The burning bowl is a fun visual way to let go of all the “stuff” that is not working for you. This could be anything from a behavior or habit you’d like to stop to an addiction or a relationship that’s not healthy for you. It can be anger or old grudges you’re carrying. Basically, any negativity that’s affecting your life in a way that’s keeping you from being who you want to be. You will literally watch anything that’s holding you back burn up in flames. It’s amazingly cathartic and empowering for children and adults alike!
You can do it as an individual or make it a family event. You can follow the visual instructions below and also download our awesome Burning Bowl Ceremony kit for 99 cents and start the New Year empowered with a fresh outlook. Make sure to grab our free “Unique New Years Resolution Ideas Kit” as it goes hand in hand with this wonderful activity. And if you like this you might also enjoy our Sage Smudging Ceremony Kit.
SAFETY: Even though its just a candle you are dealing with fire so please be safe. Don’t do it outside if there is any wind. Don’t do it on the ground. Find a safe clear surface. We don’t suggest doing it inside but if you do make sure there is good ventilation.
Burning Bowl Ceremony
- Large metal bowl, large glass bowl or large mixing bowl covered with several layers of heavy foil to protect it.
- Candle 3″x3″tall 3″x4″ tall 3″x6″ tall
- Pencils, one per person
- Burning Bowl Ceremony Kit Download below
Burning Bowl Ceremony Kit Download
Purchase the instructions in a compact 5 page kit pdf complete with handouts for only 99 cents. Great for group ceremonies! Pay via PayPal or Credit Card! NOTE: After you order you will receive an email with your download link within 10 minutes.
The simplified instructions are as follows below. If you prefer to do a more detailed ceremony with greater explanations and a nice handout you may purchase our 99 cent kit above. It comes with a detailed Leader Sheet.
Each person needs a pencil, some strips of paper and a full sheet of blank paper. They are to write the things that they feel are holding them back on each strip of paper, one per strip. These can be things such as anger, a health issue, a bad habit etc. Anything negative they would like to get rid of. After they write it down they hold the paper to the candle flame and light it on fire then drop it into the bowl and watch it burn. They continue doing this until they can think of nothing else to write about.
They then take their blank sheet of paper, or the Positive Future sheet from the kit, and write down everything they hope for the new year. Once the ashes have cooled they should be buried. If there are just a very few they can be blown to the wind!
The basic supplies you need for the ceremony are a metal or glass bowl, a candle, some paper and pencils.
If your purchased the 99 cent kit there is a page for cutting into strips. Other wise just cut any paper into about 12 strips each to hand out to each person participating.
Each person writes down one thing on each strip of paper that they would like to leave behind in the past year. Then they place the end of the strip into the candle to let it catch fire.
As soon as the paper catches fire they then drop it into the bowl and watch it burn up. They continue this until they can think of no more issues or negative things to write down. –
After they have written and burned up every thing they can think of they take a clean sheet of paper, or the Positive Future Instruction Sheet and Positive Future writing sheet. They then write down everything they wish for themselves for the New Year. That’s it!
This is our 3rd year to update this popular kit. It’s full of new ideas, new colors, a new calendar and this time we have a quote craft we’re also linking to go with it to help inspire you! Believe it or not, its time again to make those New Years Resolutions, that phrase that either inspires you or makes your stomach hurt. For some, it’s about all the possibilities that a new year can bring. For others it just another list that you have to get done. Well, we think setting resolutions should be a blast so we’re here to change your perception once and for all with our free New Years Resolutions Idea Kit which focuses on “Casual Resolutions” because who the heck needs another guilt list?
Our kit has printables to keep your goals fun and stress free! Now listen closely as this is the important part: The list you make are things you’d like to accomplish during the year, but if you don’t… no big whoop. You feel good about what you do accomplish and let the rest go because there’s always next year! Like most things in life, this is all in how you view it. So, enjoy the new year, learn some new stuff but most of all have fun! Make sure you grab our Motivational Quote Kit with ten free quotes and a display stand DIY. It’s perfect for inspiring you on your journey!
Instructions for New Years Resolution Ideas
- Download and print out the kit. You can hang the pages on the fridge or place them in a binder with your other sheets.
- Write down things on your calendar that you would enjoy doing. Remember, don’t make this a guilt list filled with things you “should do”. Choose things you will look forward to and truly want to do to learn, grow or just have a good time with. Use our idea list if you need inspiration!
- Use the Objective Planner sheet to formulate your ideas and plans for your goals.
- Have fun! This is about the journey and enjoying it. Add or remove items from your list if needed as you go along.
Here’s to a wonderful new year full of promise!
New Years Resolutions Idea Kit with Casual Resolutions (pdf)
Though its free, we always appreciate donations.
I put my kit in a colored colored binder.
I chose a quote from our free Printable Motivational Quotes to slide into the front pocket of my binder. This one seemed perfect.
Of course, nearby I have my Classy Quote Display Stand I made to switch out the other free quotes you can grab from the same post.
We’ve found yet another wonderful way to upcycle candle stick holders and turn them into a beautiful classy display for motivation quotes, ten of which we provide free below. This is a perfect match to go with our New Years Resolution Ideas Kit & Casual Resolutions. Change them in and out as desired. But that’s not all! Use it to display photos. Or how about artwork your children draw for you? You could also use it as a fancy note holder. Make different styles for each room. Give them as gifts! These candle stick holders can be found in a variety of styles and types at most thrift stores. You might remember seeing other ideas we used them for such as our Beautiful Classy Jewelry Stand and our Fun Upcycled Portable Recipe Holder. Who would have thought you could do so much with such a tiny object!
Motivational Quotes Stand Supplies
- Candle Stick Holder (Brass and glass ones such as ours can also be found at thrift stores and dollar stores.)
- Primer Spray Paint (This might be optional but since I was painting glass and I had some, I used it.)
- Gold Paint I used Martha Stewart’s Metallic Gold as it has a true gold look.
- White Paint
- E600 Glue or glue of choice
- Bobby Pins, 2″ size
- Wire Cutter
- Round Wood Ball with Flat Surface to fit your dowel.
- Dowel 3/4″ Average NOTE: This can vary with your holder and some can hold a variety of sizes of dowels. I chose a 3/4″ size for mine but I could have gone larger or smaller.
