It Will Change Your Life

On her television show, Oprah Winfrey said: “I will make you one guarantee — if you will be grateful every day, it will change your life… It is almost impossible for it not to improve.


1. Eagerly look for people and situations for which to be thankful. Pray and listen for the wisdom to recognize how and where you have been blessed.

2. Increase the number of times and the amount of time spent showing and telling others how much you appreciate them. Openly acknowledge those in your life much more frequently than you have in the past. Express gratitude for your spouse, children, siblings, co-workers, relatives, and friends. Actually say your unsaid positive, uplifting thoughts of gratitude rather than keeping them a secret. Email messages of appreciation, recognition, and gratitude to family and co-workers rather than complaints.

3. Privately express, to yourself out loud, ten to fifteen aspects of your life that you are thankful for each day. It is so much more effective when you do this out loud and actually hear yourself with your own voice say these acknowledgments. You can express your gratefulness while driving, walking or even taking a shower.

4. Write five or more statements of gratitude each day in a journal. Review your gratitude journal each week to give you a better perspective of the joy in your life.

5. Develop a Spirit of Gratitude with the purpose of having a change of heart. Receive all things with thankfulness. A Spirit of Gratitude motivates you to think, feel, and behave in ways that are to your highest benefit. Powerfully change your life by cultivating this inner Spirit of Gratitude.

6. Eliminate the ingratitude that has crept into every part of your life. Blaming, criticizing and judging others is so much easier than being thankful. Anger, frustration and fear often blind us to the reality of true blessings. Uncover the traces of ingratitude and its consequences. Interestingly, expressing a series of grateful statements out loud to yourself for several minutes usually empowers you to eliminate negativity and negative energy. A negative state of mind seems more easily maintained than the effort to feel uplifted and grateful. Robert F. Forston, Ph.D.

Gratitude works! I am a living example of how learning to truly be thankful is life changing.

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life
is the foundation for all abundance.
Eckhart Tolle

Courage To Start All Over Again

Mentally, time is something I’ve been conscious of all my life. My family of origin was filled with watch carrying or wristwatch wearing people who paid lots of attention to time. From my tenth year through the sixteenth, my mother and stepfather had a small grocery store open seven days a week. Our days back then revolved around what time the store opened and when it closed.

In rural Alabama where my roots are, even farm daylight is measured between waiting for sunrise and hurrying to beat sunset. My profession of decades has kept me focused on time by the minute, either filling it with music or an advertisement on radio stations. Today I wear a watch if I am out and tell time at home by a clock in every room. I even collect old clocks.

I have always been conscious of time’s coming and going, but in its measurement I have been focused on the passing of time rather than any particular moment I was within.

About the psychology of time awareness, J.W. Brown of the Department of Neurology at New York University Medical Center wrote: Each mind computes the measure of time passing and duration from the decay of the… present in relation to a core of past events …a Self in a state of becoming, a Self that travels in time like the crest of a wave, always in pursuit of a future just beyond the grasp of the present.

That’s heady stuff and describes where I used to be.

No longer will I live every minute beyond my present. My awareness shifted yesterday when I became aware of time; not just conscious of its horizontal passing but aware of the largeness of particular moments. With one full taste of the “now” I am changed. When I witnessed firsthand the height and depth of the present, time slowed for a little while. Heightened awareness of “now” made time bigger and last longer. I did not suddenly have more time, but what time I have has become larger.

Now I understand what it means to “be the master of one’s own time”. Even a few minutes each day of such clarity about ‘time’ gives new direction to my life. I am grateful for such insight. It is life changing.

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or,
in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be.
There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want.
You can change or stay the same,
there are no rules to this thing.
We can make the best or the worst of it.
I hope you make the best of it.
And I hope you see things that startle you.
I hope you feel things you never felt before.
I hope you meet people with a different point of view.
I hope you live a life you’re proud of.
If you find that you’re not,
I hope you have the courage to start all over again.
From “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” by Eric Roth

No Need To Worry

Clarity of thought can sometimes be clouded with an over abundance of words where the essence becomes hidden. In presenting the quote just below, I have avoided pontificating and instead presented it without explanation. The words stand clearly on their own.

If a problem is fixable,
if a situation is such
that you can do something about it,
then there is no need to worry.

If it’s not fixable,
then there is no help in worrying.
There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.
Dali Lama XIV

I am grateful for wisdom in those thirty words and the impact they made on me this morning. As often happens when my awareness is tuned to receive, the message I needed arrived at precisely the best time.

