It was in the beginning of my 12-step years when I began to focus on Gratitude as a daily practice. And although I was coming from a place of complete insanity back then, practicing Gratitude help move me from the energetic confusion that newly recovered alcoholics experience, and ground into something more stable, and much happier. However intangible Gratitude might have seemed at the time, it worked! Gratitude locked me onto a Spiritual path that would grow and strengthen me from the inside out for years to come.
“Have an attitude of Gratitude” my sponsor used to say. She had me begin by writing a Gratitude List every single day. Whenever I veered off the path of happiness, I would revisit all the things I am grateful for. Even the ugly stuff, I’d find a way to have gratitude for the lessons, gratitude for the clarity, gratitude for moving forward in my life. Its really just a simple choice to focus on ANY issue from a different viewpoint. And the more you practice, the easier it gets!
I’d spend many forward years reminding myself to be grateful. What I learned is that being grateful is a lot easier when I put myself in situations that make it easy to be grateful for my life. I began taking up old hobbies, like hiking to beautiful places and spending time in nature. I spent time with beautiful people, listened to beautiful music, looked at beautiful art practiced beauty in meditation. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder ~ it’s what you allow yourself to take in, that gradually shifts your conscious mind and your state of being. Or as my friend Curt-i used to say, “Association brings on assimilation.” These are things anybody can choose to do. We often do this with ugly, destructive things. But honestly, it’s simple and easy to shift that focus towards a focus of Gratitude, with practice and patience.
I also had to take a deeper look at the things I was engaged in, that made it difficult to stay connected to the Spirit of Gratitude. So, I began to make subtle, and sometimes drastic changes in what I chose to devote my time, or life energy, to. I stopped listening to the news or to TV in general, because I realized that these diversions took my attention and participation in my own life away from me, and put me in a mindset of whatever the show’s agenda is. As a youth, my mother would put limits on how much “Boob Tube” we could watch, so I had that idea planted in my psyche from a young age. But as a person who forms habits easily, for me, TV (or pretty much anything else) could derail ALL of my life energy. Whether I was hooked into Friends every day, or strung out on sports, or political news, these things tapped me and stole away with some level of my life energy. Somehow practicing gratitude kept me on track with my relationship to Self. And so I found myself turning off the TV more and more as I began to Spiritually “grow up”.
In the same way, through the practice of Gratitude, I began to filter in ways I had not done before. I looked at my friendships and relationships differently. I began to engage in more supportive relationships, and let go of those that were destructive. It was almost as though being Grateful for everything in my life, actually elevated me to a new level of Value FOR my life. I began to worry less, and smile more! Indeed, I began to believe in the magic of life all around me, and became willing to dive in with gusto!
Over time, I began to accept that Gratitude alone can work miracles, shift blocks, and heal the physical and emotional body. The simple words “Thank You” is as powerful as any prayer you could ever utter.
One of my favorite practices is to simply repeat the words as a mantra, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you…..” repeating sometimes hundreds of times, until I feel complete inside, until I feel a deep “shift” happening. Then I sit in the glow of the “Thank you” and take it in as deeply as I can. All the way in. Gratitude is patient. It will wait for you, and it will hold you while you heal.
It’s helpful to practice this with gently closed eyelids, either facing firelight or the sun. Soaking in warm water while engaging in this practice can be enormously powerful as well.
Practicing a “Thank You” mantra over your tea, food or activities/opportunities will really ground you into the essence of Gratitude before consuming or engaging, bringing the energy of healing to your intakes, and a level of livelihood, confidence and excitement to your life choices. The energy of Gratitude breathes strengthening, healing powers and sweetness into your life!
I find that practicing Gratitude makes me feel super yummy inside, expanding the heart space and strengthening my
relationship to Spirit in ways that literally well-over, bringing me to overflowing tears ~ tears of Beauty, Grace and Happiness.
Wishing you and your beloveds GRATITUDE for ALL this year! Happy 2019 Everyone!!