Cultivating Gratitude: How I Came to Stand on a More Solid, Vibrant Ground
Loves, I’ve been inspired by a newly implemented practice of mine to write to you about the transformational power of gratitude, joy and connection.
Last year I underwent a very difficult experience: I held the love of my life as she passed on in my arms. My senior dog Peggie took her last breath on December 21st 2015.
My sweet, little, blind, old grandma pug staring outside my window, pretending she can actually physically see how beautiful the world is.
Her slow progression towards death in the months before her passing catalyzed an intensive process for me around building a more sustainable and longer lasting joy in my life. One that is enhanced by, but not solely dependent on, the external happenings in my every day.
This is how I came to a daily gratitude practice.
A gratitude practice is a process of continuously noticing and then building on the moments in your day, your life and in the world that you are grateful for. For me, this practice meant that every day when I woke up, I opened up my gratitude journal and wrote down one thing I was grateful for even if I didn’t want to or couldn’t think of something I truly felt a deep gratitude for in that moment.
By honing in on one or multiple moments or things you are grateful for every day, over time, you become more and more able to be carried by a deep sense of love, trust and hope that can help you whether even the biggest storms. This is not to say that you never feel any of the harder feelings again: sadness, anger, fear etc. Just that you can move through them while standing on a more solid ground. The focus on gratitude allows those moments to multiply and in ways that lead you to and open up opportunities that you either would’ve missed or that wouldn’t have been there to begin with.
(I want to note here that I’m not interested in gratitude in the ways it’s predominantly used: as a way to dismiss pain and shame people who are having a hard time in life. We’ve come across the “oh stop complaining and be grateful for what you have” trolls, I’m sure.) More on my troubles with this kind of gratitude here– including arguments I am not going to get into in this blog post:
What I found to be one of the biggest benefits of building this gratitude practice was the sense of love, compassion and connection I felt with myself and with virtually everyone I interacted with. Moreover, I began to access parts of myself that amazed me. My friends and family noticed the change, as did my clients. Here you had an even more confident, vibrant woman exuding power, vitality and kindness beyond what she had been doing up until now.
With gratitude as your base, you become more able and willing to make difficult changes in your life and in the world. I used to think that being grateful was synonymous to accepting things as they are and happily moving on but I learned that this was not the case. With gratitude as your guide, you seek to build and grow more of what is needed in your life and in the world. Because now you are that much more in touch with whatever those things are for you.
This practice has shifted my life in many ways, some of which aren’t that grand but have made a world of a difference nevertheless. Now, when I’m stuck in traffic, instead of cursing to myself and feeling my stress rise, I turn on some of my favourite music and say “great! I have the opportunity to sing along to my favourite songs and slow down for a few minutes”. Through gratitude, I have looked at the areas of my life that I love and have worked to enhance and expand them. I’m sure I’ll write you again with some specifics, but in the meantime I look forward to hearing how you have implemented or will be implementing a similar practice in your life. I recommend it, especially if you don’t get much time to slow down and take a break, if you are unforgivingly hard on yourself, if you find yourself in high stress situations or if you’re feeling confused or worried about your life. Reach for the gratitude and watch your life bloom before your eyes.
With all my love and kindness, my sweets.
Ps: here is a sneak peek of an upcoming campaign I’ll be launching, inspired by all of the intentional practices I’ve been carrying out to enhance the joy in my life. It’s called “Cultivate Your Joy”