Shine the Divine:

Creativity IS a Spiritual Practice

When we see through our hearts, we recognize that every single one of us is infused with creativity. Divine Sparks are embedded in everyone and everything. It's up to us to be courageous, to look and listen deeply, to find the sparks, gather and release them back into the universe, transformed into something new. Join me as we wake up to the sacred-ordinary blessings waiting to greet us each and every day.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Gratitude and SoulCollage®: Cheryl Finley

Before diving into today's post, I want to welcome to all the new readers who have been stopping by this month following the little bread crumb trails from your favorite bloggers to read what they have to say about gratitude over here as Guest Hosts. Many of you keep coming back to visit, and I just so deeply appreciate that! I'm sorry I've not been able to stop by and visit all of you yet...but I will eventually:) I've extended the submission date for gratitude statements for the Thanksgiving Mega Mobius Gratitude quilt to Monday, November 22...so there is still time to send me your thoughts on gratitude for the word quilt. Look at the HUGE invitation at the top of my blog if you want to add your voice. We are up to 64 offerings, I was hoping for 100, but 64 is pretty amazing! (still, I'd love to hear from you...what are YOU grateful for in this moment?)
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Let me introduce you to a dear friend from Chicago. Cheryl and I met at our SoulCollage® Facilitator training five years ago. In fact, Cheryl is the person who told me all about the wonders of blogging...but I resisted (thinking I couldn't handle the tech part-and some days I can't!) and thinking I had nothing to say (lol). We met up again a couple years later at a KaleidoSoul Retreat and that deepened our friendship.  Not long after that, I started blogging too! Cheryl is creative in so many ways and oh so gentle and generous. She has several blogs that you can find at these highlighted links: Cheryl designs jewelry, facilitates SoulCollage®, writes about gratitude regularly, started a yahoo group and blog for mandala artists. She has been interviewed more than once on the radio and I'm telling you this woman is a powerful shining light in our world! Her entry today is focused on gratitude  and staying present...the way the two experiences are inextricably linked. I could not agree with you more Cheryl!!!

Cheryl stays in touch with me and supports my growth and healing. I am so grateful for this kindred spirit who I am so fortunate to call friend.

Please welcome Cheryl Finley as our Gratitude Guest Host during this extra special week featuring SoulCollage®!
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Gratitude-Joy Mandala by Cheryl Finley
 
Gratitude-Joy:  Gifts of the Present

As I sit here…winding down from the week… taking in the vibration of the brass bowl chime that announced and accompanied my entry into this sacred time and space of soul-listening, I feel at peace.  I feel engulfed in Spirit…feeling her comforting presence as I breathe in…circulating the quiet symphony of gratitude that surges through my being.  Ah yes…"here" I am, present to my self and body.  It’s in this moment I am reminded of how much there is to be thankful for.

Like many of us, I’m often visited by inklings and insights along this life-journey.  And…for me it always comes back to this moment – being present, what a gift!  It’s the best gift we can give ourselves, our families…and fellow-travelers: to be present to this moment; and yet doing so can be a challenge for all of us.  Thank Goodness we can do something about that, or shall I say “be” something about that.  One small, yet powerful thing we can practice that can change our whole experience in the moment is mindful breathing.  As I’m sure we’ve all experienced at one time or another:  the breath unites our Awareness to our body.  We can then inhabit our bodies, literally; and when that happens it’s a whole new world!  It’s like we’ve come in for a landing into our own bodies as well as being present and grounded on this physical planet.  NO wonder that saying “Earth to….. Cheryl” (or whomever) was born!  If we’re not paying attention we can have a lifetime of being a “walking head”…always in our minds…weaving stories and dramas (which may be true or not) all keeping us unfocused and absent from the juice and joy of our lives. 

Tuning-in to the present "is" the connecting energy that allows us to witness and embody the spirit of what I call Gratitude-Joy.  Gratitude-Joy is: “feeling the joy that gratitude brings.”  The emphasis being is on “feeling”.   It’s a gratitude of the heart and soul -  not of the mind, per se.  Gratitude-Joy is beyond making lists, yet it can include lists, but it’s much more.  It’s about embodying what the gratitude feels like - the Spirit of Gratitude - and allowing it to permeate my being.  My experience is that this can’t be done in the head, it can only be experienced through the heart and soul.  Gratitude-Joy is the feeling in your heart that gets stirred-up when you dwell in gratitude (as well as love, etc.)  

To ensure I receive the Gifts of the Present, last January, I decided to create a Gratitude-Joy blog.  And, to bring me into the present (where life is) I created a ritual, part of which is to:  1) take a few, slow conscious breaths, and 2) allow my spirit to slow down and feel its connection with my body;  then 3) reflect on my day…closing my eyes allowing visions of the day to arise.  It’s a re-viewing my day, or segments of my day.  4) Also, I find that writing a few sentences about where I am in the moment (i.e. settling into my favorite chair, with my favorite cup of warmth) – brings me deeper into the present moment.  And that’s when I begin to feel the Gratitude-Joy breeze through my being…like a spirit-filled perfume. 5) I then write or say:  “In this moment I am aware of my gratitude for…” – and the debriefing of my soul occurs on the blog page, in my handwritten journal, or in an active moment of my day when I need it most.  It’s an especially good practice whenever I feel agitated, etc.  It helps me keep life in perspective, and reminds me not only of what I’m grateful for…but of what’s most important.  Gratitude-Joy is The Gift of the Present… and both are divine Elixirs for the Soul.

Below is my SoulCollage® card "Gratitude".  When I ask her "Who are you?" - she says:

"Gratitude" SoulCollage® Card by Cheryl Finley

I am one who is so thankful.
I am one who feels gratitude deep in my bones...and in every breath I breathe.  I breathe breaths of gladness and joy.
I am one who knows being thankful is its own reward.

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In case you missed them, here are two interviews with Seena from my friends Anne Marie who you will meet tomorrow and Cheryl.
November 8 - Kaleidosoul - Anne Marie Bennett

7 comments:

  1. Thank you for allowing me to start my early morning with your words.
    They speak deeply to my heart.

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  2. Cheryl is a wonderful, bright, soul. What a treat to read her words this morning. I just dropped my son off at school and the license plate in front of us read, "Be Still." What a lovely way to start my morning with this theme repeating and echoing as I begin my day. {soul hugs} to you both.

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  3. it is always uplifting and beautiful to visit ...xx's

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  4. Thank you for the beautiful post, Cheryl.

    And thank, Laura, for the wonderful series. Just amazing how much positive energy abounds.

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  5. Thank you. I was particularly drawn to your mentioning of "I find that writing a few sentences about where I am in the moment (i.e. settling into my favorite chair, with my favorite cup of warmth) – brings me deeper into the present moment. And that’s when I begin to feel the Gratitude-Joy breeze through my being…like a spirit-filled perfume." Beautiful, evocative... a shared gift of serene helpfulness!

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  6. Cheryl, such beautiful wisdom, dear heart! Your words and encouragement always inspire me. You are truly an angel on earth.

    Laura, thank you so much for sharing this beautiful piece.(peace)

    Love and hugs,
    Debbie

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  7. Cheryl you must be a very happy person...last night i watched a tv show about a happiness experiment - a group of 8 people put through a series of sessions advising on physical and psychological ways of improving one's happiness quotient

    one of the keys they taught was 'an attitude of gratitude' taking time to consciously be aware of the things in life to be thankful for

    your hints here are very handy

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