Celebrate Everyday Blessings

by Elaine Turner

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Have you ever thought about focusing your attention on the things in your life that come easily? As humans, we possess a negativity bias – we tend to focus on what’s hard, instead of focusing on what’s effortless.

It seems we are wired this way and it is a hard habit to break. You see, we are programmed for fight or flight so focusing on stress and negativity is a way to ensure our survival. However, we aren’t fleeing saber tooth tigers any longer; and the stressors affecting us today might not deserve the energy we give them.

I am the first to admit that I succumb to negativity bias. I am a warrior and a conqueror, always assessing what in my life needs fixing. Lately, I have been firmly planted in the “fix it” mode, and I’m realizing it’s not working for me any longer. I need to change.

I experienced a wake-up call the other day over lunch with a good friend. She was talking about something my son had done that meant a lot to her and she said, “Do you realize how compassionate and mature your son is?” Well, I nodded my head but deep down I felt pangs of guilt, as I am not sure I tell him often enough how much I appreciate his heart.

We can so easily fall into that place of taking something completely for granted because we are so focused on what to fix. I started to think about all the things Harrison has brought to our family — stability, strength, loyalty. I told her he had just spent seven days with his grandparents in Florida and how much fun he had. I contemplated how many 16-year old boys want to spend time in Florida with their grandparents and realized how lucky I am and how fortunate my parents are.

After they returned my mom wrote me a text that read, “E, we had a GREAT time! Harrison is a wonderful grandson. We feel so blessed that he would want to spend the week with us and is not completely bored by our company. Love you, Mom”. Well, after reading it, I smiled, giggled and quickly found myself in “fix-it” mode again. Now I know I should relish in this extraordinary blessing a little longer, and communicate gratitude for my son, and my parents for taking him to such a beautiful place.

So I’ve been reflecting on those things in everyday life that might seem insignificant but are little reminders of all that’s good in the world. What are some of the small things in your life that bring you joy? Here are some of mine:

  • My shower. I love my shower. It’s got just the right water pressure and it’s just the right size.
  • My hand soap. I have a particular brand of hand soap that I love! It’s called Savon De Marseille in the olive and lavender scent. I stock up on it so I am never out. Every time I wash my hands a smile runs across my face. The smell is so refreshing and clean.
  • My bed. OMG! I am a huge believer in splurging on the bed — the sheets, the duvet and the mattress. I am a Tempurpedic freak and every time I lie down I have faith in the universe once again.
  • My yoga pants. I confess, I am a Lulu junkie.
  • My books.
  • Fresh orchids. To me their beauty is unmatched, so I indulge.

And then, what about the people who are in your daily life but you might not know at a deep, intimate level, but their mere presence brings you comfort or makes your life just a wee-bit easier. For example, I have the most wonderful man named Jose who comes to my house twice a week to deliver dry cleaning. He’s always smiling and willing to help me or call and double check something. He consistently takes my calls if I can’t find something or he’ll swing back by if I really need an item.

Are we too busy fixing all the other shit in our lives to stop and think about the people who are helping us and making our lives easier?

I see a woman named Rachel every three weeks to get refills on my nails. Every time I arrive, she has a warm neck roll ready for me and a huge smile on her face. Rachel and I don’t talk much. I am not sure Rachel knows what I do for a living or if I have children. She seems to know that I need to decompress. Mostly we communicate without words, through our hearts. We connect via body language, facial expressions, gestures and energy. This can be vey powerful. I think about how lucky I am that she is a part of my life. After every appointment, we smile, hug and tell each other “I love you.” I know this might sound odd, but I do love her. She’s a blessing in my life that supports and nurtures me.

E's angel, the wonderful Wendy and kids.
E’s angel, the wonderful Wendy and kids.

Who are your support angels? Appreciating these types of people in your life creates more room for appreciating the key figures in your life. I have an incredible husband who supports and helps me and our family so much. I also have the most creative, wonderful design team. They are not just my employees but they are my friends. They inspire me every single day. They are a blessing in my life. I adore them. And, last but definitely not least, I have a super-human nanny named Wendy.

I literally pray every night and give thanks for Wendy. Wendy is like a rock. She is unruffled by my family’s daily challenges. She is there every single day ready take on whatever is at hand. She smiles all the time and giggles with me when the shit hits the fan. She offers compassionate advice on how to help Marlie. She is a fixture in our lives. Inevitably, when she does go on vacation, by day four, my children ask, “When is Wendy coming back?”

Here’s my point: start to turn your gaze towards all that’s working, all that’s good. If I’m not mistaken, the word in Sanskrit that describes this is drishti – wherever your attention goes, energy flows.

So, give it a try. Focus on the GOOD STUFF!


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Sara Eliason on the Visual Conversation of Color

Friends — Today on the blog I am delighted to feature color guru and interior designer Sara Eliason. Sara’s a color expert who has delivered a Tedx Talk about creating a better relationship with our environments.cropped headshot 2

In the Q&A below, she speaks of color as a visual conversation we are constantly engaged in, whether we know it or not. Her idea of elevating the home to altar status and adorning it as a show of love, gratitude and connection to the spirit really resonated with me. And don’t miss her thoughts on determining your signature color palette. It is sure to have you thinking hard about the hues to which you are naturally drawn.

What follows is a super interesting, in-depth dialog. As a fashion designer who also works with color, I find Sara’s message fascinating. This is a read so worthy of your time and attention, as I know you will enjoy Sara’s insightful take on color and environment.
XOXO, Elaine

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ET: What is your background and how did the interest in color and design emerge?

SE: My interest in color and design emerged in early childhood, possibly as far back as kindergarten. I have memories in early childhood of conversations around color – for instance I remember an argument that my mother and uncle had when I was about 5 or 6. My uncle was much younger that my mom and so was still a teenager at the time. He got ready to leave my grandmother’s house in a pair of red athletic shorts and a purple T shirt. My mom told him he couldn’t wear that because purple and red didn’t go together. This really struck a nerve for me, and I have honestly spent way too much of this lifetime considering if and how red and purple work together. I’m pretty sure I’ve worked that one out!

As a child I was obsessed with my surroundings and the little details that went into them. Years at school were spent considering the wall colors on the cinder blocks and thoughtfully considering what about them worked, and how they could be improved. I noticed spaces and the materials that made them and how lines and colors interacted, and by the latter half of grade school I was lending a hand at decorating for my mother’s friends when I was meant to be employed as a mother’s helper for the little ones. I had subscriptions to magazines like Victoria and spent my savings on decorating schemes for my bedroom.

By the time I got to high school, I knew my strength and interest was in the arts, but I wasn’t sure how to go about making that a living or a life. I was also torn between the love of art, design, fashion and hands-on work. I had dabbled in all of them and it was hard to know which one I loved most. Twenty years later, I’ve cultivated all of them really, and incorporate all of them into my work. I cannot live without nurturing all of those pursuits.

The initial foray into a career was not so much a matter of decision as a stroke of luck. In my early twenties, I had already spent several years working in banks and financial institutions and it was clear that spending days in a cubicle – no matter how well paid the position or how wonderful the colleagues, was not going to get me out of bed every morning. About two weeks after my first son was born, I needed a little escape from the house and I stumbled into a decorative painting store. They offered classes and sold materials and understood a great deal about finishes and materials from Europe and I was smitten. I took every class that  I could, and painted everything I could get my hands on, and then began teaching classes and taking the odd decorative painting job and before long I had a little business going. Read More