The Joy Of Service

When our Love
watches the morning’s birth,
allows a child to “be,”
touches a forgotten soul,
bakes a carrot cake,
we will know Joy.

When our Love
honors the other,
helps the helpless,
celebrates the birthing,
comforts the dying,
we will know Joy.

When our Love
plants roses,
shares our fullness,
writes a poem,
dreams a hope,
we will know Joy.

When our love dances with another,
sings to the angels,
whispers to a Beloved,
kneels in thanksgiving,
we will know Joy.

Joy is our birthright;
love is our purpose;
holiness is
God’s Light in us.

May our Joy be
as deep as the ocean;
our Love
as warm as the sun;
our Light
as radiant as the stars.

Donna F. Fletcher
Reflections of the Heart

A Masterpiece

“The potter sits at the potting wheel, studying the formless lump of clay, waiting for inspiration. After a time, as he puts his hands into the clay, the clay begins to take shape. In working and reworking the clay, a rounded vessel takes form. As he concentrates on the new creation, making it beautiful as its symmetry and balance take form, the potter’s hands of love bring forth a unique and treasured expression of love. The potter has worked a part of his essence into the new creation.

In the same way, a piece of ordinary wood in the hands of Stradivarius became a work of art to be treasured through centuries. His violins have thrilled those who have heard them, and just as the violin strings were strummed, so were the heartstrings. Stradivarius was an intellectual genius, but his love brought forth these precious treasures.

Who am I? Who are you? We are masterpieces, created by the Master from His Love.”

— Donna F. Fletcher
Reflections of the Heart

Puppies Are Easy To Love

It’s so easy to appreciate beauty, to appreciate something that you are attracted to, or that you like without any consideration. Puppies are so cute and so easy to love. There’s no forward movement in this. This is the way that people who feel bad a good deal of the time find appreciation. I challenge you to find a better way of life than that.

The way to do that is to find something—even one little thing—to appreciate about every single person you see or interact with. I have practiced this enough to know that there is always something to appreciate in another. They may be so traditionally ugly that you are repulsed initially, but if you look further, you will find something to appreciate. Just like in the graffiti example, it is easy to hate graffiti, especially gang-style graffiti, but in going further, there is something to appreciate.

No matter what it is, there is something in it to appreciate. You could think of the worst events in human history and there are things within them to appreciate. Another way to look at appreciation is that there are benefits in so-called tragedies. Some use the phrase, there is always a silver lining. I believe that is true. It is only that so often we are focused on seeing what is bad about it, feeling bad about it, and the Law of Attraction is never-failing and will help you with more things about that and other things to feel bad about and find fault in. We become blinded to the good within, and the benefits it brings.

Once you can accept this premise that I have found through experience to be true, a whole new world opens up to you where you do not see things as you used to see them. You will no longer look on so-called tragedies, or bad events as all negative. You will begin looking for what is good and right about it, and if you can’t see it immediately, you can imagine what could be right and good about it. As you practice the premise that there is good in it, you will find good in it. What you focus on draws the energy needed to see. The Law of Attraction is also at work and never-failing here as it does in anything you focus on regardless of how it feels to you. Look for and find good things to see, and the Law of Attraction will help you find more good things to see. That is how the Law of Attraction works—things that are like unto itself are drawn. It matters not what they are. We get to choose our focus every time. No one can focus for us or choose for us without our full permission.

In every situation, in every moment, we have the choice to choose to feel good or not. We have the choice to find something to appreciate or not. We have the choice to be a grateful person or not. The world does not drive us. That is like the tail wagging the dog. We either choose to or choose not to. We make our choices consciously or unconsciously they are made for us. Either way is a choice.

I choose appreciation. I choose to be a grateful person. I choose to be thankful. I choose joy. I choose to feel good.

Illumined Love

Touched by Divine Love

My heart felt
an emptiness;
a strange sadness
at the deepest level,
I was an observer
on the side lines,
watching the years
of my life
pass by.

