Memory Of The Heart

kalman_quote Nothing -- to answer the question above.

I am lucky. 

"Wonderful things happen when your brain is empty," says artist Maira Kalman.

Today I spent the day emptying. Pausing at work's door to let in the arrival of my children.

In a quiet moment, I read that the French call gratitude, "the memory of the heart."

Makes perfect sense.

My heart skips a beat with abundant reminders -- memories of the heart.

With sincere gratitude,

I am lucky.

Drawing: Maira Kalman via Brain Pickings

Preserve, Conserve and Shop Small

It saddened me to learn that many large-box retailers opened their doors yesterday...on Thanksgiving. Here’s Walmart’s rational:

"We bought deep, very deep, and we bought deep on items that matter to our customers," said Walmart U.S. Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer, Duncan Mac Naughton.

What’s deeper than spending time with loved ones on Thanksgiving? 

"Walmart's offers will include video games starting at $10 and home appliances such as a Crock Pot slow cooker for $9.44 each."

There's an underlying disconnect…and discontent in this deep thinking that inherently weakens communities.

But who am I to tell Walmart, the largest US employer, what to do? I live in a thriving small town that flourishes over the holidays. Local holiday shopping starts today and helps keep the merchants afloat during the less lucrative winter months. Shopping local during the holiday season creates jobs, boosts the economy, and preserves our neighborhoods. Keeping with peaceful holiday tidings, being a "locavore" matters because it conserves precious energy (the malls are often quite a driving distance away), and preserves our small towns.

In the spirit of the season, let’s be conscious of where we shop. It matters more than saving a few cents on video games and Crockpots. In fact, it matters because shopping local is the glue that holds communities together.

Photo: Fickr

Seasonal Gratitude: Take The Test

Did you know feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life can actually attract more of the types of things you want?

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, the virtue of giving thanks is an expression of gratitude. This means more to me than just being thankful. It's an acknowledgment that evokes empathy...and expresses kindness.

I like the word gratitude.

Maybe because being thankful is associated with those round table discussions about what we are thankful for -- my kids smirk -- so trite. In response to being grateful, I've had recent reflections about gratitude in a few articles...

This Moms Clean Air Force post about my meeting with Josh Fox, director and narrator of the landmark film about fracking, Gasland, fuels the kind of activism that inspires hope. He says, "If you don't feel hopeful, you're not doing enough." So true.

In another MCAF post, I thank the EPA on Thanksgiving...

Do you think it's off the wall to thank a government agency? READ how the EPA has my gratitude. Oh, I almost forgot to mention this post includes 3 of my favorite things: tea, chocolate and wine.


“A growing body of research suggests that maintaining an attitude of gratitude can improve psychological, emotional and physical well-being.” ~ Wall Street Journal

  • Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, optimism and social connections.
  • Adults who feel grateful are less likely to be: depressed, envious and greedy.
  • Adults who are grateful are more likely to earn more money, sleep more soundly and have greater resistance to viral infections.
  • Kids who feel and act grateful tend to be less materialistic, set higher goals and feel more satisfied with their friends and families.

Want to find out how grateful you are? Take the TEST.

I took the test right before my kids arrived last night from Boston. Here's what I learned:

I don't need a test to tell me I'm grateful for their love.

Decking The Nest Early?

Don't get me wrong, I love the winter holidays...just not yet.

I ducked into the Apple store at the Danbury Mall last weekend to get my iPhone fixed. Lining the mall, the trees were trimmed, the holiday tunes were humming and credit cards were working overtime...five days after Halloween. I was having a hard time conjuring up warm holiday spirits (like the image above). In fact, I channeled Scrooge to anyone who would listen. Those poor people who had just come in to check their email because they were still out of power from a freak snowstorm thought I was nuts.

Welcome to the Holiday Creep – the commercial phenomenon created by retailers to accelerate the start of the holiday shopping season. When you venture into the stores, you’d better watch out and you’d better not pout.

But not all stores sign on early. Check out my latest Care2 post and find out how Nordstrom’s is obviously not the norm. Not only do they have an eco-friendly shopping policy, they don't buy into the creepy behavior of other stores that attempt to cash in before the turkey takes center stage. Did I mention they also have a fabulous shoe department?

Tell the truth, when does Rudolph start ringing the sleigh bells in your nest?

Photo: Remodelista