Category: Spiritual Growth

Giving thanks - april wright therapy

Gratitude a Fulfilling Year-Round Process

Family quarrels, busy friends, negative media focus, and critical co-workers and supervisors can leave you feeling depressed, anxious, and alone. The negativity of the world doesn’t have to effect your inner world. Gratitude is your key to unlocking happiness.

Gratitude is being aware of and appreciating good things that happen and taking the time to express thanks. Here are just a few positive outcomes of expressing gratitude:

  • Less burnout
  • Higher job satisfaction
  • Motivates pro-social behavior
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Affect perception of the workplace
  • Positive bias in remembering life events
  • Promotes effective coping skills

There are many ways to express gratitude. One suggestion is keeping a daily journal in which you list as many things you feel appreciative of in a ten-minute time span. You may desire to focus on dispositional and situational gratitude. Focusing on different aspects of well-being brings is another way to bring more gratitude into your life. Thus if you are more grateful for social aspects of your life but not your work environment, you may benefit by focusing your appreciation on workplace issues.

To ensure consistency consider choosing a convenient, consistent time and location. With repetition, a healthy habit is formed, and you’ll start noticing the benefits. To increase the likelihood that you will follow through on maintaining a gratitude journal consider:

  • Timing
  • Frequency
  • Place
  • Environment

Things to consider:

Time span

Daily journaling is the most effective. Regardless, research shows entries made daily, over a short period (two weeks) or longer; weekly over a longer period (ten weeks) had a positive impact.


Professional. Intimacy. Family. Social. Personal. Recreation. Spiritual. Career. You may choose to pay attention to a different aspect of your life each day of the week or to center on only one facet over a particular time span. It is your choice.


Use pencil and paper, audio recording, word processing, or a smartphone or tablet computer application. Does one approach differ in effectiveness versus another? Choose the one that enables you to maintain consistency.

Letter writing

Write a letter expressing your gratitude to a particular person, supervisor, colleague, friend, or loved one could impact the recipients’ attitudes and behavior in the workplace, home environment, or social settings. It can also help you cope more efficiently with conflict even if the letter remains sealed.

I would like to express my gratitude to all of you who have supported me and been a friend and confidant.  Your caring nature and support have been invaluable in my development.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I know that the holidays can be a tough time for many, so I offer my support.
If there is someone you know who may need help, please have them reach out to me at (424) 258-5416.

Día de Muertos: Mexican Calaveras, skulls pattern, Mexico City culture

Day of the Dead


Halloween lies on the last day of October in the United States where candy, costumes and haunted houses come to life. Modern Halloween is more about fearing spirits and dressing-up as a character for the day.

Many other cultures instead of fearing spirits honor the dead and commensurate their spirits.

Today is not only a new moon; it is the day of the dead. I thought a fresh look at festivals around the globe that celebrate the deceased would be eye opening.


Possibly the most famous celebration of the deceased, Mexico’s Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead festival, traces to the pre-Columbian era and spans from October 28 until November 2. The Day of the Dead is about remembering loved ones and honoring family members who have passed away.

The country’s most vibrant celebrations take place in Mexico City and Oaxaca, where cemeteries and homes display altars adorned with yellow marigold and red terciopelo flowers, intricate sugar skulls, and papel picado, a colorful perforated paper engraved with skeleton designs.


 Bolivia’s Fiesta de las Ñatitas (Festival of the Skulls) is an ancient ritual among the indigenous Aymara people, honoring the special bond between the living and the deceased.

Ñatitas are exhumed human skulls that some Bolivians believe protect them from evil, help them achieve goals, and even work miracles. The skulls spend most of their time indoors, but are paraded in La Paz’s main public cemetery every year in early November, where they are decorated with flowers and pampered with cigarettes, coca leaves, and other treats.


The Ghost Festival, also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival, is a traditional Buddhist and Taoist commemoration, celebrated in China on the seventh month in the Chinese calendar. It is believed that spirits are able to roam the Earth throughout this month, and on the 15th night specifically, these spirits have the chance to visit their living descendants.

Throughout “Ghost Month,” gifts are made to the deceased, traditional theater is performed, and people set places at tables for dead members of their family. After the festival, people light lanterns and float them in bodies of water to help lead spirits back to the underworld.


