Be Open to Receive

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North Carolina–Blue Ridge Parkway toward Mount Mitchell

I am trying meditation again. I’ve lasted three days. I know that when I start my day with meditation, create an intention, and live my day with that intention, I am much happier. I am clearer on my purpose. I am able to choose how my day will go.

For example, this morning I woke up from a dream where I kept entering different classrooms trying to find my son, Nick. He was only 9 or so, but I could never catch up to him. I woke up sad and missing him.

Then I listened to Tom Evans’ Ten Minutes of Mindfulness on the Insight Timer app. He noted that our brains are always giving and receiving. If I’m talking, then I’m not listening. If my mind if filled with sadness, then I’m not receiving whatever it is that I want to receive. So I opened my mind and asked, What did I want to receive?

Joy, Love, Laughter, a wonderful day.

What would that look like and how did it involve my purpose?

Writing and sharing hope to anyone who is in need and open to receive. It’s as simple as that, but oh so hard.

Instead of sadness, I choose joy. Joy as I remember my beautiful son, Joy as I am in the moment with my other son, happiness that I get to sit at my desk and do what I love–write.

When I receive openly, then I have more to give. Love, compassion, my gift of writing.

That sadness has been lifted. If it settles back, I will remind myself of my intention and know they are thoughts that I can change. If I hadn’t sat down to meditate and write from that meditation, my day may be starting quite differently.

What are you open to receive today and what are you open to give? Write it down and make it so.

Have a wonderful day!

Be Kind

My beautiful Baptiste yoga sister, Cara, recently taught a community class, and she focused on the impact of unexpected kindness. Somehow when we least expect it, a display of kindness can pull us out of the worst mental funk.

Her quote was, “Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.”

Being kind to someone else doesn’t cost you a thing, but it might be the most rewarding for both you and the receiver.

In my journaling workshop this week, I shared that quote and had them write from some prompts:

What form of kindness have you recently received that was unexpected?

How did it make you feel?

What kindness have you given without expectation?

How did it affect that person? Do you know if it did? Did it matter?

How did you feel giving kindness?

Answers ranged from someone showing up at work and being thrilled to see that person, to going the extra mile to do something special for a mom’s birthday. On either end it felt wonderful knowing that someone cared and that you could make someone happy.

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When I have hit rock bottom, it took love to bring me back. We don’t know what someone else is going through and even if we can’t understand what they are feeling, we can empathize. We can show love, support, and kindness. That is mainly why I write and teach journaling, so that others know there is always hope. There is always love.

Kindness comes in all forms. It doesn’t have to be directed only to you. In my yoga class today, the teacher exuded kindness and wrapped us in her cocoon of love. Not only did I get a great yoga workout, but I felt safe and cared for–exactly what I needed in that moment. After class I told her that, because I wanted her to know she made a difference in my day.

What are other ways you can show kindness?

Smiling at someone who looks sad

Holding the door open for another person, male, female, old or young

Paying for the person’s drink who is next in line

Sending a card or to someone you haven’t seen in a long time or giving them a call

Telling people that you love them. It’s a simple gesture that can turn someone’s day around.

Give a hug.

Don’t forget to do something for yourself that makes you feel good. Kindness to yourself keeps your heart open to share kindness with others.

Think about who you have shown kindness to today. If you haven’t, make a point every day to show love, kindness, and give the same to yourself. You’ll attract the love and kindness you want to see in the world.

Thank you Cara for sharing kindness and your bright spirit!

 

Words Have Power

Last night was my monthly journal workshop at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library. It was a large group despite the cold weather. Some seasoned and some new people ventured in to see what was on the agenda for the night.

I have been enjoying my December Gifts to Gratitude. Check out my previous blog on the steps involved with this. I shared it with the group and had them write letters of gratitude to someone they loved. I have been choosing one word to describe the people in my life and words like Vibrant, Strong, True, and Joy have come up for me.

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Mary’s word for her loved one.

