I’ve been cultivating a daily gratitude practice for almost nine months now. Doing the same spiritual practice EVERY day has been a challenge for me in the past, so I’m pretty proud of myself for accomplishing this! Thus far, I have consistently found aspects of life to give thanks for in the face of moving, starting a new job, surviving a car accident, surgery, cancer treatments and now physical distancing / isolation due to Covid-19. Any of those stress surveys that give points for challenging life circumstances would probably assess me at a high level. But that’s not how I feel. I actually feel good physically, emotionally and spiritually. That isn’t to say I haven’t had my moments... I definitely have! I am delighted to discover that my “icky” moments of loneliness, depression and self-pity don’t last long in the face of my gratitude practice. I start thinking about what I‘m going to write about and give thanks for at dinner time. There have been days when I had nothing at that point in the day... so I had to exert some effort to find something. Funny how going outside for a walk to see what I could see, or picking up the phone to call a friend, or playing with the dog generated some endorphins and created the capacity to think differently about my circumstances.What had occurred at first glance as a problem or complaint turned out to have a window or two of opportunity. Doing the work of re-framing and intentionally seeking out a more positive perspective is, in fact, WORK sometimes. Frankly, there are times when I use my #grateful hashtag that my head is naming it without my heart feeling it. As it turns out, that really is good enough. Simply naming a possible source of gratitude before sleep clears the mental decks, so to speak. This reduces the fuel for my subconscious to run the hamster wheel of anxiety all night long, resulting in actually getting some sleep. Unsurprisingly, waking up in a positive frame of mind instead of all stressed out from the night’s mental shenanigans sets me up for a better day. String a bunch of days together, each one gradually starting off better than the last, and “poof” I am navigating a challenging year with more ease than I ever would have imagined possible... all from saying THANKS in an intentional way, each and every day.
Spiritual practices are just that, my friends. PRACTICE! Just like with playing the piano or shooting a basketball, the more we practice, the better we get. Give #gratitude a try. I think you’ll be blessed by the results.