If you break your neck,
if you have nothing to eat,
if your house is on fire,
then you got a problem.
Everything else is inconvenience.
Robert Fulghum

Threshold of a Dream

There is a certainty I have “some miles” on me, but also a sense of being far from being old. What puts that vantage point into perspective is knowing a decade from now I will be less than a year from turning seventy. That too does not feel really “old”. However, I know the body slows from my experience so far. In spite of exercise and being active, physical endurance and ability deteriorates over time; more rapidly as age accumulates. None of that was written as sad lamenting, but rather a statement of truth and a warning to myself to not put off my dreams too long.

The adventures I have long dreamed of have their roots in the books I read as a kid and movies I saw then. Reading James Bond novels in middle school gave me a sense of adventure in varying locales, but its 007’s European escapades that stuck with me. Although I’ve traveled Europe a dozen times I have a list of twenty-six countries left to explore. Seeing Tarzan movies with adventurers exploring the jungle looking for some great treasure put into me a love of things exotic and places far away. The need to see what is yet unspoiled in the world gnaws at me. Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer had adventures that to this day seem like those I should have along a pristine river or backwoods; the small amount of the ‘middle of no where’ still left unadulterated.

Many Americans travel hoping for all the comforts of home in a foreign country, but my view is, if that is what you want why go? I suggest those people stay home and watch travel shows on television. A good part of my love of visiting new places is the sense of unknown, and even discomfort that makes me so completely alive and etches those moments so memorably within. It’s been said that a person becomes smoothed by life from the friction living has upon him or her much like a rock is smoothed by the chafing of fast-moving water in a river. Maybe it is my bad childhood, maybe it is childish sense of exotic voyages, maybe it is at least some part illusion or disillusion; maybe it is wanderlust, but facing the unknown makes me feel completely alive and content. That’s an absolute fact and I know it for certain. If I’m a bit crazy, then I love being nuts!

Sitting here trying to explain myself I come up short of words that accurately express what I feel inside right now. All I know is when contemplating extended travel for weeks on end if not months, my soul lights up in a way that says “yes, yes, yes”, my heart beats a little faster, my mind is electrified with a charged flow of thoughts and I swear my whole body feels aglow with excitement. What can that be other than genuine desire to put my feet on the path of destiny I have been set for since childhood?

There is this logical, rational and even somewhat fearful speaker within saying, “that makes no sense”, “why would you want to do that?”, “you could get robbed/sick/hurt/lost/etc”, “you should be working and saving for retirement” and so on ad nauseam. That voice in my head has led me astray so many times and brought justification for doing what at the depths of my being I truly did not want to do. This must not be forgotten!  Such “thinking” has led me wrong so frequently, but my deep feelings rarely have. What I feel way down at an instinctive spiritual/soul level is centered in my chest reaching down to my stomach. I feel it strongly at this moment as my spirit speaks softly my truth for me to share.

If only I could tell you of the exhilaration I feel from just writing today about being a vagabond traveling the world. There are no words that accurately tell of my beautiful unrest that knows experiencing far beyond what I know is the medicine needed to “live long and prosper”. It won’t be next week or next month, but my great adventure will begin before too much longer. Don’t be surprised if it is next year!!!! I am grateful for the joy I feel at this moment to know my yearning of a lifetime has been spoken aloud to the world and has a chance to come true. I am on the threshold of a dream.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things
that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Who You Really Are

Something really cool happened today… a break through. When I first began facing the ill effects my dysfunctional family of origin had on me, it seemed like I was wandering around in a dark tunnel swinging at always escaping ghosts. Over time as I stayed in recovery some of my demons were slain; others were faced and death with. I began to see light at the end of the tunnel. Slowly, step by step I started toward the end of it. What I realized today is I’ve made it out of the tunnel and am in the light. I’m ready.

Not all, but most of my fears are gone, most of the time. There are bouts of dealing with old issues, but I get through them just fine. Depression knocks me around sometimes, but only rarely does it get grip on me. On a good or bad day, I’ve gotten better at handling my stuff.

The break through today was I am now standing smack-dab in the middle of a good life ready to be lived fully by a healthy person, physically and emotionally: ME! It’s time to reach for my dreams. How excited I feel. How grateful I am!

It takes courage to grow up
and become who you really are.
E.E. Cummings

A Life of Gratefulness

While getting breakfast together this morning it hit me that I eat like a king. A hundred years ago only royalty and the rich could have the food I am blessed to eating this morning. My breakfast is a banana, blueberries, strawberries, a croissant with egg and cheese and 1% milk. It’s not just food, it’s a plate of delicacies. How readily available and relatively inexpensive food is in this country can numb one to how blessed we really are. I am not immune to taking things for granted, but am glad my sense of gratitude kicked in this morning to remind me how fortunate I am.

