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Learn to APPRECIATE Life

» Introduction
Things in life are good. If I stop to count all of my blessings, I know that things in my life are great. However, sometimes I forget. Sometimes I focus on all that I perceive to be less than satisfactory and life doesn’t feel quite so wonderful. Luckily, I have a teacher that I see once a week who reminds me of what I sometimes forget.
» Step 1
Appreciation Step One: IDENTIFY THE PEOPLE, PLACES, AND THINGS THAT ENERGETICALLY LIFT YOU UP!

Marta is from El Salvador. She comes to clean my house once a week and on the other days of the week, she cleans for friends of mine. We all know Marta and we are blessed and fortunate to have her in our houses cleaning in a way that goes way beyond the surface. It always feels as if she is “energetically” cleaning the house. When I step into a home that Marta has just cleaned, it feels differently from other times of the week. It feels inviting, warm, and cheerful.

» Step 2
Appreciation Step Two: MODEL YOUR ATTITUDE AND BEHAVIORS ON THE PEOPLE, PLACES, AND THINGS THAT LIFT YOU UP!

When Marta enters your home, she brings with her a big smile and a lot of energy. She always has great things to share and interesting stories that we know could only happen to Marta. She tells stories of her children and what they are doing at school, and most times they are doing very well. Her children have the same sparkle and glow that Marta carries. They are courteous, smart, respectful, and curious.

» Step 3
Appreciation Step Three: LET YOUR UPLIFTED ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS GUIDE YOUR ACTIONS!

With enthusiasm and sincere happiness, Marta spends her early mornings preparing breakfast for her husband and her four children. Then, she puts in eight hours of cleaning houses in neighborhoods far away from her own and returns home to prepare dinner for her family. On the weekends, she sometimes volunteers her time to help neighborhood, school, and church charities. I know that sometimes she works on “surprises” for my home. She has made curtains, slipcovers, and various other things with no expectation of additional payment. She notices that something is needed and she sets about providing it. Every item from my home that is no longer of use or that needs recycling or simply some tender loving care is offered to Marta. Marta is grateful to take and fix and mend and use all that is offered to her, if not for herself, then for someone that she knows. And, she always knows someone who can use the things that she is given. She laughs loudly, fully, and often. She is one of the happiest people I know.

» Step 4
Appreciation Step Four: WHEN YOU TRULY APPRECIATE WHAT REALLY MATTERS, THERE IS NO PROBLEM!

If I or someone else is not feeling well, or having a “problem,” Marta always has three questions to ask. “Are you sick?” If the answer is “no,” she asks, “Is someone in your family sick?” If the answer to this second question is “no,” then she says, “So, what is the problem?” For Marta, this is the truth. She has made it her truth. She is grateful for everything and appreciates life. She finds humor during tough times. And, she focuses her energy on helping and giving to others. This must be the secret to her happiness. Marta has been hired to help out with many social gatherings and events over the years, and she always seems to be the one having the best time. I admire this about Marta. I don’t know how much money she has in her bank account or what her life is like on days that she is not at my house, but I do know that as long as she is not sick and as long as her family remains well, she is very happy. Everything else is truly “no problem.” She reminds me that I am blessed and fortunate in so many regards, in so many ways that truly matter. I am grateful for my teacher, Marta. I am grateful to remember to appreciate life. Thank you, Marta, for this inspiration. You are truly appreciated.

With gratitude,
Mark
www.MarkEdgarStephens.com

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