Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given and not take life for granted.
Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. In addition, behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.
In our last connective session, we invest some time with ourselves to write our gratitude list. Some people are grateful for “bigger” things in life such as freedom and time they have while some of us focus on the “smaller” things in life such as getting a good-paying job or travelling to another country. Whether its the “bigger” or “smaller” things in life, we practice gratitude in every breath we take.
It’s easy to feel gratitude on those good days. We are grateful because good things are happening, and we like that! If we are to be serious about our gratitude practice, however, we must also learn to be genuinely grateful on those not-so-great days. For example, the pain i am receiving that turns me to a tougher person. My husband always remind me, “What’s don’t break me makes me stronger”.
We can start by being grateful EVEN THOUGH all that “bad” stuff is happening; we can find other, better, things to focus on and be grateful for. Eventually, though, we can learn to be grateful BECAUSE those things are happening. We can, if we so choose, learn to find the blessing in any situation. The secret is to learn to stand our ground without resisting what is.
How to Start a Gratitude Practice to Change Your Life?
- Write 1 gratitude letter to a person and post it to him/her. (That’s what we did in our last session. Those people we sent our gratitude letter should have received them by now.)
- Practice present-moment gratitude. As you move through your day, pause now and then when you remember, and think as you do something “I am grateful.”
- Share the gratitude. Partner with someone like what we did last session. You will keep each other going and that sense of obligation to that person will give you the push you need to write your list on those days when it just seems too hard.
- Lastly, Commit.This is a spiritual practice that gains momentum over time and with practice. Gratitude doesn’t seem to come as easily as grumbling does, and you will likely resist this exercise until the cows come home, as they say in New Zealand. Waiting for the resistance to pass is futile. Just do it.
There will be times in life when everything you have seems to be swept out to the sea. When that happens, stand your ground and just let it go. Like the tide, life has it’s own rhythm of ebb and flow. Things and people come into our lives, and things and people leave our lives, often before we are ready. Be grateful for the having of them, and also for the letting go, for it is all part of this delicious cycle we call Life.
See all of you in our next session.
With Love & Light,