“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” ~
Gratitude is the fusion of happiness and awe.
By cultivating authentic gratitude, we wake up to the beauty of each moment—whatever it contains.
All experiences and emotions are greeted with an open heart and we become indestructible warriors of love.
I’m presently in the United States, visiting home for Thanksgiving—for the first time in a decade. The longer I live in rural Guatemala, the more I drift from the busy busy lifestyle I used to lead in the States—and the more intense the reverse culture shock is when I return for visits.
Mostly, I feel overwhelmed and have to work to stay grounded and present.
I feel my senses are bombarded by all things: the TV and other screens, the vast variety of foods in the kitchen and things in the house, to say nothing of the giant stores and the drive the car everywhere culture.
At the same time, I am grateful to be here. And grateful for those same conveniences and the change of pace. I am also grateful to spend time with my cherished family and dear old friends.
I make a point to stop and reflect, finding appreciation for everything that has crossed and will cross my path, including the challenges.
By practicing gratitude on a regular basis, we can each cultivate and express the natural warmth and loving kindness that dwells within our heart—connecting more deeply with ourselves and others.
We can also shift to a higher level of consciousness that sees learning opportunities in all situations, realizing that our state of mind determines the state of our lives. Scientific studies show that having an attitude of gratitude enhances our physical and mental health.
I suggest taking a few moments throughout your day to pause and feel heartfelt appreciation—for life, for breath, health, happiness, freedom, love, water, food, shelter…or a specific person, a great teacher, a great “enemy” (who is also a teacher), physical challenges, and so on.
The key to gratitude becoming a habit is to write down those specific experiences daily. Over time, your mind will begin to naturally access a deeper way of seeing things and a truly expanded sense of gratefulness.
Here are seven reminders that assist me on my gratitude journey. May they be of benefit:
1. Today, trust that whatever arises is presenting itself for the purpose of your growth and unfolding.
Count your blessings; a devoted practice of gratitude enables you to glow from within.
2. Every moment has led us to where we are right now, and we can always begin again with gratitude for it all.
3. There is no failure, only feedback. Look back on what has happened and move on upward.
4. Although our breath is with us from birth until death, most of the time we take it for granted.
Breathe in gratitude, breathe out gratitude.
5. Wander with wonder. Be spontaneous. Be grateful for freedom.
Travel, grateful to explore new places, and grateful to come home with a fresh vision.
6. Feel gratitude for your mind and ability to learn, think, and create your life. It’s amazing what we can do with what we have been given.
Feel gratitude for your physical body and all its marvels. Appreciate the ability to sit, stand, walk, move, stretch, and so forth.
7. Let go of expectations. Open your mind and heart, and be grateful for the magical unfolding of life. Cultivate gratitude for the pure pleasure of loving and being loved.
Unplug and reconnect with nature and a good, old-fashioned book and journal. Love is in the details. Pay attention.
Remember: this day, this moment, is your most precious and priceless gift.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver
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