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The Gift of Gratitude
MY MORNING PRAYER
The Gift of Gratitude
Thank you for the morning light,
and for allowing me to survive the night.
Thank you for helping me to rise.
I will use good judgment, and try to be wise.
And even if the sun won’t shine,
I will own today, and make it mine.
Thank you for the gift of my health,
as this, by far, defines my wealth.
Thank you for the gift of my smile.
Oh, and thank you, Dear God, for letting me stay a while.
I can walk, dance, sing, and laugh, oh, lucky me.
I can feel, hear, smell, touch, and such beauty I can see.
What an abundance of blessings surround
that are just waiting to be found.
My heart swells with thanks, and I promise today
to do my very best, in every possible way.
I will spread the magic of life
to deal with both the sweet and the sour,
because every day is precious,
as is every hour.
Because it is borrowed, my time here on Earth,
I plan to use it wisely, for all that it’s worth.
Considering we live in a clock-eyed world,
it’s my duty to slow the pace,
so I will smell the flowers, cherish the beauty,
and savor every taste.
Time is a treasure
that cannot be bought or sold.
We each have twenty-four hours
in a day to hold.
It’s how I choose to use mine
that defines me,
so I will cherish life and be of service to others,
you will see.
I will live, love, laugh;
I will not yell; I will make it a sin,
for in yelling, no one wins
and more problems only begin.
I will appreciate the simple pleasures
that transport my soul,
all the miracles of nature
that complete me and make me whole.
Like a beautiful garden, a radiant sunset,
a gentle hug, a smile, or even just a kind word,
it is often the silent gestures that mean the most,
although they cannot be heard.
Life is a precious gift to be gratefully unwrapped,
and there is so much to celebrate.
So I will no longer wait; it is the here and now, today,
that I will celebrate and appreciate.
It is said that every crisis faced together
makes the circle more strong and tight.
It is my own personal experience
that has proven this to be right.
From life’s challenges and obstacles
come optimism, inner strength, and personal growth.
It is the tough times that teach us the lessons
we need to learn the most.
Thank you for my freedom,
and for helping to co-create my vision.
I hope you are happy
with my choices and my mission.
Most importantly, I thank you
for my ever-so-precious family and friends,
who understand my philosophy
and will stick by me till the end.
I promise to make people feel special,
each and every day.
It is my commitment to leave people better than I found them,
for this is my only way.
And if I should ever fail, as all humans do,
please remember my good and honest intention
to spread my positive messages,
and I hope that people pay attention.
So off I go to start my day, Dear God,
I hope to make you proud.
For just to be alive and well is such a blessing,
another chance at the here and now.
Please allow me
to be of service to you.
I look forward to your guidance,
my whole life through.
Forever Grateful for the Gift of Today
The Gift of Commitment
A RENEWAL OF MY SACRED MARITAL VOWS
The Gift of Commitment
Now that I am embracing
my new midlife,
I am determined to reflect upon
my role as wife.
In this department,
I can honestly say
I have not lived up to some of the promises
that were made on my wedding day.
Given my new-found understanding
that life is to be lived in the Now,
I have decided that there is no time like the present
for me to renew my sacred wedding vows.
You see, I fell into a common trap
of allowing some false beliefs to come true.
I allowed the good opinion of others to take over my thoughts,
and in so doing, I carried them through.
I came into marriage with the false belief
that the spark of love would soon die.
I gave life to the idea that the passion
would fade as the years passed by.
Marriage became more about arguing and yelling
than about loving and adoring one another.
There was little holding and caressing,
and seldom time to be lovers.
Life revolved around the children,
and was seldom about us.
For them, we were always planning,
preparing, and making a tremendous fuss.
Again, I was misguided, thinking that it was necessary
for me to be so all-consumed in this role as mom,
so consumed that life became more about responsibility
and protection than about ever having fun.
Now here I am on my spiritual journey,
all too aware of the mistakes of my past,
ready to make all of the necessary changes
that will help me to move forward at last.
My role as mother will always be important;
however, it will no longer define me,
as nowadays I am becoming more aware
of where I want to go, and who I really want to be.
My Dear Husband,
I ask that I may recommit to you.
It is definitely time
for our vows to be renewed.
I promise to love you just as you are,
and to kiss you each and every night.
I will bless you always, and forever trust
that everything will unfold just right.
I will lose the criticism and the labels,
and I will carefully choose my words,
as clearly, yelling is not necessary
in order for one to be heard.
Marriage is supposed to be sacred,
an entity that vibrates love and light,
so I promise that I will no longer argue
and be a partner in any fight.
And when our children have all grown up
and moved away from home,
it is my prayer that we will be able to embrace
each other, and not feel so all alone.
I am so honored to be your wife,
only I would like to remain your friend and soulmate, too.
On my most beautiful spiritual journey, My Darling,
I have created a perfect space for you.
When you choose to go there,
I will be waiting with arms open wide,
for the authentic you that is your essence,
no longer needs to hide.
Together, let us try to rekindle that spark of love,
which at one time brought us so close.
Let us remember what is truly important in life,
the things that matter the most.
