Such a beautiful concept; not an easy practice. Within our own personal bubble of family issues, health concerns and financial worries the world about us provides an ongoing flood of distressing news. Together, inner and out experiences can equal turmoil. So gratitude does not always come easily, especially gratitude that originates in the heart as a lived experience.
The beginning of a gratitude journey can have phases. What comes somewhat naturally is the response of the moment for a thoughtful word or fun experience. Sometimes such gratitude can be sustained for a time until it fades in the hustle of day to day. At others, gratitude can be revisited when reminded of a particular pleasant event or special gift is in use. But gratitude as a habit, a way of life has to be cultivated. I can start with a journal or list where a reflection on the day looks for a remembrance and acknowledgement of the good. In time, as the habit grows, you may find yourself on the lookout so to speak for things to include in your reflections. Still later, the listing or journal becomes less an objective as is the beginning of a very mindful experience that becomes more spontaneous…and even smaller experiences generate that feeling of gratefulness.
Now it’s important to state here, that I don’t mean a repetitive listing of, my family, my job, my home, food on the table. They are most certainly important. I would hope to get down into the details of a days experience: such as the sweetness of seeing my child asleep, the comfort of my chair when I at last sit down, the warmth of the sun, the stillness of the creek reflecting, the aroma of coffee brewing. In other words, paying attention to the small things that we experience but do not take in for two or three seconds allowing time our cognitive awareness to warm our hearts.
The website www.gratefulness.org offers five steps to foster gratitude as a way of life. See the brief videos on their opening web page that speak to:
Life is a Gift
Everything is Surprise
The Ordinary is Extraordinary
Appreciation is Generative
Love is Transformative
I hope you will visit and let this be either a beginning or an enrichment to the practice of gratitude.