With Love and Gratitude

A blessing a day keeps the doc away

7 Ways to Create an Abundance Garden

The art of emotional generosity starts with forgiveness.

Yale Digital Commons, Bardone
“You reap what you sow” was an often heard expression in our grandmother’s house.  This was even before we knew about the laws of attraction or the concept of abundance.  It was a simple statement of a woman who came from Italy, "the old country," when she was a young girl.  Her second favorite saying was this: “Never let the sun set on your anger.”

Today we might say that “a Nonna” inadvertently taught us about the law of karma, the secret to emotional generosity as a way to create abundance.  Karma suggests that choices we made in our past, in words and deeds, will return to us.  Fortunately we can start today to neutralize the past while laying a foundation for the future.  To create the type of energy that brings about emotional generosity, here are some simple tips -- although the most is difficult is forgiveness.

The Abundance Garden

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1. Forgive

Forgiveness is a challenge.  And often, we do not really want to forgive.  Sometimes, we even find it difficult to forgive ourselves and we walk around with feelings of gnawing anxiety.  Who is it that is the most difficult to forgive?  Look inside your heart and most often you will find that the person who is most difficult to forgive is the person you most love.

2. Forget the wrongs and focus on the rights

Shift your focus from feelings of anger or resentment or grudges -- it is your own health that is harmed. Instead write out three reasons that you were or still are attracted to the person who hurt you.  Those feelings of resentment are the roadblock that prevents you from receiving your good.

3. Learn the lesson of forgiveness

Mark Banschick, M.D, author of “The Intelligent Divorce,” recently wrote in Psychology Today: “Forgiveness is an awesome human power and it's worth understanding.”  While he doesn’t necessarily believe in forgetting, he does say that “if you learned something wise from forgiving someone, it is a good thing to remember how you came to learn the lesson that has proved so valuable.”  Will You Forgive?

4. Acknowledge your role 

Imagine the person whom you perceive has wronged you -- is it a boss, a neighbor, a relative, your lover or spouse? Write out one reason that you believe is why he or she may have hurt you.   

Then admit to yourself how you might have contributed to his or her decision to be unkind to you – even though it may be just a remote possibility.

5. Wish blessings

Focus on the person with whom you are angry, the person whom you feel wronged you. Wish blessings by writing a list so that you can see that you are wishing that person or persons calm, loving moments. Wish peace. Wish happiness. Wish good fortune.  Wish money. The good thoughts you send to others are returned to you.

6. Compliment others

An easy way to plant an abundance garden is to start by complimenting others.  How often do you see someone who looks really good but you decide, “Why give them the satisfaction?” of telling them.  Give them the satisfaction; it will make them feel good and you as well.

7. Express gratitude

We can express gratitude by writing thank you notes, making gratitude visits especially to the elderly, putting the words “thank you” into our vocabulary, volunteering our time. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at University of California at Davis, reminded me during an interview last year:

"Gratitude is an attitude, not a feeling that can be easily willed." Even if you are not satisfied with your life as it is today, he pointed out, "if you go through grateful motions, the emotion of gratitude should be triggered. It is like improving your posture and as a result becoming more energetic and self-confident." Let Gratitude Bring Back Your Smile

Feeding and weeding “The Abundance Garden

The abundance garden is filled with forgiveness, blessings, compliments, thank you notes, support of others, and general expressions of gratitude involving words and visits.  And remember that it should be weeded daily. 

Watch out for the weeds of criticism, snide remarks, or unkind words about to slip from your tongue. Be mindful of the silent treatment or need to get even.  Once you break the resentment bond, you open up a space in your heart. The universe will respond by filling that empty place with blessings -- setting the stage for the emotional generosity that attracts abundance.

(Adapted from a book in progress)

Copyright Rita Watson/ All Rights Reserved 

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Rita Watson, MPH, is an Associate Fellow at Yale's Ezra Stiles College and a columnist for The Providence Journal.

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