Motivation Monday with Brittany: As this is my last post of the year I wanted to make sure that it was just right, and conversations and happenings the past few days have really helped mold this post into a whole piece. An easy route would be to talk about resolutions and goal settings, but that’s not really where I find myself. Don’t get me wrong I have things I want for the next year, but I have a different approach. I have ideas of travel and this is the year I will reach 15% (notice I didn’t say try or give a date. It will happen at some points, an affirmation that I already feel), but I can’t solely focus on this. We feel like when we reach these goals and aspirations then we’ll be happy or something life-changing will happen when we do. The truth is we are going to be the same person unless we change our thoughts. Why can’t I be happy and healthy today? If I tell myself this, then who’s to say otherwise? I find that it shouldn’t just be a year thing. We shouldn’t just wait to the beginning of a new year to decide to work on ourselves, but a daily thing. In talking with my father yesterday, this really became prevalent. This year I am not going to eat sugar. Each day he’ll wake up and tell himself this. If he does eat sugar then he’ll wake up the next day and tell himself: today I will not eat sugar. What happened yesterday and what may happen or what we wish will happen tomorrow is really irrelevant, when all we have is today. This leads to last week. A wonderful family, The Brentlinger’s lost their matriarch figure. In addition to this we have learned that my mother’s cousin Ooch’s (Tim is his name, but nobody calls him that, I initially didn’t know who she was talking about) condition has worsened. Not to mention that the last several years we have lost someone in the family. This post isn’t about dying, however, rather in living. Talking with my grandmother and Aunt Marti the next day; I told them each morning and night I pray for thanks. Marti made a terrific point, that each morning it’s about rising and living each day like you’re thankful (not necessarily like it’s you’re last, but with eyes of appreciation). Wow, how right she is. It went right along with my little gifts to everyone, I gave a picture and little note of thanks for them being in my life. Although I may not see them all the time and I would spend younger holidays looking around thinking that these people were complete strangers to me. This year with my year of spiritual growth, I saw them all with new eyes. A force in my life that form the memories of my childhood, my blood the same as theirs. They are an inherent part of me and in the conditioning that has brought me to this point of contention in life. Just this little picture can spark a memory, a happy time; where I can talk to my cousins in new light of things past. It touches my heart to listen to them talking about the moment. It’s amazing how a song or a picture can take you back to a time and place. Listening to the Eli Young Band instantly takes me back to Pikes Peak, singing and dancing my way up that mountain before pushing through the hailstorm to be rewarded with a double rainbow and astounding views. Pictures do the same. I come from a family of picture takers and my grandfather’s prayer said to look at pictures and think of past times and to appreciate one another. Tabitha I gave a memory jar for Christmas so each day she can pull a picture and memory. I know I said that today is what matters, but sometimes in recollecting a memory, I am reminded of someone or some event that has put me where I am, and thus places me right back in that mode of thankfulness. Looking around on Christmas Eve it is like I truly see everyone for the first time (like I hadn’t had my contacts in before, or maybe only one, something I am notorious for). Things that wou.d have driven me crazy before, make me love them even more. Ali is complaining during a card game that Bailey ruined or her best hand or AJ saying that Uncle Jimmy has lost it or my sister’s slightly toasted confessions. I’m not annoyed, I was young once. I’m not going to judge her, how lucky am I to have her here playing euchre with me? my cousin Trevor is going to harass and tease us all (at least these days he’s getting on Jenna about being a lesbian), but I wouldn’t have it any other way. What are we going to sit around hugging and telling each other how much we love one another (I have a feeling that our hugs would be those awkward Step Brothers ones)? These little quips or seeming imperfections are what make each of us and we all have them. So rather than bitch about them embrace them. I find I challenge myself with this all the time now. Something that would have driven me crazy before I stop the thought and change it to one of love and appreciation for what is. Like my man Thoreau says: It is never too late to give up our prejudices and like Dr. Dyer says: You’re the only person responsible for the decision to generate a vibrational match to your desire to be seen as a kind human being, and you can begin to notice when you feel out of sync with that desire: You can cancel an unkind thought in midstream and in an instant decide to be harmonious. You can stop yourself at the moment you’re cursing somebody and elevate your thoughts to kindness. True recognition of my own growth was this past week when a gentlemen pulled out of me and I held of my hand in prep for a not-so-nice gesture, but retracted it and instead sent thoughts of love and happy holidays. It’s never too late to change your thoughts. Each day, each hour, each minute, each second is an opportunity to work on yourself. To tell yourself that you will be good with your eating and nourishing yourself, with loving others, in living with appreciation. To tell yourself that you’re beautiful and perfect, to tell yourself that you love yourself (it’s not vanity, you can’t express these to others if you don’t see them in yourself) Today is what you have, don’t think of what you don’t have or what you think is missing. When I look around now I see that I have so much, how could I ever want anything more. Dr. Dyer again: You’re not what you have and you’re not what you do; you’re an infinite, divine being disguised as a successful person who has accumulated a certain amount of stuff. The stuff is not you. Give love and compliments not vanity. My father telling me he was proud of me this Christmas and that he appreciated me meant more to me than any material gift I got. Going around the table on Christmas and telling each that we loved one another I will remember more than the food we were praying for. My sister may have jested that I write letters all the time, but I am trying to express myself. It is far better to let others know how you think than to keep it in your heart and lose someone without them ever truly knowing (in times of loss this should especially be more prevalent). Compliment and love, regardless of what others have to say, because it’s better than making assumptions (Four Agreements: don’t take anything personally). this is it. This is my state of mind as 2011 ends and we look to 2012: BE today and live each day like you are thankful. Be yourself and love. Live life today instead of in a day already gone or a day that may never come. If you’re always searching you’ll miss the opportunity that faces you now. The journey is the best part and once you finally reach your ‘goals’ you oftne in a different place than you had imagined. Just embrace each day and follow your instincts. Cheers to BEING happy, healthy, and thankful in 2012! I’m so grateful to those in our Body Change family and those who support our family.