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Life seems to be an journey between paths lit with bright sunlight, mysterious moonlight, and grey trails of mud and sharp rocks. When you get off the right track, you can sometimes plod on for miles, turned within, not realizing you are off.

Wake up- look at where you are, do you like what you see? Maybe you need to get back into the golden sun, a path where you can walk and breathe and see the hope of the journey.

A place to start is to look at your gifts. Everyone has them. You were born with some inherent talents, bends, predispositions toward skills. They may lie in your natural grace of movement, your way of looking at machines and understanding their functions, your ability to look at wood pieces and see their natural joinings for function or for art.

It may be a yearning to fly, to hear and create music, put together words into tales, or draw the world to share. You have those gifts. If you use them in your life or work or study, your journey will be easier, will bring you more joy. Because when we work at developing a skill that we naturally lean toward the learning is far easier, the potential for excellence far greater than forcing a knowledge that we do not enjoy, do not care about.

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Next, look at external gifts you are given. Wake up- look at the world around you, the sights, the people, the creatures. That bird on the branch is singing for you. Do you even hear him? That brilliant red tree was placed in your sight to savor with your vision. Look at it for goodness sake! The little cat rubbing your ankle wants to give you a gift of its love. The child singing in the yard two houses over is practicing her talent, enjoy her aspiration.

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Serendipitous occurrences can be wonderful gifts. Did you ever just find the most beautiful rock, feather, seashell without even trying? Recently as I was driving my car while filled with churning bad feelings, I made myself go through a small meditation on rising above the false self. Immediately a beautiful blue jay feather floated into my open window and landed on my seat. What a gift!

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And give yourself gifts. No, not expensive jewelry(though that can be nice) but small reasonable gifts. Take a walk while determining that with every step you will live in the now. Or shut your eyes when you are full of stress, and imagine yourself in your favorite beautiful place of nature. Plan to take a small trip to a park or a museum, or a place you find intriguing and go. Plant your favorite flower or some spinach seeds, and watch them grow. Eat the baby spinach you planted and feel it nurture your body( I did this one).

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If you love to sing, put on your most loved music and let ‘er rip. Same for dancing. It does not matter if you aren’t good at it, it is wonderful to allow your body to express itself so kinetically. And if you do it often, I guarantee you will get better at it!

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If you are an artist, even a very over scheduled one, give yourself the gift of creating time. Compose your music, paint your canvas, write your novel. Build your dreams in whatever small pieces of time you can grab.

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Last, give gifts to others. Smile at the child, the older lady, the person you pass on your walk. Hold the door for the one behind you, grab the can on the high shelf someone can’t reach themselves. Stroke your dog, praise your friend. Compliment the one you know could use it by sharing a wonderful thought you have had of them. These acts can take so little effort, but can be wonderful gifts. And they turn around and make you feel good too.

Coming back to life’s journey, if you can wake up and see your gifts, your path will be heading back to where it is intended. The sunlight will be up ahead, and you will be able to handle the dark of the night with far more assurance. Remember your gifts. Use them. Appreciate them. See them. Give of them.

Have a happy sunlit trail my friends.

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