No amount of things
or doings
satisfied me.
Was this
all there is?

And then,
a miracle opened me
to wondrous possibilities.
In one holy moment
never to be forgotten,
divine illumined love
touched my heart.
As it passed through my heart
into my world
light permeated my being,
turning my world
into radiance;
into miracle.

For one shining moment
I knew.
This is it–all there is.
To love with God's Love.

Oh, please, God
touch my heart again.

— Donna F. Fletcher
Reflections of the Heart

Appreciation Is Feeling Good

Appreciation is to feel good. Having gratitude is to feel good. Being thankful is to feel good. One could also say that to feel good is to appreciate, have gratitude, and to be thankful. An even better way to say it is that if one wants to become a grateful person, to be a thankful person, to be a person who appreciates, having the desire to feel good is the most helpful aid. Since they go hand in hand, in the practice of gratitude, either way, works to get the juices flowing so to speak. It helps to realize and adopt the idea that feeling good is the goal, that feeling good is very important, and that it is most helpful to make feeling good a priority in our lives.

If one looks at the world and much of the communication within the world, it would be easy to come to the conclusion that it is more about feeling bad than good. It seems that the ideal is feeling good, but that there are so many barriers to the actual achievement of that ideal. It seems to be more about fear. What’s going to happen, what could happen, what shouldn’t happen, who’s to blame, a list of things that are wrong. The newspaper and other news media should about what is going wrong, what is not right, who’s to blame, and so much more. It is pervasive, and because of that, it is easy to believe that this is the norm.

There is not the norm. There is what you decide to pay attention to and what not to pay attention to. Pay attention to the news and it is quite a serious challenge to feel good in spite of the news. Feeling bad is not a requirement. You could live a life and never feel bad if you decided to. Just because others are choosing it on purpose or without the least thought, doesn’t mean that we need to choose it as well. It wouldn’t matter if 99% of the people were choosing that. We get to choose for ourselves when we give ourselves permission to do so. And, it is only ourselves who can give us that permission. We always choose; albeit, it may be without intention or knowing better.

Nothing is more important then, if you want to feel good, than deciding that feeling good is of high importance to you. Nothing. And, once again, it is always your choice to feel good or to not feel good.

Once the decision to feel good is made, appreciation, gratitude, and thankfulness are a given. One feeds the other. When you decide to feel good, you will find ways to feel good, and when you appreciate something, you will feel good. There can be no appreciation, gratitude, or thankfulness without feeling good. There is no such things as appreciating something or someone and feeling bad as a result. It cannot be. They are not compatible vibrations. They are out of harmony with each other. They are out of alignment with your inner knowing.

Who Am I?

When you ask,
“Who am I, Lord?”
God answers, “You are
more than this face, these hands,
this body,
more than your feelings,
your laughter and your tears,
your joy and your pain,
more than your thinking,
your beliefs, your planning,
more than your doing,
working, making,
more than your past,
your parents, your circumstances
more than you titles
father, mother, child
doctor, friend.
You are more than
your anger, fears,
failures or doubts.
You are more than your successes
wealth or fame.
One moment you are this,
another moment that.
One moment happy, one moment sad,
one moment empty, one moment filled.
Like the clouds, you are ever changing.
You are a kaleidoscope, each moment
rearranging the colors of your being.
You are a many-faceted splendor.
You are a beautiful Gift of Life;
a radiance of God’s Light.
In Truth
you are of the Lord.
You are wise, you are beautiful,
you are kind,
you are a fountain
fed by the ‘living waters.’
You are God’s Love.”

— Donna F. Fletcher
Reflections of the Heart

Practice Makes Good Better

People are complicated. They have many facets, do strange things sometimes, and in so many, their ego leads their life. Nature is easy. That’s where I started in my appreciation practice. I began appreciating plants, trees, leaves, bushes, weather, the sky, the air, the temperature, the breeze, the small close-up view, and the grander wide-angle long views. It was easy and I felt so good expressing my appreciation in my mind. I was thanking God for all of what I was seeing.