Ten 5″x7″ High Resolution Prints (pdf)
Though its free, we always appreciate donations.
Gather your basic supplies.
Because I used a glass candle stick holder I decided to use paint primer, because I had some.
I added white on the bottom of my candle stick.
I painted the rest of it metallic gold. I had to do two coats of each, drying in between.
I painted the stick and then the wood wall.
Squeeze glue into the bottom but only a small amount as you don’t want it seeping up the sides when you push your dowel down into it.Set the dowel down into the holder. NOTE: You will have to find a way to keep it from leaning while it dries, depending on the type of holder you have.
You need a single small bobby pin to use for the claps.
With a pair of wire cutters cut the bobby pin on the middle of the second curve up then cut it on the bottom at the same spot. Try not to bend it too much.
This is how it looks when you’re finished cutting. You can easily slip a paper in the top part.
Apply glue to the back of your bobby pin with a toothpick or paperclip.
Stick the bobby pin onto the top of your dowel as shown.
Paint the bobby pin gold to match, being careful not to get it between the pins.
If you do get paint between the pin, just slide something in until it dries to assure it does not stick together.
Cut out your quotes from our free download packet.
We give you ten choices of quotes to switch in and out of your holder.
They easily slip in and out of the clip when you want to change one.
Being thankful can be difficult when life gets in the way and the daily grind gets us down. Even teens and kids get stressed out with school and chores. Our Gratitude Tokens can help! Well, we have two printable versions that work for adults, teens and kids alike to help everyone remember the wonderful things in their life on those days when they forget. You can make either a “Let Gratitude Grow Flower” or a “Here Comes the Sun”. Print them, fill out the answer on the back and put them on a string, key chain, or ribbon. Then get your token to remind you just how lucky you are when you need it most! If you’d like more gratitude ideas check our very popular Encourage Thankfulness with Gratitude Stones and our A Thankful Heart, A 30 Day Gratitude Challenge, also with awesome printables!
Being Thankful Reminder Token Supplies
- Printables Below
- Small hole punch I prefer a 1/8″ size for string. A regular size will work but the hole may need to be punched a bit further up into the petal or raindrop.
- String or Chain or Key Ring that snaps open
- White Cardstock This is what I keep in stock at home. Its 110 lb very bright so its heavy. You can buy smaller packs that are not quite as heavy though I do like heavier weight cardstock for this type for project.
Free Token Printables
The packet also comes with a page each of blanks in case you want to come up with your own questions.
NOTE: There are 30 questions, one for each day of the month, should you decide to make it a month long activity. It can also be done for an evening activity. younger children can be helped. You can use all or just some of the questions. Write the short answer to each of the statements on the back of each petal or raindrop. Then when you or others are having a bad day you pull out the gratitude token to remind yourself how wonderful your life truly is.
Cut out the petals or raindrops.
Punch holes where shown.
If you have an awl it can help you line up smaller holes for putting string into.
Write the answers to the questions on the back of each petal or drop.
Whenever you are having a bad day bring our your cards and look through them.
Written by Roy Rivers
Though they don’t struggle with it quite as much as adults, even children need inner peace in their lives. When I was growing up in Arkansas, like many kids, I loved playing outdoors. We lived in the country so I generally had a good deal of open spaces and wooded areas to roam in. But it was a bit more than just typical childhood pleasure that drew me outside. From my earliest memories I felt a strong connection to the outdoors. I quickly learned at a young age that it was also a place I could find comfort in.
If you enjoy this you will also enjoy Roy’s popular post “How I Learned to Never Judge a Book by it’s Cover“.
An 8 Year Old Learns the Peace of Nature
When I was 8 years old, and without consulting me, my family decided that I should get baptized. I didn’t fully grasp the situation, however, I couldn’t swim and I was afraid of the water so this idea truly scared me. One Saturday morning I learned that my brother-in-law Monte was on his way over and the family was going to take me to do the deed. As soon as I saw an opening I grabbed a little jacket and I high tailed it out into the woods and holed up in one of my favorite hiding places. I waited until it was getting close to dark before I went back home, avoiding the baptism that day. (Though they did catch me later!) But the entire time I was hiding, it was like I could hear voices of reason from the forest and trees talking to me about what I was doing, why I was avoiding the baptism and why I felt like it was an important thing for them to ask me if I wanted to be baptized. It was a strong sense of peace for a frightened little boy and as a result of those very clear feelings that I had, I knew that anytime I needed help or answers, nature was there for me.
As the years went by it was a tremendous comfort to know that when I was feeling troubled by something that the open arms of nature were waiting for me and through the years it has served me well more times than I can count. When I would have problems at home or school or issues with friends, I could go out and think about things and receive insights and new ways to look at them.
Conversing With Nature. Literally.
As an adult I grab my walking stick (one I carved myself) and go on hikes regularly on our local trails. I’m a bit of an unusual hiker. I talk out loud while I hike. I may just talk about what’s going on in my life in general, as I would to a friend. If I’ve got a particular problem that I’m trying to get clarity on I’ll say “Here’s the problem that I’m having. “And then I explain it. Then as I go along, I listen. The thoughts that come to me as a whisper in my head are what I perceive is a higher force talking to me. You can call it God, Father, Mother Nature or whatever fits in with your own beliefs. But for me it is very real.
One time recently I was having a particularly tough day so I decided to go on a hike. As I went up the trail I kept stopping and looking around because I thought I heard something. But I didn’t see a bit of wildlife or anyone else on the trail. I remember thinking, “Where the heck is everyone?” I usually run into folks now and then or see various critters but there was complete stillness and I thought “I’d love to see an eagle soaring about now.”
I walked into the next clearing and rested for a minute to catch my breath. As I looked out across the way, in a very large tree was a huge hawk looking right at me. It was almost as if it was waiting for me to make eye contact and when I did it jumped into flight. It flew in several big circles over me and then soared for a bit looking right at me. I said out loud “Wow. Thank you.” It’s things like this that I take very personally.
The information I receive on my forays into nature might not be the overall answer to my problem, but it’s always clarity to some facet of it. Something that allows me to calm down and see the different sides and vantage points and how I sit in the middle of it all. No matter what the issue, every time that I go out there’s something I receive. Every time.
