the clean-up in Houston.

I am deeply grateful that the weather here on Cape has been so beautiful the past few days. I realize how lucky I am. It’s difficult not to feel guilty, but it’s better to be grateful and then take what action I can to help those who are struggling.

As part of that gratitude, I went out and did yard work. The mower is still being cranky, but I pruned the forsythia in the back that nearly obscured the path on the west side of the house, and the forsythias on each side of the garage door that were making entering and exiting the garage feel like hacking through a jungle. I yanked out a lot of invasive brambles, vines, and autumn olive, clearing out one of the front beds, tidying up two beds in the back, and some random growth in the meadow. I also cleared out some of the oak that’s acting more like an invasive than anything else. There’s still a lot more to clear — I’ll have to take the saw to some of it.

As the feverfew passes, I’ll clear all of that out of the beds, too. I figure if I do a little bit every pleasant day, then it won’t overwhelm me later in the season.

PLAYING THE ANGLES is up for pre-order so far on iApplem Kobo, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I’m putting the pre-order links up on the websites as they come in. Publication date is October 2, and it’s a go. I’m pretty excited. The PDF of the ARC is ready to send out for review. The promotional train is headed out.

Meanwhile, I finished a pass on the next draft of SAVASANA AT SEA. I also spent time fixing and smoothing out problems and logistical lapses that the previously requested edits and cuts caused. I’ve restructured a good bit of the book, which is fine for the pace, but I have to fix some gaps. The chapters are all loaded into one document now, and I’m going to do a pass for smoothness and logic.

I also have to write the first chapter of the next book in the series, DAVY JONES DHARMA, in the next week or so, and prepare the back matter, as I smooth things out. I’d like to get this draft to my editor in about ten days or so. I’m sure we’ll have several passes to whip it into shape, the way we did with ANGLES.

Did quite a bit of work on the literary fiction, tentatively entitled THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. I like the way it’s taking shape. It will need an awful lot of editing once I’ve got the draft done, but I’m getting to say things that I haven’t found a way to speak otherwise, and explore some interesting relationships and quirks about this area.

I am going to have to create a fictional town, though; too much controversy if I portray some of the actual places as I’ve experienced them.

Re-reading Joyce Carol Oates’s published diary from 1973-1982. I always learn something new.

“The artist must find an environment, a pattern of living, that will protect his or her energies; the art must be cultivated, must be given priority.” (p.21). So true.

I’m reading Claire Tomalin’s biography of Thomas Hardy, and trying to understand him better. I remember reading TESS OF THE D’UBERVILLES in school and hating it; but I wonder if I just didn’t understand it, and if I’d have more appreciation for his work now.

I started reading the next review assignment. It’s one of the worst-written pieces I’ve ever had to plow through, with a lack of editing and copyediting, and no knowledge of the difference between a possessive and a contraction. Very frustrating.

I have such a list of things that need to get done today, looking at it I feel overwhelmed. But all I can do is start at the top and work my way as far down as possible.

September 11 is always a tough day for me — and for so many. I’m doing my remembrance rituals, and keeping candles lit. I’m trying to balance that with the creative work that needs to be done.

 

Published in: on September 11, 2017 at 8:49 am  Comments Off on Mon. Sept. 11, 2017: Trying to Balance the Good (Live Links) with the Sad (9/11, Hurricanes)  
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Tues. Dec. 31, 2013: Happy New Year’s Eve!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Dark Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Snowy and cold

Last day of 2013. It’s been challenging, to say the least, and I’m eager for 2014. But there were also a lot of blessings, as far as being surrounded by wonderful people, getting to do some good work, and learning new things.

I worked flat out yesterday, especially on admin and with students. Today, I’ve changed the beds, done laundry, will run the dishwasher, vaccuum, mop the floors, dust, and smudge the house. I plan to do a mini yoga/meditation retreat for most of today and tomorrow. There will be some posts up at various blogs of mine to celebrate the New Year tomorrow, and I will be back with you on Thursday.

Harvested the last of the peppers this morning — pretty good haul!

Have a safe Eve and a wonderful start to 2014! I cherish each and every one of you.

Devon

Published in: on December 31, 2013 at 8:54 am  Comments (3)  
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

It’s really starting to feel and smell like fall in the early mornings and the evenings, even when the day time hours are summery.

Yoga was great yesterday — smaller class in the cloudy weather, but lots of fun. So many seals were on the sandbanks watching the humans do silly things! And then the sharks turned up, and all the beaches were closed, as far as getting in the water.

Came home, did some more grocery shopping, got to work, got as much done as I could, headed to Buzzards Bay, took the photographs, we had the meeting, did some more work when I got home.

Today, I’m off on a difficult assignment. I should have internet access while I’m there for the next few weeks, but, especially today and tomorrow, it will be challenging. I hate leaving my house and the yard and the cats, but that’s the reality. I’ve still got a couple of articles to finish this week, too, and more work for the Mermaid Ball. I’ve got my project bin packed, so that I can polish the fall courses.

Thank you, yesterday, for all your support when I was feeling so blue. I can’t wallow, because I have other assignments which need my focus, and I have to see what I can learn to do things better moving forward. I’m feeling creatively exhausted, along with physically, and, although August was supposed to be “vacation”, that’s not how it turned out. I’m about to go into an insanely busy autumn, and I have to dig deeper and find the inner resources for it. I’m trying to find pockets of time where I can renew myself, but the reality of what I want/need and what needs to get done aren’t in harmony right now. Hopefully, I can move them closer together over the next few weeks.

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available from Champagne Books and Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.