From Debbie Downer to Miracle Magnet: Introducing the Grateful Heart Collection

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I have a confession to make.

I am a recovering Debbie downer. I never looked for the silver lining. I saw half-empty glasses all around me. Probably from a combination of anxiety and depression dating back to my tween years, I tended to look on the not-so-bright side. The dark side. Imagining the worst and expecting it to happen.

I was on the constant look out for the disapproving look or snub or veiled insult. And boy, did I find them!  A frown on a stranger’s face meant she didn’t like me.  If someone didn’t say hi, it meant they hated me.

All this negativity did not help. It kept me sheltered from hurt but also cut off opportunities that could have given me great joy! Like friendships or work opportunities or just a fun time out with friends.

Fast-forward 3 decades

After a painful divorce and entire re-evaluation of my life (hello mid-life crisis!), everything I thought I knew came into question. To me, ending a 14-year marriage and having to start my life over as a single mama was a nightmare come true!

It wasn’t until after I grieved the loss of a marriage and my life as a stay-at-home mom and wife (with the help of therapy, lots of tears and dozens and dozens of self-help books) that I began to notice that I had a lot to be grateful for.

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And for the first time in my life, I started to clean up my negativity and automatic negative thoughts. And that’s when my life began to transform.

Count your blessings (even the ones that don’t seem like blessings)

First, I began to literally count my blessings. Spelling them out. Journaling about the good things in my life – even if on that particular day I could only summon up the obvious. like the fact that I had my two beautiful girls in my life or that I had a roof over my head.

Even the hardships could be mined for blessings. The end of an unhappy marriage led to happier life (eventually). And the chance to rebuild our family in a healthier way.

Then, after consistently appreciating the things I already had, I began to *expect* more good things to happen to me.

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Now I look for the miracle. The good. The bright side. The love. And oh boy, they are showing up!

I feel lighter than I ever have. I have more hope than I ever have. I feel more *myself* than I ever have. And the world seems to have opened up!

Of course, I still have off days. Fears. Resistance. But those days are just that. Off days. They aren’t in alignment with who I am.

And after a pint of gelato or a Netflix binge or if I am really good, a yoga class or an evening run, I return to love. My perception returns to love and the world reflects that love back to me.

And that is what my new collection, Grateful Heart, means to me. Being grateful for what you have. Because I believe what you focus on will grow! Having gratitude will raise your vibration – no more Debbie downer vibes for me – and attract even more things to be grateful for.

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The Grateful Heart collection is now available on my Catshy Crafts online shop and my Catshy Crafts Etsy shop.

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5 Tips to Add Affirmations to Your Life

Hello. My name is Cathy and I am a quote addict.

She Believed She Could So She Did - Inspirational Wall Art

One of my Hoop Art with one of my fave mantras. Available in my shop.

I collect quotes and mantras and affirmations. My heart skips a beat when I read a passage in a book that truly speaks to me. My eyes widen with awe when I see an inspiring meme as I scroll past photos on my Instagram feed. My soul vibrates in recognition when a powerful truth is uttered on a podcast or video or lecture.

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. – Wayne Dyer

I am a firm believer in the power of words. I am a firm believer that what you tell yourself every day becomes your reality.

 

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One of my favorite tanks  by fellow yoga lover and maker, NeenaCreates has my favorite Rumi quotes on it!

Words can break you out of a funky mood or guide you to happier place. (They can also bring you down, if you let them.) As Mike Dooley, best-selling author of Leveraging the Universe says:

Thoughts become things….so choose the good ones!

In a world where we are assailed with messages coming from almost every angle – from media and culture to our circle of friends and family to the voices of doubt and criticism in our own heads, it can be hard to stay focused on the feel-good messages.  Something said only once may have touched you so deeply that you now carry it around with you every day of your life. You can choose to let go of the thoughts that don’t hold true anymore. Or the thoughts that deflate you. You can replace them with positive mantras that eventually become your own truth.

Say nice things to yourself – you’re the only one listening. Tell yourself, I am doing the best I can. – Gabrielle Bernstein

Here are my 5 tips for staying grounded in the words that inspire you:

  1. Write yourself a love note. Take those post-its out of the office and jot down a favorite phrase or quotation that you know for sure will lighten your mood when you see it again. Then stick them to your bathroom mirror or your laptop or your fridge.
  2. Keep a journal that is filled only with quotes and inspiring words. Then when you are in need of a pick-me-up you can thumb through your journal. Be on the look out from books to Instagram to ads.
  3. Download a digital wallpaper for your computer or smartphone so that whenever you log on, the words will greet you. (Keep reading to the end of this post for surprise giftie created by me!)
  4. Buy art or home accessories or fashion with inspiring quotes. From prints to pillows to t-shirts to wall art, it won’t be hard to find something happy-making. For example, I have a number of inspiring embroidery hoop art in my shop with my own favorite mantras. Better yet, commission your favorite artist to create something just for you! I happily take custom orders.
  5. Search online sites and start collecting your own quotes you love.  My fave go-to sources  for inspiration:
    • Tiny Buddha
    • Good Reads
    • anything by Rumi, Louise Hay, Martha Beck, Wayne Dyer, Gabrielle Bernstein or Eckhart Tolle. Their books are full of inspiration!

