Attention is the way you bless yourself with love.
made for a spectacular fall in our corner of the universe- one of
the best in years. As we begin the last month of 2021 on a
cooler note, one of the things I try to do is express gratitude for
what I'm truly grateful for. I can’t help but pause and reflect on a
year unlike any other. As I look back on the past year I give
thanks for all I have experienced, learned, and shared, drawing
in the learning as seeds I will plant and from which I will grow
and take the next steps in my life. I'm also grateful to be inside a
web of community, and you are a part of that!
Gratitude helps us see a world that is much bigger. When we
feel gratitude, we help each other (and ourselves) grow. In this
season of gratitude and abundance, being aware of our
blessings and what we have, and honoring the feelings that
come with what we don’t, as well as acknowledging that there
are people with circumstances that make it difficult to feel
grateful, has a powerful relationship to health and well-being.
Why are the words, ‘I’m thankful’ more keenly felt this time of
I believe it lies with our intention. Because we pause; because
we're more mindful about expressing our gratitude for people,
circumstances, and things we value in our life. Our state of mind
when we give thanks matters.
By definition gratitude is a feeling. In positive psychology
research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with
greater happiness. The word gratitude is derived from the Latin
word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness
(depending on the context). Gratitude encompasses all of these
Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives.*
practices I have include gratitude walks, a gratitude journal, the
ritual of hearing what my partner is grateful for and expressing
what I'm grateful for after every evening meditation. The
gratitude practices in our lives open our awareness to
hopefulness for the future. Gratitude generates hope, and hope
is the window of future possibilities. As Mary Davis says, "The
more grateful I am, the more beauty I see."
things outside ourselves, along with things that are larger than
ourselves including nature and a higher power.
In the world of business, employees are often shown
appreciation with recognition celebrations, certificates, awards,
and gifts. I recall one year at the college where I worked being
given a gift of my choice (I chose a Leatherman style tool) as
recognition for my years of service. It was fun to receive the gift,
and more importantly, I felt seen for my contribution to the
college, for making a difference in students' lives. That
recognition held a deep meaning for me.
Although saying "thanks" is important, meaningful recognition
goes beyond the words. Meaningful recognition involves
genuinely seeing another person.
Studies show that being seen is a basic human need that
begins early in our lives and is necessary for thriving. Our
survival depends on feeling safe and secure. We feel the safest
when we're given positive feedback and protection by our
caregivers. In early childhood the need for recognition, being
seen, is a healthy response to the human condition we all share.
As we develop emotionally being seen becomes less about
survival and the need for outside approval.
At some point, it becomes an inside job to see ourselves
through the lens of Wholeness. When we honor it, awaken it,
and actively draw upon it we see the truth of who we are.
It was all going to be an inside job…It was recognizing my truth, the truth of who I am.
capacity to extend love, kindness and compassion to others
also grows. In effect, we are able to see others once we see
I believe that recognition, being seen, inspires us and another
to be her best self, to remember her Wholeness, and is an
acknowledgement of her goodness.
A client told me recently that she often expresses gratitude for
nature and for her spouse. But, it never occurred to her to give
herself recognition or gratitude.
When was the last time you gave yourself recognition for all that
you are, all that you do, and all the ways that you're being in the
world matters? Did you know that the self-love work you do
changes the "infrastructure" of your being and rewires your
nervous system? When you give yourself recognition you
discover a powerful inner strength you didn't know you had.
When was the last time you showed up for yourself?
that about yourself! It's vital that we connect with that part of us
that is brilliant, capable, creative, talented, valuable and simply...
By showing up for yourself every day you bring more love, hope,
trust, and compassion to humanity. Thank you for continuing to
do the work – even when you encounter obstacles, setbacks,
and self-doubt. Your determination to keep showing up for
yourself is so incredibly inspiring and the reason why I do what I
You might be wondering … well, what about my terrible mood
and grumpiness and feelings of loss and despair, how do I show
up and give meaningful recognition to "those" parts of me?
In the midst of uncertainty and loss, and endless obligations
and worries, and hearing the inner critic, it’s so easy to get
disconnected… from your essential self, your inherent nature,
from Wholeness. Which means it might be difficult to show up
and give yourself the recognition you deserve.
So, how, specifically, do we extend our love, gratitude, and
recognition into places within where we might not typically feel
gratitude, where we might not want to look?
How do we generate and express gratitude and give
ourselves recognition mindfully? The best idea is to start within,
because one thing is sure - many of us don't spend enough
time giving recognition to who we are or in expressing gratitude
Often it’s too easy to hold ourselves to standards we would
never impose on someone else. "Our own worst critic" the
We theoretically love ourselves, right? But do we give ourselves
much true recognition? Do we really sit with ourselves in
I believe there is absolutely a part of you that knows how good,
worthy and lovable you are, so it’s time to focus on your light
and let go of self-critical thinking, that voice inside that says
you're not enough.
Meditation teacher Tara Brach, in her new book, Trusting the
Gold, writes about a teaching she often shares in her talks
called “This Belongs”—that whatever we might be feeling or
experiencing, this too belongs to the sacredness of this
moment. With self-love we can feel the sacredness of all that we
are, no matter what .
You are a gift in this world, and in order to fulfill your purpose
here, it's so important to deeply anchor yourself to self love.
The Co-Creative Mandala below, "Recognition", from a
photograph of a rose (symbolizes friendship and caring)
reminds you to make friends with yourself, to choose you--every
single day! It is SO IMPORTANT to remember: this is a
practice. You are creating a personal & spiritual PRACTICE of
self-love, of self-recognition. And that means continuing to
show up – however you can. Imperfectly, awkwardly, you keep
showing up for yourself. These blogs I write are actually
reminders for MYSELF!! I am constantly beginning again and so
can you. Just keep practicing!!