How To Connect
I believe anyone can connect with nature and get answers using the following concepts.
- Find a place you can go to, where there is some type and feeling of nature, even a small amount.
- Empty your mind and focus on what’s right in front of you. Feel what you’re feeling, notice the smells, notice the sounds in the wind and the feel of it on your face. Feel your leg muscles as you walk. Be highly attuned to everything around you and shut off the non-stop idle chatter many of us have going on in our heads at any given moment.
- Ask your questions. Either speak them or just ask them in your mind. Then be still and listen. Insights will be subtle for most. One small insight can be the answer you’re looking for.
What If You Live in the City?
Though I grew up in the country, we moved a lot, sometimes to less rural areas. But there was always some place, even in the city, that I could go to. There were large vacant lots that were grown up, or parks. There will always be little places of nature here and there. Don’t think this only works if you have a forest to roam or a mountain to climb. Even in the middle of the city with cars buzzing around, you can sit on a bench and look up at the sky, watch the clouds, the birds and connect.
Because I’m such a fan of nature I’m also a believer in the good energy of crystals. I placed one on the top of my hiking stick that I made so I would have it with me while I hiked. Carry a clear quartz crystal with you in your pocket or fanny pack when you hike for an added boost, especially if you live in the city!
Going into nature can feel like a breath of life. It’s naturally invigorating and cleansing and it’s a time you can feel a part of the entire planet. But most importantly, it’s a place where an answer awaits in the stillness. All you have to do is ask the question.
Get verbal on your walls with unique wood slice DIY room decor. This wall art costs virtually nothing and is simple to make. It can be used for names, positive thinking reminders, holidays etc. And what a wonderful gift! Its possible you have access to a nice sized branch you can use. It’s a wonderful way to inspire and remind. If you would like more ideas, check out Frugal DIY Bedroom Decorating Ideas.
DIY Room Decor Supplies
- Wood discs (we used 2 to 3 inch size which we cut ourselves)
- Mod Podge (optional but suggested)
NOTE: If your buy the discs online many are listed in metric sizes. Our Helpful Metric Chart might be of service.
In case you need some inspiration.
You can purchase wood discs or make your own from a branch.
Drill a hole in your discs for hanging.
Thread your string of choice into the discs and lay them out to determine where to tie them off so they are level with each other.
Trace on your letters in any way you choose.
Paint your letters on.
Thread on any beads or decor you prefer.
Hang your letter discs on a branch.
It’s a good idea to coat them with Mod Podge or another sealer. Your DIY room decor is complete!
Everyone can use a little more positive energy! You may or may not be familiar with New York Time’s best seller Dr. Masaru Emoto’s work surrounding water. His books, full of photos that you must see to believe, prove the power of words. If it works on water we figured why not food! (Goodness knows our American diet needs all the help it can get.) You can paint or wood burn them. (If you paint them you need to cover them with a food safe sealant or polyurethane. Read details below. )
And even if you’re not into the whole “words are energy” thing they still make a beautiful gift! (Hand wash only.)
From Dr. Masaru Emoto Experiments. Water after Words Place On the Container
Positive Energy Wooden Spoons Supplies
- Wooden spoons
- Wood patterns (optional)
- Carbon or graphite paper for tracing
- Wood burner OR Sharpie Markers
- Polyurethane (If you use markers. Read below.)
*IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT MARKERS & SEALANTS
If you decide to use markers you need to coat the spoons with sealant before drawing on them to help prevent bleeding. You also need to use a sealant afterwards so the markers do not get into your food. I did some research on this topic and what I was told by several people was that using a polyurethane coating to either dip or spray your spoons would work and would not be any more harmful than plastic food storage bags. Do your own research and if its still a concern do the word burning instead!
Hand wash Only
Positive Energy Wooden Spoons Instruction
You can trace the patterns we provide onto your spoons or outline your own words. Go over the words with a wood burner. If using markers coat your spoons with a food safe sealant first to help the markers to not bleed as much. Trace your words with markers then coat 2 or 3 times with the sealant allowing to dry in between.
I’ve had this package for probably 20 years. Pretty sure I still owned a typewriter. But I date myself… anyway it seems it’s called graphite paper now and can be found in craft areas if you need it for tracing.
Cut out the patterns.
Layer your carbon or graphite paper under the pattern.
Trace the words and any part of the design you wish onto the spoon.
Using a wood burner or markers to go on the spoon. Make sure to use a sealant of your choice to seal your spoons if you use the markers.
Remember when you were a kid and every so often a huge cardboard box would come into your possession? What happened? Why, you made a fort of course. Or a hideout, or a play house, or a rocket, or a boat or submarine or other happy place. The point being, you made something you could crawl into that was yours.
I’d decorate my box with markers and crayons and my dad would cut a door into it for me and then a small flap in the side to which a string was attached so I could open and close my window. This plain cardboard box was my sanctuary. It was a special place I could go that was all mine and it felt magical.
I don’t care who you are or how old you might be, or what your station in life is. Everyone needs a place they can go to where they can step out of daily life and just relax. All of us need a place to recharge our batteries, where we feel safe and where we can do things that bring us joy whether it’s writing, drawing, reading, playing piano, exercising or just sitting and thinking. You need the equivalent of that cardboard box you crawled into as a little kid. It doesn’t have to cost a penny. It just has to give you that feeling.
Creating Your Happy Place
KEY COMPONENTS OF A SANCTUARY
- It’s somewhere you feel safe.
- It has things in it you enjoy.
- It has privacy.
- You’ve made the area special. (See “equipping your sanctuary” below.)
- You literally look forward to being there.
- You feel peace and joy in it.
THINGS TO DO IN YOUR SANCTUARY
Mix and match as desired. Whatever you choose needs to give you a deep feeling of peace and pleasure.
- Read an engrossing novel.
- Read poetry.
- Watch a special show. (Not to be confused with typical TV watching.)
- Paint, draw, sculpt etc.
- Look through a favorite magazine.
- Hand write letters.
- Cooking (really special dishes)
- Deep breathing.
- Watch the sun rise or set.
