It's something I'd done over the years at times when I felt a little down or stressed. Now it's something I do almost every day, sometimes several times a day, so that I feel less stress and experience more joy in my life. For me, it's really a magical, yet simple process. I'd like to share it with you.
I take a short time out to do what I call a Blessings Count. It's not a process where I use a calculator or keep score or anything like that. Here's how it works.
Usually early in the morning before I start working, I simply shut out all the chatter in my mind and just focus on the fact that so much in my life is so right. Just so many blessings. Despite the pressures and problems of everyday life, it has always been this way. It will be no different for you. We all have many blessings no matter where we are in our lives. :-)
I may conjure up fond memories and images of my daughters, my grandchildren, my mom, my late father, brother or sister, or some of my great friends. It may be remembering a kindness that was extended to me or that I extended to someone. Perhaps it is just the sunshine or much needed rain today.
They can be the shortest moments or the smallest things, but whenever I reflect upon these gifts, I can't help but feel this deep sense of gratitude. And joy. Suddenly and magically, I feel whatever unnecessary negative weight I was carrying lift. My problems seem to self-adjust and take on the proper proportion. Any fear I may have been feeling is reduced, or disappears. The balancing I receive from acknowledging the wonderful, positive and real blessings in my life, and feeling truly grateful for them, is a very powerful force indeed!
Something else. I have become more sensitive to the little everyday things that are truly blessings in my life. It might be that little voice on the other end of the phone saying, "Papa, I love you." Do I ever feel blessed hearing that!
Could be the call from my mother who just wanted to say a very sincere thank you for the tasty soup I made her. Even the fact that I enjoyed cutting up the fresh vegetables to make a nutritious meal for her and then be able to deliver it and have a nice visit is a great blessing.
A few days ago I received an e-mail from someone who seemed to be at the end of his rope trying to get a new business off the ground. He came across a piece I wrote called "The Entrepreneur's Prayer" (a slice you'll read later on) and he couldn't thank me enough for the extra ounce of motivation he received from reading it. There's no greater blessing than to be able to bless the lives of others. Truly.
"Let's choose today to quench our thirst for the 'good life' we think others lead by acknowledging the good that already exists in our lives. We can then offer the universe the gift of our grateful hearts." Sarah Ban Breathnach
How about you? Is your list of blessings as long as mine? Take a time out and try a Blessings Count. I guarantee you will discover a list just as long, and hopefully longer. :-)
Here's how else a Blessings Count can improve your life. We are continually bombarded by negativity in our lives. Our minds are conditioned by our environment to run like the evening news—The Channel 7 Action Bad News, that is! Negative thought after negative thought streams endlessly on the screens of our minds like the news anchor reeling off stories of suffering, destruction and death. A good friend of mine suggested years ago that some media mogul should create GNN—the Good News Network. You know, feature only stories about the abundant, very good news in this world we never get to hear about. Great idea, except that because of our conditioning it would never find a large enough audience to make it viable. Sad, but another story altogether.
Thing is though, with life being as complicated and confusing as it is today, we need to be running as many good-news scripts through our minds as often as we can each day. One great way to accomplish this is to take that time out and do your Blessings Count. You see, it will be all good news because you have so many blessings to choose from!
Last week, at the apex of a short period of time where I had become very stressed over business issues (and should have been practising what I am preaching) I received a call from a close friend of mine. He was on the road in his large motor coach and just pulling into this busy drive-thru coffee place. Problem was, he turned into the one-way lane the wrong way!
The sound of angry horns and loud voices were soon heard, and this seemed to be perfect background ambience for the loud stress I was allowing myself to feel. What happened next though was amazing.
One by one my unfrazzled friend, who was literally plugging up the entire joint with his mammoth vehicle and couldn't maneuver out of the situation, addressed each screaming person very calmly in his low-key voice, even using some pretty hilarious self-deprecating humor in the process. No one could have possibly remained angry at this guy!
Soon the horn blasts silenced and the verbal exchanges turned friendly. I even heard a few of the formerly angry motorists laugh! He got them all to back up and get out of his way and most importantly, if he didn't teach them a great life lesson, he certainly helped to make a great day for them. I could only feel a little ashamed that I wasn't handling my pressure at the time with such great grace. Being made privy to this great moment was, well, a blessing!
Nothing seems to rattle my friend. I've never seen him angry or appear to be overtly stressed. At times I have been tempted to label him as irresponsible but I think just a layer deeper and realize that he is indeed very wise to have learned to do whatever version of a Blessings Count that he does—all day long. For him, life is simply great—all the time. Incidentally, he makes his living helping people to lead healthier and happier lives and he has blessed many. Someone who walks his talk and most certainly counts his blessings!
As the timing of the Universe often has it, someone passed along this quote by Henry Ward Beecher just as I was putting the finishing touches on this story:
"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures."
What a wonderful way to end this story. I mean, if we can learn to balance ourselves and feel less stress and experience more joy in our daily lives so that we can in fact paint a spectacular portrait of our own life, why not find a simple way to create that masterpiece?
Life itself is a blessing. How we live it and recognize all the blessings we truly have can make it all the more so.
Take a timely time out and Count Your Blessings!
“Give a shelterless man tools and
he will build a home
Inspire him, encourage him, give him vision,
and he will build an empire.”