For this week’s post, I had my subject selected, I had my research completed, and I was halfway through writing the piece, but yesterday for some reason, I suddenly changed my mind and decided to write about a completely different topic. I think it had to do with Monday, May 15, which just happens to be my birthday and this year, I turned 54. (I actually celebrate a Birthweek, but that’s a topic for another day!)
Now, we all have years that stand out as more memorable than others. They could be memorable in a good way or memorable in a bad way, and for me, 53 was definitely the latter. It was a rough year for many reasons--personally, professionally, emotionally, physically, and even politically--but don’t get me started on that!
I’m generally not the type of person who dwells on past events. I try to learn whatever lesson I can from experiences, both good and bad, and then move forward (one of my favorite sayings is, “face it, embrace it, and erase it.”) It’s just that some years bring such a multitude of lessons that it can be difficult to process them all--53 was one of those years for me.
The truth is, even though it was such a tough year, I did experience a multitude of joyful occasions spent with family and friends, I did achieve a few of my significant goals, and I did reach 54 with relatively good health--all positive things. But more importantly, when I delved into the meanings and lessons of those perceived bad times in retrospect, they were, in actuality, truly formative. Without experiencing these difficult life events, I wouldn’t have reached 54 with such a positive and motivated attitude, ready to take on the next series of challenges, and eager to see where the year takes me--and for that, I am truly grateful.
This realization led me to change my topic (and to publish a day later than usual--but it’s my Birthweek, so I’m allowed…LOL!).
Today, I’m writing about the power of gratitude.
In the Science of Getting Rich, Wallace Wattles wrote, “The grateful mind expects good things. The grateful mind is constantly fixed on the best, therefore it tends to become the best, it takes the form of the best, and will receive the best.”
Gratitude has been proven by over 40 research studies to have long-lasting and wide-reaching impact on all aspects of life. Gratitude is strongly associated with improving mental health, but it improves our physical and relational health as well. Being grateful also impacts our overall experience of happiness and contentedness--outcomes that tend to be enduring.
A few of the benefits of being grateful are:
• Increased optimism and contentedness
• Decreased negativity, stress, and depression
• Improved connections with others
• Heightened self-confidence
• Increased energy and positivity
• Strengthened immune system and other health benefits
• Enhanced ability to forgive others
When someone is not grateful for something coming into their life (thinking to themselves, “It’s about time,” or “I can’t accept that dinner, or gift, or generosity”), it’s very contracted energy that ultimately comes from a lack of deserving. Gratitude is the vibration of flow and expansion that increases our sense of deserving.
In The Power of Gratitude, Kevin Eikenberry wrote, “Gratitude is an attitude. Gratitude is a choice. And gratitude is a habit. When we consciously practice being grateful for the people, situations, and resources around us we begin to attract better relationships and results. The habit will be strengthened as you make the choice each day.”
This is the 10th post on Persephone Rising: Simple Tips to Reinvent Your Life & Escape “Hell” for Good! This blog was one of the big goals that I accomplished during my 53rd year, and for that, I’m extremely grateful. It has definitely been a challenge. But more importantly, it’s been an amazing learning experience. It’s taught me discipline, it’s helped me focus and dig deeper into my thoughts and life philosophies, it’s expanded my skills as a writer, and it’s allowed me to express myself in a completely new and different way.
My hope is that this attempt to bring a different consciousness to your life through my tips, stories, and contemplations, has been and will continue to be beneficial to you--or at the very least, interesting enough to keep reading. For me, though, it has made me even more thoughtful and aware of my own self, of the life that I’m leading, and of the life that I want to lead in the future.
Let me leave you with one small action step to get you into the vibrational flow of gratitude. Just before you go to bed tonight, write down three wonderful things that occurred today. It might be something as small as a receiving a compliment from a stranger or as big as landing that dream job. Whatever it is, be grateful.
Each and every day is a gift, filled with discovery and surprise. By expressing our gratitude for all of the beauty, wonder, and good fortune every day offers, we invite happiness, joy, peace, kindness, and fulfillment into our lives. Now, who wouldn’t want that!
TIME TO DINE: Cooking for Joan
When I was deciding on the recipe of the week, I came across one of those fast-motion online recipes for an interesting appetizer--Spaghetti & Meatball Cups. I haven't made them but my favorite birthday dinner is spaghetti and meatballs, so I thought this would be a fun twist on an old favorite in celebration of my Birthweek! The recipe is easy and I image, delicious! Give it a try for your next cocktail party.
Spaghetti & Meatball Cups
Prep Time: 15 min | Cook Time: 35 min | Makes: 10 | Difficulty: Easy
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- freshly grated black pepper (to taste)
- salt to taste
- 2 dashes of Worchestershire
- 1 lb of cooked spaghetti
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of mozzarella
- 2 tablespoons olive
- 3 tablespoons of Marinara sauce (homemade or jar)
Pre-heat oven to 400 F
In a large bowl mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, onions, herbs, egg, garlic, cheese. Add salt and pepper. If the mixture is dry, add a little milk or water and mix well. Form the mixture into small meatballs.
Place the meatballs in an oven proof pan and bake for 18-20 minutes until done
Remove and set aside
Turn oven down to 375 F
In a large bowl, mix the cooked spaghetti, the olive oil, egg, cheese, and sauce until evenly distributed.
In a muffin tin, use tongs to twirl the spaghetti to make a nest in each cup. The center should have a small circular indent.
Bake for 15 minutes
Remove and add a meatball in each cup. Add the sauce, top with cheese.
Broil for 1 to 2 minutes to melt the cheese.
(You can add grated Parmigiano Reggiano on top if you want.)
**Image by PhotoJohn830