Friday, April 20, 2007

Gratitude Reminders

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One of the most important things we can do in the quest to reinvent ourselves for a better and more balanced life is to express gratitude on a daily basis. By zeroing in on the things we have (and therefore be grateful for them), we set in motion to attract more of the same.

You will recall that the law of attraction says the more we focus our energy thoughts on what we want and have, the more it will come back to us because the universe is like one giant mirror. It eventually manifests in physical reality our most heavily concentrated thoughts. Thoughts become things and based on my experience, they show up far quicker by maintaining an attitude of gratitude. It's an energy thing. I'm not a Quantum Physicist so I can't explain why exactly but I just know it works.

You can't help but feel good when focusing on the good in your life. This puts you in a better mental frame of reference. When you're in that state of mind, what happens when you encounter adversity or an unexpected obstacle? Instead of wailing like a victim ("Why is this happening to me?"), you'll automatically perceive the situation in a different way ("What can I learn from this?"). You're more apt to take things in stride and let things roll off your back as opposed to getting all uptight over something that you have no control over. An attitude of gratitude places you in a more harmonious state, allowing you to be in sync with the universe.

Here are three things that help me maintain an attitude of gratitude:

1. When getting dressed, along with spare change, car keys and my wallet, I also include a smooth, transparent stone with an angel inside it. Throughout the day, when reaching inside my pockets for something, I inevitably come into contact with this stone, triggering an outpouring of gratitude (i.e. "Thank you God for this beautiful day" or "Thank you, thank you for - fill in the blank"). At the end of the day, as I am emptying out my pockets and putting everything back on the dresser, what comes out? That's right -- the stone! It causes new thoughts of gratitude to pass through my mind because now I'm thinking about the good things that happened to me earlier in the day (i.e. "Thank you for the wonderful news from so and so."). I end up going to bed with these new thoughts, in effect "metabolizing" them throughout the night. What a great way to end your day on a positive note!

2. I created a file on my computer called "Stephen's Gratitude List." It outlines every single thing I could think of to be grateful for. Several times a week I review it, sometimes adding new things, other times adjusting it. On that gratitude list are big and small things. If you really think about it, it's impossible not to be grateful for something even when things appear not to be going very well. If you look hard enough, you'll find tidbits of good things in your life. For instance, you could be grateful for your eyes to read this while you're in the midst of a painful situation at home or work. Or you could say you're grateful for heat and hot water when there's a major blizzard swirling all around you. It's all a matter of perception and focus!

By the way, having a gratitude list and looking at it several times a week is an excellent way to snap you out of the doldrums and quickly put you in a better frame of mind. In fact, it's guaranteed! For those of you who have your hearing, I'll bet that when you're feeling the blues and you want to snap out of it, all you have to do is put on your favorite music and Presto! You're feeling better within seconds. Would that be a fair and accurate assumption?? Well, since I can't hear music, I have my gratitude list to achieve the same thing!

3. And the final thing that helps me is to be on the lookout for triple numbers like 111, 222, 333, 444. I don't know where I got this from but I believe God, the angels and/or the universe are constantly sending messages to us in a variety of different ways. I believe every time I see a triple set of numbers, I am being reminded that the angels are there with me, guiding me along my spiritual journey or perhaps confirming that I'm on the right path. Wouldn't that be something to be grateful for? Certainly! For example, I'll be driving along and suddenly see a postbox alongside the road with 222 on it. At that moment, I'll say a silent prayer of thanks. Or I'll be at my gym on the treadmill and happen to glance down at the digital readout and see 444, triggering something like: "Thank you God, Thank you for the energy you are pouring through me on this treadmill." Suddenly I'll feel a burst of new energy and I end up wanting to run at superhuman speed - I'm not kidding you!

Food for thought: Why not carry around a nice, cute little "gratitude rock" where you can feel it throughout the day, reminding you to be grateful? What about creating a gratitude list and reviewing it several times a week? Or how about being on the lookout for triple digit numbers between 111 and 444? Do something, anything that will help you maintain an attitude of gratitude!
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Friday, April 06, 2007

Spring Cleaning with a Twist

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Last night I was reading "The Science of Success" by James Arthur Ray for the second time. Like aging wine, the book gets better with each reading. He was one of the teachers in the wildly successful DVD, "The Secret."

James talks a lot about what I've written in this blog, namely the importance of making a life-changing decision to reprogram your mindset and change the way you perceive yourself and the world around you. He said something that triggered a long buried thought.

Raise your hand if you've gone through the annual ritual of clearing away the cobwebs in your closet. Maybe you've held a garage sale or two (or have been meaning to). Bulky winter clothes automatically go into hibernation in the cedar closet in exchange for old summer clothes. Sound familiar?

Now, how many of you see this spring cleaning ritual as closely connected with the law of attraction? If this one caught you off balance, you're not the only one. I was thrown for a loop too.

Stay with me on this.

Go take a look in your closet. Are there articles of clothes in there that you haven't worn in years? Perhaps you're saving them because you think one day they will come back into vogue (how about those bell bottomed jeans?).

You say they're a couple sizes too tight yet you're secretly hoping you'll lose enough weight to squeeze back into them?

Well, what about those shoes, belts, hats, caps, blouses or whatnot -- when was the last time you wore any of that stuff?

Last night I decided to take a good look and see for myself.

What I saw shocked me.

To my utter amazement, I still had a handful of custom-made suits and shirts that I used to wear during my Wall Street days (early to mid 90's). With the exception of professionally expanding the pants of my favorite charcoal grey pinstriped suit, I haven't worn any of the suits since the mid-nineties! Running my fingers along the closet, my jaws dropped at the sight of musty, yellowish ring-around-the-collar shirts that hadn't seen daylight since forever. What's more, some of those custom-made shirts still have plastic covering over them because for the life of me, I could never seem to find a matching tie so I never wore them!

