"There are times, I must admit, when stopping at night to review my day seems to be the first stop on an express train. Then I look back and realize with regret how much I missed." These words by David Steindl–Rast articulate how many of us feel on a day to day basis. This month we explore the abundance of gratitude there is in our lives and how to unleash our awareness to it.

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An Abundance of Gratitude
You probably have seen or heard of the reality show "Survivor." Contestants endure primitive conditions and compete for survival in the game. Why did this show become so popular? When you see people shivering because their fire went out, itching from non–stop bug bites, or relishing on the drumstick of a pelican, because it’s better than nothing, you just can’t help but appreciate all that you’ve got.
However on a daily basis we focus on the trivial, fleeting superficial things, that the abundance for gratitude is ignored.
Challenge yourself to define success and achievement without reference to anything financial or material. Begin to see wealth not as a number, but as an attitude and an approach to living each moment.
From where you are right now, a vast abundance stretches out in every direction. Many times it is difficult to see.
Gratitude not only connects you with abundance, it increases the richness of that abundance. The more thankful your heart is, the more there is for which to be thankful.
Practices for Grateful Living
Everyone knows what it means to be grateful ... or do we? There’s a certain kind of knowing that comes only from doing. Through these practice steps you will deepen your understanding of gratefulness.

Begin by waking up to the gifts around us. Although I am not a psychic I can assume that you can read which sets you apart from two billion people in the world who cannot. So already you can tally opportunities you have that not everyone can claim.
Record your blessings
Make a list of your blessings right now at this point of your life.
Eg good health, satisfying work, a home to call your own, nourishing food, faithful friends.
Try to discover less obvious gifts eg a difficult relationship forces you to mature, a specific experience taught you patience or humility.
Cut out from magazines pictures and words that remind you of these blessings.
Then paste these into a gratefulness collage, and keep it in a prominent place as an everyday reminder.
By being truly and actively grateful, you actually increase and expand the reasons you have for being thankful.
Sometimes it is difficult to find anything for which to be grateful. Your manager is down your throat, your targets have not been met, your kids are driving you insane! Yet it is precisely at such times that a genuine sense of thankfulness will do the most good.
Drink in your own wealth–when you recognize the abundance present in your life, you may find yourself greatly cheered during a dark time. However, it may also make you sad to realize that you have so much when others have so little. You may feel undeserving–don’t let guilt paralyze you. The world’s inequalities allow you to practice thanksgiving. Giving is an integral part of this process.
There are ways of giving that cost little or nothing at all. Right now, at no cost, you can go to The Hunger Site and – by clicking on the "Give Free Food" button – offer to a starving or malnourished person a cup of staple food.
If you prefer to offer your time, talents contact worthwhile charities such as :–
    The Sunflower Fund (Bone Marrow donations) 021 799–3116
    The Starfish Foundation (HIV orphans) 011 259–4000
    The Compassionate Friends (bereaved families) 011 330–6322
Celebrate Gratefulness
Share your experience with others. Share joys and double them. Share pain and cut it in half. Enjoy the energy boost grateful living gives you. Dare to tackle new projects. Taste the joy of turning feeling good into doing good.
“Ninety–nine percent of the time –
we have an opportunity to be grateful for something.
We just don’t notice it. We go through our days in a daze”
David Steindl–Rast
Practicing Gratitude
Every night before going to sleep, I glance back over the day and ask: Did I stop and allow myself to be surprised at the abundance of blessings in my life? Or, did I amble along in a daze?

There are three basic steps of practicing gratitude:
Step 1: Wake Up
We can’t be grateful unless we wake up to surprise. As long as nothing surprises us, we walk through life in a daze. Practice waking up to surprise. Ask yourself at least twice a day, "Isn’t this surprising?" and you will soon be more awake to the surprising life you are currently living in.
"Yes, indeed!" will be the correct answer, no matter when and where and under what circumstances you ask this question.
This exercise will stop you from taking everything for granted. But we may not at all like that surprise. "How can I be grateful for something like this?" we may scream in the midst of a terrible crisis. And why? Because we are not aware of the real opportunity in this given situation.
Step 2: Be Aware of Opportunities
Ask yourself "What’s my opportunity here?" Most of the time, the opportunity that a given moment offers you is an opportunity to enjoy new sounds, smells, tastes, textures, colors. On an emotional level it could be about experiencing joy, friendliness, kindness, patience, faithfulness, honesty. It could be a life lesson we need to learn, an opportunity to move on to better things.
The more we practice awareness of the countless opportunities to simply enjoy, the easier it becomes to recognize difficult or painful experiences as gifts.
Awareness alone is not enough unless you take advantage of the opportunity at hand. How grateful we are shows itself by the alertness with which we respond to the gift before us.
Step 3: Respond Alertly
When a sudden rain shower is no longer just an inconvenience but a surprise gift, you will spontaneously rise to the opportunity for enjoyment. You will enjoy it as much as you did in your kindergarden days, even if you are no longer trying to catch raindrops in your wide–open mouth.
Only when the opportunity demands more than spontaneous enjoyment will you have to give yourself more motivation to respond alertly.
The Review Process
At the end of your day ask yourself–Did I stop and allow myself to be surprised? Or was I too busy to wake up to surprise? Once I stopped, did I look for the opportunity of that moment? Or did I allow the events to distract me from the gift within the gift? (This tends to happen when the gift’s wrappings are not attractive.) And finally, was I alert enough to go after it, to avail myself fully of the opportunity offered to me?
Growth in gratitude is growth in maturity. Let these steps become natural –like dancing. Only when you forget to think of your steps, do you truly dance.
When the world looks bleak, being thankful may seem to be naive, wishful thinking. The reality, though, is that thankfulness is a powerful, positive strategy that can immediately change things for the better. Start practicing!
Professional Impressions offers a dynamic half day workshop that will encourage you to:
Focus on Attitude Renewal – the way we think,
Project a Positive Self–Esteem – the way we feel,
Tune Up your Confidence – what is reflected on the outside

