Monday Motivation Moment: Make Gratitude a Daily Habit with These Four Steps 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
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Gratitude, I am learning, is a daily practice, not once a year for Thanksgiving, or on those occasions when you are happy something has come together. No. Some days it means getting up, looking around and saying: What is beautiful in my life? How can I lift that up in my consciousness?

These past few years have brought our family struggle, but I now understand hardships awaken us to blessings others dismiss. Those daily miracles which are not so mundane after all – the ability to speak and connect in conversations with another person, walking without difficulty, food and shelter.

Committing to Gratitude
Staying in gratitude takes commitment and consistent reflection. Frankly, you have to be willing to face yourself despite wanting to escape into complacency. Some weeks ago, after a particularly rough day, I texted one of my best friends about a series of setbacks. She replied by challenging me to think of ten things I was grateful for right now.

I would love to tell you all I responded quickly, my mind springing forward with renewed faith and optimism. The truth is pain and disappointment obscured much in that moment. It took days to fully emerge from a place of suffocating sorrow. When I did, I began to grasp the power of her urging me to push into gratefulness and away from complaint.

Gratitude is work. And yet, cultivating a grateful heart and perspective remains possible for all of us. In Choosing Gratitude: The Journey to Joy, author Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes: “Even in the most turbulent waters, choosing gratitude rescues me from myself and my runaway emotions. It buoys me on the grace of God and keeps me from drowning in what otherwise would be my natural bent toward doubt, negativity, discouragement, and anxiety.”

Four Steps to Cultivate Thankfulness in Your Daily Life:

1. Reflect on Your Blessings Throughout Your Day: Many times we are told to make a list of what we are grateful for at either the beginning or end of the day. Why wait? As you recognize blessings, grand and small, during the day, honor them by standing in a place of thankfulness. I find doing this helps tremendously with your mood and gives you resilience.

2. Find a Gratitude Friend: Remember my best friend I mentioned earlier? Well, Shannon is a wholistic healing strategist; she’s also my gratitude girlfriend. After I have cried, she encourages me to keep going because there is much to be grateful for despite obstacles. We talk and text almost every day. It’s wonderful to have an accountability partner standing alongside you. Get your own!

3. Deepen Your Relationship with God: When we are connected to our Creator, through daily prayer and meditation, our eyes are opened to the abundance surrounding us. Praise becomes part of our vocabulary and even during the most arduous seasons, we find small joys. Set aside time to talk with God, mediating on the words found in scripture and your appreciation will grow.

4. Serve Others: There is a quote from Rabindranath Tagore, writer and thinker, which speaks deeply to the importance of service in our lives: “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” Often when we take our eyes off of our circumstances, and find a way to serve others (whether through volunteering, helping a neighbor or friend, etc.), we develop a greater spirit of thankfulness for all living beings surrounding us.

Living in gratitude sounds simple, but it’s actually quite radical, and deciding to see the world in this way, not as a place to merely endure, but to thrive, transforms and liberates us.

Blog Chat: Cultivating Self Love with Shan, The Free Gurl Club

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Shan & Emelda, Live In Color Blog, The Free Gurl Club

Every other month, Shan and I are going to dish all things inspiration in our  blog chats. 

This month seemed fitting to explore love, especially  self love, as we are often taught, particularly women, to love everyone but ourselves. 

Shan and I are both on paths of healing, love and discovery. We are seeking to honor the light within ourselves, and want those same feelings to manifest for everyone, especially women.

Shan is the creator of The Free Gurl Club, an awesome online space dedicated to empowering women. She hosts a weekly show on YouTube and shares life affirming daily affirmations via Instagram

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Listen to today’s blog chat on Soundcloud. Tomorrow we’ll share on YouTube.

Audio editing by Keystone Productions

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Check out our show notes (including 3 core ways to cultivate self love – listed below first), followed by links to books and other resources we mention: 

1. Make healing yourself (from wounds, past experiences, etc.) a priority! This could be tied to your faith (for me it’s inextricably linked) and include daily and / or frequent time alone (5-10 min.) for reflection. Even if you its initially one minute alone, begin there!  

2.  Post positive self affirmations around your home and work space, or even on your phone. Say them aloud throughout the day.  These may include statements like “I am beautiful. I am worth the life I seek. I am created in the image of God and my life matters. Abundance and joy are my birthrights.” 

Check out this powerful daily affirmation from The Free Gurl Club:

   

3.  Say NO to what drains and depletes you as these people, places and / or choices are creating feelings of being overwhelmed. 

When we are overwhelmed,  we often self medicate in unhealthy ways – excessive drinking, working long hours, overeating, etc. 

  

Further Reading:

Salvation: Black People and Love by bell hooks 

Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant 

Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom Than Slavery by Pamela Sneed 

Commanding Your Morning by Cindy Trimm

Adalmar Life by Nellie Russell (insightful blog) and piece on the importance of self care and healing. Nellie is one of my blogging besties!  

 

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightment by Eckhart Tolle  

The Audre Lorde quote I referenced on self care. You might also enjoy this blog post about Audre and her intellectual work.

    

Gratitude For 2015

Latest posts by Shannon Braxton (see all)

Photo Credit: Mike Petrucci

How was your 2015? Was it the year of magnificent manifestation as so many leaders prophesized? With little effort, did all of your dreams come true? If so, please invite me to your house for an one-on-one mentoring program because my 2015 was not what I expected at all. Never in my life have I fought such a battle against my own mind.

While I wanted to be painting my new hometown red, I felt more like I was sentenced to a self-inflicted house arrest. The year started with me totaling my brand new dream car and in turn loosing my exciting brand new job. What I was left with was a crappy lawyer, a little government assistance, an emotionally taxing relationship and an opportunity to get clear about God’s purpose for me and my life.

2015, I officially label you “The Year Of Clarity.” Much of this year I spent talking to my “faithful five.” And each of my closest friends were struggling at my side. From the labor of planning and executing a national music tour, to being a black man trying to find employment in a white man’s arena; from managing a 3-year-old who has trouble staying asleep, to breaking up with a lover and long term career; we have gone to the war room y’all and prayed each other through the thick of the thick.

So what are we left we besides our ever growing strength? CLARITY! I am so excited to launch into 2016 with a brand new vision for my life that will serve you and God instead of serving my own ego. My friends are entering this new year with assurance that they are on the right path, a focus on entrepreneurship, holistic healing plans and registrations in programs to start fulfilling new careers.

So, how was your 2015? Was it “The Year of Clarity” for you?

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My name is Shannon Elizabeth Murphy Braxton. If I had to choose a title, I would say I am a PICKY MUSE. A poet, a singer, a storyteller and a person who gets VERY pissed off at ignorance and injustice. I hate the word career. “She is at the peak of her career.””How is this job going to help your career?” “Shannon, you need to choose a career.”

TO HELL WITH CAREERS!

I am a freedom fighter, a person who lightens the mood, and someone who refuses to stay silent about things that matter. I spent a year interviewing children about the struggles they face and being the assistant producer of Childhood Matters Radio Show.

I spent several more years as the personal trainer to some of the most fabulous people in the world. And most importantly, I’ve spent my life trying to make sense out of nonsense and heal myself and the people around me with the transformative energy of love.

If you ask me, to live a life in COLOR should be the one and only career. I am excited to share some of my inspiration, and a little bit of my humor with others who are on this journey of creating a fabulous, colorful life.

I am thrilled to welcome Shan back to the blog to contribute whenever her schedule permits! She wrote and collaborated with me for a little over a year. It’s awesome to work with your bestie / sis.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy her honest and heartfelt writing as much as I do.