Starting as you mean to continue – gratitude in the morning

My Mum recently found an old Garfield toy of mine in her attic. I loved Garfield as a child – we both liked lasagne and hated mornings.

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July in New Zealand means dark winter mornings – getting up when it’s dark outside puts me out of kilter and can leave a cloud hanging over my whole day. Spring will come, but in the meantime, I’m open to strategies to beat the winter blues.

I found some inspiration in June’s Gratitude Circle posts – both Connie and Riley wrote of how they’ve benefited from starting their days with a simple gratitude practice. I resolved to give it a try with the hope of improving my morning mindset and outlook during the day.

How did I go?

Sadly, cure the winter blues it did not, but a few moments of gratitude before rising warmed my heart and has awoken an appreciation for my secure and abundant life.

Upon waking, I simply list the things I’m grateful for. A definite pattern emerged. Invariably, my first thoughts of thanks is for my snuggly, warm bed. As I contemplate getting out of my snuggly, warm bed I’m thankful that I live in a warm home, that I can afford to flick the heater on and enjoy a warm shower. A snore or snuffle from my husband or son turns my thoughts to my family and how grateful I am for their existence, their love, their support and their good health. As I consider the day ahead, I appreciate the freedom I have to plan my day, the choices and opportunities open to me and the level of self-determination that I exercise.

This simple practice, and its daily repetition, imbues me with a real sense of contentment. While I was safe, secure and free all along, I now feel safe, secure and free. Starting the day feeling this, and mindful that my family has all the necessities under control with no major worries or hardships, certainly brings a new perspective to my usual daily dramas.

I’m still no fan of mornings and I’m hanging out for spring, but a little gratitude in the morning makes each day a little brighter from the inside out. I intend to continue with it.

Thanks to Connie and Riley for the inspiration.

Are you a morning person? What morning routines do you use to set yourself up for the day?

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Thanks to sharing – old and new

This month I’ve been on a decluttering mission. I am playing The Minimalist Game, attempting to rid my home of 564 items in a month. One unexpected outcome of this mission – gratitude for the sharing economy.

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Thanks to the sharing economy

The sharing economy has come in for a bit of a backlash recently as community turns corporate, but I have a lot to thank it for this month.

Sorting through my home, I’ve experienced a range of feelings ­ guilt, overwhelm, joy, excitement. Undertaking this exercise has prompted me to search for ways of living with less. It has made me realise how grateful I am for the various ways that I can use and enjoy stuff without having to own it.

Old school sharing economy

While books and toys are often particularly difficult areas for people to declutter, they were relatively easy for me. I didn’t really have much book and toy clutter thanks to the stalwarts of the sharing economy – the library.

I love libraries. I have at various times worked as a librarian. To me, the library provides a world of possibilities. Through the library I can access virtually any book that I desire at no cost. Sure, I sometimes have to wait and I sometimes have to read faster than I’d Iike – but I don’t have to own anything.

I am also very grateful for our local toy library. It ensures my son gets to play with an ever-changing rotation of high quality toys. And, when he’s bored with them, they don’t hang around our house getting in the way – they go right back where they came from for other kids to enjoy. The wee guy loves his fortnightly trips to the toy library to return his toys and bring home some new ones. If you have young kids, I really recommend checking out if there is one near you.

New school sharing economy

Technology can create clutter but it can also help you clear clutter. I no longer need to hang on to those CDs and DVDs – if I want to listen to it or watch it I can stream it.

New school sharing really came into its own when I wanted to get rid of stuff. I realised that a barrier to decluttering was the guilt I felt about waste and my desire to find things a good new home. Sharing information through social media gave me a quick and easy way to do this. Through local and special-interest Facebook groups, my stuff is out of my house and with people who want it.

Decluttering this month playing The Miniminalist Game has taken a weight off my mind and loads out of my house. Thank you, sharing economy –I appreciate how you enable me to live more with less.

Are you trying to live more with less? What things do you share rather than own?

 This is my first post as part of the Gratitude Circle – expect more like this the 4th Thursday of every month.

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