- Positive Affirmations
- Spend special time with a dog or cat.
- Eat a special treat. i.e. A healthy muffin you love and a cup of herbal tea.
SANCTUARY LOCATIONS ( a few examples)
- A special corner in a quiet room of your house.
- The bathtub.
- A spot in the back yard.
- A special lane you enjoy walking down.
- Your bedroom.
- Your roof.
- The local antique shop where you can get lost.
- The local bookstore with coffee shop.
- A local cafe.
- Your treadmill.
- Your tub where you enjoy soaking and relaxing. With candles of course.
- Some find their Zen and peace by exercising. Walk, run, bike, do yoga etc.
- Out in nature.
- Help out at a homeless shelter, read to kids etc. Serving others can bring incredible peace of mind and joy.
- For those who find your zen in cooking, the kitchen can be a sanctuary while cooking something extra special.
- The dining room table for doing something you love. Just set aside the time and make it special while you’re there.
- Any place at all that makes you feel peaceful being there.
EQUIPPING YOUR SANCTUARY
It’s important to make your sanctuary special in some small way. Examples you can mix and match:
- If you like to draw have a special pad of paper and pencils, paints etc.
- If you like to read, use a very nice bookmark and/or book cover. Maybe a small pretty notepad for writing thoughts it inspires.
- If you like to write, get a special journal or writing pad for doing so, with an extra nice pen.
- If you like to meditate, have some candles or incense.
- If you like to listen to music, have that on hand.
- Enjoy a special treat while in your sanctuary. Maybe it’s a place where you look forward to enjoying a cup of herbal tea and a muffin. Use a beautiful tea cup or mug for this time.
- Place pictures or framed quotes in your spot. Place a flower in a small vase there. Make it an area that is enticing to your eyes.
- If your sanctuary is a walk down a beautiful lane or road, make the event into a ritual in some way. Wear a special pack equipped with small things such as a small notebook, chap stick, a camera etc.
- If your sanctuary is the bathtub where you look forward to soaking and relaxing or listening to music, make it special while you’re in there. Light a candle or two, use special bath salts and lotions.
- If you’re someone who finds peace while exercising, wear special clothes that you feel good in. Hang a motivational poster than inspires you. Keep a pretty journal where you write your progress in. (Check out our Treadmill Nook for ideas!)
- If you fine your joy while cooking, play music while you do it, wear a beautiful apron. Use a special wooden spoon set.
*Make sure if you’re using a space that others in the home also use that they know that during your sanctuary time you’re not to be disturbed.
REMEMBER this is not about doing things mindlessly. This is about filling yourself up with things that bring you deep joy and pleasure. That will be different for everyone. For example, for some it might be watching a special TV show because in their life they seldom get to watch TV or movies so it’s a unique event. If you did it all the time it would not be “special”. Get it?
I love bedtime. I look forward to it every day. Because of this I’ve made going to bed a ritual and my bedroom is my sanctuary spot. At night I brush my teeth, pull down the covers, turn on my nightstand light and fan (I sleep with a fan as I also love the wind.) Then I brush my teeth (I even have a ritual for that!), undress and crawl under my fluffy covers. Next to my bed is my Kindle and my iPhone both which have long charger cords that stay there. I grab my Kindle and read whatever I’m currently reading, which is usually several things. I’ll start with some non-fiction that I’m learning something from. Then I end with my current novel, reading until I almost fall asleep. Pure heaven. Even though going to bed is a typical thing everyone does, I’ve turned it into something very meaningful for me.
I recently did a Budget Bedroom Makeover in my bedroom to make it even more special. I used mostly things I had and it now not only feels like a sanctuary it looks like one.
When Roy needs peace and clarity he literally heads for the hills. He’s done this for years and years as he finds his solace in nature. He’s had to adapt depending on where we lived but there is always some feeling of nature he can find even if it’s a park. Luckily we now have plenty of actual hiking spots close by.
A few years back he made his own walking stick to take with him. He created it from a branch that he sanded and painted. Then he added a crystal on top. Its beautiful. After one of his walks he never fails to come back rejuvenated, peaceful and with much more clarity.
JUST DO IT!
If you happen to be one of the lucky few whose life is calm and peaceful most of the time and you get to regularly do things you enjoy with ease, consider yourself blessed! However, if your life is more typical with normal stresses it’s incredibly important to have these small times alone and to create your own happy place.
If all you have is the equivalent of a cardboard box you can still accomplish this because a sanctuary is not so much a place as it is a mindset. It matters not where it is as long as it feels special to you. So go find your sanctuary and visit it daily even if it’s just for a few minutes. You’ll be amazed at how you’ll come to treasure that time and what it does for you.
Yep, it’s that time of year to make our New Year’s Resolutions, a phrase that will either inspire you or make you cringe. For some it’s about all the possibilities that a new year can bring. For others it can be just another list of things to stress about getting done and then feel like a failure if we don’t do them all. Well, Roy and I think setting resolutions should be fun and enjoyable so we’re here to change that perception once and for all with “Casual Resolutions”. New Year’s Resolutions should not be a guilt list. Download our free “Casual Resolutions Kit” printables to keep your goals fun and stress free! These are things you’d like to accomplish during the year, but if you don’t… no big whoop. You feel good about what you do accomplish and let the rest go cause there’s always next year!
To help you out we’ve got a free packet for you to download. Just remember to enjoy the journey!
Instructions for New Year’s Resolutions
- Print out the packet and your choice of calendar. You can hang them on the fridge or place them in a binder with your other sheets.
- Write down things on your calendar that you would enjoy doing. Don’t make this a guilt list filled with things you “should do”. Choose things you will look forward to and truly want to do to learn, grow or just have fun with. Use our idea list if you need inspiration!
- Use the Objective Planner sheet to formulate your ideas and plans for your goals.
- Have fun! This is about the journey and enjoying it. Add or remove items from your list if needed as you go along.
Here’s to a wonderful new year full of promise!
90 Ideas To Get You Started
Included in the free kit.
Casual Resolutions Kit (pdf)
Rather than hang mine up I put it in a pink binder I purchased at Amazon. (As the kits are adapted each year, the current printouts might look different.)
