You know that saying, you don't know what you have until it's gone? All too often it takes losing something to realize how meaningful it was. When we can learn to appreciate and cherish what we have in the present moment, it can free us from the web of guilt or regret in the future and can allow us to fully immerse ourselves into the gifts that are offered to us with each conversion and every breath while we appreciate all that is, as it is.
In addition to being a thank you for the things in life that we have already received, gratitude is also the seed of joy, fulfillment and contentment. We can use Gratitude as the reset button in any moment to begin to shift our energetic state of being. When life is hard and challenging, it can be so easy to say, "what would anyone be grateful about in this situation or under these circumstances!" However, If you have the physical ability to take a deep breath in and out. There is something to be grateful for. If you have the privilege to call a friend to lean on in these difficult moments, there is something to be grateful for. If you are frustrated with your job and how you are treated at work, the fact that you have the ability to earn an income and support your loved ones, is something to be grateful for. The phrase "silver lining" can feel misleading to me because when searching for a positive, it doesn't always feel silver or shinny. Sometimes it's not about finding something positive in a challenging or tragic situation, sometimes it's just about finding something that is helping it sting a little bit less than it otherwise could. This attitude and perspective alone has the power to begin moving the momentum of our energy in a more positive direction and improve the quality of how experience the present moment, just as it is.
Viewing gratitude as being about grateful for what we have is very important, but what if it were more about feeling the fulfillment of the present moment, just how it is, regardless of the external circumstances. When we become intentional and deliberate with how we feel and show up, the incredible part about this reverse approach is that we have a hidden superpower to support us!
Due to our RAS (Reticular Activating System), we have the ability to bring in more of what we think about into our lives and less of what we are trying to move away from. This system is a network web formation of nerve cells deep in the brain stem. It plays a role in filtering in things that are important to you, into your awareness and filters out the things that are not. This network assists in interpreting incoming information and preps the brain for appropriate reaction. Have you ever played that game where you think of a specific model of car and then suddenly, you begin noticing that car everywhere you look? This system can work against us subconsciously, like if past traumas in our life have caused us to develop a victim mentality, it seems like everywhere we turn, people are taking advantage of us or try to use us. The good news is that when we are aware of what is taking place, we can actually use this to our advantage! This is where the power of gratitude comes in! When we begin noticing and embodying the essence of gratitude, we will see and receive more of it! When this is done consistently, we can reprogram our brains to search for the things we have to appreciate and be grateful for, once it becomes subconscious.
"A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being."
~ James E. Faust
I have recently taken it a step further. We can say words are just words but I also believe that different words carry different energies with them. Lately I have been setting an intention every day to notice something I cherish in each moment or segment throughout the day. I have always loved and connected with gratitude, but this word cherish, for me, has taken it to a whole new level. For example, yes, I am grateful for my kids, however, when I look at their faces and think about how much I truly cherish them, I instantly well up with emotion and just want to be of service to them in every way that I can. Feeling deep, heartful love and appreciation for at least one thing in every part of my day allows me to walk though my days and then later, reflect at the end of the day, with a fulfilled and peaceful heart.
Years ago, I was welcomed into a beautiful community here in Warren, where we would share a bi-weekly, potluck dinner with an intimate community of around 10-15 people. At the end of every meal, while we all sat at the table, we would go around and as we felt called to, talk about something we were grateful for. Not only was this a beautiful, vulnerable way to have meaningful heartfelt moments with friends, but it also created such a safe community to build intimate relationships, naturally. I did begin to notice that it also had me looking for moments of gratitude as I was walking through my week so that I could come to the table and have a story to share. I have adopted this practice in all my group settings, casual with friends or as part of my Becoming TULA workshops. I also integrated this as a daily practice after my meditation, before my journaling. I have a separate journal that I write at least 3 things my heart feels grateful for in that very moment, big or small.
I invite you to pause ~ Close your eyes, and notice ~ What is one thing you are grateful for in this moment? What is one thing you truly cherish, here and now? Feel that fulfillment and walk in its beauty, knowing that you are already on the journey of the life you have been dreaming of.
All the love,