17 Dec 2013

Inspire Aspire - Practice Gratitude

Gratitude, an awe-inspiring, slightly enchanting word, asks us to reflect upon, embrace and express gratefulness for what we already have in life, to count our blessings and adopt the 'Half-full glass' approach. Sounds pretty easy, yet many of us relegate it to the back of our minds in our never-satisfied quest for the next thrill, the next material purchase, competing with the Joneses and mistaking 'what is' for 'what should be'.

'Moog 2012', by DKNG Studios

Let's start off with our current situation in relation to gratitude:
  1. If you are already practicing gratitude to a 'T', this article will only encourage you to keep going at it (as a daily exercise), and consider gratitude as a positive affirmation that leads you onto the right path to a better self. Gratitude will reverberate and attract good things into your life and bring abundance - if it hasn't already!
  2. If you are a novice in the field like yours truly, I humbly suggest that we join forces for the journey of self-discovery and appreciation, and keep nudging encouragement to one another along the way!
  3. If gratitude hasn't been on your radar lately for one reason or another, it's never too late to remedy this in a few easy steps and for no longer than a couple of minutes a day! Practice makes perfect.
As we're rounding off 2013, now is a good time to unwind, take a quiet and solo moment out of our day, stay kind to ourselves while taking a non-judgemental look at the whole spectrum of our personal achievements over the last 12 months - that means the biggies and the teeny-weeny bits - and then extend our gratitude to those achievements. Then embrace other areas of life in other time sequences for which we are grateful. Open up our heart and express gratitude firstly in our head and then on paper (in a little notepad) in such a way that this will prepare us to hit the New Year in a positive vibrational mindframe.

'Retrospector #4', by Jazzberry Blue, via Society6

A wise humble monk and interfaith scholar, Brother David Steindl-Rast has demonstrated to us lately that only gratitude brings happiness. Not the other way round. This is worth a ponder. Live in the now and be grateful for what you have. "It is not happiness that makes us grateful. It's gratefulness that makes us happy." (DS-R).

In my journey of self-discovery and personal development, I have come across the importance of gratitude from varied converging sources. Celebrated life coaches, high-profile mentors and self-help consultants will either bring it to our attention at some point or repeatedly drum it into us as part of the process that will kick-start us into gear to achieve what we most dearly want out of life! Louise Hay, Bob Proctor, Jack Canfield, Marianne Williamson, Marie Forleo, Mastin Kipp, Gabrielle Bernstein, Karen Salmansohn and countless others praise the power of gratitude. Jack Canfield even packages it up nicely into a Daily Gratitude Journal, where you are invited to list five things you are grateful for daily, with the addition of inspirational quotes to keep you going.

'Thoughts of Future' by Lindsey Carr, via Artboom

I got myself a little pad and I invite you to do the same. In that pad, I collect nice positive uplifting things: thoughts, quotes, quips, creative endeavours (poems, doodles), wishlist, dreams - and my gratitude list. I have what I call 'my core gratitude list' which features 10 things I am most grateful of in my whole life. And then at the end of each day I consciously set aside a moment of 're-alignment' with myself, where I mentally list things that happened during the day and for which I am grateful and proud. You may write down your daily gratitude items if you so prefer.

Yesterday I expressed gratitude for that cute little Jack Russell Terrier pup and his mum whom I came across on my country walk with my own pup: that bouncy little guy made my day! I also expressed gratitude for the fact that my insurance company had refunded me for a policy misquote (a nice surprise through the post!). I was also grateful for the lovely sunny weather (something you do appreciate after 16 years spent in the rainiest city in the U.K., namely Manchester!).

As you can see, gratitude doesn't need to come all trumps in big flashy letters like being thankful for that great friendship or living the dream (whatever this might be). Gratitude also incorporates the more mundane and subtle aspects of life, like a beautiful sunny day or crossing the path of a rare wildflower... or that of a puppy!

“Gratitude is the law of increase, and complaint is the law of decrease.” - Florence Scovel Shinn

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