A gratitude practice can change your life and improve your health and relationships.
Yet please don’t begin a gratitude practice by first scanning the externals of your life for what you can be grateful for.
First make a decision that you want to learn to BE grateful, from the inside out. It’s easy to think that in order to start a gratitude practice you mentally review the externals of your life to review what you appreciate vs. what you wish were not so. I recommend instead that deep gratitude is an inside job. Beginning with "grateful for" can create the impression that feeling grateful depends on what is going on about you in any given day. (Let's face it, there are days in anyone's life when things on the outside are very challenging.) A decision to "be grateful" is an orientation, a way of perceiving the world. When you decide to cultivate the inner “attitude of gratitude” you are then spontaneously more aware of the multitude of daily wonders that surround you. Practice an inner decision to be grateful, to view the world through the lens of gratitude. Soon the challenge of making a daily "Five Things to Be Grateful For" list becomes "I AM so grateful, how can I possibly limit my list to five things?"
No one says this better than Brother Steindl-Rast of www.gratefulness.org Do yourself, and your day, a favor and take five minutes to watch this gem.
And of course, if you do want assistance getting into the gratitude habit, "there's an app for that"! Gratitude Journal AppResearch supports that writing a gratitude list every day can make you happier.
A couple of months ago my sister sent me a palm-sized cloth leaf. She had sent one to everyone in the family and asked that we send it back to her with “what you are grateful for” written on it. That way, even family members who can not attend will be present at her Thanksgiving table. I spent weeks looking at the leaf on my kitchen counter. How in the world to select out what to put on this leaf? I finally realized there were just too many things to be grateful about to itemize on one leaf. I decided on the following Haiku:
Happy Thanksgiving! Have you experimented with a gratitude practice? What was your experience?
Next week's post will be written by guest blogger and master photographer Gail Haile of www.hailefinephotography.com