We must practice forgiveness, non-reaction, and non-judgment,
and remember to be grateful, and to count our blessings, too.
I have a lovely hunch that things are going
to work out just right for me and you.
No doubt, you can heal your life,
and you can definitely heal your marriage, too,
as long as you remember
that the power lies within you.
Renewed and Recommitted
The Gift of Faith
BEFRIEND YOUR ILLNESS
The Gift of Faith
I recently met a man who was
physically quite unwell.
According to him, his life was,
in a nutshell, a living hell.
He said that he woke up each day
with a feeling of disgust,
no longer finding faith in God,
and choosing not to trust.
He was receiving a transfusion in the bed beside my mother;
the two patients shared a room.
While she was so grateful for donors’ gifts and for being alive,
this man sat in such a negative place, of only doom and gloom.
When he overheard me reading poetry to my mother,
he asked what it is that I do.
I responded that I help to coach and empower people
to seek a more spiritual point of view.
He was so full of questions,
and was quite skeptical of the answers, too.
He seemed to be sitting in a place of such extreme darkness
that only a hint of light could shine through.
I did not learn about most of the circumstances
or details of his life.
Yet what I did sense was his resistance,
and that he was drowning in strife.
Deep within, however,
I did find a glimmer of hope.
I saw a man who was reaching out for help,
and for strategies on how to cope.
Beneath the many layers
lay the heart of a very spiritual man,
one who was disillusioned by his serious illness,
and resentful of God’s plan.
At one time, many years ago,
he was a young man full of hopes and dreams.
He even practiced yoga and meditation,
while he served as a marine.
After marrying, however,
and having children of his own,
he was forced to accept a job as a taxi driver,
in a very dangerous zone.
As a result, he found himself
fighting to stay alive,
for he had to protect himself
from many of the people he would have to drive.
At that time, he concluded that he needed to let go
of all spiritual practice, as he felt it was no longer right.
He could not justify the contradictory messages
of meditate and fight.
Today he sits
in a very similar place,
thinking that with his condition, how could he even
dare to wear a smile upon his face.
He will not even give himself permission to laugh, and, yes,
I know his life is not mine to judge; it is his to define.
Yet, if it has already been three years since his diagnosis,
when will it be the appropriate time?
I know that he is angry,
and he feels that he has every reason to be.
Yet what this anger achieves,
I simply cannot see.
I have recently learned that in response to any critical illness,
there are only two possible choices to make:
Attack, scream, and shout at the illness,
or choose to give it a break.
If you believe that an illness is a “physical manifestation
of a very deep and psychic scream,”
then choosing to attack it and hate it
would be nothing more than mean.
You need to build a relationship with your illness
that is based on love and not fear.
This will encourage your body’s healing,
although your condition may never completely disappear.
Visualize the cells that are sick
as being enveloped by light.
Given that their energy can be transformed,
perhaps they will calm down, instead of fight.
I believe, wholeheartedly, in the
and I am convinced that all healing
begins with affection.
When I was twenty, I was told by a therapist
that it was essential for me to love my pain.
At that time I was confused, and unaware of what
this process would ultimately gain.
Now that I have done much spiritual work,
I am quite confident and very clear
that your immune system responds best to love and hope,
while it dislikes anger and fear.
Spiritual practice is an exercise in training
your thoughts and developing a disciplined mind.
It is a practice that takes effort,
patience, and time to be refined.
For this man,
all I can do is pray
that he can learn how to shift his anger
and transform it in some way.
I know that he can;
this was visible in his eyes.
I know that deep down,
he really wants to try.
Please accept my coaching, Dear Man,
and give yourself permission to smile,
even if your time here on this Earth
lasts for only a short while.
I do not ask you to feel blessed
or full of gratitude,
only that you begin today
with a slight shift of attitude.
Do yourself a favor and forgive God,
even try to invite him in.
Perhaps then, Dear Friend,
you will allow your life to begin.
And always remember that what you resist
and that what you befriend,
you will transcend.
Now if you ask why my mother is still here today, after fighting
a serious illness for over four years, this is my answer:
It is simply because her disease was never her enemy;
my mother chose to befriend her cancer.
It was a choice that she made
on the day she was diagnosed.
To live was what
she wanted the most.
It was the one thing
that she knew for sure.
With or without a cure,
she would endure.
All My Prayers and Blessings
The Gift of Guidance
MY GUARDIAN ANGEL
The Gift of Guidance
When I look at my mother,
her illness is invisible to me.
All that I see is a vision of grace,
beauty, and of dignity.
When I look into my mother’s eyes,
her cancer is no longer there.
Her eyes glisten and sparkle,
as does her silvery hair.
My mother sits on a pedestal
that has been reserved for a chosen few.
Her spirit is so full of love
that only the light shines through.
Whenever I speak of my mother,
I am told that my eyes seem to glow.
I am sure this is due to my adoration of this woman
I am only now truly getting to know.
I always looked up to my mother,
and was so very proud of her ways.
However, my appreciation goes far deeper now,
and I sit in awe of her each and every day.
I hold her hand, but she’s got my heart,
and how she takes my breath away.
