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Baby Boomers Worry: Is It Possible to Keep an Attitude of Gratitude Amidst Hurricanes, Bank Failures, Foreclosures, Rising Unemployment, Lying Politicians and a Plunging Dow?

September 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Spirit & Faith

Keep and Attitude of Gratitude

As you experience the media these days you are no doubt overwhelmed with stories of doom, gloom, horror and despair.

As one normally upbeat and independent Boomer woman recently observed, chain-smoking nervously: I’m worried. All I have to my name is my home, my retirement fund and social security. If things keep going the way they are, I’ll have to take in a roommate, or marry my boyfriend, just to survive.”

With comments like these being expressed daily, it’s no wonder the Pew Research Center reported that America’s Baby Boomers “are in a collective funk.”

The Pew Report Went on to Note That Boomers See Trouble Ahead and Less Progress Over Time…

Specifically their June 28th report said:

Not only do boomers give their overall quality of life a lower rating than adults in other generations, they also are more likely to worry that their incomes won’t keep up with inflation — this despite the fact that boomers enjoy the highest incomes of any age group.

More so than those in other generations, boomers believe it is harder to get ahead now than it was 10 years ago. And they are less apt than others to say their standard of living exceeds the one their parents had when their parents were the age they are now.

Sadly, that report was written before more recent calamitous events, which doubtless have only added to Boomer’s collective angst.

But Is An Attitude of Gratitude Still Realistic, or Even Possible?

The answer, thankfully, is “Emphatically YES!”

  • As evidence, just witness this blog post from Scott W., a gay artist and recovering alcoholic from Texas, who is living through Hurricane Ike with an Attitude of Gratitude.
    • Read his thoughts, and you see proof that you don’t have to be a self help guru, like Deepak Chopra, Joe Vitale, or Jack Canfield to realize the grace that comes from living with an attitude of abundance and positivity. And that gratitude is still possible in today’s world.
    • As Scott W. quotes from Pocket Sponsor:
    • Whatever vexes you currently, imagine for a moment what could make it worse. What can make it worse than that? Again. Imagine it, feel it, and come back to now. If you can make it worse, then you can make it better. Remember this: you are not helpless before your feelings.
  • Alternately, take a look at this post on the power of having an attitude of gratitude during illness. Here, blogger Kimberly Fabrizio reminds us of the value of keeping a gratitude journal (more on that below), where you can keep track of the little things you’re thankful for, even if you’re fighting a life altering illness like multiple sclerosis, as she is. Kimberly reminds you:
    • “When I talk about ‘gratitude’ here, I’m referencing thankfulness for the little things– those times in the day where you just stop and think, ‘Hmmmm… I’m living a great life.’ Sometimes we actually have to watch closely to catch those moments. Other times, those moments are highly noticeable; they jump right out at us.”

Both authors offer you wisdom and hope from their own dark times. Wise words to hold close to your heart.

Here’s More Proof You Can Enjoy An Attitude of Gratitude During These Most Challenging Times of Your Life…

If you want to discover more hopeful stories about people who have triumphed despite overwhelming challenges; you want to read  John Castagnini‘s book (there’s a website, too) Attitude of Gratitude. It’s a series of hopeful stories shared by people who have learned to celebrate their gratefulness for the most painful things which have happened to them, including death of a loved one, cancer, rape, and financial ruin. Can you imagine actually being grateful for any of these?

This is a book that transforms the human experience! In it, you have the opportunity to meet ordinary people and find out how they not only overcame life’s greatest challenges, they lived to become thankful for them. If you’re down and troubled by the world today:

  • If your home has been destroyed by flood, hurricane or tornado, this book shows you there is hope.
  • If you’ve lost your job or your life savings, there is hope.
  • If your heart has been broken and seems impossible to mend, there is hope.
  • If darkness seems to surround you, there is hope.
  • If no one seems to understand you or your pain, there is hope.

The stories in this book are truly amazing. Death, dysfunction and divorce abound and yet the authors – people just like you – triumphed. Not only did they transcend these tragedies, but they actually learned from them and wouldn’t change a thing. They found a greater self waiting on the other side of pain. You can too.

Grab this book now.