Everywhere I went, whether just outside my home or in some other part of the world, nature was right there. As I would appreciate one thing, then I found it easier to appreciate another. As that happened, the Law of Attraction began putting other things to appreciate in my path until I was almost in a constant state of appreciation as I viewed nature.

Then I moved to people. In this, I would try to find at least one thing to appreciate about everyone that I might see, or interact with. I might like their eyes, their hair, the clothes they chose, or their shoes, or their smile, or their laughter. There are so many possibilities that I found it an easy challenge to like at least one thing about other people.

As part of this, I began seeing things about myself that I could appreciate. As I said earlier, to appreciate others and not ourselves is to not really appreciate at all. Then, the Law of Attraction began helping me see other things to appreciate about me. It might be things I said or wrote. It might be the way my hair looked that day. I began complimenting myself in the mirror. Then I began doing it aloud. I do it more today because it is so important to appreciate ourselves. After all, we are who we live with 365/24/7.

Then, I began practicing being bold enough to share something that I appreciated about another to them aloud. It is always interesting to hear and see their responses. It’s also funny. I might compliment a woman on her blouse or other aspects of their choices in clothing, and they will often say thank you, and then tell me how cheap it was and maybe even which store it came from as if they are negating its value by having it be inexpensive. But, whatever their reaction, it has always been positive and you can see how they appreciated someone noticing in their eyes, face, and body language.

Now I do this a lot. If I see the same people time and again like at the bank or something, I can always find something else to compliment them on. My finding things to appreciate is now habitual. I don’t even think about it much. I am used to seeing things to appreciate wherever I am, all day long. It matters not whether I am at home and finding things, or out and about, or at events. I am constantly seeing things to appreciate and I am constantly appreciating them inside.

Even when I see something that I don’t really appreciate, I find things about it that I can appreciate. For example, I’m not much of a fan of graffiti, or at least the kind of graffiti I see around where I live, but I can and do appreciate their creativity. I don’t appreciate that they are damaging other people’s property, or that they are uncaring about any of that, but I can appreciate their humanity and perhaps even that which causes them to feel less than and to try to be more than in an attempt to find their own wholeness.

On that note about graffiti, I see it and quickly look away. I don’t want to give it any energy. I used to give it all kinds of energy by putting down those who were doing these acts and feeling bad in the process. I have learned that feeling good is my goal and it is that which helps me to become more, so I turn to a better feeling view and give that energy instead. Even in this, it is all about finding something to appreciate.

On the other hand, the word graffiti simply means writing or drawing on a wall or other object. In some definitions, they use the word illicit. So, there are all kinds of graffiti that I truly appreciate, and some of it is quite spectacular as art. Even as I sit at the railroad crossing and see all the cars with graffiti on them, I see many with very elaborate painted words and images. Obviously, they had more time to spend on that project, but looking beyond the idea of changing other people’s property without their permission, much of this artwork is truly creative and even beautiful.

Then, outdoor murals can be considered graffiti. There are all kinds of ways to find appreciation in something that we may normally hate to see or even feel angry about and more. Becoming a grateful person is finding different ways to appreciate things, and I think even especially things, that we might not normally appreciate. It is life-changing—changing for the better.

Wisdom

Walking in the forest,
I gaze in wonder
at the giant redwoods,
stately,
mighty,
beautiful.
How did you grow so
from seedling
to magnificence?

They spoke to me,
“We learned from life.
The winds
taught us to bend,
the storms
to deepen our roots,
the drought
to endure.

We were given
sunlight for nurture,
Holy water for drink,
one another for sharing,
and time to live
the fullness.

Through the ages
of our life
we learned
joy in being,
thanksgiving for
receiving,
reverence from
seeing,
and love by
knowing.”