This workshop will allow you to discover a new, powerful perspective on life. You will learn to stop reacting and start creating!
Contact us for more details on this corporate workshop.
Tel: 011 467 5126    email: prof–imp@mweb.co.za
Cool Hair for Hot Days
Here are the latest tips on how to maintain luscious locks within your reach this Summer. If your hair style, colour has been the same for the last year–its time for a change!
Latest stylish trends
The bob is back–its texturised and has great movement on the ends. Combine with a solid chunky fringe and crop at the back.
If you have medium to long hair a quick up do is always a winner. This Summer the fashion runways featured the ponytail (off the face, to the side or high up). Your ponytail should be loose with lots of movement, let a few pieces hang out for a more romantic feel.
Twist the hair into a French roll, clip it back and take the loose hair on top – clip up randomly to create a more casual look. Ballet school side buns revive a classic style.
Schoolgirl headbands are very trendy this season. Invest in bejeweled hair clips, pins or a striking comb.
Curls and movement are back
This season its all about hair movement and volume. Should you have a slight curl or wave in your hair consider yourself lucky–make it work for you. Use a product that would define the curl and take away frizzyness eg L’Oreal Professionnel TecNi Art Fix Anti–Frizz.
Perms are back in vogue. This time they are gentler and create natural looking waves.
If you do not wish to go the permanent route plait your locks at night. In the morning clamp the plait with your flat iron then separate and shake out beautiful natural curls.

Ethnic hair
Weaves are the happening thing! All lengths are created in a unique style. Layers are cut into the weave to compliment the face shape. Highlights are added to create more interest.
Flat irons and curling tongs are the best to style with. Use natural human hair rather than synthetic hair. It lasts longer and looks great.
A fashionable bob is one of the greatest styles for summer, add some interesting highlights that suit your skin tone – create some interest and add some texture to your style.
Can you sport a cleanly shaven head? If your head is round and becomes concave closer to the neck – you have the right shape for this style. It’s so cool and hassle free–make sure it’s acceptable for your place of work.
Use Protection
Protect your hair, scalp and colour from the sun by wearing a colourful scarf or a trendy hat. Do you know you can do more damage to your hair in one week at the beach than a whole year’s chemical treatments? Salt and chlorinated water makes your colour fade – prevent this from occurring by making use of the Kerastase Soleil Range–it’s like a sunscreen for your hair.
If you are going to be swimming often – rinse your hair out with tap water and apply some leave in conditioner to lock the moisture inside.
If your hair is already damaged try Kerastase’s latest treatment Kerathermie for ultimate sheen and condition.
When blow waving your hair use a heat protector product that will lock in the moisture and maintain the style for longer. Invest in an ionic dryer–it will leave your hair with a great shine.
For Men
A structured messy, texturised look is in. Longer styles have become more fashionable. Use a colour shampoo to give a radiant touch to your hair. Redken camo colour for men is perfect to create colour richness, shine and to camouflage those grey hairs.
It also makes fine hair appear fuller. Highlights of one or different shades are also ideal.
If you go for the shaved hair look make sure you maintain it cleanly shaven regularly.
If you are in the sun a lot your scalp will dry out (same ph balance as the skin) apply a scalp conditioning oil to prevent this from occurring.

Professional Impressions would like to credit the following for information and images used in this article:
The Daily MotivatorRalph Marston
Three Steps In the Process of Living a Life of
Gratefulness by Bro. David Steindl–Rast O.S.B.

Lunatic Fringe
Cosmopolitan Hair and BeautySpring 2006
GlamourNovember 2006
Edgars Club Sept 2006
AmagramJune 2005
GQNovember 2006
Oprah Jan 2006
Men’s Health October 2006
Should any of your friends, family or colleagues be interested in Professional Impressions and the services we have to offer, please feel free to pass this on to them.

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