Sit down and read any of the one stories in it. You’ll instantly discover why some have called “Thank God I” the most significant contribution to the Spirit of Humanity in centuries. Most importantly, discover how you can be a part of it via the website! A brighter, loving, more inspired life in gratitude awaits you.

Where Were You When You First Learned About the Importance of Having An Attitude of Gratitude? Do You Remember?

I was Probably About Two Years Old When I Was First Exposed, Though As You’ll See, That First Lesson was Somewhat Lost on Me!

As I recall, it went like this:

I’d been visiting my grandmother in Madison, Wisconsin for a couple of weeks, and she’d become exasperated with my toddler behavior, though I don’t recall the specific details.

What I do remember is that she sat me up on her kitchen counter, my tiny two year old legs dangling, stared me down, and advised me that I was going to have to stay there until I’d thought about what a lucky girl I really was, and provided her with three things I was grateful for…

Well, never having heard the term, nor even being aware of the concepts of “luck” or “luckiness,” I was totally stumped. It looked like an endless day was looming ahead of me as I’d be stuck sitting up there on the counter, instead of outside playing in my sandbox

Thankfully Grandma took pity on me, and, good Christian woman that she was, tried to teach me the importance of being thankful for what we have. In the end, she even provided me with my ticket off the counter, suggesting three things for which she felt I ought to be appreciative:

  • “It’s a beautiful day.”
  • “The sun is shining.”
  • “I’m at grandma’s house.”

Anxious to Gain My Freedom From the Countertop, I Agreed These were “Good Things,” Dutifully Repeated the Mantra – And Regained Solid Ground!

Then Disaster Struck My Carefree Life: My Mother Had Been Alerted to My Newly Acquired Lesson:

Just a few of weeks later, back home in Michigan, and equally frustrated with my “terrible twos” behavior, my mother brought up the “gratitude” topic once again.

Things Went a Bit Differently This Time:

  • Mom unceremoniously stuffed my butt in a chair and pushed it into a corner, facing the wall.
  • She told me I had to stay there
  • Again I was stuck until I came up with – you got it – those darn three things I was grateful for.

WooHoo!

I was confident. This was gonna be a cinch! Freedom from the punishment chair would soon be mine… all I had to do was remember what Grandma taught me!

So I dug back into the depths of my unschooled memory for the magic words, and carefully and triumphantly repeated them to her, word for word, exactly as I had been trained:

  • Slowly and tentatively I advised my mother of my first reason for having gratitude: “It’s a beautiful day.”
  • Then, gaining more confidence: “The sun is shining.”
  • Finally, success almost at hand, and taking a deep sigh of relief, the last one came out all in a rush: “And-I’m-at-grandma’s-house.”

How Proud I was! Success was Mine! I Had Pulled That Magic Formula from the Deepest Recesses of My Brain!!

So I was Completely Puzzled When the Look on My Mother’s Face Turned from Parental Pleasure to Confusion – And Then Convulsed into Laughter.

  • What was wrong?
  • I’d had been a “good girl”
  • I done what she’d asked
  • Darn it! I’d supplied the magic words. I’d told her what I was grateful for!

Thankfully, These Days, I’m Much More Aware of the Concept of Gratitude. And Why I am Grateful.

But I have to admit that a full half century later, whenever I hear anyone comment, “It’s a beautiful day, look how beautifully the sun is shining,” my mind automatically fills in the third part of the mystic triad: “And I’m at Grandma’s house.”

Then I laugh inside, and thank my mother and grandmother for their early efforts at teaching me the importance of maintaining an attitude of gratitude!

Do You Have an Attitude of Gratitude? How Do YOU Prefer to Express It?

If you haven’t been practicing an attitude of gratitude, take a note from my grandmother, and start by looking for the little things that you’re grateful for, as your day progresses. Then the big things will fall into place by themselves

  • Make a habit of looking for the positive angle in everything that happens to you. View obstacles as opportunities for you to appreciate.
  • Make mental notes throughout the day of the opportunities for gratitude which you discover. Notice how feeling gratitude actually shifts your mindset to the positive.
  • Focus on the wonderful things in life to attract similar encounters in the course of the day.
  • Use positive energy as a magnet to draw even more positive energy.