This is one goal I did in a past year. I tend to get teased about my handwriting. (Example)
I love the digital age. There’s not a day goes by that I’m not grateful to be alive during the 21st century. We literally have the world at our fingertips, with any information we need just a click away. But there are rare occasions when I realize some things have been lost in our computerized world. One of those is the Sears catalog.
In the 80’s and 90’s, like many households, we received our catalog in the mail at least once a year. It was overflowing with goodies for adults and children alike. But as a kid, one of the great joys of the holiday season was grabbing a pen, finding a quiet spot and sitting down with that thick tome of wonder as we slowly turned each page, methodically circling the things we wanted Santa to bring. Though we never got everything we circled, (because we circled everything) there was excitement, anticipation and hope. The activity itself was the pleasure.
That tradition carried on with my own children and one year I snapped a photo of all of them lying on the floor with the catalog in the middle, as our oldest, Charles, turned the pages.
Time went by, progress was made. We were so busy with our noses in our gadgets we hardly noticed, but the catalogs stopped coming. A small bit of magic was gone.
I readily admit I can now quickly find online everything Sears and any other store sells, including digital catalogs where I can virtually turn pages. And let’s not forget the many trees that are spared from not printing those huge volumes. And yes, it’s basically corporate America trying to sell us their latest and greatest stuff. But that tangible catalog was more than those things. It was tradition entwined with promise and delight. And despite all those valid points, I still feel a tiny ache inside at this little slice of my past that’s gone and all the kids won’t get to experience it.
Luckily Christmas, in and of itself, has a special enchantment and there’s a never ending variety of ways to create those same feelings that children seem to specialize in. I just felt like I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge this small simple pleasure of my past and offer thanks. So here’s to the Sears catalog. Though your purpose was financial, you nonetheless brought joy, hope and a smile to millions of kids over the decades and that’s quite an accomplishment. Gone but not forgotten. At least in the heart of this 57 year old kid.
Being grateful is important to a happier life. So here’s a fun unique gratitude activity to encourage more awareness of things generally taken for granted. Grab a tiny inexpensive spiral memo pad and print out the free labels and quotes provided, then follow the simple instructions. These are wonderful any time of year. Give them to your kids. Make a batch for a family or group activity. Or create a basket full to pass out at Thanksgiving dinner. No matter how you use them they are a fun way to inspire thankfulness.
Gratitude Activity Supplies
- Small 3″x5″ spiral memo pads, top flip
- Printables, cut out (below)
- Extras (optional) Washi tape, ribbon, charms, paint for pencils etc.
Gratitude Activity Instructions
Instructions, labels and quotations (pdf)
Get the flip top memo pads.
Cut out the front label in the size you want.
Glue it onto the front of your pad.
Cut out the quotations provided.
Glue them throughout your notebook.
Add a pencil that you’ve cut and sharpened to fit nicely in the metal spirals.
Add extras if desired. The books are wonderful as is but if desired, you can add extras to them such as Washi tape strips here and there, or a ribbon tied onto the spirals. Small charms can also be added to the spiral.
Also optional is spray painting the pencils. Its pretty easy to do. Just cover the top part with tape, spray paint and then cut them down to size.
If you’d like to give gratitude and thankfulness a boost in your home, gratitude stones are a wonderful incentive. They work for children and adults alike and both will love them! They are also wonderful for activities such as Thanksgiving Day dinner etc. And what a lovely positive gift when given inside our No-Sew Burlap Pouches.
- Small stones. These don’t need to be perfectly smooth all around. There just needs to be a small flat surface on part of the stone to paint a heart.
- Gold and white paint or paint pens. (Or whatever colors you like. The type of activity may determine the choices.)
- Clear spray coating for stones, or Mod Podge. (Optional but gives them a finished look and nice shine.)
- Downloaded poems/tags.
Tags and Poems (pdf)
READ THE POEM INCLUDED IN THE KIT ABOVE
There are a variety of ways you can use these. Here are some suggestions:
SMALL GROUP SETTING ACTIVITY #1
Give everyone a small handful or pouch of stones. There needs to be one stone per person in attendance in each pouch if possible and each set MUST have different colors with no duplicates. Meaning a set of green hearts… a set of red hearts… etc. Change them by doing hearts with different outlined colors.
During the event or dinner everyone is to give a stone to another person. When someone receives a stone they must say something they are grateful for.
The thing they are grateful for must be specific and they have to say WHY they are grateful for it. No general things such as “home” or “family.” Try to encourage gratitude for things they take for granted or for specific people.
Every stone must be given to those who have NOT received one yet. If a person has received one they must find someone who hasn’t. Everyone has to give away ALL their ORIGINAL stones. (They will be left with a variety of colors.)
To get rid of all their own stones and receive all new ones. It’s easy to keep track because they started out with stones of all one color.
GROUP ACTIVITY #2
Have an even amount of stones. Half are one color of hearts, the other half are another color. Put the stones in a deep bag. Everyone draws a stone. If they get a stone with a certain color heart they say something they are grateful for. Other colored hearts means they choose someone else to say something they are grateful for. Adapts as desired.
AS A GIFT
Give your children, family, friends etc. a pouch of stones. They are to put the stones around their room or home or work area. Every time they see one they are to STOP and think of something they are grateful for. It has to be different each time. You can use the printable tag and poem to go with the stones.
Make Your Thankfulness Gratitude Stones
Gather some smooth small stones. They don’t need to be perfect. Just so there is at least one flat side to paint your heart onto.
Using a paint brush or paint marker put a colored heart on each one.
Outline the hearts.
For a nice finish coat with Mod Podge or some spray gloss.
You can visit our No Sew Burlap Pouches post to learn how to make these little pouches. These make awesome gifts combined with the printable poem and tag!
Learn how to make a variety of these super quick No-Sew Burlap Pouches.
If you’re someone who doesn’t ever get stressed then you don’t need to read any further. OK… now that 99.9% of you are still here, I think we can all agree that worrying now and then is pretty normal. The problem arises when you have more negative thoughts than happy ones.
So I’ve got a few tips for you to help stop the worrying habit and help you get a handle on those negative thoughts. These are things I’ve researched and used with great success myself and continue to use. (Being someone with a serious condition of “freaking out”.) You may recall we did a post on healing traumatic events titled “Free Yourself from Suffering in One Minute”. That tool is generally for heavy duty issues whereas this one is for smaller day to day worries that come up.
