Like most of us, I’ve been home a lot these days. One night I took out a few of the boxes with pictures. The pictures that didn’t make it into organized albums and instead inhabit one of six boxes in two of the three closets they live in. I sat on the floor and opened a box thinking it would be fun to send a few on to my daughter, her husband, and my two grandbabies who are old enough now to look back at who they were and really get a kick out of it.
I found some pictures that warmed my heart and put me in a state of reverie. I remembered when my daughter, who at the time lived on the west coast, decided to come to New York for her milestone birthday. Instead of me flying to her that year, she wanted to go “home” and celebrate with family. So she and her family flew out and I flew up from FL and we met at my Mom’s.
We had a lovely week. Four generations of strong, proud, smart women made for a week of opportunity to practice love, patience, and positivity. There were a lot of smiles, some great stories, and a few adventures. Once again I got to see what a good man my daughter married. It’s almost like having Buddha around to help me keep my perspective. I am so grateful for his calm, even presence.
After they flew home, I left to do a workshop in Colorado – and being there was perfect! The cooler crisp air, the clear sunshine, and the opportunity to work with a dedicated, smart, and motivated team of people left me with a ‘Rocky Mountain High’ kind of feeling as my plane lifted off the ground. (It helped when the gracious Southwest airlines flight attendant brought me a glass of wine anyway even though my coupon was expired.)
I think it began then.
I started making a list of all the things I was grateful for. The trip was not perfect, I’d had some physical challenges and wasn’t feeling my best the whole time – but even in that, I found gratitude. I was grateful to discover that my body pushed back when I pushed myself too hard. I was grateful to discover how people cared. I was grateful to feel the concern of people who loved me and the strangers to whom I turned for help.
I was grateful that my wonderful sister helped me out with the party and brought food and toys for the kids to play with, grateful to the people who planned the party, grateful to my daughter’s dad for the Yankees tickets and ride to the game, grateful to my brother and sister in law for a big old fashioned family dinner.
When I got home I continued the list and stayed in the glow of grateful.
It’s interesting to see what happens when you allow yourself that feeling. Going deeply into gratitude changes your biochemistry, your brain waves, and your heart rate variability. Going deeply into gratitude bathes you in a vibration of positivity.
I had two more speeches to do that week and both went exceptionally well. My buoyancy was evident and contagious.
As time went on I kept adding to my gratitude list. I am meeting new people who are excited about what they are learning from me, I am meeting people that want to work with me, and I am making a difference in the lives of the people I touch…
Teaching, learning, and living in 50 shades of grateful is an honor. I am feeling so very blessed.
That began a gratitude practice that remains to this day. Am I “religious” about it? Nope. But I’m conscious about it.
For my own daily practice, I use a chart – on paper – to remind myself of all the nice things I’d like to do for myself – my positivity practices and happiness habits. Gratitude is embedded in my practices twice a day. Am I perfect? Hell no! But reminding myself of the things that make me happy and healthy is something that I find works for me. Twice a day at least I check in to be reminded of the things that really matter – gratitude, intentions, affirmations, and afformations. Yoga, stretching, chanting, walking, meditations – lots of cool choices, all designed to support my well-being.
In this post-COVID-we’re-still-in-shock world, make sure you take the time to make your own gratitude list and to express your thanks to all those who contribute to your well-being (and even those who don’t). The attitude of gratitude will serve you well to put your body in a state of positivity which in turn helps to build your immune function for up to six hours. Find all 50 shades of grateful for yourself.
It’s a rather magical practice.
©2020 JoAnna Brandi