This annual voodoo festival in Haiti takes place throughout November, but the majority of celebrations occur during the beginning of the month. Voodoo believers converge on Port-au-Prince’s main cemetery to honor the Gede (a family of spirits with the powers of death and fertility), laying out gifts such as homemade beeswax candles, flowers and—to warm the Gede’s bones—bottles of rum stuffed with chile peppers.

Dances, rituals, and costumes play a large part in this unique festival celebrating the dead.


The Obon festival is a Japanese Buddhist holiday celebrated July 13-15 or August 13-15 (depending on the region in Japan), honoring the return of the spirits of deceased ancestors. People revisit their hometowns to tend their relatives’ graves, which are cleaned and decorated with flowers.

There are Obon festivals all over Japan that combine traditional dances and celebrations. On the last night of Obon, people light candles and have bonfires to mark the departure of the ancestral spirits.


Chuseok is one of the largest and most widely celebrated holidays in South Korea. The primary reason for Chuseok, held on the fall equinox, is to honor ancestors and deceased relatives. However, the holiday is considered a general time for families to congregate, reconnect, and enjoy fantastic feasts. Traditionally, Chuseok has also allowed South Koreans to celebrate the autumn harvest after a season of hard work.

Chuseok is largely centered on the culture and history of South Korea. To honor the traditions that connect them to their roots, many families will visit their ancestors’ villages, perform rituals and ceremonies, and visit graves while wearing traditional garb.


Gai Jatra, also called the Festival of the Cows, is celebrated in August and September in Nepal. During the celebration, a procession of cows is marched through the streets of Kathmandu, led by family members who have lost a loved one within the last year. Cows, which are considered holy in Hinduism, are thought to be able to guide the recently deceased to the afterlife. Following the cow procession, participants dress in costume and dance in the city center.

Gai Jatra is regarded as a celebration, meant to help people accept death as a reality of life and to help ease the passing of those who have died.

Do you have a ritual or particular way to help ease loved ones who have passed? I’d love to hear how you have dealt with death in your life. If you need help with the grieving process or want to explore your spiritual growth, please feel free to contact me at

New Moon

November 1 2016 – New Moon

Today marks the New Moon.  New moons provide a special time to swathe into your real self, your soul.

Some say that we rest between lives.  Thus in the physical realm, the New Moon provides a time to rest, before the next cycle.

The fresh phase of the new moon is a symbolic opening for new beginnings and merging with a spiritual source.  And similar to the Sun’s “New Moon” at Winter Solstice, it’s a time to remember who you are and receive guidance on the trail ahead.

New Moons offer a grand occasion to set intentions. Create a list or a ritual of actions, phrases, or visualizations of things you’d like to develop, cultivate, and make manifest. Many ways exist to initiate this communion with the Universe from lighting a candle to well-adorned rituals.

The most important aspect is that you commit to your vision and become open to receiving direction, healing, and support from Spirit.

When tuning into the Moon’s phases, it’s reassuring to know that there are many chances during the year to tap into lunar energy. Like the tides, the Moon ebbs and flows, a feminine energy and rhythm that is intuitive fro women. New Moons create a blank slate to voice your dreams.  Full Moons present an opportunity for taking action and celebrating the fruit of your labors.

In the chaotic and left-brain, thinking world, looking for something greater than yourself that is also part of yourself can fill you with awe and help you feel spiritually connected to everything.  Whatever path you may be on, opening yourself up and working with planetary energies links you to the power of the supernatural elements of the world.


The new moon is here so reflect upon exactly what you want to draw into your life.  Be clear about your intentions and make them known either in a journal, to a close friend, or in a collage. Your intention can be a quality you’d like to cultivate like love, peace, forgiveness, courage — or it could be a specific request like a new place to live or a promotion at work.


Ritual is a sacred ceremony. It is a performed series of acts with conscious intent to a clear goal or purpose. Ritual is a transformative experience that connects us to our creative imagination.  Spiritual connection and growth is facilitated through a personally designed ritual.

Design your personal ritual using your personal tastes.  Access your current pace of life and the time you have to devote to a particular routine. You can spend as little time simply lighting a candle or gathering objects and pictures that symbolize your goal.

You can write your intentions or create a collage. Each provides a visual reminder of your dreams that you can view daily. You can also meditate on your goals with the lighting of a candle.  Many avenues instill a creative pathway for a ritual.  Use your imagination and manifest your own creative, purposeful outlet.

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