Ideas to Stop Worrying
Having tried many things through the years to help me get a handle on my thought, these ideas are the ones that work for me. I was skeptical of some of these things when I first learned of them. But seeing is believing.
TAKE A HUGE DEEP BREATH
We know you’ve heard this before but there is science behind it. Taking a deep breath has a physiological purpose and powerful effect on the body. When you take a very deep breath, filling the lungs as much as you can, and then slowly let it out, the body literally releases stress and relaxes. You can immediately feel it. To prove its value just try it the next time you’re super stressed, paying close attention to your body as you do it. You’ll quickly see just how potent it is. So ALWAYS start with this then move on to others if needed.
HAND ON CHEST
This has worked for me forever. I’ve even used it on others. Oddly enough only my right hand works for me but the effect is instant. I simply place my right (dominate) hand over the middle of my chest and a sense of peace overtakes me. Try it and see if you have that ability. Use each hand to determine which works best.
Interestingly enough I recently learned there is validation for doing this. During my studies this year I read a highly rated book entitled Beyond Will Power by Alexander Lloyd, Ph.D. I was very surprised to learn he uses this exact method on people and he also stated that Sigmund Fred used something similar to help patients.
When I have an overall feeling of anxiety that won’t go away I pull out my tiger’s eye. This is the only crystal that has a noticeable effect for me as far as any healing goes. But it’s effect is immediate. I have different sizes but the larger unpolished version is the one that works for me. I lay it over my solar plexus and I can feel the anxiety drain away. You can find these at any rock or crystal shop or purchase them online. Buying from a local shop gives you the ability to get a “feel” for it before purchasing.
I had someone who was very skilled in energy work give me this information saying it was a way to “ground” yourself when you’re having emotional issues or feeling out of sorts for various reasons.
To do it you take your index and middle finger together (i.e. the Cub Scout sign) and place the back of those fingers over the middle of your forehead. Hold it there for up to 30 seconds. You should feel a calming.
LEMON & LAVENDER OILS (Aromatherapy)
There are quite a few essential oils that help alleviate depression or fear. I’ve used these two for a subtle but noticeable difference. The links below are to some fairly inexpensive but highly rated oils on Amazon. You can use any type. Even smelling a fresh lemon will help!
Other Oils for Emotions: Vanilla, Rosemary, and Frankincense
How to Use Oils
You can place the oil anywhere on the body but typical locations are the bottoms of the feet, top of the head and over the heart. I usually place it on my wrists and then under my nose so I can smell it easier. If you have a diffuser you can also use that! It’s the smell that affects the brain.
Feeling concerned about certain problems in your life is normal. But when you worry all the time about minor things and your thoughts run away with you it makes for a stressful and unhappy life. The more we worry the more we literally change our brain and remap our synapses to actually make it easier to worry in the future. This is why change can be difficult. But not impossible. If you’ve been a worrier it will take some regular work to remap your brain and change that habit. But it is doable and these ideas will be a huge help on your way to a more peaceful life!
Some small but annoying thing happens. You know it’s petty but it bugs you. The more you think about it, the more it bugs you. And you’re thinking about it a lot and getting angrier and angrier. Now you can’t stop thinking about it.
Or maybe it’s a larger problem you’re facing, but before you know it its consuming your thoughts day and night. That, my friends, is tunnel vision. It occurs when we focus on something until it becomes the only thing we can see.
For some reason it seems to be human nature to hold a magnifying glass to all the nasty things that go on in our lives. I’m not sure if we subconsciously think we’ll change things by intensely focusing on them or what. But all that happens in the end is we feel worse and worse.
I blatantly admit that there are plenty of times when I get caught up in the stressful things in my life, as a recent exchange between my husband Roy and I illustrates.
ROY: It’s you and me against the world!
ME: I think the world’s winning.
Though I’m as guilty as the next person in doing this I’m getting better at taking steps to offset it. The key here is to STEP BACK and I’ve got a few ideas for you.
How To Step Back
Sometimes, all that is needed is a shot of perspective. One way I do this is I look at photos of the universe. I’m not kidding. I do this all the time. In fact, during particularly stressful times I set my computer wallpapers to photos of the universe. Here are some great photos from the Hubble Telescope. While you’re looking at them ponder these facts:
- Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains about 100 BILLION PLANETS. Of which we are one.
- In the Universe there are an estimated 100 BILLION GALAXIES of which ours, The Milky Way, is just one.
- Each of those 100 billion Galaxies has billions of planets.
A 3.5 minute video that will blow your mind!
- If you’re worried about financial things ask: Have I ever been homeless? Have I ever starved? (Acknowledging that there are those who have had these things happen.)
- List the things in life that are currently good and that you’re thankful for. i.e. You have a roof over your head, food to eat, family you love, etc.
- Think back on the good things that have happened in your life.
- Think back on the bad things that have happened and realize that you lived through them and your life went on.
- As you remember other difficulties you’ve had, think about what you learned from them. Many times it’s our troubles that give us the knowledge, perspective and character.
- Remember a key phrase: “This too shall pass” or “All things come to an end” .
Tunnel vision is curable if we just remind ourselves to view the bigger picture. We need to recall things we’ve come through in the past, think on the great things that we do have in our life and know that nothing lasts forever. Life’s too short to spend it dwelling on the negative. We’ll enjoy the journey a lot more if every once in a while we remember to step back!
Free Reminder Quote
5″x 7″ Printable
Share the quotes below to remind others to STEP BACK!
I can be as guilty as the next person when it comes to getting annoyed by petty things. Let’s face it, being human and living in America, we can be a little spoiled. It’s easy to focus on small things that don’t matter, forgetting to step back and view the greater picture. It ends up, how to be happier is much simpler than you think.
This was made very clear to me one day when I was sitting in the front yard of our home with my two year old granddaughter Alyssa Mae. We lived in the most beautiful area with our small house situated on top of a hill and completely surrounded by trees, so much so that you couldn’t see any other houses or even the road below. It was a truly magical spot.
