My Gratitude Project

The month of October is my time to focus on gratitude this year. 

It began by accident. A rare trip to a bookshop ((and to think I use to go to one almost daily)). I was with one of my sons ((also a now very rare event)) who was getting a book when I noticed The Magic

It made me think of what I hear parents say to their children: What are the magic words? 
To which all good children quickly replay: Please and Thank you. 
Well...We can hope. 

So on October 2nd, 2013, I began reading The Magic. Quickly I determined to do all 28 days of work. 

You see back in 2007 I bought and began reading The Secret by Rhonda Byrne about the law of attraction. I read it, however, I couldn't really grasp it. 

So I read it over and over again until I slow began to understand, until I began to see it working as I began to change my thinking. The law of attraction is how we ended moving to Puerto Rico and living right on the edge of the ocean. Even though I was still struggling to understand the law of attraction at that point.

I've come to believe that changing our thinking can be as difficult as quitting smoking.
Some people make the decision and Bam! they quit just like that. 
Others quit and start..quit and start. 
Others talk about quitting but never more beyond the talk. 
Then there are those who struggle through the quitting process and daily make the decision not to smoke. Soon begin smoke-free becomes their new normal.

I'm learning that gratitude is like that as well. It is a daily, situation by situation decision. Before getting into this book, The Magic, I thought I was a grateful person. Now I am seeing just how much I have to learn.

As I journey along I want to share quotes, thoughts and bits & pieces. It will help me and hopefully inspire others. 

More on Resistance

We've been getting rain everyday here on the cliff. There is something settling about the tropical showers and storms here. Maybe it is because whatever is being done outside needs to be stopped and moved inside. Maybe because it makes me want to sit and read for a spell. Maybe because it is simply refreshing.

The ocean has been loud, a consistent and continuous roar for multiple days now. 

We will be leaving Puerto Rico on November 20th~
I took care of the plane tickets yesterday. Only EIGHT days left here at the Coastal Casa. I don't think I realized it was only EIGHT days until I wrote this. {{Slight panic mixed with excitement going on right this minute.}} Our December 18th departure date was too far out for what we want to accomplish by December 1st. It feels good to get the ball rolling.

Once again it is raining; the thunder is rolling; the sea has actually picked up and is even louder now. The wind is whipping in circles causing the palm tree fronds to dance all around. I'm sitting at my desk having just read another section of The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. I read because I was resistant to doing another round of sorting and packing. I could argue that it's the rain or that I'd done enough for today. Yet neither of these ring true to me. I'm not sure that I really like this book. It could be the book; it could be me. On the other hand, it is making me think more about resistance. I'm questioning why I feel it. Wondering what I could do to eliminate that feeling. The author agitates me.

Page 39
"Are you paralyzed with fear? That's a good sign. 
Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tell us what we have to do.

Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.

Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul that's why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there'd be no Resistance. 

Have you ever watched Inside the Actors Studio? The host, James Lipton, invariably asks his guests, "What factors make you decide to take a particular role?" The actor always answers: Because I'm afraid of it."

The professional tackels the project that will make him stretch. He takes on the assignment that will bear him into uncharted waters, compel him to explore unconscious parts of himself.

Is he scared? hell, yes. He's petrified...."

Time to leave thinking and writing and go and do some more sorting and packing.

The War of Art

"The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution, the more Resistance we feel toward pursuing it."  -Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

 I believe this to be true. Do you?

That "next  step" is usually the one that I trip up on. Down I go into a pool of procrastination. I sit there for awhile then struggle to get up and try again. Is there a way to trip up but not go down? I know there is. I'm surrounded by people who take those next steps with what appears to be ease and confidence. They push forward and accomplish what seemed impossible. Am I just wired differently from them? Yes, probably. However,  I chose to continue to seek out what works for me in order to break that cycle and move forward with more ease. After all that is isn't that what we all have to do?

After multiple bumps into The War of Art I downloaded a sample and knew it was a book that needed to be read. I desire to take next steps in my photography, intellect, relationships and inner self. Understanding what resistance is and how to overcome it is where I'm at; it is my next step.


My sister, Patty, is a blogger who loves to help other bloggers.
She is a writer, a thinker, a motivator and often the little birdie on my shoulder.
Her challenge this last week with
Take Flight. Patty Wysong Helping bloggers blog.
was to "zero in on ONE area where you are stopping yourself and clobber it back."

I've realized that I can't clobber anything if I cannot zero in and identify what I need to clobber.
Once my boys grew up my life shifted. 
What had defined me for my whole adult life 
{married at 18 and first baby at 20 & 4th baby by 24}
was suddenly gone. 
My world became very small...I put myself in a box.
In trying to enlarge that box I only made it smaller.
 I locked things in and out.
My journey this last year has been one of unlocking.
I've clobbered the locks in multiple ways.
Lots and lots of beach walks...
Solitary time...Reflective time...
The Artist's Way by Julie Cameron had interested me for years. 
I've started and stopped it multiple times.
Then in December I decided I was ready to commit.
I'm on the 8th week of 12. 
I do the work and the work is working.
It has been a major tool in helping me overcome multiple obstacles.
Morning pages have become my routine that I daily look forward to.
Through the tasks and assignments I've been able to identify many area and thus "clobber" them.
I'm walking down new lanes in my life. 
Discovering more about myself...
I'm enjoying the process, going with the flow, following the curves and lines...
There are doors that I get to observe and wonder at...
Doors that I get to open and walk through...
And doors that aren't open yet...

But that is all part of the process of facing my obstacles, naming my fears and dealing with my doubts.
I am determined to no longer stop myself.

The photos are from a recent afternoon in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
I'm linking with Patty's

Take Flight. Patty Wysong Helping bloggers blog.

A Whale of a Time

My day began with a shout, "Cheryl, the whales are here!"
It was amazing to stand at the above spot sheltered from the wind and watch 
the spouts, flops and tails of the passing whales. We'd been expecting them. 
I kept on eye on the whales as I worked in the kitchen. 
Simple work that I find relaxing and fulfilling.
The light coming through the windows is perfect. 
It is what makes the kitchen my favorite place to sit and write, read and take pictures. 
Simple things become extraordinary to me. 
An old silver spoon handle...
Roasted garlic..
A miniature seashell...
Simple items...
that the light glorifies.

I have to show you my set up and how I worked in the kitchen.
The coconut was the background for the silver spoon handle.
The brown leather notebook is perfect for a deep textured background.
Colorful cutting boards make wonderful backgrounds too.
But my favorite is the cookie sheet. 
I love the textured grey and how it reflects the light. 
I had a different post in my head for today, but the day unfold differently then I expected.
That is an element that I love about our island living...
Space to move about mentally and emotionally. 
Space to enjoy the simplicity of daily life.
"Space for significance and beauty. 
Time for solitude and sharing. 
Closeness to nature to strengthen understanding and faith in the intermittency of life: 
life of the spirit, creative life and the life of human relationships."
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh