Category Archives: Gratitude

What Is Happiness?


Several years ago now I attended a global healing conference in Bali, Indonesia.  One of the speakers was the Finance Minister from Bhutan.  He spoke about Bhutan’s GNH or Gross National Happiness Index versus the Gross National Product/Gross Domestic Product we have based on an entirely different paradigm/frame of reference.

In this mostly Buddhist country you will see a series of hand-painted signs doting the side of the winding mountain road that runs between the airport and the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu. Instead of commands to cut speed or check mirrors, they offer the traveler a series of life-affirming mantras. “Life is a journey! Complete it!” says one, while another urges drivers to, “Let nature be your guide”. Another, standing on the edge of a perilous curve, simply says: “Inconvenience regretted.”

The Finance Minister told us that since 1971, Bhutan has rejected GDP as the only way to measure progress. In its place, it has championed a new approach to development, which measures prosperity through formal principles of gross national happiness (GNH) and the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of its citizens and natural environment.  

In other words there is a belief that well being should take preference over material growth.  As our world collapses under the breakdown of financial systems, social injustice and wide-scale environmental destruction and degradation we may need to take this way of perceiving life under serious consideration!  In fact, let it be the operating system from which we live our lives!!

What is happiness anyway?  I could go on for pages and philosophize about the answer to this question, but when it comes right down to it everyone finds the answer within themselves and in everyday lift moments.  

So, I won’t go on for pages, but instead am giving you a video to watch that I would like to encourage you to share with many others.  After watching it (and wiping the tears away – have kleenex ready) perhaps you will be inspired to do a similar practice.  We couldn’t see the people on the other end of the phone, but I bet they were just as similarly affected as those we could see.
Would love your comments on this one!  Especially if you try it out….




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Imagining a Year Ahead

Dear Gaye,

A bright and beautiful New Year to you! May 2012 bring huge rewards for you, under grace and in perfect ways.

Now that the darkest period of the year is past (we’ve already gained more than 6 minutes of light since the 21st of December!) we tend to look ahead and wonder what the year will bring.

How will 2012 be different to 2011? What gifts will we choose to give and receive? With all the hype surrounding the Mayan Calendar, I thought I would put in my two cents worth and say that, in my opinion, everything will be just fine. It’s all about choices and we can choose whatever timeline we wish to progress along. Whatever anyone says, it’s never too late to change from the dark to the light.

So far as I know the Mayan Calendar did not predict this year would see the end of the world. It simply stated that the alignment on 12/12/2012 would mark an End Time, a transition. Transitions are often accompanied by challenge and we are already seeing the challenges of our transition each and every day in the world around us, but there is nothing to fear when we choose a clear path.

I’d like to open out the image you talked about last time, that we/Earth might simply be a cell in a huge universal brain. We might indeed. In fact, the whole of our universe might simply be a single cell in a vast, inconceivably huge brain. Our universe looks remarkably like a brain cell.

The other side of that coin is that there might indeed be whole universes of existence within each one of our trillions of cells. We’re all 95% hollow. So if we go “in” far enough, seeking out what lies in the spaces between, we may find universes, galaxies, solar systems contained within!

It’s really up to us, what we find there. What do we imagine we are?

Millions of years ago an amoeba decided to split into two, imagining itself into an entirely new existence. That process has been going on ever since. Each jump in evolution is accompanied by a BIG imaginative leap, whether it be a fish imagining a life out of water so that it becomes a frog, or a lizard imagining a life off the ground and then growing wings etc.

Imagination is perhaps the most powerful tool at our command – and we each of us have it by the bucket load. We’re jammed, crammed and full of imagination, each of us in every one of our cells.

So, as 2012 dawns, I am sitting down to write an “Imagine It” list. It includes all the elements I wish this year to bring. Writing them all down helps me, because I think about them in a different way and they become “real” in a different way too.

I won’t imagine HOW the things can happen (not yet). I’ll simply let the mind finger its way around possibilities. Any that put a smile on my face go on the list. That’s my litmus test.

I believe 2012 can be a year of huge progress for us all, both as individuals and as a race. It can be a year of light, love and compassion, if we choose for it to be so.

I imagine it already is.

With very best wishes for a wonder-full year ahead!



Rewiring The Receiving Circuits – The Law of Giving & Receiving

Part of Natural Wealth to me is being able to receive attention, recognition, gifts, money, love, support, and mentoring from others, nature – and the universe for that matter –  with grace and openness.  If this is indeed true, then I almost failed that particular Natural Wealth test last week.

Some of us are hard wired for giving, which is good if in balance with the ability to receive.  Did you ever think that there was a “receiving limit”, that when reached could result in all manner of stories being created to sabotage wealth in all of its forms that naturally want to flow towards you?

Well, I promised to tell you this tale last post, so briefly here it is.  After putting an ad on an internet based “want ads” called Craig’s list for the home sanctuary that I am looking for in Austin, I received a reply from a real estate agent associated with a high end agency there.  His e-mail was warm and inviting towards helping me to find what I wanted.  As I am not into buying property there at this time, I informed him of such in my response back to him.

After several e-mails back and forth I realized that this man was really there to help me gratis by sending me listings of rentals in the areas that I wanted, driving my friend in Austin to view properties for me, and even negotiating on my behalf when I found something that I wanted.

After a few days I was pleased to realize that I was opening nicely to receiving this help (yet another sign for me that I am on the right path) and knew that once I moved to the area and started networking that I certainly would refer people his way that were looking to buy (by the way, he never asked for this).

Then I hit the “receiving wall” after I decided that I wanted to see a picture of this agent – I am very visual and it helps me to connect to know who I am corresponding with.  Entering his name into the proper box for agents with this company I was stunned to see that not only was there no picture, but he was not listed at all!  Contraction hit me – body, breath and mind – like a big wallop.

An e-mail flew to him that night stating that I hoped that he was not offended but Craigs list did have somewhat of a reputation with a history of some incidents of people running scams, and I curiously wondered why I could not find him in the listing of agents.  It turns out that he responded that very same night, but I did not receive his e-mail until the next morning.

Meanwhile, sleep that night was incredibly fitful as my dreams conjured up an entire group of scammers that enticed unknowing prospective “clients” into putting down deposits on homes and absconding with them….and it went on from there.  This man couldn’t possibly be real as he wasn’t asking anything of me!

In the morning the e-mail from Marc gave every way in which I could check on his validity as an agent there including his license number and the name of the secretary I could call at the agency to verify his association with them.  His reason for not having a picture listing was “I do my marketing in a somewhat different way from everyone else”….(ahhh, someone that colors outside of the lines and steps out of the box!!)  Attached to this e-mail was a wonderful picture of him and his favorite person in the whole world – his 5 year old son, who by the way looks very much like him.

It was from this place that I realized I had almost closed down on receiving from this very generous soul who really wanted to assist me with my relocation to a city that he dearly loves.   Yes, it could have possibly not been legitimate, and it was important that I check it out….but what I realized very strongly is that my heart and intuition had been telling me all along that here was a good man to be trusted and to gratefully accept him as part of my Austin relocation team.

What an amazing lesson in trusting the heart and opening to receiving!!  I do believe that my “receiving circuits” were immediately rewired in that moment.  What a gift!

“The universe operates through dynamic exchange . . . giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. And in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.”

Since then Marc and I have talked by phone and I have been able to express my immense gratitude for his help and his time.  Anyone out there looking to buy a home in Austin, TX….well I have the agent for you!!


On Nature and Wealth

Dear Gaye,

You wrote so beautifully about your experience in nature that I thought I would add a comment.  I agree with you.  For me, the same peace comes from being outside, especially in amongst the woods that spread themselves over the part of the world where I currently live.

Contentment and peace are not often associated with wealth in the “business manuals”.  Yet they are such a crucial part of it.

Your post reminded me of a conversation I once had on a beach in Borneo.  I was sitting with a group of the young men and women who worked in the hotel where I was staying.  It was late afternoon and the sun was setting over the sea, casting wonderful ochres and golds and russet colours over the expanse of water in front of us.  The wind ruffled the palms overhead gently.

As we chatted, it became clear that all of the “locals” were set on one thing: getting a job in Saudi Arabia, or the UK, so that they could earn money and become rich.  I remember saying to them: “And why do you want that?”  “So that we can buy things” they replied.  To which I said that many people in the West work hard each and every day so that they can travel to places like the beach on which we were sitting and watch the sun set over the sea; something they had for free!

Wealth comes in many shapes and sizes and whilst it’s true that money doesn’t buy you happiness in and of itself, what it does do is buy you the ability to choose what you are doing at any given moment.  A lot of people would choose to be on a beach somewhere, or on a golf course, or out in nature – as you were.

The elusive quality is not the money so much as the peace of mind that comes with being in such places.  And the real trick is to find that peace of mind within oneself, no matter what is going on around us.

I am lucky.  Last night, I went for a stroll in the “gloaming” and watched the early spring sun as it dipped over distant hills.  In the distance I could see three deer.  They were upwind of me, so couldn’t catch my scent.  I tucked myself in to the roots of a big old beech tree and sat quietly, waiting.  About an hour later, they had worked their way to within 12 or 15 yards of me and they passed by not knowing I was there.

As I watched them, moving silently over the grass, until I could look right into their wild eyes, I was filled with that sense of gratitude that comes from such moments: the simple beauty of being alive, in the here and now.

Gratitude is one of the laws of Divine Wealth.  Our challenge is to find such gratitude within ourselves, even when things around us appear to be in meltdown.  It’s a crucial ingredient in finding that elusive peace and contentment you talk of so eloquently.

A simple way to start the process is to spend the first minute of each day saying what you are grateful for – either out loud, or to yourself.