I am sitting on a plane back home to Toronto for a visit and am just in awe as I look out my window, as the sun sets behind me. As I look out of the window at the orange and pink hues of the sky I find myself in a state of gratitude. Gratitude, the powerful act and/or emotion that I treated as “just a word” for, so long.
I cannot begin to tell you how much practicing gratitude on a daily basis has done in my life; it has definitely reaped more reward than I could have ever imagined. Have you ever just sat quietly and reflected on all of the great things in your life? It sounds like such a simple task but too often, we allow the hustle and bustle of our lives to take over that we are far too exhausted to get through our daily regime, let alone take time out for a little quite time.
A few years back, I was seeing a mindfulness therapist for post-traumatic stress after a serious car accident and that is when I stumbled upon this magical daily practice. Life for me back then was very different and it was hard for me to see too many silver linings in my life. I was living the “when it rains it pours” analogy in the worst way possible and found it very challenging to even imagine having a somewhat satisfying life. Depression, anxiety and stress were my closest pals and life for me was just meh. Sure, I was putting on the happy face for friends and family but my overall outlook on life was quite bleak.
During the sessions with my therapists, so many layers of the onion that is ME were peeled back, explored and observed. The more I went to my sessions, the more I discovered about myself and more importantly, my outlook on life. Long story short, it was during these sessions that I was given the following homework one evening:
- writing down 50 things I loved (not liked, LOVED) about myself
- writing down 5 things I was grateful for every night before I went to bed and it had to be different every night
For some, the first tasks would be easy peezy but for me, I got to 5 things I liked about myself and the list stood still… How the heck was I going to figure out 45 more things???? As for the second task of finding the thing I was grateful for, that too was an intimidating and challenging task when I first began. What I did not realize then is that my perspective on life was painting everything in my life with the same, mediocre, less- than-hopeful, don’t dream too big paintbrush. The more I went through these exercises, the more I discovered about the infinite and endless blessings in my life, things that I was taking for granted or just not seeing at all. I was at a point in my life were I so focused on closed windows, that I was missing the wide open doors of opportunity and fulfillment – they were always there, I just could not see them.
Now, I don’t want to paint the picture that being consciously grateful and seeing the beauty within our lives is always an easy task because sometimes, it is not. Life throws us curveballs and sometimes even daggers that can potentially cause our walls to come tumbling down. What I have learned and continue to learn is that it literally comes down to one thing – choice. How we choose to react to life’s curve balls, negative energy or challenging circumstances. Choosing to be aware and mindful of what we can and cannot control. Choosing to be grateful for the incredible people, opportunities and the sheer beauty that surrounds us daily, despite hardships that sometimes come our way. When you occupy this space, holy molly is life ever different!!!!
Yes, bad things happen in life but life was not meant to be a cake walk. Often times our hardships are a big contributor to our greatest success’, well at least to those who do not allow their hardships to define them. I found that when we practice gratitude, life is infinitely more beautiful and greatness finds us. Gratitude allows our soul to open up to what the universe has in store for us. It allows us to see things that we may not be able to really see when we are so focused on the “junk pile” or closed doors. Gratitude is an incredible gift that continues to grow, give and multiply.
So what are you thankful for? The act of being consciously grateful really is just asking yourself that question and answering truthfully daily and not just at the Thanksgiving table 😉 If this is somewhat new for you, consider trying the following simple steps to get you on your way:
- Chose a time daily to sit quietly and think about at least 5 things you are grateful for that day. Be completely present in this moment with little to no distractions.
- Close your eyes and allow your mind to just meditate on these 5 things you have chosen to be grateful for.
- Start a gratitude journal and write out your 5 points then reflect on them throughout the day and every night before bed
- At the end of the week, review all of the gratitude entries you have made that week and jot down any final thoughts that came about during your practice that week? Did you find that you acted differently any of the days? Were you more or less patience this week? Did it stir up any overwhelming emotions? You get the picture 😉
- Try doing this daily for at least 30 days and observe what may or may not happen in your life 🙂
Yes, some days may be harder than others but when you take the time to make your gratitude list and reflect on all of greatness in your life, often times we start to notice an undeniable shift of energy opening up our souls to even more abundance in our lives ☺
“Nothing new can come into your life, unless you are grateful fro what you already have.” Michael Bernard
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home. A stranger into a friend.” Melody Beattie
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. Concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey
As I end this post, I too want to take time to express some gratitude. Today, some of the things that I am grateful for are:
I am grateful for my readers who take the time to read my message(s).
I am grateful for the Internet, as I use it as one of the tools to share the wonderful things I have learned, experienced or stumbled upon.
I am grateful for my incredible “tribe” who continue to love, support and encourage me while sharing their incredible wisdom.
I am grateful for the abundance of pure love that I receive and give.
I am grateful for the hardships in my life and the lessons that I have learned from them.
I am grateful for my healthy, strong and beautiful body.
What are you grateful for today? 🙂