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Every Day Magic

Photo | Shannon Kringen

Photo | Shannon Kringen

I have a tendency to wait too long. Whatever the word is beyond “procrastination”—that’s what it is. Sometimes it’s laziness, sometimes I just don’t want to do what I know is ultimately good for me. Gratitude works a bit like that in my life. Whenever I’m struggling with feeling overwhelmed by work, the kids—life—I know that taking a minute to write down or say out loud what I’m thankful for will help me shift to a more positive place. And yet, there are still times I just don’t take the time to do it.

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It’s a Beautiful Thing, but Glad It’s Not Me

newborn_cryingTonight, someone I know is in labor. I have three kids of my own—two born at home—so I have a little experience with the child birth process, at least from one perspective. Yes, not the perspective, but let’s not get into that here.

Child birth wasn’t just a life-changing event, but it totally changed the way I saw the world entirely. Everything came into focus; all of sudden, everything made sense. Even with the second and third one, I gained so much (besides the obvious). It wasn’t just “same old, same old.” In fact, I know now that no child birth is exactly the same, except for one thing: there’s always something. It’s such a crazy process—whether you do it naturally or there’s an emergency or you do a c-section—that there’s bound to be some aspect of the birth that tests the very core of your being, even if you’re not the one expelling the being from your core.

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Humbled by Gratitude

thank_youToday I received a Thank You out of the blue. It came from a young woman that lost her wallet two years ago just before Christmas. I had found her wallet outside a gas station in Folsom (a few hours from where I live) on my way home from celebrating Christmas at my aunt’s house. It was late and after glancing at the contents in the wallet, I decided I didn’t want to risk just leaving it with the gas attendant.

When I got home I found her on Facebook and messaged her to find out where I should mail it. I wanted to be sure I mailed it to her most current address. We connected, I dropped it in the mail, and all were happy. I expected that to be the end of it.

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Missing the Toys

missing_toysMaybe this is a shallow post, or even a selfish one, but in these fading moments of Christmas, I find myself missing new toys. When I was kid I loved getting into that new toy, the one that I was especially excited about. I would carefully open the package so I could read all the details later, then explore every nook and cranny, seeing what it did, and launch it into my imagination. I remember often falling asleep content, knowing that the entire next day would be filled with as much time as I wanted playing with my new toys.

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Expectations: Pre-Meditated What?

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Expectations are pre-meditated resentments.

I have come to learn that this is simply true. And although I’ve accepted this as true, it’s amazing how often I still fall prey to this old habit of creating and holding onto expectations. Part of my work with acceptance and gratitude has helped me improve how I look at and deal with life, and another big piece of “project self-betterment” is trying to eliminate those damned expectations.

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A Life-Changing Practice

There are two practices that solve nearly all my problems and because today is in fact Thanksgiving, it seems appropriate to focus on one: Gratitude. The other is being in the present moment, and without going into that too much, I think you’ll see how one compliments the other for me.

Obviously the concept of gratitude isn’t a new one to me, but it has taken on a whole new level of importance in my life this past year. I have to thank my wife for really introducing this practice into my day-to-day and making it something that I do, not only daily, but especially when I’m struggling throughout the day. When I’m disappointed, fearful, angry, frustrated, overwhelmed—you name it—I simply have to take a breath and refocus on what I’m thankful for. It can be people in my life, circumstances, and even things—but not long after I start thinking about what I’m thankful for, my entire mood and outlook changes.

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