Taken from “A Poem Of Gratitude” By Chuck Danes
I’m grateful for the many days when clarity is strong
As well as those it “seems” that life has somehow led me wrong
For it’s those times that awaken me and nudge me toward the light
Till once again my hopes and dreams are clearly held in sight.
I’m grateful for the fact I’ve learned that we consciously create
That to mold and shape a life desired I must keep my thinking straight
That when the fear that shows it’s head which is based on false belief
I have free will to change the thoughts to those that bring relief.
I’m grateful too for false beliefs which led me on my quest
For mentors met along the way I truly do feel blessed
Who clearly showed me of the need to understand my worth
And “Higher Truth” which promises a life divine on earth.
I’m grateful for the fear I feel at times because I know
That when it’s felt it’s purging power exists to help me grow
The awareness of it’s presence shows there’s something more to learn
That my focus must stay fixed on Love to attract these things I yearn.
My gratitude goes deeper still, for breath, for sight, for life
For teachers who have shown me that my “thoughts” create my strife
I’m grateful for the plan which says whatever you receive
Is drawn to you through feelings felt, created by belief.
I’m grateful for all wisdom gained as I journey through this life
Like words expressed in anger hurt, and only lead to strife
That truth will stand the test of time, that Love will show the way
That thoughts and feelings of the past are what create today.
I’m grateful too for all my friends who are reading this today
For the bonds that we have formed since your paths have crossed my way
And for the future and all it brings for all we have to share
The giving of ourselves to show the world how much we care.
I’ve learned to stay in gratitude no matter how things seem
That perceptions held as negatives will only slow your dream
So even though my path will lead through troubled spots I know
I must keep on, keep focus fixed, on life’s abundant flow..
One final thought I’ll share today before I say I’m through
I’m so grateful for these words to give today to all of you
It is my wish that they will help you keep the attitude
Which leads to that which you desire and comes through gratitude.

Gratitude humbles me, enriches me, fills me, stretches me and brings a joy that comes from nowhere else. I am thankful that I live a life of gratefulness.

Acknowledging the good that you already have
in your life is the foundation for all abundance.
Eckhart Tolle

Three For Thursday

I have told you of the man who always put on his spectacles when about to eat cherries, in order that the fruit might look larger and more tempting. In like manner I always make the most of my enjoyments, and though I do not cast my eyes away from troubles, I pack them in as small a compass as I can for myself, and never let them annoy others. Robert Southey

Justice is the only worship. Love is the only priest. Ignorance is the only slavery. Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. R. G. Ingersoll

Quiet minds can not be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm. Robert Louis Stevenson

For every difficulty that taught me a valuable lesson; for every heartache that made me grow; for every joy that educated me; and for every person I have learned from; “I’m grateful!”

Wisdom is a blessing only
to those prepared to absorb it.

Best Way To Start Off the Morning

Finding myself a little groggy this morning before the second cup of coffee kicks in, I have chosen to use another stimulant I know works even better: gratitude! All it takes is a minute or two of sitting back and counting blessings to bring myself to a more alert state of mind. Such thoughts bring a fullness of being and warmth for life I can find no other way.

Simple thanks for: The radio playing, the hands that can type and the healthy body they are attached to, the computer I am using and all that makes it work, the coffee in the cup on my desk, a good mind to think of things to be grateful for, the books and CD’s in the shelves in my office, the view out my office window, the home that my office is within, the job that allows me to pay for my home and all the rest, the friends I wrote emails to this morning, the cleaning ladies who came and spiffed up my home yesterday, my filled fridge where I will find breakfast soon, living in a free country where I can speak my mind, those I love who help give meaning to my life, my old Volvo in the driveway that saved my life once upon a time, the cooler temperatures of fall, my memories, the good times I have known, the challenges that have taught me well…

I’m not “old” but I am not “young” either. If life is a scale from one to ten then my time now is somewhere around a “7.5” and old enough to appreciate Edgar A. Guest’s poem “Life’s Finest Gifts”.

When you get “on” and you’ve lived a lot
And the blood in your veins isn’t quite so hot,
Though your eyes are dimmer than what they were
And the page of the book is a misty blur,
Strange as the case may seem to be,
Then is the time you will clearly see.

You’ll see yourself as you really are,
When you’ve lived a lot and you’ve traveled far,
When your strength give out and your muscles tire
You’ll see the folly of mad desire:
You’ll see what now to your sight is hid,
The numberless trivial things you did.

Often the blindest are youthful eyes,
For age must come ere a man grows wise,
And youth makes much of its mountain peaks,
And the strife for fame and the goal it seeks,
But age sits down with the setting sun
And smiles at the boastful deeds it’s done.