You’ll Want to Help Yourself Celebrate and Remember These Moments By Writing Them Down in Your Gratitude Journal.

A gratitude journal is a fantastic way to consciously call attention to the things for which you’re thankful, on a daily basis.
By focusing on gratitude, you become aware of these things, you shift your thinking to the positive and you gain a whole new outlook on life.
You can keep the gratitude journal in just about any format. Most people write theirs down on paper or online, but there’s no reason you can’t keep an audio or video journal. Here are a couple of easy ways to keep a gratitude journal:
  • The Gratitude Tracker is a free downloadable tool that resides on your computer. It’s easy to use, and a gift to the online world from Terrie Wurzbacher of Getting Unstuck, LLC. She believes it is the only Gratitude Journal with its own integrated sticky note program. The cool part about this tool is that whatever you write on your sticky note is automatically transferred to your journal. This means you can quickly upload thoughts of gratitude as they come to you, as long as you are online. Once installed, the sticky note pops up every time you open your browser, reminding you to practice an attitude of gratitude on a daily basis.
  • ButterBeeHappy is a free happiness journaling website launched early this year and dedicated to “pollinating populations with Happiness.” Developed based on Harvard research, it promises users that they will be happier by simply jotting down five happy thoughts a day.ButterBeeHappy.com doesn’t claim to fix all problems, but our users do claim to feel happier after keeping a journal of gratitude and happy thoughts,” says John Brooks Pounders, 22, a student at the University of Alabama and founder of ButterBeeHappy.com.The internet doesn’t have that many truly happy places for people to go to. I am trying to change this, five happy thoughts at a time.”
  • Create Your Own Journal: Start with a blank notebook or journal which you keep by your bed along with your writing tool of preference, so that it’s easy for you to write in it nightly. Why use this instead of the online tools or a pretty book with five lines a day? Well, as you get going with journaling, you’ll find that the five daily items you are grateful for become, seven, ten – even 20. Gratitude journaling is so transformational that once you get into the habit you find that you become grateful for everything! Which means you need more space to write – an actual blank book journal or notebook.  Look for:
    • spiral-bound notebook that opens flat for ease in writing works well, as does a three ring binder.
    • Lined or unlined paper, of any size or color, according to your preference.
    • Space to personalize your gratitude journal with drawings, clippings, photos, quotes or verses you find in magazines, like you might do with a vision board

How Do You Begin Writing Your Gratitude Journal?

It’s best to keep it simple, so you actually make a habit of doing it. Try this:

  • Write down five things you’re grateful for just before you climb into bed.
  • To get your thoughts rolling, review your day and include anything – however small or great – that you realize was a source of gratitude for you that day.
  • These sources might be as simple as the memory of an inviting aroma that came from a bakery you walked past, the colors of the sunset, a kind word or smile from a stranger, even a song you heard on the radio.
  • Make sure your list is personal.
  • Write just a few words about each of the five benefits or blessings.
  • You may be brief at first, but feel free to increase the length of your posts as time progresses.

Remember, If You Can’t Think of Anything Positive to Write, Here’s Help:

Begin by reading John Castagnini’s inspirational book “Thank God I…,” or if you’re in a hurry to get your grateful thoughts down on paper, just start by writing down my original mantra:

  • “It’s a beautiful day.”
  • “The sun is shining.”
  • I’m at grandma’s house.”

After you stop chuckling about “grandma’s house,” you’re sure to come up with many things you’re personally grateful for!

Try it and see!

Bucket List Redux: Is Starting Your Personal Dream List Frustrating You? Or Maybe You’ve Got the List, But You Can’t Figure Out How to “Make It Happen?”