As Alyssa and I sat there enjoying nature and the peacefulness of the day I began to feel a low thumping in my chest. What caused it slowly grew louder until I realized that someone was driving down the street below us and had their windows open. They were blaring rap music so loud I’m pretty sure their own eardrums had long since disintegrated. I was immediately pulled out of my peaceful state, and thrown into anger… “How dare someone ruin my peaceful time with my granddaughter! What kind of jerk has such little concern for everyone else around them? People are so stinking rude…”
As my brain took a breath in it’s tirade against this horrible injustice I glanced over at Alyssa. She was sitting there with her little legs dangling over the edge of the lawn chair swaying back and forth joyfully in time with the music. It brought me up short.
The car was gone in a minute along with the beat and Alyssa stopped swaying as if nothing unusual had happened. But the lesson in that tiny moment stuck with me. Now, whenever I find myself getting upset at small things, that vision of Alyssa pops into my head and I’m reminded to step back and choose to view things differently.
Big lessons can come in small packages and that little girl reminded me that perspective is a choice. We just need to retrain ourselves to look at things differently and be more aware of this miraculous world we live in and of the wonderful things we do have. I promise you that there is not a more powerful tool that allows you to live a joyful, peaceful life. By practicing it you just might be the perspective that someone else needs.
This topic was humorously and effectively illustrated by comedian Louise C.K. when he visited Conan on the The Late Show one night.
If you’ve ever been overwhelmed with the bad things you see going on in the world, this little story might be of benefit. Sometimes a small thing happens and it has a huge impact on you. This was one of those things for me.
Roy and I have been lucky enough to meet some incredible people during our married life. One of these was a man named David Whitmer. I forget the exact circumstances that led us to be introduced to him but we immediately realized he was special and so we invited him over to our home for a visit. He and his wife were spiritual people and tried to live, as Roy and I do, by intuition. We talked about many things that night and gained some incredible insight but there was one story David told us that I’ve never forgotten.
David said that one night he had a dream that Jesus came to visit him. He walked into his living room and they both sat down on his couch and talked casually about all kinds of things like they were old friends. After a while David started expressing his discouragement to Jesus about how there was so much evil and darkness in the world. It made it difficult to feel like you could make any difference. Jesus replied “David, the world’s not filled with darkness. It’s filled with light everywhere you go!” David answered, “No it’s not. There is darkness everywhere!” Jesus said, “Well, show it to me.”
David thought a second and thinking he would be clever in quickly proving his point he leaned over the back of the couch and pointed down behind it saying “See? There’s darkness back here!” Jesus sat up and leaned over the back of the couch next to David and peered down behind it and as he did the darkness behind the couch disappeared as light filled up the space. Jesus said “I don’t see any darkness.” David, being a little flustered, quickly got up, laid down on the floor and looked underneath the couch. He pointed beneath it and said “See! There’s darkness under here!” Jesus laid down on the floor head to head with David and looked under the couch. As he did the space filled with light and Jesus said “I don’t see any darkness.”
Exasperated David sat up and exclaimed, “That’s not fair! You’re bringing your own light with you!” Jesus looked at David with kind eyes and calmly said, “Why aren’t you?”
That simple tale left Roy and I speechless for a few seconds. All these years later it still gives me goosebumps.
There’s a truth within the story for everyone and its not about religion or beliefs. It’s about our perception and ability to make a difference in our surroundings. No matter what the situation is we can contribute negativity, discouragement, judgement, or anger… or we can contribute peace, happiness, joy and hope. We just need to remember we have this ability and choose to do it.
I bet you’ve known someone who can literally light up a room when they walk in. It’s because of that persons character and how they carry themselves. They do not judge, they do not have anger. They do not force their opinions or beliefs on others. They simply bring in light and everyone can’t help but feel it. That’s what this is about in its purest form.
So the next time you get discouraged and struggle with all the bad stuff you see going on around you, try to recall this little tale. Remember that you have the ability to metaphorically shine “light” on anything. And this light can not only change your view of the world around you, it can change how others view it too. That’s how we make a difference.
This is one of those things that feels magical. I was taught how to do it years ago by a close friend who is a master healer. (You might remember her from this post about healing MRSA.) It is a form of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), a treatment psychologists use to heal trauma. But you can do quickly and for free. It’s based on where painful memories are kept in the brain and it utilizes eye movement to literally “reprogram” the brain concerning past experiences. These experiences and your emotional attachment to them are stored primarily in one side of your brain… the irrational, emotional side. By deeply reliving the experience while activating both sides of your brain (the back and forth motion) your brain processes the experience, making it easier to deal with and reprogramming your brain’s old ties to that initial feeling. And it can have phenomenal results!
Being human, stress, fear and worry is common for most of us. Sometimes certain things we experience are so incredibly painful that we’re traumatized, and we can carry the emotions from the experience with us for years, if not for our entire lives. We’ll try to put on a happy face, but there’s deep pain going on underneath. Emotions are incredibly powerful, having the ability to make us physically sick. At the very least, negative experiences that we carry with us affect how we function and view the world. Someone being vivaciously cruel, unfair or downright mean is something that can stick with us, especially if the trauma happened when we were children. My hope is that you will have peace and find some relief and heal depression, fear, anger and anxiety using this method.
The Steps to Heal Depression, PTSD, Anxiety & More
Please read the key points, the instructions and watch the video before doing the exercise.
Supply Needed (as in just one)
A black pencil or marker. Sharpie markers are perfect if you have one. The black top makes it easy to focus on. You want something that your eyes can easily see and that will not blend into the background.
- Go to a quiet place. You can sit or stand.
- Decide on the experience you would like to heal.
- Close your eyes and think of the issue that upsets you or causes you emotional pain or suffering. Recall the most uncomfortable part of the situation and feel it deeply.
- Once you do this open your eyes.
- Either you or someone else holds the marker up at eye level about 1 1/2 feet away from you and moves it from side to side in front of you going as far as each shoulder, back and forth. You need to follow the top of the marker with your eyes, but do NOT move your head. Each swipe should take about one second. You will do this for 30 seconds, or 30 swipes. Try to just let your mind empty and focus only on the marker or pen while you do this.
- When you’re done take a deep breath and try to recall the awful feelings you had before you started.
