Count your blessings card from Kyle Gray's "Angel Prayers" oracle cards deck

Everything you read about angels states that when you’re in a state of gratitude, your angels rejoice and dance around. If you’re like me, you’ve heard countless people say that practicing gratitude is good for your wellbeing, good for manifesting money, good for stress relief, and all this other stuff. Gratitude is touted as the key to undoing all the bad things in your life, especially financial problems.

Despite all this, I admit, the “practice of gratitude” is something I’ve always had trouble with. Whenever I sit down to use my gratitude journal, I don’t feel genuine appreciation for the air that I breathe or the roof over my head or whatever the hell else people tell you you’re supposed to be grateful for every day. It just feels more like I’m trying to remember what gratitude feels like than actually being in a state of appreciation for those things. Additionally, I find it really hard to appreciate things like the air I breathe when it seems like I’m struggling so much in so many different areas. Even still, like a lot of people, I used my gratitude journal almost every day in an attempt to feel less shitty about the current state of my life (because let’s be real, that is the only reason I used it). My inability to focus on gratitude plagued me all the time. I could feel that writing in my gratitude journal wasn’t accomplishing anything.

The problem with gratitude is that it can’t be forced.

Or mustered up, or summoned for the purposes of igniting positive change in your life. When you try to, the appreciation isn’t genuine. You’re not grateful, you’re trying to be grateful.

Because of this, focusing on gratitude in this way will never lead to health or prosperity or joy, regardless of what most spiritual gurus say. This is why so many of us abandon the practice of gratitude.

So what is the real value of gratitude? Why does everyone make such a big deal about it? Is there actually a way to “practice” gratitude at all?

I didn’t really seek the answer to these questions, but the answers found me anyways.

I practice yoga because it feels damn good water bottle

The Christmas Miracle

This past Christmas, while I was making us some Christmas Day green juice, my boyfriend Ben went into the back yard to let the dog in. While he was there, he found a purple metal Lulu Lemon water bottle (above) that had been sitting in the back yard. He brought it in and said “is this your water bottle? It’s been in the backyard since at least your birthday party.”

I had never seen it before. My birthday is in August, so whoever had left it there clearly wasn’t coming back for it.

“It’s not mine,” I said with a shrug.

“Do you want it?” Ben asked. “I’ll wash it off for you.”

Again I shrugged in response to this. I never really carried around a water bottle because, although I drink 4 liters a day, I’ve never found a water bottle that I liked. I usually drink out of a mason jar with one of those straw lids (seriously). Bottles are always either too expensive, don’t hold enough water, made of plastic, just plain ugly, or some other thing. I had been given a plastic one with a straw in it as a gift a few months prior and never used it because the straw was weird and you had to suck really hard to get a sip of water and I didn’t like it. Also it was too small.

After Ben washed the water bottle for me, I started using it when I didn’t feel like dragging my mason jar around, and found that it was a lot easier to carry (duh). It fit in my car’s cupholders, and I could put my green juice in the jar and still have water in my bottle. Over time I started bringing it everywhere, and felt this new sense of relief because I never had to worry about having something to drink out of. I always had the water bottle with me.

Listen card from Doreen Virtue's Daily Guidance from your angels card deck

My Moment in the Light

This past weekend I was with Ben. I got a new phone and we went grocery shopping. We took my car and I brought the water bottle with me.

As we pulled in the driveway of his place after we were done, I went to take a sip from the water bottle and, again, I felt relieved that I had the water bottle there. It was just so nice to have on hand.

When I was drinking, I suddenly noticed. Oh my god, I held genuine, not-mustered-up unbridled appreciation for something: the water bottle. It was SO utterly convenient, I loved it so much.

Ecstatic with this realization, I turned to my boyfriend, held the water bottle in the air, and practically screamed “HOLD ON, can I just say— I’m going to share something I’m grateful for because we never do that. I AM SO grateful for this water bottle. It is so fucking convenient and makes life so easy and it’s METAL and it was FREE! And YOU cleaned it up for me! Which is awesome because I would’ve totally been too lazy to! Having this water bottle has no joke improved the quality of my life. I love it so fucking much and it’s so fucking awesome!

I felt like this was kind of a big deal on its own, but I had an even bigger revelation when I witnessed Ben’s response.

The Sudden Realization

Ben was elated (and a little shocked, in a good way) by my sudden outburst of appreciation. As he explained to me why he chose the water bottle, how it was only going to waste in the backyard, how he thought the phrase on it suited me, and so on, I was able to see the effect my gratitude had on him.

When I decided to share with him how grateful I was, I did it purely on an impulse. One thing I hadn’t anticipated was how it would make him feel when I expressed my gratitude.

He was overwhelmed with appreciation because I was so grateful for this thing he gave me.

I had been so busy trying to find things in my own life to be grateful for I had never even thought about the effect expressing my gratitude might have on others.

Then it occurred to me. I finally understood gratitude.

The truth about gratitude

Gratitude isn’t just about what you are grateful for. Gratitude is EVEN MORESO about expressing appreciation to others so that they can FEEL APPRECIATED.

Gratitude can’t be forced, which is why it’s important to take note of the things you’re grateful for when you’re already in a state of appreciation for them.

Other people seeing you in a state of gratitude inspires them, just as observing others in a state of gratitude can inspire you.