September 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Work, Money & Retirement

Start Your Personal Dream List

Clearly the desire to create a list of things you want to experience before you die; a “dream” – or “bucket” – list is popular with Baby Boomers. It’s also exciting many of you who are a bit older…

After our recent post about making a Bucket List,” one of our readers shared his story of his lifelong dream of sailing a boat around the Eastern half of the United States. He said he’d envisioned the trip this way:

  • He’d start in the Midwest, sailing from the Upper Mississippi River down to New Orleans
  • Then he’d sail out into the Gulf, around Florida via the Intercoastal Waterway
  • Next lap would be up the Atlantic Coast, into the Chesapeake Bay
  • Continue west into New York, down the Erie Canal
  • Onward through the Canadian Heritage Canals and through the Great Lakes
  • Finally he would complete the circle, sailing back to the Mississippi River

Amazingly, He Actually Completed His Dream Trip This Summer, At the Age of 78. Along the Way, He Found Out That:

  • He DIDN’T invent this trip, it’s been done before, and is actualy called the “Great Circle Route,” or America’s “Great Loop”
  • You can’t sail down the Mississippi due to the height of a sailboat’s mast, and the inevitable bridges. (So he had to change the vision an bit, and make the trip in a power yacht)
  • It’s best to have on-board help for navigating the locks and tying up the boat, so this is not a trip to make alone
  • You can’t actually get all the way down to New Orleans via the Mississippi – the opportunities for gas purchase run out
  • The trip took years to plan and arrange, and parts of several years to complete
  • It was the adventure of a lifetime; in fact, sometimes he and his one or two man crew experienced an adventure a day
  • He’s already hard at work on the next item on his dream list… hand-building a sailboat large enough that he can live on it!

The story of this man’s dream trip was so fascinating and inspiring, we will be sharing it with you in an upcoming post. Sign up for our RSS feed or join our email list, so you can make sure you don’t miss it!

Meanwhile, Lots of You Report You’re Excited About Creating Your Very Own “Bucket List.” But You’re Challenged In Two Ways

You’re Either:

  • Feeling a bit anxious over your ability to create a “worthy list” OR
  • Wondering how you can help make your dreams actually happen!

No worries! Read on to find out how you can readily overcome both of these frustrations and go happily on your way, proudly checking experiences off of your very own list

Many People “Get Stuck” After Listing Just a Couple Dreams. Here’s How to Come Up With the Other 95 Items You Want to Add to Your List.

  • First, realize you’re not alone. As intriguing as it is to have a bucket list, many people have trouble building theirs.
  • Maybe it’s because you aren’t used to identifying what you want to achieve in life.
  • Or maybe it’s because you’re unsure what’s realistic to include. In that case, you might decide to put off creating your list until you’re “crystal clear” on what you want.
  • This is NOT a good idea – procrastination never gets anything done – and you might be missing some fantastic opportunities along the way.

So here’s how to get started building a list you can’t wait to launch into…

First, don’t allow performance anxiety to stop you from creating your bucket list, just start.

It may help to tell yourself that you are merely creating a preliminary rough draft. There’s some freedom that comes from knowing nothing is set in stone. You can ALWAYS add, delete, or modify as you go along.

Start by Spending Some Time Brainstorming with Yourself. Here’s How to Get Going:

  • Begin by setting a time for your personal brainstorming session
  • Find a place where you won’t be interrupted, ideally an inspirational place, but that’s not required
  • Provide a notepad and pens, a tape recorder or a computer. Some way to take notes
  • Get seated so you’re comfortable
  • Pour yourself your favorite beverage, tea, coffee, whatever. Gotta keep those brain cells hydrated!
  • Set your kitchen timer for thirty to forty-five minutes. Realize you can spend more time if you wish, but you want to begin with this as a minimum
  • Take a few deep breaths to clear your mind. Relax, focus and prepare to have some fun thinking about wonderful possibilities
  • If possible, play some Baroque music in the background. Pieces like Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” and Pachbel’s “Cannon” have been shown to slow brainwaves down to the Alpha range, the brain frequency which has been linked to increased creativity
  • Do not criticize or evaluate what you write down during the brainstorming process: you’re trying to open yourself up to possibilities
  • Write down whatever comes into your head, it doesn’t matter how wildly impractical the idea seems
  • Mentally agree to silence your internal critic, that little voice in your head that might be saying: “You can’t do that”; “That’s silly”; “I can’t afford that.”
  • Push the limits on what you currently think is possible for you and think outside the boundaries of your current life
  • Once you get going, don’t stop at 100; write down as many things as come to your mind
  • Later you can sift through the list you created and narrow it down to 100

Give Your Brain a “Kick Start:” Begin By Reviewing this List, Which is Merely a Starting Point… Designed to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!

