"Once we have completely eradicated our delusions it will be utterly impossible for us to experience unpeaceful states of mind." Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Thursday, February 13, 2014

V-Day + Gratitude


Yesterday I read something, written by a girl who I met approximately twice in high school, that really affected me. It was beautifully written, but what really did it for me was the absolute vulnerability and complete transparent nature of her writing style in which she reflected on defining life moments and the feelings she had when she experienced them. To this person: I have been meaning to write you personally and express my gratitude. I will get around to it soon, but if by some coincidence you read this before that time and realize it's you - thank-you for being inspirational and lovely. 

I ended up reading a few more of the poems/short-stories on her blog loosely based on self-awareness and reflections, but the initial piece I read had to do with aligning what you mean with what you say. Obviously, this is an extremely basic concept, read: don't lie, however I think almost everyone underestimates the importance of honesty and often we hover in the grey zone of not being exactly honest, but not completely lying either. It's one thing to tell these "white lies" to other people, but I think we also end up telling them to ourselves, usually not on purpose, but rather because we have a difficult time being vulnerable, regardless of the audience. 

Case in point: I had intended on writing this post with a Valentine's Day theme, or as I have been referring to it as "Single's Awareness Day". My opinion of the hallmark holiday tends to fluctuate from despise to indifference which makes plenty of sense when you consider the term awareness… people who are single end up being more aware of their marital status on Valentine’s Day opposed to the other days of the year, simply because it is a day to celebrate your loved ones… and when you don't have a significant other, you end up thinking about the lack thereof...

But AHA, yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a keynote speech, focusing on leadership. There were two specific take-away messages that I got from Drew Dudley last night and the first one was regarding abundance. Drew encouraged the audience to think less about scarcity and competition, especially concerning money and jobs, and to revert that notion into one of abundance – realizing that there is enough for everyone and to strive to add value to each individual’s life that you come in contact with. (This reminded me of the meditation retreat I attended in Australia which was based off of the book Eight Steps to Happiness, where they teach you that only by cherishing others will you ever have a chance at ultimate happiness. Needless to say, it was also very inspiring to me and I highly recommend it.) So that was a great take-away for sure, but the other take-away, which is in the same realm of adding value to others, is that of gratitude. Hallelujah! Whenever I remind myself to pause and acknowledge everything that I am feeling grateful for in that moment, I am immediately overcome with a calm serenity.

Coming full circle, when you think about the underlying point of Valentine’s Day, as I mentioned previously, it’s about celebrating your loved ones – this does NOT mean you have to celebrate a romantic partner, although that is encouraged if the option is there, but you can and should celebrate all of your loved ones, from your family to your friends! Recognizing my gratitude for all of the relationships in my life has made me focus less on my marital status of “single” and more on my life status of “fulfilled”.  Keeping with the message of being honest with myself however, means that I should also acknowledge the part of me that would prefer to also have a romantic partner to celebrate with too. The cliché of “not settling” has rendered me single on the day before the day, that being single, kind of sucks.

In efforts to shift my self-centered focus, I'd like to complete some of these 52 random acts of kindness instead. Also, because it IS a day focused on love, here is a picture I posted on Instagram once, that really resonated with me. 

Even though prospects in my little town are looking quite bleak, perhaps I’m a hopeless romantic after all… what about you?


Kiss Me, Ed Sheeran
Your Song, Elton John
She Keeps Me Warm, Mary Lambert
Head Over Feet, Alanis Morissette
Slide, Goo Goo Dolls
10,000 Miles, Mary Chapin Carpenter
Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon and Garfunkel
Do you Realize, Flaming Lips
Such Great Heights, Postal Service
I Know, I Know, I Know, Tegan and Sara
Give Me Love, Ed Sheeran
I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Whitney Houston
Because You Loved Me, Celine Dion
Love They Say, Tegan and Sara
Someone To Watch Over Me, Frank Sinatra

Wonderful Tonight, Eric Clapton

A quaint little list of DATE IDEAS:

1 - Bike Ride     19 - Bowling     37 - Go to the Zoo     
2 - Cook Together     20 - Split a Milkshake     38 - Pick Out Each Others Outfits     
3 - Go to the Gym     21 - Aquarium     39 - Go Tanning     
4 - Match Socks Together     22 - Take a Nap     40 - Have a Harry Potter Marathon     
5 - Plant a Garden     23 - Kiss in the Rain     41 - Kiss Underwater     
6 - See a Play at a Local Theater     24 - Ride on a Ferris Wheel     42 - Watch Fireworks     
7 - Paint a Room in Your House     25 - Buy Matching Bracelets     43 - Fall asleep on the phone together
8 - Shopping     26 - Go on a Road Trip     44 - Get Ready Together     
9 - Scrabble     27 - Make Breakfast     45 - Go on a Classy Ass Date     
10 - Go to a Vineyard     28 - Write Each Other Letters     46 - Eat Ice Cream     
11 - Walk     29 - Go Mini Golfing     47 - Take a Bubble Bath Together     
12 - Picnic on the Beach     30 - Kiss at Midnight     48 - Go Running     
13 - Play the Wii     31 - Go to the Beach     49 - Have a Paint War     
14 - Play Tennis     32 - Make a Couple's Video     50 - Take a Picture Kissing     
15 - Put Together a Puzzle     33 - Sing a Song Really Loud     51 - Go on a Startbucks Date     
16 - Read a Book Together     34 - Order Chinese Food     52 - Slow Dance     
17 - Watch a Sunset     35 - Build a Blanket Fort     53 - Share Popcorn at the Movies     
18 - YOGA     36 - Stargaze     54 - Get a side by side pedicure


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