Thursday, October 19, 2017





An Attitude of Gratitude

Connection with Self and Source,

with Relationships, Finding Wholeness & Grounding

Natalie I. Lancaster, Change Leader
(Written for Modern Widows Club Blog)


Brother David Steindl-Rast
I love being  able to share my life with so many lovely ladies that I would have never met except for loss. It is a strange feeling to realize we would not be who we are, and to some extent who we were born to be, if not for being widows together... It always makes me grateful that I get to be who I was born to be because I met YOU!
However, when I was asked to write the blog about Connection with Self and Source, w/ Relationships, Finding Wholeness and Grounding this week, I hesitated.  I have recently accepted a very exciting consulting job, and am literally driving around with my wardrobe and jewelry in the back a rental car (as a result of of some of our family impacts caused by Hurricane Harvey) ... so it's been a little crazy. A friend asked me how I was enjoying "living out of my car" and actually I can honestly say, I'm enjoying being a vagabond!


Change makes us grow when we have to live
outside our comfort zone and try new things.

It also keeps us grounded and grateful for all that we have.  I have found I can pray, walk, work, eat and sleep just about anywhere. Sharing dinner and pillows at different places has been very enriching. And I have also learned to appreciate all that I have in my own life, my family and friends, my home and this new, ever evolving single life.  

I am joyful.  I am blessed. I am grateful.

Having an Attitude of Gratitude has been my saving grace all my life. I do always try to see the silver lining in the clouds. I can see the hope that springs from chaos. I know the growth that comes in suffering. We have to pull and stretch, and reach up in order to grow. Gratitude keeps me focused, aligned and grounded.
I think one of the first things that "grounded" me after I lost Kevin was that life is fragile and should be lived out loud. I had always had a bit of this mindset, especially since I lost my boyfriend, Philip, at the tender age of 16, to suicide. He always encouraged me live a rich, full life. He truly taught me to live my life out loud and not to be afraid to try new things. I do challenge myself often. If I want to do something, but I’m a bit scared, I just make a deal with myself and push thru. At my first Texas Land Title Convention I made myself promise that I could not come back to my room until I had “met three new people and stayed at the reception for one hour.” I did it and I made it. This month, I am honored to be featured author as the “centerfold” article in the American Land Title Association's Magazine "Title News" on the Need for Change Management. I served as the chairman of the Education Committee for over 10 years. You really can make yourself do uncomfortable things and live through it. And it will be amazing!

After Kevin died, I became even more committed to living my life outloud!  I never ever wanted to have another ordinary day again. I want to live an extraordinary life and I struggle watching others do less...
"An attitude of gratitude means making it a habit
to express thankfulness and appreciation
in all parts of your life, on a regular basis,
for both the big and small things alike."

As a ballerina in my early years, I studied Martha Graham, an American modern dancer and choreographer, who danced for over seventy years changing forever ballet in America. She shared:

“There is vitality, a life force, energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.” Martha: The Life and Work of Martha Graham by Agnes De Mille.



Father Charles Shelton, Jesuit priest, psychologist, and the author of The Gratitude Factor, says that the choice to live gratefully can help to improve virtually every aspect of a person's life. "Gratitude gives depth to the experience of joy, and profound meaning to less desirable tasks -  by ‘re-framing’ both as important aspects of the life that one receives from God. Since it is oriented toward others, the experience of gratitude can especially deepen bonds with friends and family."

Andrew Merle from the Huffington Post shares:
Wake up every day and express to yourself what you are grateful for.  Here are a few ideas to get you started:
(My thoughts in parenthesis.)
Write down 3 things you are most grateful for daily.
(We have done this exercise for our Houston Chapters and I often share journals with our new members)
Start a gratitude journal - Express gratitude in this journal every night by noting the things that you are grateful for, proud of, and excited about.
(Next to my bed!)
Acknowledge yourself for what you have done and accomplished. Instead of comparing yourself to others, give yourself credit for the big and small things you have been doing!
(It's sooo important to have YOUR goals and visions ... you have to KNOW them to BEHOLD them!!)
Acknowledge other people and thank them for inspiring/helping/supporting you - oftentimes people wait their whole lives to be acknowledged
(I'm so delighted to have met all my lovely ladies!)
Every day won't be perfect,
but focusing on what we are grateful for
tends to wash away feelings of anger and negativity.



Connection with Self and Source, with Relationships, Finding Wholeness and Grounding is a part of developing your brand new life; a Grateful Life!

Andrew Merle from the Huffington Post recommends a daily ritual:
Wake up every day and express to yourself what you are grateful for.  
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
(My thoughts in parenthesis.)
Write down 3 things you are most grateful for daily.
(We have done this exercise for our Houston Chapters and I often share journals with our new members)
Start a gratitude journal - Express gratitude in this journal every night by noting the things that you are grateful for, proud of, and excited about.
(Next to my bed!)
Acknowledge yourself for what you have done and accomplished. Instead of comparing yourself to others, give yourself credit for the big and small things you have been doing!
(It's sooo important to have YOUR goals and visions ... you have to KNOW them to BEHOLD them!!)
Acknowledge other people and thank them for inspiring/helping/supporting you - oftentimes people wait their whole lives to be acknowledged
(I'm so delighted to have met all my lovely ladies!)

Every day won't be perfect,
but focusing on what we are grateful for
tends to wash away feelings of anger and negativity.

Like anything else, if you commit to it, it will lead you to living a fuller life and enjoying every second. To be able to develop mindfulness, purposefulness and to begin exploring all you were born to be, gratitude must be practiced. Even if you have a really bad, terrible, awful, no good sort of day, you can choose to find joy in a flower, a big, bright blue sky, a friend’s smile. It is there, all around us and we just need to stop, take a breath, look around and let it soak in.

We can lift ourselves, and others as well,
when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought
and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude.  


Thomas Monson

Always be grateful & enjoy every second!
Love always & Forever

Natalie



Natalie Lancaster
MWC Leader,  
Houston and NW Houston/Katy Chapters
Houston, TX
natalie@modernwidowsclub.com



Natalie I. Lancaster is the Region Leader of the Modern Widows Club Houston Chapters. She calls herself "the Texas Tornado" and plans to promote chapters across the southwestern region of the United States. Additionally, she is the Innovative Change Leader of Lancaster Leadership, Inc., offering professional change leadership focusing on communication, consulting & training as well as personal development and transformation. She shares her insights on life and love after loss on eNJoyEvery2nd!


Natalie I. Lancaster
Innovative Change Leader
Lancaster Leadership, Inc. 
Coaching@LancasterLeadership.net



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