Words have power. They can lift someone up when they have nothing to look forward to and knock the wind out of you when flung in anger and pain. Words can be a weapon, but they also can be a balm and source of love.

I was very impressed by the letters that everyone decorated to give to someone. There was a peaceful and festive feeling to the room as everyone put their heart into the work. Their gifts of gratitude will have a major impact.

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The card that went with strength. 

The power of positive memories can give us strength when we need it most. Letting people know what they mean to us is a great gift. I know I don’t do it often enough. I have enjoyed receiving surprised texts from my family and friends when they get their letter. One friend said that she gives me the gift of laughter, but she cried reading her letter. It was a good cry!

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Paula’s letter says it all

Some of the letters didn’t need anything more than the picture on the front page. The happy and positive feeling of this card said it all.

Next, we began journaling on our dreams for 2018 and beyond. I call them dreams instead of goals, because they encompass our purpose and who we are.

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This is my template that I will use to work on my dreams for 2018. Everything I do is instilled with hope. That is my mission, and how I decide to spend my time. Stay tuned for another post to explain this process.

I have truly enjoyed meeting new people, being inspired by their journaling techniques and creativity. I look forward to another year of journaling together.

Mark your calendars for the 2018 workshops at The Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library:

January 10, February 7, March 14, April 11

Sign up for my mailing list at www.janinedetilliocammarata.com to keep updated on all my events.

December Gifts to Gratitude

Oh December! As much as I love this month of holiday giving, shopping, baking, decorating, and constant chaos, I miss the simpleness of being with those I love. It’s been tough getting excited for Christmas, and I think it’s because of the commercialism, the stressfulness of finding gifts for people who may not need anything, but there is that sense of obligation to buy gifts because it is that time of year. Boy do I sound grumpy!

I reflected back to October when I shared my daily gratitude journal. That month made me realize what I have in my life and how much people give me every day.  I don’t mean gifts in the physical sense, but what they have given me from their heart. I’m talking about what they have taught me and how I am a better person because they are in my life. For December I am focusing on what people have given me and how grateful I am for that.

My gift to them? I want to let them know. So each day I am sending a letter to someone in my tribe with a word that describes them to me. So far I have come up with courage, determination, laughter, honorable, and enduring. Sitting down and thinking about what my friends and family bring to my life is the best gift I can receive.

If you’d like to join in with my December Gifts to Gratitude, here is what I’m doing.

First, I write a letter to that person. Yes, a written letter addressed and mailed to them! Personal mail is a pleasure to receive, especially when we are inundated with catalogs! I’m personalizing them with some fun stickers and the word I associate with that person. Then I write a letter to them explaining the gift they have given to me, what they mean to me, and why I am grateful to have them in my life.

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Letter with the ornament I write the person’s name and word on.

Next, I write their name on an ornament that I purchased at Michael’s (which are half price right now). I write their name on one side, then their special word on the other. I want them to remember why they are special to me, and it can be displayed in their home if they like.

Finally, in order for me to keep perspective this month and remember why I am grateful, I am writing their name on my own ornaments and placing them on the tree in my library. This tree is topped by an angel that my son, Nick, made so it’s a special tree that also reminds me of the amazing gifts he has given him.

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Another option is to cut out a tree or Menorah from paper or write in the people who have given the the greatest gifts of their time, their heart, and their love. Decorate in your tradition. Ornaments could be strung from lights with people’s names or photos. What an amazing visual that would be!

No matter what we believe or how we celebrate the holidays, it all comes down to sharing your love with others and letting them know how much you care every day of the year. That is the greatest gift and makes me grateful.

Monthly Journal Workshop-Giving

Tonight’s monthly journaling workshop at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library was simply gratifying for all! Half of the participants were brand new and the other half were regulars who have committed to taking time for themselves.