She’s as beautiful to me now, if not more beautiful,
than she was on her wedding day.
She is My Guardian Angel,
and will forever be.
Her eternal spirit will always guide,
protect, and watch over me.
Her gentle smile makes my heart sing,
and often leaves me wondering
just how much love
one woman could bring.
When I look at my mother,
I see the Grace of God, and all that is Divine.
How blessed I feel to be her baby,
how honored to know she’s mine.
So take my hand, My Precious,
and let go of all your fears.
When you trust in the process of life,
miracles will continue to appear.
And when it is time
for God to bring you home,
I promise you, My Darling,
you will not go alone.
I will hold you
for as long as I possibly can,
before I resign
to God’s overall plan.
Only then will I release your body,
but never will I let go of your soul,
for your spirit will live within me
and forever keep me whole.
God Bless, My Angel
The Gift of Courage
The Gift of Courage
Some pictures are forever etched in your brain,
and others don’t remain for very long.
The one I will describe for you now
is about people who were determined to be strong.
Please sit back, relax,
and enjoy the story
of so many heroes,
men and women of glory.
I will now describe the scene
like a work of art.
A radiology waiting room at Mount Sinai Hospital
has forever touched my heart.
The room was filled to capacity,
as was the hall.
The scanning and imaging department was no doubt busier
than the most popular mall.
There were in-patients and out-patients,
and everyone had to wait their turn.
So during this time of about three hours,
I set out to learn.
I wanted to learn about the people
who gathered together in this room,
waiting for scans, and then for the results
that would follow very soon.
Results could bear good news or bad,
no one really knew.
But for all, it was a dreadful waiting game,
as anticipation grew.
The lady to my right
looked so tiny, frail, and weak,
but the way that she hugged her prayer book
seemed to make her strong, so to speak.
She read her prayers with all her heart and soul,
in whatever tune,
and I soon realized that she was with the religious man
on the other side of the room.
I later heard them conversing in Hebrew,
as she joined him in the seat by his side.
As soon as she did, I noticed the way he caressed her neck;
his feelings he was unwilling to hide.
He later confessed that she was booked for a full day of tests,
and that she would be admitted to the hospital tomorrow.
During our entire conversation, he never once expressed
any hint of anger, grief, or sorrow.
He explained to me, as only a wise man could,
that God gives us only that which we can take.
He mentioned that she was ill now,
so that having children would have to wait.
He was hopeful and positive
and said that all things happen in their proper time.
He spoke of his wife’s strength and of his own,
and said that he never once quesitoned, “Why mine?”
Across from me sat a group of three,
a mother, father, and daughter team.
The girl was bald and with a cane,
fighting cancer, it would seem.
More important than her bald head
was the enormous dimple in her cheek,
and the smile that she wore
whenever you saw her speak.
We shared a quick laugh about the delay,
and she joked about waiting a hundred more hours,
and as she smiled and even chuckled,
I could sense her courage and her power.
It was so beautiful to see her loving
and supportive parents there, by her side.
And, oh, how obvious
was their pride.
their message was clear.
Their intention was
to choose love over fear.
Together they would fight,
hand in hand.
Together they would be brave;
united they would withstand.
People were arriving from the intensive care unit
one after another.
There were so many sick people,
I sadly discovered.
One was all hooked up to tubes and machines,
almost without life.
Another was lying, also near to death,
beside his vigilant wife.
Emergencies came first, no doubt,
and I felt so thankful that we were not.
I only wished that I could find
my tired and precious mother a single, available cot.
Instead, I stood behind her wheelchair
and allowed her to gently rest her head.
She slept, I observed,
and nothing much was said.
I wondered why she was always sleepy,
and found myself reflecting on her current state.
I pondered whether this situation
was one that I could ever tolerate.
Visiting a hospital
is very nourishing for the soul.
It focuses you on the canvas of life
as a whole.
There will be pain and suffering,
as well as hurt and sorrow along the way.
From this I have learned the importance
of appreciating life’s gifts and blessings, every single day.
When I wonder just how much
people can tolerate and endure,
and whether they will ever even
come close to finding specific cures,
there is one thing
that I do know for sure.
Delight in the present,
appreciate the Power of Now.
Rejoice in the moment,
and I will tell you how.
Tell people that you love them;
dance, play, and laugh together.
Forget the yelling and the bickering,
the petty arguments of no measure.
And remember to enjoy
all of life’s simple pleasures.
Thank you, Dear Mother,
for opening my eyes to see
just how delicate and fragile
life can be.
I am so very sorry for your pain
and for your fear.
Please, My Darling, don’t wonder
how or where you will be in a year.
Just do your best to thank God for the gift
of each new day.
Together we will endure,
whatever it is that may come your way.
My love for you is infinite,
unlimited and without end.
I will forever be your baby,
your pick-me-up, and best friend.
As for the heroes I met today,
and for those I never had the pleasure to meet,
I pray that using your mind-body-spirit connection,
your illnesses can be beat.
A final thanks to the hospital staff, and to all the volunteers,
who deserve a medal for just how much they care.
People who are kind within the medical profession
are truly beyond compare.
Honoring Everyday Heroes