I hope these tips serve you. I know for me, words help me reach for a higher vibe, move to my happy place or just a give me a temporary respite from a bad day. With each new high-vibe thought I hold onto, I can let go of those low-vibe ones that no longer serve me.

 

GIFT FOR YOU!

To get you started on your love affair with quotes, I have created a free desktop wall paper of one of my favorite quotes. Enjoy!

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Creating Happiness: Feeling Grateful

Feeling gratitude

Expressing gratitude to someone is a gift that rewards both the giver and the receiver. Whenever you feel gratitude for someone or something, expressing it – through a simple thank you or kind gesture – will open your heart to a bit of happiness.

A decade of gratitude studies show that people who give thanks increase positive emotions, reduce risk of  depression and improve their relationships, just to name a few benefits. Even in the midst of down times, you can always find something to be grateful about, can’t you?  Something good in your life. In fact, research says that practicing gratitude will help you through the bad times.

Of course, it may be hard when things feel so bleak or dreary or dark. Or maybe you are grateful for something that at first was a cause of sadness and despair, but over time has become the catalyst for something so much better. A break-up of an unhappy union leads to a healthier relationship with someone else. A job loss leads to more fulfilling one.

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In the midst of my own divorce, I’ve been finding so many things to be grateful for. My two beautiful children. A supportive and respectful ex-husband and co-parent. A roof over my head. Friends who have supported me. Rediscovering the strength and grace of my own body through yoga and exercise and good eating. And yes, I am so grateful for this creative business that has enabled me to grow in so many ways over the years.

Need help in expressing gratitude? Read this article about six habits of highly grateful people from the Greater Good Science Center.

p.s. If you liked this post, check out my other blog posts in my series: “Creating Happiness.”

Creating Happiness: My Top 5 Resources to Spark Joy

 

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1. Dr. Christine Carter / Happiness Expert and author of Raising Happiness

Raising Happiness was one of the first happiness/self-help books that really resonated with me. Probably because when I found it, I was a new mom raising my own family and knew how important happiness is to a child and how important your parents’ outlook on life can affect their children. It’s a parenting handbook based on real science.

2. Zen Habits / Leo Babauta

If you want easily digestible nuggets of happiness tips, read Zen Habits. His blog is uncluttered – free of ads or distracting images. Just large text on a white background. This blog definitely lives up to its name. I was also fortunate to receive his book, Zen Habits (seen in photo) as part of Leo’s recent Kickstarter project.

3. Tiny Buddha

I discovered Tiny Buddha when I was searching for quotable sayings on happiness. Many of my quote graphics are culled from Tiny Buddha’s huge collection of inspiring quotes. I also just love the image of having a pocket-sized Buddha on hand to ask advice when life gets hairy.

4. Quiet Revolution / Quiet by Susan Cain

The bible for introverts, Quiet made it clear that being soft-spoken and introspective is a superpower. The world needs and should cherish introverts! I also LOVED her TED talk.

5. Life is What You Make It / Peter Buffett

A random library find, this book by the son of billionaire Warren Buffett, found me at just the right time in my life. As I contemplate re-entering the work force and deal with a divorce, this book reminds me how important it is to forge your own path by following your passions. Don’t settle for the easy path. Discover your own joys and strengths by trying new things. Failure is welcome because it whittles your choices and helps you find the right path.

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BONUS

The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up / Marie Kondo

Growing up in a cluttered home, it is no surprise that my current home is a disorganized mess most of the time. Books, clothes and yes, years of accumulated craft supplies, make my living space very un-zen and disorienting. I love this books philosophy of getting rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy in your hearts. It reminds me of my yoga class, when my teacher tells us to exhale anything that doesn’t serve us. To let go.

Disclaimer: Even though I am still reading this book and have yet to implement the “KonMari method” my 10-year-old daughter, who read the book cover to cover, is already a convert and has re-organized her younger sister’s clothing drawers!

 

Creating Happiness : Just Do It Already!

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Happiness…..in so many words

While thinking about what to write for my first post in my new blog series – Creating Happiness, I knew I *had* to start each post with a quote. I’ve been posting these happy nuggets for a few years on my blog and various social media channels, like Pinterest. I’m so happy to combine my love of a well-turned phrase with my self-taught Photoshop skills (I’m old school and still use CS2!) into creating these little graphics.  This particular quote by Benjamin Disraeli, which I found on The Positivity Blog, is very appropros for this inaugural post.

I admit, being proactive has not always been one of my fortes when it comes to certain things in my life.

Plagued with a touch of social anxiety and a whole lot of shyness, inaction can be the safe haven where I hunker down. But, when I do take action, even if it is just a small action, I almost always feel better. Dare I say happier for having done it?

It has been exactly five weeks since I announced that I would be writing a blog series.  Yes, it has taken over a month to set pen to paper, so to speak, and write a post. And the simple act of typing this post – hearing the quick taps of the keyboard and feeling the wheels in brain turning – are making me perk up.

I am not going to reinvent the wheel and claim to solve your happiness woes (what an oxymoron!), but I will share my experiences and the stories behind my art.

 

Things that made me happy this week

Making this:

This song:

 

 These two:
Doing this:

I hope as you read these posts, you will share what makes you happy with me. I’d love to hear what other happiness seekers are doing.

xo,
Cathy