The theme was gratitude, giving back, and being good to ourselves. Sometimes the best way to feel better is to give and remember what is wonderful in our lives. Here are some of the participants’ journal entries!gratitudesarahl

The month of Thanksgiving is the perfect time to start a gratitude journal. Waking up with the intention of striving for happiness changes your attitude and sets up your day for something great. When you take the time to journal on what was positive in your day then you are happier. Your world becomes a better place. You are creating precious and wonderful memories.

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Everyone wrote about their volunteer experiences and other foundations they would like to get involved in. Giving back has a way of creating gratitude. Helping others can have a healing effect. Knowing you are having a positive impact on someone else lifts your spirit.

Giving to yourself is probably the hardest way to make a difference, but it can be the most impactful! When we are kind to ourselves, we can give more to others. But who is the first person we forget about when the holidays or life gets too stressful? Ourselves! Write about what the holidays mean to you and about what kind of holiday you want to have.

Then give the gift of doing something for yourself. You are worth it.

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It can be as simple as being in the moment. Sometimes a pop, clink and fizz is needed to get through that stressful moment!

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Positive and genuine affirmations are huge gifts to ourselves.

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Buy that sweater you have been wanting, take the time to read a book, and treat yourself like the special person you are!

What are you grateful for?

How do you give back?

What will you do to be good to yourself?

Especially during this holiday season, take the time to journal and be kind to yourself. It’ll make a difference in your life and the world around you.

Next month’s journal workshop is December 13th! Take the time and register for you!

www.cphlibrary.org

Conscious Gratitude-Day 28

Today I am grateful for taking the time to be with a special family. There was a Chairity fundraiser in memory of Nick Heald who passed away July 29, 2017.
There were so many amazingly crafted Adirondack style chairs made by those who love and miss this beautiful young man. Nick always made a similar chair for the South Glens Falls Marathon Dance that annually raises an incredible amount of money each year to help families in need and local foundations.


Events like these help the family, and I felt so much love as everyone united over a common cause. I was glad I went and thankful to everyone who treated me like family.

Me!–Gratitude Day 19

Happy Birthday to me! The first step to spreading joy is to love and appreciate yourself.

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Photo by Elizabeth Fox Photography

51 years ago today I was brought into this world as a preemie. Three weeks early at that time was a scary thought, and the priest was prepared to give me my last rights when I only weighed 3 lbs 14oz. My strong and amazingly positive father wouldn’t let him in the door. He literally held me in his big hand and willed me to live.

That I did. I was meant to be in the body I am in today. I was meant to learn all that I have and follow my path to make this world a better place. I have loved with all my heart. I have had my heart broken completely, but the spirit in me burns strong, because I know why I’m here.

I’m grateful for my inner strength, but also for my parents who showed me how to be strong, brave, and never give up. I’m grateful for my positive outlook, but also for everyone who holds me up when I get too tired to keep a smile on my face.

I’m incredibly grateful for the lessons my boys have taught me and continue to teach me every day. They are a huge part of my purpose, and my greatest joy is being able to give them life and having a husband who loves me unconditionally.

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Photo by Elizabeth Fox Photography

I’m grateful for my silliness, my ability to laugh at myself, and to forgive. I am empowered by those who help me fulfill my life goals and my mission. I am humbled by those who give back in the midst of their own tragedies.

I am thankful for everyone who has supported me not only my entire life, but also during the last 9 years. I couldn’t do it alone and know that everyone in my life has been placed here as a part of a larger plan.

Thank you to everyone for wishing me a happy birthday and sharing my special day with me. For the next 50 years, I will be cruising on my Harley, sharing my love and laughter, and forging hope in a world that so desperately needs it!

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Photo by Elizabeth Fox Photography

A Month of Gratitude

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October. It’s a month of oxymorons, contradictions, and irony. The most joyous month of my life for so many reasons, yet the most devastating as well. It’s a month of transition and fun traditions as we welcome in the fall, but those traditions now are hard to handle. It’s a month of beginnings and endings, happiness and tears, hope and disappointment.