Quote from Adrienne Orpheus

“Count Your Blessings” image is from Kyle Gray’s Angel Prayers Oracle Cards
“Listen” image is from Daily Guidance from Your Angels Oracle Cards

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Meeting Misha Collins

December 23, 2014

I got yelled at for taking this photo

Burcon 2014 was my first Supernatural convention, so I kind of went all out. A gold pass was out of my reach this year, so instead I splurged and bought all the photo ops I wanted. I got photo ops for Jared, Jensen, Jared AND Jensen together, Tamoh Penikett, Rob Benedict, Rich and Matt together, and Misha Collins. The only one I didn’t get that I wanted was Mark Sheppard, but I will get him next time.

A lot of people only came to the con for Jared and Jensen. I suppose, theoretically, I should’ve been most excited to meet them. And, don’t get me wrong, meeting them was magical and surreal and definitely worth the absurd amount of money I spent to go to the con. But the most memorable experience I had was my photo op with Misha Collins.

The Real Misha
The first thing I realized when I saw Misha’s panel was that the “quirky” Misha Collins everyone sees on the internet is not the real Misha. That version of him is basically a character he plays. The real him is way more like a “regular” guy, except there’s something …magical about him that I can’t really put my finger on. He seemed comfortable and unguarded, with an honesty you don’t often see in a convention setting.

adorpheus cosplaying girl castiel
The pre-meeting
The morning before my photo op, I got dressed in my girl!Castiel costume. I originally hadn’t planned to make a Cas costume for this convention, because I figured there’d be a ton of Cas cosplayers already. I actually wanted a Gadreel outfit, but when I went thrift shopping to look for a jacket or hoodie, I couldn’t find one that I liked. I did, however, find the perfect Castiel trench coat (if Cas were a girl anyways). I used a skirt I already had, borrowed a white shirt from my mom, and bought a tie when I was out and about in Hollywood earlier that week. The fishnets were actually from my Impala costume, but I decided to wear them for Cas too because I thought they would be cuter than wearing plain black tights as I had originally planned. The shoes are a pair of super beat up heels that I usually use for work.

When I got in line to get my photo op, I was super nervous. I felt like I needed to express to Misha how much I loved him, and I was scared I wouldn’t have time. I hadn’t been able to splurge (even further) on an autograph or meet and greet ticket, and I was wondering now if I’d regret it. I was hoping he would like my costume, but then I thought maybe he’s sick of seeing Cas cosplayers and won’t care. I looked in my hand mirror a million times to make sure there was no lipstick on my teeth because I don’t usually wear lipstick so I have no idea what I’m doing when it’s on my face. I took a photo of him with someone else on my phone (above) and the Creation Entertainment staff yelled at me which made me more nervous. I started to get worried that if I tried to talk to Misha before my photo I would get yelled at again. I was having trouble keeping my eyes on him, because looking at him is sort of like trying to look at a really bright light.

The meeting
Finally it was my turn to get my photo taken. As I stepped closer to Misha, I could feel my vibration raising to match his.

I was not prepared mentally for the reaction Misha gave me when he saw my costume. As soon as he saw me, he gasped as if to say “Oh my god…” He seemed almost overwhelmed with appreciation. He acted like he thought I was the cutest thing on Earth. I expected him to not even notice my costume, but he loved it!

I quickly decided there was no way I was not going to at least try to talk to him for half a second. I didn’t have a special pose in mind for the photo so I decided I was going to pretend I was asking for a pose and just tell him how much I adore him.

He said hello and I got close to him as if I were going to ask him for a specific pose. Somehow I summoned the courage to speak.

“I don’t really have a pose I want to do,” I confessed, “but I just wanted to say that I love you, you’re my hero, and you changed my life.”

He smiled and said thank you and quickly grabbed me by the shoulder. Before I knew what was happening, he had spun me around and we were both facing the camera. He held me against him as the photographer, Chris, quickly snapped our photo.

After our photo was taken, he shook my hand and said “it was very nice to meet you” before I was ushered away by the creation staff.

As I left the photo op room, I all of a sudden realized that I was crying. I joke about it, but tears of joy aren’t usually something that happen to me. I was shocked at my body’s response to meeting him and quickly ran to the bathroom to fix my make up.

There were two more days of the con left at that point. And all my other photo ops and the panels I went to were amazing… but to be honest, everything else paled in comparison to meeting Misha Collins.

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A runyon canyon miracle

November 13, 2014

Things over the past year have been really rough for me, as I have been adjusting poorly to living in the US again. After living for four years in what I consider to be paradise (London), adjusting to living in Hell (Boston) has been, shall we say, difficult. I’ve screamed (literally), I’ve cried (until I […]

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What does a supernatural birthday party look like?

August 24, 2014

The road so far… Happy birthday to me! This year for my birthday I wanted to have a Supernatural birthday party so that’s what I did. From the facebook event page: On the 23rd of August 1986 in the year of our Lord AD, I descended from Heaven in order to occupy the vessel the […]

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What can you give?

July 31, 2014

Image from My Instagram

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A little thank you to all of you who brighten my day….

June 4, 2014

this photo really has nothing to do with this post I know things have been pretty quiet around here on the old blog while I’ve been busy recording, teaching, and having adventures. I promise a real update soon! Until then I just want to share this status update from my facebook page: I met some […]

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