You’ll sigh for the friends that were turned aside
By as hasty word or a show of pride,
You’ll laugh at medals that now you prize,
For you’ll look at them through clearer eyes
And see how little they really meant
For which so much of your strength was spent.

You’ll see, as always, an old man sees,
That the saves die down with the fading breeze,
That the pomps of life never last for long,
And the great sink back to the common throng,
And you’ll understand when the struggle ends
That the finest gifts of this life are friends.

The cure for a melancholy day; the pick me up when I’m draggin’; the filled part of the half empty glass; the method that puts life in true perspective: gratitude. I am thankful it is my friend.

Best way to start off the morning
is with a smile and appreciate you’re alive
cause somewhere else someone is fighting for their life.

Regret Has Lived Long Enough

Very few memories of when I was a toddler stuck, however, there is one that has remained constant since the fall after my second birthday. Mom, Dad and I were visiting my Grandfather (my father’s father) way down in the country in a rural Clay County, Alabama community called Shiloh.

My memory is restricted to a few animated night images in that old clapboard house, but what I remember is vivid. Having never slept in a house at night that had no electricity I was enthralled by the yellow glow of room from kerosene lamps and a bright fire burning in the fireplace. Both threw large shadows on the walls that seem to dance, especially when anyone moved around the room.

To this day I can tell you how the furniture was arranged in the room, what tables the lamps where on, where chairs were, which wall the door to the outside was located and even where the kitchen was. A hot coal popped out of the fireplace and I learned the hard way not to pick things like that. I guess I burned my finger a little, but only remember picking it up and not any pain from the experience.

Being there felt magical, as if I had entered some kingdom like I saw a few years later in “The Seven Dwarf’s” house in the woods. It never occurred until I was much older how poor the old man who lived in the little run down “shack” was.

While my Dad’s Father was grumpy a lot of the time, later he read the Bible to me sometimes in his room at night when I was five and six years old when he lived with us. I remember him as a quirky man who saved chicken feathers for some reason I never knew and preferred newspaper soaked in water to toilet paper. I can close my eyes even now and remember him walking through the back yard headed to the outhouse with an old pot under his arm, filled with strips of newspaper floating in warm water. Guess I shouldn’t knock it since I’ve never tried it.

We called my grandfather “Pawpaw”.  Working he never amounted to much although he tried one money-making scheme after another. He tried selling books door to door unsuccessfully and tried to farm but was no good at it. He was in the army in World War I but spent his time in France in the hospital with dysentery. Essentially Pawpaw lived his adult life on a small pension from his military service and whatever he could scratch up buying and selling things. Looking back now I realize he was a sad man whose wife left him with two small boys (my father and uncle) who he raised. He made a mess of being a father, but I am certain he did the best he could.

The old man touches my heart to this day because of a lie he told in love each year around Christmas time. There were a lot of years growing I had no contact with my Father, but Pawpaw would just show up around holidays with gifts for my brother and I he said where from my Dad. I knew he had bought them because they were the sort of useful things a man of his depression generation might buy: handkerchiefs, a brush and comb set, a manicure set, notebook paper, pencils and such. I was grateful he remembered us, even if my father didn’t.

Pawpaw’s full name was Lovette Egbert Browning, born November 22, 1886 and died July 12, 1973. He was my grandfather and I will always remember him as a well-intended man who held my brother and I deep in his heart. He died when I was nineteen. I used the excuse that I lived a thousand miles away in Colorado and had almost no money as a reason not to go home for his funeral. That regret has lived long enough within. I am grateful to share it and release it on this page today.

We must all suffer from one of two pains:
the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.
The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.
Jim Rohn

Full of Light and Color

My apologizes if I have gone overboard recently in expressing my love of early fall. It truly is a magnificent time of the year and inspires me beyond any other season. Putting into words how October moves me would be like trying to explain what love is or accurately expressing in words the colors of a western sunset; such things can be attempted, but not accomplished. It is the time of year when my mind is most alive with thoughts brought on largely by the of splendor of autumn contrasted by the naked beauty winter will bring soon after.

“When the Frost is on the Punkin” By James Whitcomb Riley
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover over-head!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! …
I don’t know how to tell it—but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me—
I’d want to ’commodate ’em—all the whole-indurin’ flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

The seasons have often been used as a metaphor for life… and some say fall is middle age. So far it is the season of living I have loved best and when I have grown most. Soon comes winter; the time of sweaters and jackets and scarves and gloves. Clothes not worn in six months will feel new again. For me autumn is a time of joy beyond explanation and I am grateful for every red, yellow and gold moment of it.

How beautifully leaves grow old.
How full of light and color are their last days.
John Burroughs