  1. Run in the Boston Marathon
  2. Kiss someone passionately in public (maybe give yourself bonus points if you do this on a blind date!!)
  3. Test drive a Ferrarri
  4. Write a script for a TV show
  5. Set foot on each of the seven continents
  6. Attend the Richard Petty Driving Experience
  7. Volunteer abroad for a month
  8. Visit a real “Blues Bar” in Chicago
  9. Enter and Win a recipe contest
  10. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  11. Learn to dance the tango (extra “points” for learning in Argentina)
  12. Send a message in a bottle
  13. Speak publicly on something you’re passionate about
  14. Make love on a train
  15. Help build a house with Habitat for Humanity
  16. Learn a new language and practice speaking it with natives
  17. Buy a boat and learn to sail
  18. Be a contestant on a game show, like “Jeopardy”
  19. Serve on a jury
  20. Write that novel you have tucked away inside you
  21. Become someone’s mentor
  22. Sleep under the stars
  23. Attend a state fair
  24. Make bread from scratch
  25. Skydive
  26. Learn to play a musical instrument
  27. Teach others how to do something you love, share the joy
  28. Research your family heritage and document it for your children
  29. Learn to surf and practice your “hang ten” skills at all the best surf beaches of the world
  30. Donate to a favorite cause anonymously
  31. Visit all the European capitals
  32. Cruise America’s “Great Loop”
  33. Spend the night in an historic hotel (maybe give yourself extra points for “experience a ghost?”)
  34. Take a hot air balloon ride
  35. Learn to paraglide
  36. Meet a U.S. President
  37. Start a business
  38. Become a millionaire
  39. Take your grandchildren on a once-in-a-lifetime trip
  40. Dance naked under the Northern Lights during the Summer Solstice (again, give extra points for doing this while summering with the Laplanders in Norway)

Finally: Whatever Your Bucket List Includes, Here’s How to Make Sure The Items On Your Dream List Actually Happen!

In a prior Bucket List post, you read a review of Jack Canfield’s book, Key to Living the Law of Attraction.” There, Jack identified one of his best keys to making dreams become reality: Vision Boards.

Vision Boards are a highly effective tool. Perhaps you saw the movie “The Secret,” where Jack tells the story of how he actually purchased the exact same house he had placed on a vision board a few years prior. And, since he hadn’t realized he had done this, how emotionally moved he was when his young son helped bring this to his attention.

Yes, vision boards work. But if you want to experience “vision boards” on steroids – if you want to REALLY jump start your bucket list and perhaps start living your dreams in as short a time as 90 days – you should actually make your very own Mind Movie.

Of course, the Mind Movies website offers you a series of six free generic mind movies which you can watch twice a day to help you manifest your bucket list.

But, if you’d prefer to create a powerful Mind Movie all your own, with your own visuals, affirmations and music, you can do that, too. So imagine the power of watching a three minute movie twice a day that’s totally created to help you manifest everything on your bucket list!

And it’s easy to do yourself,  because the highly affordable Mind Movie creation kit comes with video tutorials that will help you to quickly and simply build a 3 minute slideshow/movie of your perfect life. Watch your Mind Movie every morning and night to help manifest through the Law of Attraction everything you want to be and everything you want to do.

The Mind Movies Concept Takes Setting Intentions, Creating Treasure Maps, Vision Boards or Dream Boards and Repeating Affirmations to A New Level

If you’re familiar with the concept of the Law of Attraction, if you understand that THOUGHTS BECOME THINGS, you can instantly understand how Mind Movies will help you:

  • Focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want
  • Create positive statements that are full of joy and gratitude and state them in the present tense
  • Remember to have an Attitude of Gratitude
  • Engage yourself in the process rather than just stating the affirmation
  • Take the Necessary Action to Make Your Dream Come True!
When you make a Mind Movie, you are able to take your ideas from the abstract “wish” state into reality in a very short time. Your Mind Movie will help you pull your dream into reality, because it uses visuals and music to helps you align your deepest strongest feeling and emotions and put it all together:
  • The desire
  • Your description of it
  • What it looks like
  • What it feels like

So Here’s to Activating Your “Creative Muse” and Getting on Your Way!

“You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.”

~ Dr. Seuss “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”