Dood/ette, do you even Gratitude?

It’s that time of the year, when a lot of people talk about gratitude. A year-round gratitude practice is a brilliant idea, as you will see, so why not take the opportunity this week to start creating those habits? When you only focusing on gratitude for a day, a week, or a month, you do yourself a great disservice.

In numerous studies (Emmons & McCullough, 2003; Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005; Lashani, Shaeiri, Asghari-Moghadam, & Golzari, 2012; Cheng, Tsui, & Lam, 2015), researchers found that writing about gratitude for 5 minutes a day increased participants’ long term happiness by 10%. It shifts your focus – the natural inclination is for the mind to focus on the negative, it’s part of our survival instincts. When we consciously focus on the positive, it counteracts that and can actually begin to shift our brain chemistry and relieves depression (Seligman et al., 2005; Krysinska, Lester, Lyke, & Corveleyn, 2015).

Other benefits of a gratitude practice include

  • Activating the hypothalamus
  • Decreasing pain levels
  • Improved sleep
  • Reducing the experience of stress
  • More energy
  • Having a daily practice is, in my experience, the best plan, whether it’s meditation, prayer, ritual, or gratitude. It sets up the habit, helps you develop discipline, and keeps you focused. You are less likely to forget to practice gratitude if you’re focusing on it daily.

    The simplest gratitude practice is simply to write a list. Write a list of what you’re grateful for. Write down everything you can think of, and then try to find 3 more. Or you could set a timer for 5-10 minutes, and keep writing until the timer goes off. Some people recommend starting by imagining your life without the things for which you are grateful.

    Another good practice is to have a jar or box that you’ve decorated; I call mine the jar of awesome. At the end of your day, write a few things for which you are grateful on individual slips of paper and put them in the jar. This has the added benefit of being able to look at some of the papers if you’re feeling down, and jump start the gratitude process.

    Here’s a fascinating gratitude practice: find or create an item, that can be help in the palm of your hand. Some people like to use river rocks. Carry it with you. Maybe take it out and set it on your desk while you’re at work. Every time you see it or touch it, think of something you’re grateful for. This practice keeps you grounded and present, and helps you focus on gratitude throughout the day.

    You can also make a habit (practice) of letting the people in your life know why you appreciate them. This one is great, because you are literally sharing gratitude with another person. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone practiced this!

    Part of the purpose for the Catholic tradition of eschewing meat on Fridays (it used to be a straight up fast) is to help generate gratitude for the things in life. Regularly shifting mealtimes to a more austere selection, and being present to the food while eating, brings you into the now and can help you see the bounty in your life.

    You can, of course, some up with your own gratitude practice, and you can do a combination of the ones I’ve outlined. The point is that you would benefit from a daily gratitude practice; if you don’t currently have one, this would be an excellent week to rectify that.

    Gratitude Exercises
    Benefits of Gratitude
    The Science of Gratitude
    The Benefits of Gratitude – Research
    7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude

    Posted in Practice, Tools, Winter

    Scheduling for the rest of 2018

    Please note that I will be unavailable 12/1-12/15/18.

    If you’ve been thinking about getting a session with me, this next week (11/25-30) is going to be optimal, otherwise we’re running into the Solstice and related holidays. In fact, I will not have any evening appointments available in December until AFTER the 25th.

    If you are going to want a numerology forecast for 2019, I will not be able to get to that until after the 16th. I am, however, running a special until 12/25/18.

    I normally wouldn’t devote an entire blog post to this, but I felt it was important to reach people.

    Posted in Uncategorized

    Gift giving for your holiday of choice, or, as I like to call it, Christmakwanzakah!

    Don't buy from the big stores this holiday season

    We seem to be moving into that time of year where people feel the need to go shopping on behalf of others. I thought I would offer you some gift recommendations, or at least places to shop. I tend towards small designers and unique items, so if that’s going to make someone on your list happy, here you go!

    Nui Cobalt Designs is my go-to supplier of magickal candles. They also have exquisite talismanic jewelry, scents, and a subscription box for the witchy folk. You really can’t go wrong. Also on the magickal end of things, Francesca De Grandis tends to have some fanciful things in her Etsy store, and Lupa Greenwolf does cool shamanic items from recycled animal products (and has great books!).

    I have no idea if there’s enough lead time to get anything from here, but even a promise of a future item from MayFaire Moon would make me swoon. [This is where we pause as our author wonders if she should take out the unintentional rhyme] I have a number of things from Blue Moon Designs, including my pocket belt that gets so many compliments. Lulievision made all my winter coats except one, and she used to have a pants style that bore my name… I have several tiny hats and a few hat pins from Wrongathon, and she makes a wide range of interesting items.

    Miriam Dema makes jewelry and fabric arts and a lot of leather things. I’ve always really enjoyed her designs, and have a smattering of them around. My favorite scarf was made by her. Everything tends to be fairly short run, so if you see something you like, get it! She recently started doing super fun earrings in glittery acrylic, which is something of a departure from most of her other stuff. I love them. Zoa Chimerum is one of my favorite jewelry designers. They do cool, alien-y things using recycled materials. I ran across them in a small boutique in Massachusetts a number of years ago, and I’m still obsessed. If you or your giftees are of the Goth ethos, check out Contrary Dame.

    If crystals are your thing, or the thing you’re shopping for, the only place is will ever recommend is The Crystal Matrix. You can go by the store, if you’re in Los Angeles, too.

    I would totally decorate my holiday mantle with these World Goddesses if I could…

    If you have someone crafty AND quirky on your list, the needlepoint patterns from Quote Stitching are beyond awesome. When was the last time you saw Archer-themed needlepoint?!

    I suppose there might be a few people left on the planet who don’t know about my love for Outlaw Soaps. Their scents are fun and pleasant and don’t activate my sensitivities, and the write ups are awesome. Go, read some, I’ll wait.

    Me? Oh, I make one-of-a-kind, custom crystal clearing bowls, I have some books and CDs for sale, and I have Personality Reports and Forecasts available (always good for a New Year overview). If you’re going to be in the same place I am anytime soon, I’ll even cut you a deal on physical CDs or Books. I can also do gift certificates for readings (not currently listed on the website, because I’m not offering them to the general public, but they can be bought as a gift during the holidays) and healing services.

    If you’re in the Los Angeles area, I will also have some offerings at the 15th Annual Handmade For All Holiday Boutique in Van Nuys Friday 11/30-Sunday 12/2. All handmade items in a low-pressure shopping atmosphere. It’s where I first came across The Mincing Mockingbird, which brings me so much joy, and you’ll also be able to find things there from some of the other artisans in this post, too!

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    Posted in Faery, Goddess, magic, Shamanism, Winter

    Ayamanatara’s Latest Book

    Faery Spiral
    Faery Spiral:
    Library of Arcadia
    Volume 1: Coming Home

    is now available for download or pre-order a signed copy!

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    The digital edition of The Shift
    The Pain meditation series: Blessing the Pain, Breathing into the Pain, Controlling Pain, Reducing Pain, and General Well Being
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