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Gratitude Life Classes

Being grateful for the blessings we receive – both small and large – is an excellent practice to cultivate. It’s something I have benefited from greatly… even though, to be honest, grace and gratitude don’t always come easily to me. In fact, left to my own devices, I am a world class complainer; I can be floored by frustrations and mired in challenges – personal and professional – I don’t enjoy. What to say? I’m human.

So, I keep at it. Life goes on.

A few weeks ago I went to a Gratitude workshop, one that I’d heard about through several different people and thought sounded right up my alley. And? It was excellent! Surprisingly so. The thing is, I have done many of these sorts of workshops and classes over the years… some incredible and some, weeeell, some not suited to my personality. However, this was such a good day, and one from which I drew so much, that I wanted to share it with you.*

gratitude - piglet

image via pinterest

Toni Powell runs these classes and what an excellent woman she is! Toni spent the day taking us through stories from her life, including practical tales of finding and practicing gratitude, often in incredibly challenging situations. She also discussed the science of happiness and gave us a bundle of tricks for finding more of this in each day. There were some exercises we had to do, some on our own and some with others, but nothing squirmy. It certainly helped that everyone there was really lovely and I enjoyed some great chats.


One exercise required us to take a few minutes to find and photograph something small or overlooked that we were grateful for. I went into this with my eyes-rolling, courtesy of in-built cynicism. Anyway, once I got over that, there were a heap of things I could have snapped!

What I ended up photographing where my shoes, my broken old Cons. I’ve had these for years and have worn them everywhere, everywhere. As a result, they are completely trashed. I still wear them all the time, but I often feel embarrassed by my shitty shoes and make fun of myself for having such broken shodding. I don’t stop wearing them though.  Nor have I bought a new pair… due in part to my strong dislike of shopping and habit of rarely getting new things. Instead, I wear and complain about them… even though I obviously love them, find them incredibly comfortable and have worn them all over the world for years and years now.

These well-worn and literally down-trodden shoes deserve a moment of appreciation.

gratitude - broken shoes

My broken, but beloved, shoes that have carried me everywhere for years.


I think I enjoyed the workshop so much because of how honest and real Toni was. She didn’t sugarcoat her stories. Her presentation didn’t spruik the unachievable goal of seeing only positive in every situation. Instead,  it focused on seeing beauty and worth in the small and ordinary; allowing for the challenges that invariably come with life, and rolling with them. This was much more something I could relate to.

So. It was a day of listening, interacting, feeling inspired and … taking photos of my shoes. Over the next couple of months there are more of these workshops being run up and down the East coast – you can see Toni’s site to find out more about her and the Gratitude Lifeclasses. Highly recommended!


I follow all sorts of blogs, including those of Toni’s daughters Georgia and Hailey – honestly, I’m not a stalker, they just share such awesome work! Anyway, not only are their images gorgeous, they also provide wonderful examples of finding gems in the every day. Certainly worth a look, if you haven’t come across them already.


* This is not a sponsored post, not by half. I’m just sharing my genuinely positive experience, in case it’s something you’re interested in too.

crazy little thing called change

A lovely post from Jan, sharing with us changes from her garden. I love a green thumb… though sadly do not possess one!

This is part of the ‘Change’ blog hop series I’m taking part in with the Health and Happiness Collective, which you can read more about here.

The Eloquent Garden

Humans seem  fascinated, sometimes obsessed with change. In the name of change, humans embark on some fabulous,  interesting, and some might say quite crazy behaviours.

I’ve just read “Maddadam’ by Margaret Atwood. Now she’s an author who’s  terrific at imagining change. She  takes our fantasies, our dreams of change and details them in dystopian comedy-dramas. “God’s Gardeners” in charge of the world. Hmm. Not so practical, it turns out. And that marvelous  fantasy that males and females have –  ‘if only we knew exactly when someone wanted to mate with us’ –  that would save us so much time and heartache we think. It’s wonderful what Atwood does with that one. I won’t spoil it for potential readers, but it does involve spontaneous colour change of body parts.

And plants and animals  change too in surprising, fascinating ways.  Convergent evolution, where two unrelated species take on the characteristics of one…

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My top tip for healthy change

Getting started on a health kick is often overwhelming, particularly if there are a lot of changes to be made or many habits that you feel need adjusting. However, as with most things in life, simplifying your approach can remove unnecessary stress and help you turn these changes into easily maintained habits.

Here is my number 1 tip on where to start.

Be honest about the quality of your diet and how it makes you feel.

What percentage of your diet is made up of processed and/or packaged foods? Does your diet feature food or drinks that leave you feeling heavy, bloated or a bit ‘off’. Do you eat because you’re hungry? Because you’re bored? Because you’re feeding mid-afternoon sugar cravings? Or, are you eating without being aware of ‘why’?

These are important questions, as they’ll help you nut out what’s driving both your healthy and unhealthy habits.

Also be honest about how much time, money and willingness you are able to invest in making healthy change. You may be time-poor, on a limited budget or simply not interested in forgoing your daily donut (for example). In which case, a complete overhaul is most likely not realistic. BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t make some improvements – because you absolutely can.

image via

Start by working fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Every day.

This can be as small as fresh fruit / veggie sticks / nuts for a snack, or adding a handful of chopped mixed vegetables to your dinner. If you don’t have time to go shopping, try one of the many fresh fruit and veg home delivery services available in all major cities (these are often very cost-effective, including the services offering organic produce). If you aren’t in the habit of making your meals, choose the freshest pre-prepared foods you are able.

These are simple steps, but over time they will make a significant difference to the quality of food you consume and, subsequently, your health.

There is obviously more – much more! – you can do to improve your health… eating well, drinking water, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, managing stress, quitting nasty habits like smoking, taking herbs or supplements for specific health conditions… I endorse all of these, they will all help.

However, as our old mate Lao Tzu said – a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – and your health journey is NO different. One step at a time my friends.


This is part of the ‘Change’ blog hop series I’m taking part in with the Health and Happiness Collective, which you can read more about here.

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