A long while back, I took a class on gratitude. The instructor wanted everyone to write down all the reasons they had for being grateful, taking stock of unexpected surprises.
At the time, it was late winter of a new year and people found it difficult to come up with items – most ended up with very short lists.
For me, this exercise was easy and made me feel warm all over as I contemplated should be included. In allowing my mind to wander, the following were added to my list:
- Some special earrings given to me by a friend (truth is I’m always grateful for jewelry).
- An awesome contract which literally fell into my lap.
- The resources to be able to launch a vanity project of mine off the ground; and
- A significant amount of change scattered on the ground around my car after returning from shopping one afternoon.
The more I sat, the longer my list grew as synchronicities seemed to flow from my consciousness. It was a great exercise and after the class ended, I still pulled out my journal, writing about gratitude whenever something extraordinary came my way.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, I found myself buried beneath work projects and adapting to homeschooling a 1st grader. My gratitude practice suffered because I wasn’t spending as much time being reflective as I would have liked.
For 2021, I decided to rededicate myself and perform the exercise differently. I wanted to be very intentional and conscious about gratitude.
Taking a candy tin left over from the holiday, every time I received something unexpected, I made a note and put it inside (folded sticky notes work really well for this). My serendipitous blessings included:
- An unexpected gift card – one note into the tin it went.
- Scoring a deal on a vintage piece of jewelry – of course, a note went in the tin.
- Due to the pandemic, my car was in the shop awaiting a shipment from overseas. Because of the extended time frame for delivery/installation, the dealership provided me with a complimentary showroom vehicle to drive (for four months)! That was a long note which definitely went into the tin.
- A bottle of wine just to cheer me up, dropped off on the doorstep – a heart-shaped note added to the tin.
- An invitation to what turned out to be a life-changing event (The Friendship Bench, of course)? A quick note added to the tin.
- As things started opening up in Colorado, I was invited to a nice meal at a boutique French restaurant (it was extra yummy, I admit), and yes, a note detailing what I had for lunch went in the tin.
- My grandson bringing me a bouquet of backyard flowers to brighten my day – this time the note for the tin had stickers.
You get the idea…
What I like about doing gratitude this way is how present it is in my life. On those occasions when I’m not having my BEST day, I get to pull the tin out. I stick my hand in and randomly choose a note to read. Doing so allows me to change my mindset, drop the sad sack routine, trading it for gratitude smiles.
When was the last time you stopped and spent conscious time appreciating all the good things that have come into your life?
Well, I guarantee gratitude will multiply in your life if you are paying attention.
Inside the gratitude are also pleasant memories, sounds, smells, etc. that reconnect me to life-altering events in the past. Working hard to move forward doesn’t mean giving up good things. It’s important to hold onto the positive energies generated when the abundance comes along. Seeing clearly through the mind’s eye, you can magnify its energy and propel it forward into your future, even though it’s still unfolding and unknown.
So, what can gratitude really do for you?
- It helps to look at things in perspective. While we’d all like to think the world revolves around us, unfortunately, it’s not really true. It’s important to be able to look outside yourself, recognizing your integral role in the world and joyfully celebrating that discovery.
- More isn’t always better. Many people, especially during the pandemic, have been retrenching, opting to live more simply focusing on quality over quantity. It can be as simple as spending time with someone instead of running around looking for “that special gift”. Maybe it’s just having someone to listen when you’re having a not so BEST day.
- Gratitude can change your life because it will change your thinking. Gratitude helps reorient our thoughts. Instead of looking at the negative, retrain your brain to look for opportunities in the challenges.
- Gratitude produces neurochemical changes in your body which allow for a stronger immune response.
- Gratitude shifts your energy. And when your energy level is higher, your vibration is higher. With the higher vibration, it is easier to remain in the flow state where abundance multiplies.
Give it a try and focus on gratitude in your life for the next 30 days. It will be great to hear how gratitude has impacted your life.
There are several ways to get started:
- You can sit quietly and give thanks, consciously meditating on giving gratitude for 3 to 5 minutes a day and gradually work your way up to whatever feels right.
- If you’re more expressive, you could spend 10-15 minutes a day writing out everything you’re grateful for. You can start small – say three minutes a day and work your way up.
- If you’re like me, set up a gratitude tin or glass jar, writing out little notes for all the gifts and abundances which come your way. And when you’re having a not so BEST day, reach in and pull out a little sunshine.
I’ve heard it said that gratitude is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it’s going to be. Like anything else, consistent practice makes perfect. Make it personal so it works for you. Love and Blessings to all!