Here is my Facebook Live video, the second in a series about the pain and the magic of living a Passionate Life. You can watch it right HERE! I went into more detail about what I consider to be the 4 Pillars of living a Passionate Life, with the outcome of experiencing a magical journey. These four pillars consist of embracing: 1. The Pain of Compassion; 2. The Sacrifice of Generosity Without Expectations; 3. The Relief of Gratitude; & 4. Our Dreams/Letting Our Imaginations Run Wild. And I spoke about the bricks of the foundation that hold up these pillars, including Self-Care of Body (what we ingest, moving, sleeping) and of Mind (pausing, mindfulness, forgiveness, challenging our own inner troll, being open to our dreams and to the magical synchronicities along our path).
I’ve been focusing on one of the bricks, and that is my own 40-day challenge to myself to meditate every day for at least 9 minutes, which I’ve already increased to 18 minutes because it’s starting to feel good. You see, I wasn’t taking care of myself and I was starting to experience sleeplessness, frustration, fatigue, and difficulty creating. Just showing up daily for a brief meditation for the past 12 days has already made a significant difference in my sleep, energy, creativity, and my ability to embrace the 4 pillars of Passion and to experience the magic again! On my website, there’s a meditation that I created, Inner Peace, Joy, and Vitality. Feel free to download it as a guide, but there are many others on YouTube that you can follow, as well. In my FB Live video, I also discuss some of the visual imagery I use to go deeper into a meditation. Just remember, there’s no such thing as meditating “perfectly.” Just show up and leave your smart phone off. If you hop on board with this, let me know how it’s going! Send me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or message me on FB!
I was also inspired to speak about the Pillar of Gratitude by a young man who wrote to me from India last week. He had found my blog, Having an Attitude of Gratitude, that I published last November, and which you can read right HERE. He wanted to experience more gratitude and asked for some guidance. It was a very sweet e-mail and I shared some of it on the video. Here are excerpts of it and the tips I sent back to him that you might also find helpful. He kindly gave me permission to share with you:
Good morning! How are you Dr Karpel ?
I just read your post on Medium on gratitude, which I actually liked …which was quite surprising, considering the fact that I honestly haven’t appreciated anything for a while now….I don’t really feel thankful for all that I’ve been gifted, that’s a shame. That was the reason why I looked around for something on gratitude and eventually found you…And at the end of the article, your provided your email —big mistake! Because I’ll grab every person who I think can help me by their tails and I’ll at least try. So here I am, Doctor, all the way from India comes a message to you from a teenager typing away at this weird black box that is magically supposed to transmit his ‘Dear Diary’ worthy problem continents away to you. Have a good day Dr. Karpel!
Thank you for reaching out to me!
I appreciate it! 😊
In answer to your question, gratitude is a practice. The research actually shows that it is something that often needs to be cultivated. It doesn’t usually come naturally unless you’ve had a crisis and now the crisis is over. Even then, unless you consciously focus on it, you will start to forget that you are in a better place than you were and take it for granted.
It can start with something as simple as having a routine of every day, morning and night, asking yourself and writing down what you feel thankful for. If you don’t feel thankful for much, start really really simply. So, for example, I love my cup of hot coffee when I wake up in the morning, especially if I haven’t had enough sleep. But even if I’ve had, I love good coffee. It sounds silly, but, if I’m not feeling appreciative of much, I start with that. And I write it down. Writing by hand is actually a powerful way to solidify a thought.
Once I have that down, it opens the doorway for seeing what else I’m appreciative of. For example, the birds outside my window making that delightful chirp.
It eventually leads to much bigger things, such as how lucky I am to have a wonderful family, great friends, etc.
And leads back to the basic gratitude for life, breathing, feeling healthy, etc.
It’s also powerful to practice mindfulness meditation. If you do that daily, it changes your brain so that you can be in the moment at times throughout the day. When you’re in the moment, enjoying what’s happening, what you’re eating, who you’re with, the beautiful weather, what you’re doing, etc, you are actually practicing gratitude.
You can also practice metta meditation. It’s the loving kindness meditation. And there are YouTube videos you can follow for that. When you are in a state of loving kindness, gratitude is automatic.
I hope that all helps. Feel free to contact me again! I appreciate you and your question!
p.s. A great way to increase one’s gratitude is to do something to help others who are less fortunate. 🙏😊
Alright, so reading and really consuming your reply I feel as if I really understand what gratitude is. I didn’t before, now that I think of it. So please, correct me if I’m wrong, but gratitude basically refers to heartfelt appreciation. Because it’s such a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot these days, especially in the self improvement sector. And again, please correct me if I’m wrong. Thanks for your reply, Dr. K. You seem like a pretty cool person for replying, and BTW, that name Dr K gives me the mental image of an utterly brilliant but evil scientist with a bad fashion sense because she just wears a black coat everyday to keep up her badass persona and follows Thanosian philosophy of balance. I don’t know why I said that, I just thought you should know how awesome that sounds.
I included that last part because it made me giggle. I’m not evil, but I happen to wear a lot of black, and some might actually question my fashion sense for sure! LOL! I am grateful for this lovely sweet e-mail. I looked up Thanosian philosophy, BTW, because I HAD NO IDEA! It turns out to be a Marvel Comics reference. I love that!
Anyway, YES, gratitude and heartfelt appreciation are one and the same! And it takes cultivating. On a “bad” day, we have to work a little harder at it. But, it’s worth the pain.
As I spoke about in the video, traveling the path of a passionate life, is not always easy. There’s a lot of pain involved. If we run from the pain, we will miss the magic, though. If we stay with it, perhaps, reaching for support of other “pilgrims” on the journey or a guide ….or even a therapist, then that pain can be what breaks open our heart to the unmatched magic and joy.
Wherever you are along this journey, whatever age, whatever stage, whatever state of life, it’s the perfect place to start and I hope you’ll continue to journey along with me.
BTW, you can still check out my guide-book for the journey, The Passionate Life: Creating Vitality & Joy at Any Age, and be sure to stay tuned for my up-coming on-line course, Living the Passionate Life. Meanwhile, tune in for more in my FB Live series! (To catch them in real-time, I’m broadcasting on FB Thursdays at 8pm CT).
And be sure to listen my Blog Talk Radio show, Dr. Mara Karpel & Your Golden Years, on livestream (Sundays at 5pm CT/6pm ET) or ANY TIME on podcast, to hear from awesome experts with their tips on health, wellness, and living your best life!