- You shouldn’t be able to.
- Though you will remember the event it should not have the strong emotional effect anymore.
- You should only have to do this once per issue, though you can certainly do it more if you feel you need to.
- You don’t have to delve into the reasons why you feel the way you do. It’s immaterial as far as this exercise is concerned.
- It’s important that you want to change the feelings you have. This can be tricky for some things such as anger. You have to want to let go of the anger towards someone, even if you’ve not been able to as of yet. Sometimes we hold onto it because we feel the other person is “getting away with it” if we don’t. If that’s the case you will find it difficult to heal.
- This is generally used for extreme situations which cause us severe emotional turmoil or things that you realize shouldn’t be a big deal but for some reason they eat away at you.
- It’s nice to have someone help you with this but you can do it alone as shown.
- Of course everyone is different and while amazing things can happen from doing this there will always be a chance, for whatever reason, that it might not work well for you. But it’s simple and it’s free. If you’re suffering emotionally in any way, please give it a try.
This video shows you how the exercise is done. Roy is doing it by himself, but it can sometimes be easier if you have someone hold and move the pen for you.
A printable instruction sheet with the above information.
Examples of What This Can Be Used For
- You were bullied unmercifully as a child.
- Someone you trusted let you down or betrayed a confidence.
- Your wife had an affair.
- You were sexually abused or raped.
- You we’re humiliated or severely embarrassed.
- Someone you loved died and you can’t get over it.
- Anything negative that you keep playing over and over again in your head.
- To heal depression, PTSD, anxiety and fear no matter the source.
The list is endless. It doesn’t matter what the trigger is or if your suffering was caused by something large or small. Suffering is suffering no matter the source. May you be well & peaceful.
This is about one of those times when everything comes together to create a little magic. It happened to our daughter Jennifer and her sister Amy, who took the photos you see. Jennifer wrote it up in her own words.
After returning to my parents from a shopping trip with Amy, we pulled up in the car and my young son Ashton saw a bird lying on its side in the flower garden in front of my parent’s window. I asked him what had happened and he said that a bird had hit the window and fallen down. I went inside to ask my mother and she said that this happens on occasion. Amy, Ash and I went back out front to see if we could do something to help it. The bird was lying in the dirt, shaking, and its right wing was sticking up as though it were hurt. To my surprise, the bird allowed me to pick it up and hold it, so long as I didn’t play with it’s right wing too much, seeing as it seemed to be hurt and would shake it away from me when I touched it.
Amy took her shoes off and stood on the earth out front, holding the bird in her hands, and we all took several deep breaths, telling Ashton to help by visualizing a bright light coming up from the earth, through our hands and into the injured bird. After Amy did this for several minutes she handed the bird to me. I took off my shoes and took it out to walk in the yard. Amazingly, this beautiful wild bird sat calmly in my hands as I walked around. It allowed me to stroke its back, clean dirt out of its eyes and even push its wing back into the proper position.
After several minutes, the bird was ready to get up and then stood on my fingers or in my palm as we continued to walk around. Amy, being the photographer of the family, went inside and got her camera. She set up a backdrop in the front yard and I came over with the bird, still sitting calmly on my fingers, to have our pictures taken. The bird allowed me to hand it back and forth to Amy and didn’t seem to mind in the least. After we were done with photos, a good twenty minutes later, Ashton came up to me and asked if we could keep the bird. I told him that the bird had to go home, so Ashton asked if he could name it before it left. I told him yes, and he said “ok. His name is Sherman. Go home Sherman.” And with that, the bird flew off into the trees instantly. Almost as if it were waiting for us to say goodbye.
Jennifer & the Wild Bird. Taken By Her Sister Amy
This experience was the type where life smacks you upside the head and says “Pay attention!” It happened a few years back when our kids were in their teens and our two middle ones had a rebellious streak that lasted a couple years (and aged Nancy and I about 20!) During this phase our kids chose to hang out with other teenagers who were not the best influence. Some were downright scary. Because of our fear as parents and all the emotional turmoil that comes with that, we tended to look down on those “other” kids.
One day I had gone to pick up Adam who was at a friend’s house. I drove up to the home, parked out front and proceeded to get out of the car. As I did a young man came out of the house. He was probably the most dirty, scraggly looking guy I had ever seen, complete with tattoos and piercings. He walked right up to me and said “Are you Mr. Rivers?” I said yes and he said “So Adam tells me you’re a singer.” I told him I was and we talked for a couple minutes about that. Then he said “I write songs myself. Would you like to hear the lyrics of one?” I told him sure I would. He pulled out a piece of flimsy, tattered paper from his wallet and began reading it out loud. The words were some of the most dark, vile things I had ever heard… about death and worse. As I was listening to this I was wondering how in the world I was going to respond positively to this kind of poetry.
He finished and I said “It looks like you’ve got some real talent. Though I personally write a little different. Most of what I write comes from a place of peace and hope”. He said “Oh I can write different stuff. I have another one you might like better.” He then got close to me and looking me directly in the eyes the entire time he recited from memory one of the most beautiful pieces of poetry I have ever heard. It brought tears to my eyes. I told him that the poem was beautiful and if he was interested he could write it down and give a copy to Adam and I would put some music to it. His eyes lit up and he said he would. We shook hands and then Adam came out.
Sometimes old sayings are around so long because of their inherent truth. That day I learned you most definitely cannot judge a book by its cover. In thinking about the event afterwards I realized how quickly we judge others by outward appearances and even by the things they do. I’m sure this young man had experienced things in his life I could never imagine and had been in many dark places. But his true heart was expressed to me in the last poem because that type of poetry could only come from there. How grateful I was to have taken the time to talk to him and get to that point and what a tremendous loss it would have been had I judged him solely by the first half of our meeting.
PIN using the images blow to share this story with others. Ü
Who doesn’t need to learn to love themselves just a little bit more? This is especially true for children and teens though many adults need a refresher course! Our daughter Jennifer wrote this book to illustrate the importance of doing just that: loving one’s self.
It’s beautifully illustrated by her and her sister Amy and is available on Amazon in an 8 x 10 full color paperback or for Kindle. (The Kindle version is only $2.99 and is free for Prime members.)