For the past 9 years, it’s been a month to just get through where it used to be a month of excitement and family gatherings.

When I teach the different types of journaling, one of the most powerful is journaling to heal. Writing has most certainly saved me from despair and has served as a friend when I couldn’t find my voice, but my hand could hold a pen.

I have been fighting a nasty head cold for five days, and today, my husband, Luke, encouraged me to go for a ride. Not trusting myself on my motorcycle, I rode on the back of his. It was a beautiful fall day. The kind of day that opens the sky to heaven. I held onto the moment and thought how thankful I was to be there with him. To have a husband who knows what I need, even when I don’t.

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I felt a great deal of gratitude for this man, who sometimes seems like an extended part of me. So many times we act as one, and it makes me smile.

So for the month of October, I’m going to share my gratitude journal. It’s not something I have really done, but I have always believed that even in the midst of the most horrid tragedy, there is always hope. There is always that spark of love, light, and possibility.

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Today, Luke is that light for me. He has held me up when I couldn’t fathom going any farther. He pulled me out of the dark when I couldn’t see the way forward. When we lost our son, Nick, 9 years ago to cancer, after weeks of being lost, we decided to start Nick’s Fight to be Healed Foundation. Luke told me to do what I needed to do. Give this foundation my heart, and he would stand beside me. That is what I did. I had no idea how the foundation would grow and how many people it would help. It has been hard for us doing the work, but nothing powerful ever happened without working hard.

Today I am grateful for Lucas, my husband of 26 years, who ironically is my polar opposite, but balances me perfectly.

Begin your month of gratitude by writing about what you are grateful for today and why. If it is someone in your life, let them know.

Find the Good

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Photo by Alysia Thomas

My son and I were texting one day. He had to go to work and was worried he wouldn’t like what he was doing. Part of it was that he wasn’t sure exactly what was expected of him or what his responsibilities would be. He only figured he wouldn’t enjoy himself. I said, “Be nice, be grateful, and find the good.”

He called me after work and with an excited voice, told me he had a great day. He met new people, did work that interested him, and received compliments on how quickly he caught on.

Now I’m not saying that my advice turned his whole day around, but perhaps it shifted his perspective.

Be nice. In any situation, if you think you are going to have a bad time, then most likely that is what you will have. If you put a smile on your face (even if you don’t feel it at that moment), you will attract kindness and good things will happen. Then your smile and happiness will come naturally.

Be grateful. It’s difficult to remember to be grateful, especially when we are on this constant stream of movement, catching up, filling our time, and forgetting to be in the present moment. This morning as I walked my dog, I appreciated the quiet, the sunshine, and being able to take this time for myself. Being grateful for an opportunity opens us up to possibilities and again puts that smile on our face because we are in a good place. It’s a reminder.

Find the good. The door to goodness opens when we allow ourselves to look. In every dark place, there is light. Even when there are clouds, the sun is still shining, but it’s hard to remember that when the darkness overwhelms us. Each day note what was good and take notice of the people who nourished and empowered you. Keep them around and keep doing what makes you happy. These moments make those darker ones a tad bit lighter.

What is a situation where you can be nicer or kinder?

What are you grateful for today?

Where can you find goodness in your day? What is positive? Who do you want to be around who will make you happy and put a smile on your face? What can you do to make it happen?

Every day, be nice, be grateful and goodness will find you.

Smile and See What Reflects Back

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I was literally out all day long yesterday with appointments, meetings, and an awesome concert at SPAC with Brad Paisley, once we got through the torrential rain and lightning storm!

During the day, I smiled at everyone I saw and was rewarded with a smile back. I held doors open for others, which I normally would do anyway, but I made eye contact and gave a bright smile. I felt very light and decided to have a great day.

That day was reflected back to me in how others responded. Smiling and being relaxed made my day that much better.

I took the day as it came, and it helped me balance parts of the day that were more stressful.

So smile today, see how it changes your attitude and take not of what is reflected back at you.