— Donna F Fletcher
Reflections of the Heart

Gratitude as a philosophy

We can turn our gratitude into our philosophy. In other words, to change our lives, all we need do is change our thinking. Philosophy is essentially what you know, and I would have to add, what you think and thereby feel about what you know. It might be a combination of beliefs, and a belief is simply a thought we keep thinking, until we decide to think something else over and over again, changing our belief to something else. So, refining a philosophy is as simple as changing your thoughts about something, or someone. And, the word refining means to me to make it more clear, or to make it better, or to make it feel better—to be more in alignment or to resonate more within.

As I said in the Introduction, I have not ordered these chapters by priority of learning, effectiveness, or when they came into my life, but If I were to put them in order of importance to improving my life, learning to be a grateful person, an appreciative person, and sharing that appreciation with others would be at the top of the list. In fact, I would have to say that learning to appreciate, to be grateful, didn’t just change my life for the better, it TRANSFORMED it. If I were giving advice on how to live a full and valuable life, one with more joy, I would advise that beginning to appreciate things and people, and then practicing it daily, that this one thing would be enough. If you only read this far, and took this chapter to heart and put it into practice in your life, it would be impossible for you to not have a joyful life. Yes, it is that powerful and life-giving.

As part of this, here’s an important point to add. Finding things and people to appreciate is key, but it might not occur to you to also find things and attributes within yourself that you can appreciate and then practice appreciating yourself along with the outer world around you. To appreciate others and things outside of us and to miss including ourselves is to put others on a pedestal and put ourselves in a pit. This is what most mean in the word worship—to see the other as superior in one or more ways. It is discounting ourselves, and it is not healthy.

To appreciate is to appreciate the differences. We are all different. We all have unique talents. One is not more or better than another’s, though many things try to indicate that via games, magazines, television, and more. To really appreciate is to appreciate them as we revel in ourselves. To really appreciate is to see all of us as children of God, or as connected souls in the Universe. It is to appreciate that without ourselves, while not discounting ourselves in the process.

They say that you cannot love another until you love yourself, but that is not true. People love others and not themselves all the time. It is predominant in our lives. What is true is that this love we think we are giving others is an ego-driven act that makes that thing that we think of as love to be something else entirely. Love and appreciation are a vibrational match. They are harmonious. When we can appreciate and love ourselves and at the same time love, appreciate, and respect others for their uniqueness, we are both complete. We cannot make others a plus while we view ourselves as a minus and call it appreciation.

What is gratitude?

What is gratitude exactly? Well, I think it is something as simple as what we see and then what we think when we see it. That doesn’t only mean with our physical eyes, but also in our mind’s eye; our imagination. I will have to add to this simple definition that as a result of what we see and what we think about what we see (or imagine), we will feel good.

Then, bringing this down to the most basic level possible, gratitude is a good feeling about someone or something, or even more simply, feeling good, or to feel good.

There are all sorts of levels for gratitude, just as there is all manner of ways good might feel. Feeling good might feel like love or joy, or knowing, freedom, appreciation, feeling empowered. You could also feel contentment, confidence, passion, enthusiasm, eagerness, or feeling happy. I don’t think you would feel any of those feelings without gratitude.

Another easy way to see gratitude is in being thankful. You could be thankful for something within yourself, or something outside of yourself.

My favorite way to think about gratitude is appreciation. When I am appreciating, I am in thankfulness, and I am in gratitude. So, rather than gratitude, a word that has become iconic of late, I prefer to use a word that is more descriptive of the act: appreciation.

And because it is more descriptive of the act, sometimes people want to know how to have more gratitude, or how to become a more grateful person. This makes it so simple and easy: begin to appreciate things, acts, people, flora and fauna, well, pretty much anything. The act of appreciating is being thankful. It is being grateful. As this occurs, one naturally becomes a grateful person.

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