Your loving presence touches many more people than you realize. When you show up for yourself, you show up for the greater whole.
In this simple, yet powerful exercise, I invite you to celebrate
"Recognition" and feel supported by your inner and outer
resources. Honor this powerful time of thanks giving.
We are moving toward the completion of our pathway to
Oneness. The energy is quieter and more introspective at this
time of year. You can use the seasonal energy available to you
right now to feel deeply grounded in your life. Feel anchored &
empowered by investing in the vibration of "Recognition".
The purpose of this exercise is to help you practice self-
recognition, gratitude, and self love.
Imagine if you were a child again for today, what would you
most want to hear? What would make your heart light up with
Give yourself plenty of time without interruptions to dive deeply
into this exercise. Meditate, journal, create and bless your
Make this exercise your own. Invest your time and attention
toward your personal growth and well-being.
As you sit quietly in your space, light a candle that welcomes
the "Recognition" vibration.
In a moment, when you are done reading through the
instructions, write everything that the Co-Creative
Mandala-"Recognition" makes you think of. Write how you feel
when you look at it. Write about what the associated chakras
represent (root, sacral, solar plexus, throat, and crown) and how
that might be applicable to your journey toward Oneness this
Close your eyes. Bring your awareness to your breath; just be
with your breath. Take a deep breath in. Breathe out.
Take another deep breath in. Breathe out. Notice the sensations
as you exhale—without judgement. Feel the body breathing.
Bring your body into stillness.
Open your eyes and bring your attention to the "Recognition"
mandala; allow the mandala energy to fill your heart; be with
whatever is there.
Invest a few minutes toward allowing the "Recognition" vibration
to flow to and through your body. Imagine that energy bursting
through your crown chakra and extending far into the heavens.
Imagine the "Recognition" vibration flowing through you and
down deep into the earth. Imagine it radiating from your heart
and extending out in front of you and behind you. Imagine the
"Recognition" vibration is a radiant ball that encircles you.
Sit with this energy for a few minutes.
Now, turn your attention toward the "Recognition" mandala.
What about the mandala captures your attention?
Notice and Wonder--Something in me is feeling...
I wonder what it wants me to know, to recognize?
Relax into your body and its quietness. Be with the energy, be
Here is the Exercise:
In your journal or notebook write a list of 10 things about
yourself that you want to give recognition to, that you're
grateful for. If 10 things seems like too many, start with a smaller
number. Just start!
Notice what you choose to focus on. You might phrase your list
with a focus on the different "parts" of your personality and why
you're thankful for them. You might focus on your self-care
practices and/or the ways that you extend loving kindness to
yourself and others. (Adapted from an exercise by writer Kelly
Here are some examples from my list -- numbers 2, 6, and 9 --
that emphasize gratitude for particular parts of myself that I want
to give recognition to:
2. I'm grateful for the part of myself that is absolutely in love with
my partner. I have a whole slew of internal personality "parts"
who show up in relationship with my partner. Part of me is
concerned about his health and well-being and part of me sees
all the ways that he takes care of himself. Part of me wishes
he'd make different decisions about his health and part of me
honors those decisions. Part of me gets silly and playful and
goofs off with him even as part of me is serious and concerned.
Part of me grieves the "future loss" and part of me is in the
present, appreciating every precious moment we have together.
All of these parts contribute to the part of me that loves him
"Everything is a gift. Grateful living is a celebration of the
universal give-and-take of life, a limitless yes to belonging."
Brother David Steindl-Rast
6. I'm grateful to the part of myself who doesn't need to get it all
right, all the time, who lets go of perfectionism in favor of "good
enough", in favor of "this belongs". This quote, related to writing
but applicable in so many arenas, sums it up:
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the
people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and
it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think
perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run
carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you
won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that
a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to
do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while
they're doing it.” - Anne Lamott
9. I'm grateful for the part of myself that loves music, joy,
irreverence, and laughter. Sometimes I remember myself as a
child and it seems I was very playful, often joyful, and
sometimes very serious. I'm a meditator, so sometimes I retreat
into silence and contemplation when life comes on too strong.
But there is also a part of me that loses herself in laughter and
silliness. Here's to that part of me, the one who has her priorities
"Take bread away from me, if you wish, take air away, but do not
take from me your laughter. Pablo Neruda
So -- try it! Just write a list of 10 things you see and feel
grateful for in yourself. And most importantly, slow down and
take it in. Now go! Close your email. Give yourself the
recognition your deserve!
Read your list more than once or twice. Bask in the recognition
of your deep value.
Also, notice how you do it. I noticed that when I read over the
list, the next day, there were still so many parts within that I'm so
not comfortable with - parts that I don't want to see and it was
difficult to authentically extend any gratitude. So I am starting
again! I notice it's worth the discomfort.
Giving yourself recognition and deep listening is an act of self-
love that takes you beyond theoretically loving yourself.
If anyone is worthy of sitting inside the glow of your amazing
being, it's YOU! Self-value, which is worthiness,confidence,
empowerment and feeling safe to be your complete and unique
self allows YOU to choose. Choose YOU! Choose YOU!
We're actually choosing at every moment. Let's start choosing
from Wholeness. Come out from hiding - your heart is worth
When we remember our unique value that has always been
there, we're not waiting for the approval of others, we become
clear about who we are--whole and complete, the Light of the
Peace and joy to your seeking heart,