365 Grateful blog



Guest Post - Lori Portka - A Tuscan Villa

Hailey Bartholomew - Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Great to have another post from Lori - one that is very easy to relate to!  I usually freak out when I miss out on something so this is a great reminder to me to view those times differently.  Thanks Lori!



The Tuscan Villa

In the United States, this is Thanksgiving week.  It is a big holiday in this country filled with family and feasting, thanks and giving.  I will be spending this Thanksgiving at home alone with my two dogs.  I know that sounds like a sad story. At first I was sad and I actually didn’t handle it very well (many meltdowns, lots of crying.)  See, my Italian husband is in Italy this week with his entire Italian family (I refer lovingly to them as, The Italians.)    

For various reasons, I decided not to join them.  I felt so sorry for myself that I was missing out on all of the fun.  I even felt left-out, although it was my choice not to go.    It’s interesting how my mind can make up stories out of things that aren’t true and the story leads to misery.  I spun around in that unfortunate mess for a few days.

But again, like so many times in my life, gratitude has come to the rescue.  I asked for a change in perspective- a new way to view this holiday and situation with love and gratitude instead of anger and envy.  Later that day, as I was washing the dishes, I began to feel gratitude pouring over me.  I felt happy for my husband and the rest of The Italians, giddy almost, that they were going.  I felt grateful for the time to myself.  Having quiet time with my dogs to do whatever I want?  Fabulous!  This is an incredibly busy time of year with my art business and more than once this season I have felt overwhelmed.  This would be a week of quiet, to package and mail orders, paint, have lunch with friends, read, and eat my favorite soups.  Delightful!  I also felt grateful that my art business continues to grow, making it really hard for me to travel at all this time of year.  The kindest thing to do for myself is to stay home.  I felt so grateful for the choices that I have.  I felt so grateful for the family I adore so much.

It’s true, I will probably tear up a bit on Thanksgiving Day when they will all be in Tuscany staying at the villa my husband and I stayed in on our honeymoon.  I loved everything about that place so much that I actually cried when we left.  I made a painting for the B&B owner for my Hundred Thank Yous project (part of which you will see below). 

I imagine myself going back there one day.  Maybe I will get to give her the painting in person!  For now, I will send love to all my people who are laughing, feasting, taking in the beauty and enjoying each other.  I will send love to myself this week by doing what I want to do and showering myself with kindness.  All is well.






Guest Post - Lori - Closer to Calm

Hailey Bartholomew - Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Another great Guest Post from Lori.


I can be a stressed-out kind of person. 

This is why I love to surround myself with people (like this beautiful friend in the painting) who consistently have a relaxed and peaceful energy around them.  Just being near this person fills me with peace.

See, I want to be the kind of person who rolls with life’s ups and downs.  Who is quiet and composed in the center, even when the rest of the world is loosing their marbles.  

The truth is that I am so much closer to calm since I have started my Hundred Thank Yous Project.  I am not sure exactly why this project having such an effect on me, but I do notice that I am less reactive than I used to be. What I notice is that when I am super grouchy or stressed out, gratitude is missing.  I notice that I am not being grateful and instead have “the complaining tape” running on repeat in my brain.  That tape is not helpful for a happy life.

I think my gratitude project has made being grateful a normal part of what I do every day.  So when I am not in my grateful space, I notice it and am better able to switch my thoughts from what’s wrong to what is good in life.  Even if I am so grouchy that I can only think of one good thing - that’s a start - a little bright spark and eventually things begin to look up again.

I may never be as calm as my friend who I adore.  But I can bask in her peaceful glow and know that one day it may begin to wear off on me.




Link: Hundred Thank yous     



365 Grateful - a documentary about the extraordinary of gratitude.