"Do not be grateful because you are happy, but happy because you are grateful."
There is a lot to say on being or not being grateful, yet one thing is undeniable: being grateful makes it easier to shift perception and live a happy life. It is a huge asset when it comes to taking responsibility over your own choices, actions and living circumstances, certainly when the easiest way seems blaming others and holding them responsible, which in its turn relates to the root-cause analysis, something I gladly tackle in another blog. Expressing gratitude is an exercise in practicing trust and sometimes even surrender. It is a helping hand in the process of building resilience and learning about forgiveness.
Therefore, I want to share with you my daily gratitude practice:
No matter how good or bad my day was, how happy or sad, frustrated, annoyed I may feel, I never go to sleep without expressing my gratitude. Some people journal on it, because for them it is an easier way to reflect on their thoughts, to clear their mind, and although I love to write, this is not my go-to-practice. I like to tune into my core, my deepest feelings as following:
- Lying down in bed, eyes closed, my left hand on my heart, the right on top
- Consciously breathing slowly in and out through my nose
- Relaxing, feeling, listening to my body, smiling even
- When I have found my adequate breathing pace, I tune into a feeling of bliss
- I list the things, events, people, achievements, detours, … I am grateful for that day (at least 3) – even the simplest thing as a nice cup of tea or seeing a butterfly. Aloud or in my head, mostly the latter though ;-)
- Next I elaborate on what I am grateful for in the future as if I am already there, feeling the feeling, the happiness, the love, the ‘Yes I did it!’ or 'Yes I made it through!'
- I take a few last deep breaths and drift off
Remember that even the worst things happening in life, have at least one thing to be grateful about. Many times, we will only recognise these ‘blessings’ later, when we are able to step out of our emotion, to look at it from a different angle, unless you are extremely resilient and even then, it may take some time. Certain detours are blessing in disguise, saving us from something worse or just directing us towards a higher goal.
This solstice: an exercise
Tonight, on this special solstice, Cancer in New Moon, where the masculine (capricorn) and the feminine (cancer) meet, I’d love you to do this exercise, with a special focus on “home”- on its particular significance to you, and count your blessings. Ask yourself whether you feel at home where you are or not? Do you feel at home in your own body? Do you feel deeply connected with yourself? Why yes, why no? What would you like to be different?
Also acknowledge what you have accomplished until now, express gratitude to the people who supported you along the way, express gratitude for the detours and the people that came onto your path to teach you a higher lesson.