Wisdom of the ages appears at the oddest of times and places

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Lynne Cope Hummell

On the same Saturday recently, my husband and I each found inspiring little nuggets of wisdom that could have a mighty impact and were suitable for sharing.

Later in the day, we attended two events, one sad (a memorial service for a friend) and one happy (a volunteer appreciation party), and both were filled with joy and gratitude.

Interestingly, joy and gratitude were the topics of both our inspiring nuggets. We found several occasions and conversations that day in which to share our morning inspirations.

So, what was it that clicked with us?

In an article on a news-feature blog Amos reads regularly, he found a simple solution for making big changes: Start by making small changes, and change only one thing at a time.

That advice was quoted from another blog, Zen Habits, written by Leo Babauta. He is the author also of "The Power of Less," an Amazon best-seller.

His is a fascinating story and, after reading a few posts, I am convinced he truly wants to help others for the sake of helping. For example, he expressly released his copyright on his blog and an ebook, and encourages others to copy his words and share them. He said he appreciates getting credit, but it isn't necessary.

But let's go back to how Babauta suggests making changes in one's life. He lists four principles that he said has informed everything he set out to accomplish in the past decade or so - from losing 70 pounds, to running a marathon, from decluttering his home, to getting out of debt.

They are: 1. Start very small. 2. Do only one change at a time. 3. Be present and enjoy the activity (don't focus on the results). 4. Be grateful for every step you take. Note that numbers 3 and 4 are expressions of "joy" and "gratitude."

Babauta lists some of his accomplishments since he started his journey of change, and said he has found joy and gratitude every step of the way.

The inspiration I found that Saturday morning was in a paperback book a reader left for me at the office after he read my November column about maintaining an attitude of gratitude year-round. (Thank you, Bill!)

The book is "The Magic" by Rhonda Byrne. You might recognize her name as the author of the best-selling 2006 book "The Secret." While "The Secret" taught us about the Law of Attraction, "The Magic" takes us a step further and tells us that "one word changes everything."

Byrne reveals that word by page 5: "gratitude." And by page 18, she connects it with the simple magic formula: Just remember, say and live the magic words: "Thank you."

This is not a new concept! Remember how we were taught as children that "please" and "thank you" are magic words? And how our parents reminded us to count our blessings? "Be grateful for what you have, because there's always someone else who has less."

Byrne writes that gratitude operates through the universal law of attraction - like attracts like. So, if you express gratitude daily, and deliberately think and say the magic words, you will start to receive abundance. It stands to reason that one's days will become more joyful.

There are those two words together again - "gratitude" and "joy."

Byrne shares her belief far more eloquently than I have here, and suffice it to say I'm going to read the entire book. There is a 28-day plan of magical gratitude practices that is said to be life changing. I'm curious and I'm game.

This could be big. Let's see. Want to join me in the adventure?

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