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The 10 greatest gifts I have received in 50 something years

The 10 greatest gifts I have received in 50 something years

Time goes by in the blink of an eye. That is the one thing I know for certain. It seems like only yesterday that I was a teenager, then an adult, and now here I am, in my fifties. I have had so many incredible experiences to date; some brilliant, exciting, overwhelming, even joyous and uplifting. Then there’s been some experiences that have been challenging, devastating, and really confronting.

However, as I look back over the years, every single experience has gifted me in some way. Often, it can be challenging to find the gift in a difficult situation, but I can assure you, there is always a gift. It is always your responsibility to find the positive, beautiful, and inspiring present that is waiting to be unwrapped.

As we mature, we are often asked the following questions:

Would you go back and change anything?

Is there anything in your past that you would do differently?

Personally, I wouldn’t change a thing. Every piece of my past has enriched my life in some way. Every person who has come into my life has taught me something valuable.There have been no wrong choices – just lessons and gifts.

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These are my 10 greatest gifts to date.

1. Manners

Times have changed, there is no denying that, but has society managed to keep up, in regards to manners? My parents instilled in us the importance of good manners, courtesy, respect for others, and most importantly, treating others as you wish to be treated. This gift from my parents has been one of my greatest gifts to date. YES, it is the gift that just keeps giving.

In business, showcasing proper business etiquette says a lot about you as a leader. As a person, and in regards to everyday life, good manners show your true essence and character. Manners can help you strengthen relationships, as well as change your life and the lives of so many around you.

2. Childlike energy

As kids, we were encouraged to have fun, play outside, and enjoy life. I never had a care in the world as a child. It was easy to create, imagine, and quite literally experience real freedom. My father (who is almost 90 years of age) to this day has still retained his love of fun, play, and sense of childlike energy. I have watched him with his great grandchildren, and I am sure that they think he is the same age as they are.

Having real fun can improve relationships. It can inspire us to be more creative and it can really help to reduce stress levels. Most of us are so burdened with commitments that we rarely stop and have fun. Somewhere in between being a kid and then being an adult, we forget how to play.

Don’t lose your childlike energy. Get outside, play more, and have fun. Laugh, dance, sing, be silly. Not only will it benefit your wellness, it will also keep you feeling young.

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3. Family

There is an old saying, “You don’t get to pick your family”; but maybe (just maybe) we do.

Do we choose our parents before we are born to master certain life lessons? Patience, commitment, connection, tolerance, pure love – these are all life lessons my family has gifted to me. Family is always there, whether you need them or not. I treasure the gift of my family most of all.

4. Soul family

If you are really blessed, at some point in your life, the universe will gift you with finding your soul family. This year, I met my soul family. From one chance meeting that led to a gathering of like-minded souls, I realized that I had finally found my soul family.

Your soul family is the spiritual equivalent to your birth family here on Earth. When you meet your soul family and feel surrounded by kindred spirits, you will really notice that your heart and your soul can heal and regenerate.

5. Peace

I began meditating over 10 years ago. Meditation changed my life. It gifted me with real inner peace. It has provided me with the most priceless sense of well-being, as well as a clearness and clarity that has quite literally opened up a whole new world.

6. Setbacks and challenges

I don’t think anyone travels through life without experiencing setbacks and hard times. You can let your challenges knock you down or you can choose to let them be your greatest opportunity for growth. Life doesn’t always get easier, but we can always get stronger and more resilient. In turn, this gifts us with strength. Real strength is in your soul.

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7. Self-belief

It is our birth right to have a healthy amount of self-worth and self-belief. It is the foundation for success. Believe that you can, and you are half way there. Self-belief has gifted me with opportunities and priceless experiences. It has allowed me to connect with the most amazing people worldwide.

In a society where we tend to put older people out to pasture and overlook their experience and wisdom, self-belief has gifted me with the determination to live a full life. If I let society take away my ability to share my life experiences to date, quite simply because of the number on my birth certificate, I would only be living half a life.

8. Loss

The passing of some of my precious family members and also my dearest friends has gifted me with the following:

Life is short, live it.

Your life can change in a heartbeat. Love it.

The people you love might be taken away from you, but their memory stays locked In your heart forever.

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9. Love

There is no greater gift than love. Whether that love comes from heart-to-heart connections with partners, children, friends, or pets, love is the greatest gift of all

10. A new day

Every new day is a gift. It’s a gift denied to so many. A new day is a new beginning and another chance to change your life for the better.

Conclusion

In my fifty something years, I have come to believe there is a gift in everything.

Life is the greatest and most precious gift of all.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Jo Ettles

Jo Ettles is a published self help author, international writer, speaker and extremely gifted intuitive life coach.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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