There’s a lot around about gratitude and it is easy to nod and say, yes I am grateful for everything in my life. At an intellectual level, this may be true. The proof of gratitude is in our behaviour. It’s effects how we show up in our lives.
Think of gratitude as being our in-breath. Breathing in all the things we have, the people who support us, love us and we love, Nature. That we have the sunrise, sunset, clouds, rain, trees, flowers and animals.
There’s all the teachers and mentors we’ve had, the heart-ache, losses that have led to learning more about ourselves. There are the books we read. Not just that there are books. Also, that a person toiled for months over the words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters.
Take a moment to cast your mind over today and all the things you’ve experienced… electricity, hot water, air conditioning/heating, chair to sit on, table to eat from, radio/music, mobile phone, a tablet or computer.
Cast you mind even smaller, the fact we saw these things, felt the chair, used our limbs to get to the table and eat what we had prepared. How about our parents for helping and supporting us with these basic functions.
Even smaller, we can be grateful for our body, the digestive system, our brains for enabling us to feel, think, remember and make choices. We are also able to learn from our choices.
How wonderful life is. Even when things could be better, we have so many things to be grateful for.
Gratitude is our in-breath. Breathing in all that is positive in our world. It transforms how we feel.
Gratitude is the fuel of joy.
When we are joyful, we complete tasks with a hop, skip and a jump. We have our eyes open wider, we are more supportive of those around us. We smile more. We give more.
It’s in that giving where the clues of an attitude of gratitude show up.
In the out-breath, in our actions of generosity are the footprints of the in-breath.
Generosity shows up as a compliment, giving your appreciation to people in your life, even if they are there momentarily, such as the checkout operator.
Everyone wants to be seen, received and accepted. You can give this gift to everyone you meet by having eyes open to spot how you can genuinely give a compliment. Do a kind act. Show your appreciation, even it is just a smile and saying hello.
Yes, we can also be generous on grander scales. If we start small, the out-breath of generosity can effect every person we meet during the day.
What is even more delicious is the actions of the out-breath become food for the in-breath, gratitude. If you’re not quite sure….
I write in my gratitude journal:
I am grateful to helping the woman with her shopping.
This is like a thank you to me for taking the time to open my eyes and be of service to another person in the moment. It took a minute at most and yet, even though I gave. I also received.
Just as we breathe, we breathe in for our bodies to process and breathe out the processed air.
Let gratitude be your guide on what you are breathing in for processing into generosity on the out breath.
Gratitude works so much better when you write down what you are grateful for. Just thinking about them doesn’t activate our feelings. It’s the feeling of joy we want to activate. It’s best done through writing or speaking.
I find keeping a gratitude journal is like a diary, a record of what happened over the past 24 hours.
When things aren’t going so well, that’s when the power of gratitude journalling really kicks in. Of course, you have a choice, not to right anything and this will lead to a lowering of the amount of joy we experience.
Instead, we search for the positives from the lesser great day. We search for the learning, the act of forgiveness, the intention behind the act, seeing the situation in the best light.
This is where the in-breath becomes pure gold. We start showing up in the world differently – with joy, no matter what.
Start your gratitude practice and let me know what happens to you. Can only take a week… but, keep it up… a year later you will truly be different