My goodness. How could I have not noticed this?

This, of course, prompted me to examine my inner thinking. I walked out of the closet and sat on the edge of my bed with my right elbow on my thigh and the palm of my hand cradling my chin, deep in thought, just like Plato.

Why do you have so many unused clothing hanging in there Stephen huh??

Suddenly I had a light bulb sort of moment.

It dawned on me that on a subconscious level, I was hoping to save money by waiting until after shaving off unwanted pounds so that I could wear some of those tight fitting clothes again. Then my mind did a quick flashback to the price tag on some of the clothes in there. Much my chagrin, I found that I hadn't wanted to part with the more pricey ones even though I hadn't worn them in years!

Wow! What a shocking revelation!

Now, I don't think of myself as a hoarder because my mother used to tell me that ever since I was a kid, I never had a problem throwing things in the garbage or giving them to someone else. The moment I had no use for something, I always found a way to get rid of it. My home is a testament to that. It is the least cluttered place you'd ever see in your life.

But NOOOOOO, NOT MY CLOTHES! The closet is jam packed with em!

At that moment, I knew what I had to do this weekend.

Forget garage sales and e-bay. Give away clothes that no longer fit or those that are no longer of interest. Why not?

Think of it this way. If you have hard time giving away money as part of the law of giving, why not start by giving away clothes? Psychologically speaking, it's easier to give away articles of clothing compared to dollar bills or checks.

But remember that what you give away, you get back. In the last article or two, I mentioned that if you give away books, you'll get books back. If you give away money, you'll get money back. Give away love, you'll get love back. So be prepared. If you give away your clothes, you'll get new ones in no time flat. After all, nature abhors a vacuum and will soon fill it back up for you.

Do you see what happens when you make a life-changing decision? Everything you do and say becomes congruent with your level of thinking. Little things like the annual spring cleaning ritual take on an entirely different meaning simply because your perceptions have changed.

Thanks to my bedtime reading last night, I discovered that I had been harboring one last piece of scarcity thinking. By hoarding old clothes and not giving them away, I was allowing scarcity thoughts to permeate my mind.

Here I come closet, ready or not! GRRRRRRR!

Food for thought: Clean out your closet and give what you no longer want away. Affirm to yourself that what you give away, you will be able to replace easily and effortlessly. Your attitude about giving truly determines whether you have an abundance or scarcity type of thinking.
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Monday, April 02, 2007

Your Unconscious is Ripe for Gardening!

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James Arthur Ray, author of "Science of Success," put it rather eloquently in his book. Your unconscious and conscious minds are like the garden and gardener. The conscious mind is the gardener where thoughts from the outer world are formed while the unconscious is like the inner garden where they are deposited on a daily basis. We plant seeds of conscious thoughts in the unconscious mind and then if we choose to do so, water them with new thoughts, emotions, feelings and actions. Interesting analogy, isn't it?

What happens if our conscious mind is left to its own devices on autopilot? The unconscious becomes strewn with weeds and eventually becomes unwieldy, making it difficult to attract what you want in life.

When we become aware of ourselves, we automatically make different decisions, attract different people to match our inner vibration and carry ourselves differently.

You see, because I've become the consummate gardener in the quest to attract what I truly want, I've consciously raised my level of awareness of the choices I'm making on a daily basis.

In essence, I've become both an observer and the observed of Stephen J. Hopson.


Yes, in case you forgot my name, that's me.

"What!?!" you might say. Think about that for a moment.

If you make conscious choices, you're bound to become aware of your actions, thoughts and feelings, right? What could follow from that?

Number one, you become the observer. Why? Because you're now watching yourself think, process, behave, assimilate, react, etc.

Number two, you become the observed. Why? Because you're observing yourself being observed. Think of it this way, it's like having an out-of-body experience where you're not only watching yourself carry on but you also know that you're watching yourself.

Pretty cool, wouldn't you say?

A small yet significant example would be what happens when I reach for the TV remote control. Never before have I observed myself making choices when selecting a TV program or movie. In the past I might have sleepily flipped through the channels until I found something that caught my eye without giving it much thought.

Nowadays I find myself saying things like, "That's too violent" or "Why would I want to watch a documentary on violent prisons?" In other words, because these are conscious thoughts, I make different choices. One of them includes taking the time to press "Info" on the remote control to find out more about the program, just like reading the labels on food packages in the supermarket.

This leads me to watching educational documentaries on the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet rather than a violent, senseless thriller. I tend to gravitate to programs like "America's Funniest Videos" or comedy shows. One of the guests on "The Secret" testified how she was able to eliminate breast cancer by watching hilarious "Laurel and Hardy" movies every day along with daily affirmations and prayers. There really is truth in the old adage that laughter is best medicine!

Why don't you try it right now! Pretend you are having an out-of-body experience. Take your conscious mind outside yourself and go to your living room or wherever you have a TV. Become the observed and observer and watch your thoughts and your actions while flipping through the channels. Do the same thing when carrying on a conversation with people - you'll see how you really think, behave, speak. This exercise will shock you! It'll feel a little weird at first but I guarantee you'll find it quite fascinating and potentially life-changing.

Not only do you become the observed and observer, you also bring to light deeply embedded beliefs that might have been created as a result of past religious practices. For example, growing up in a Catholic household exposed me to prayers like "not being worthy to receive Jesus."

That absolutely blew my mind to smithereens - no wonder I had struggles in the past with the notion of being worthy enough to to receive gifts, ask for what I want, accept compliments or enjoy abundance!

Food for thought: Are you becoming both the observed and observer by acting like a loving, caring gardener of your unconscious mind?
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