851st Week: Sharing Smiles, Offering Appreciation

851st Week: Sharing Smiles, Offering Appreciation

Sitting in Central Park on a Saturday morning, a couple walked by with two adorable small dogs. One was on a leash and the other ran free. One member of the couple needed to walk back to see if she had dropped something and, as she returned, the dog on the leash saw her and began to excitedly wiggle and run toward her. What I noticed were her smile and delight in greeting the dog and it reminded me of the power of appreciation shared with a smile.

There’s a concept called “heightening”, offered by David Spangler, a spiritual teacher and guide. What the word addresses is the natural response of “coming to life” and becoming more energized when we feel seen, acknowledged, appreciated, and celebrated. Watching the dog brought to mind the inflow of life energy that is naturally experienced when we offer and are offered delight in someone or something else.

This brings to mind a practice I’d like to invite you to play with this week. As you move through your regular daily routines, take a moment when appropriate to offer appreciation and a smile to the people you encounter, as well as to the other-than-human lifeforms you engage along the way. Remember to include as much of the world around you as you can and then notice the quality and tone of your inner experience as you do. Not only will you be “heightening” the enlivened experience of everything around you, but expressing appreciation will tend to heighten the enlivened experience within you, as well.

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674th Week:  Cultivating Gratitude for Greater Well-Being

674th Week: Cultivating Gratitude for Greater Well-Being

Brain research offers many new insights into the impact of our everyday attitudes and ways of being affect us as we move through our daily lives. Recently, I heard an interview on NPR where a neuroscientist talked about recent research in gratitude and its effects on neurotransmitters. The upshot of the interview was that focusing on gratitude automatically generates increased dopamine and serotonin. Both of these neurotransmitters are part of our “feel good” chemistry.

What was both intriguing and encouraging about the information offered in the interview was that it didn’t take an enormous amount of effort to elicit this neurochemical change in the brain. It got me to thinking about… Read More “674th Week: Cultivating Gratitude for Greater Well-Being”