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intuitionThere are many wonderful benefits to seeing the world with a grateful eye.  The most immediate benefit, of course, is that grateful people are happy people.  When we look upon our world with gratitude in our hearts, we tend to see only what is good about our surroundings, our relationships, our situation.  We tend to focus on the positive aspects of our world, and to filter out the negative.  Even when bad things happen … and they do … grateful people still tend to find the good buried somewhere underneath the rubble.  Grateful people can always see the silver lining, the rainbow, the pot of gold, the light at the end of the tunnel.  When we see our world with a grateful eye, we see a world that is generous and helpful.  We see a world so eager to help us fulfill our dreams that it constantly leaves clues that will lead us, like breadcrumbs, down the path that leads toward our highest good.

The ability to see those clues is called intuition. It is a gut feeling we get about a situation, or a fleeting thought that crosses our mind that connects in some ridiculously far-fetched way with a situation we find ourselves in.  It is the still, small, suggestive voice of God silently whispering to us in the background of our noisy mental chatter.

Intuition is often called the sixth sense. Women seem to be more attuned to it than men, which is why we are all familiar with the phrase women’s intuition.  I’m suspecting it’s because women tend to think with their hearts.    Now, I’m not suggesting that men cannot be intuitive; some men also have learned to think with their hearts and so have learned to see the world intuitively.  We all can learn to be more intuitive, but those of us who have trained ourselves to maintain an attitude of gratitude as we go through our day will have a definite advantage.  As my friend Jeffrey Smith pointed out to me yesterday, gratitude amplifies intuition.

Here’s why:  When we are grateful for whatever life has set before us, even if it is something we might not have willingly chosen, we tend to accept the situation  without resistance.  We accept things as they are and we go with the flow.  Resistance is what causes us to suffer.  It makes us fearful and worried, so we feel the need to interfere and try to fix everything, which of course usually makes everything worse.  When we are grateful, we thankfully accept whatever life may offer us, and we move through obstacles calmly and unafraid — much like Luke Skywalker, when he finally learns to stop struggling and to use the force.   When we stop resisting,  our intuition gets a huge boost.

When we learn to be grateful for everything, we begin to see that nothing happens by accident, and we start to actively look for the lesson and the benefit that each situation is bringing to us.  Because we are looking for clues, we find them; and because we trust the Universe, when our intuition shows us a detour that will lead to our pot of gold, we follow it.

What is your intuition trying to tell you today?  Can you see the clues that are right before your eyes?  They are always there, because the whole universe is always conspiring to help us achieve our dreams.  Always.  It is up to us to look at our world with eyes that are accustomed to finding clues in everything, and then to have the courage to follow those clues wherever they may lead.

Being grateful helps in that process, because with grateful eyes we can learn to see blessings where others only see a problem.   If your heart is grateful, your intuition will be better able to recognize clues when they cross your path.  Remember, your biggest break may very well come to you cleverly disguised as an annoying interruption.

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“How does one become a butterfly?” she asked pensively.

“You must want to fly so much you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”

“You mean die?”

“Yes and no,” he answered. “What looks like you will die, but what’s really you will still live”

—–From Hope For The Flower

butterfly

Growth hurts.  Sometimes little kids experience actual physical pain as their bones and muscles grow.  Doctors call these growing pains.  Massaging the area helps, as do lots of hugs and kisses.  But there are also psychological growing pains, and we are never too old to experience those.

As humans, we all have certain basic needs that must be fulfilled in order for us to thrive.  One of these is the need for Certainty.  We like for things to be comfortable and familiar.  Certainty helps us to feel safe and in control.  Certainty is the bedrock on which our identities are built; it helps us to define who we are.

But too much certainty can work against us.  Clinging to certainty is the reason why we remain in a situation long after it has stopped serving our highest good.  It is the reason why we stay in an abusive relationship;  it is the reason why we keep working a job that we despise; it is the reason why we watch TV or play games on Facebook instead of working on our dreams.  It is the reason why we don’t grow.

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It is literally true that you can succeed best & quickest by helping others to succeed. Napoleon Hill

How would you like to have more clients than you can handle?  Wouldn’t that be a great problem to have?  Even better, how would it be if all those clients were happy, contented clients instead of angry, frustrated clients?  As your mother used to tell you, your reputation is everything:  if you and your business have a good reputation, people will flock to your doors, happy to give you their money.  So how do you build that reputation, especially when you’re first starting out?
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A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”  John Keats

Have you ever heard music so beautiful that it made you cry?  Have you ever seen something so beautiful that it actually took your breath away?  If that has ever happened to you, my guess is that you can still recall that moment in vivid detail.  You can still hear the music in your head, even though the moment has long past.

Beauty is ephemeral:  flowers wither and die, rainbows dissolve into the mist,  symphonies end.

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“Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome.  Since the present moment is Life itself, it is an insane way to live.” Eckhart Tolle

Have you ever done business with someone who was totally enthusiastic about their work?  While they are providing their service to you, their eyes sparkle, they have a bounce to their step, and you can sense their utter delight at giving you their best.  You don’t come across these individuals very often, but when you do they stand out as exceptional.  My optician, Mr. Raspberry, is one of these people.  When I bring him my mangled glasses to fix (I’m really hard on glasses), his eyes light up and he actually giggles as he’s coaxing them back into usable shape.  To Mr. Raspberry, there is nothing routine or mundane about fixing glasses:  he treats each pair as if they were the most exciting work he’s ever done.  I actually look forward to getting my glasses adjusted, because just being around Mr. Raspberry’s enthusiasm is contagious and I always leave with a smile on my face.

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“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. ”   Genesis 1:31

Have you ever known someone with lots of money who was really unhappy?  You see it all the time, people who have every material thing the mind can dream up, yet their lives feel meaningless and empty, and they still crave something more.  Have you ever known someone who seemed to have very little in the way of material possessions, yet seemed completely content … even happy?  How can that be?

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When I was in the sixth grade, the teacher asked the class, “If you could be anything you wanted to be, what would you be?”  I instantly shot my hand in the air (I was obnoxious like that), and shouted out:  “A saloon hall girl!”  The kid next to me yelled out, “Outlaw!”  The teacher rolled her eyes and sighed in disgust.  She was aiming for answers like fireman and doctor.  She was trying to teach us that we could reach whatever goals we could dream up.  Unfortunately for her, she failed to take into account that as children our dreams are as yet uncensored.  When we play make-believe as children, our imaginations have not yet been completely imprisoned by the mores and “good” values of the culture we are raised in.  As children, the possibilities really are endless.

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“…for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”  William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Hamlet was a dreary guy to be around.  He had it all:  he was the Prince of Denmark, which means he had money and power.  His life was full of potential.  Plus, he had the love of the beautiful Ophelia.  Anyone else in his position might have been very grateful to be so fortuitously placed in life.  But not Hamlet.  Hamlet was chronically depressed and whined and moaned about everything.   From the outside looking in, Hamlet’s life seemed pretty cushy; but from his point of view, Denmark was a prison, and “a goodly one,” at that.  Like I said, Hamlet was a real drag.  Do you know people like that? Just being around them can suck the life out of you; a few minutes in their presence and any good feelings you had begin to grow mold and rot.

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“I hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people:  that each protects the solitude of the other.” Rainer Maria Rilke

When you share your home with other people, finding peaceful moments of solitude can sometimes be a challenge.  No matter how much we love our famiy and friends, we all need some quiet time to ourselves every now and again.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have the house to myself for the last few days, and suddenly realize that it’s been several months since I’ve had the chance to sit quietly by myself.  Until recently, I lived alone and spent entire days in quiet solitude, happily occupying myself with whatever little project struck my fancy.  But life has a way of moving on, whether you want it to or not, and I’m learning to adjust to having people around all the time.

I had planned, during these few days alone, to catch up on work that had fallen behind.  Instead, I found myself sitting quietly in the yard, feeling the fresh air on my skin and getting lost in the sounds and smells of a warm winter Florida day.  I find that if I sit quietly for a little while, I begin to actually hear the sounds that escape me when my brain is full of things I need to remember and places I need to go.  When I’m still, I can finally notice the delicate scent of the orange blossoms on my neighbor’s tree, and I have time to watch the kittens playing in the yard.  When was the last time you were able to just sit quietly all by yourself for even a few minutes?

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“When we love something it is of value to us, and when something is of value to us we spend time with it, time enjoying it and time taking care of it.  Observe a teenager in love with his car and note the time he will spend admiring it, polishing it, repairing it, tuning it.  Or an older person with a beloved rose garden, and the time spent pruning and mulching and fertilizing and studying it.  So it is when we love children; we spend time admiring them and caring for them.  We give them our time.”   M. Scott Peck M.D., The Road Less Traveled

I always say that our relationships are our most valuable treasures.  Relationships bring texture to our lives.  Important life events are hollow without someone to share them with, and possessions are meaningless if we enjoy them alone.  We are on this planet to be in relationship with each other, and relationships take time.

If you’re anything like me, your life is very busy.   There is money to be made, and phone calls to make, errands to run and chores to take care of.  There are club meetings, committees, church, rehearsals, leads groups, and countless other obligations eating up your time.   The result of all this activity is that we tend to neglect the very people whose presence in our lives make everything meaningful.  Our kids try to share things with us, but we’re on the phone or making dinner so we shoo them away: “Mommy’s talking — don’t interrupt!”  Tonight, for instance, I’m writing this blog about paying attention to the people you love, but because I’m trying to make my Wednesday deadline, I’m only pretending to listen to Keith on the couch next to me trying to tell me about his day.   When we’re too busy, the people we love most pay the price of our neglect.

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