As I sorted through my belongings before moving out of my home in Wimbledon last year I came across several gratitude journals. These were journals I wrote during the time my marriage fell apart and I felt totally broken. I looked through a few of them and decided to keep two. I find them good examples of the dedication I had to myself in order to get up to the surface of life again.
In the way I live now I think feeling grateful has become a natural part of my day. I feel grateful the minute I wake up in the morning! I bring good thoughts to mind, and once I feel warmth and expansion in my chest I know I am on the right track. In those moments I mix gratitude and compassion, both for myself and others.
Feeling grateful is a practice, and practice makes progress. Many years ago, having a gratitude practice did not seem neither important or meaningful to me – it was definitely not something I would think of trying! As it goes I ended taking it up. I was desperate to change my situation and perception of life – it was mostly black at the time. It was astounding to notice how introducing gratitude into my life helped change how I was feeling. In combination with daily mindfulness meditation the gratitude practice gave me glimpses of happiness again. I loved the fact I was retraining my mind by meditating and feeling grateful. Every evening, whether I felt like it or not, I made the effort of writing down something I had been grateful for that day. It could be about something someone had said or helped me with, something I had seen, something good I thought about myself, basically anything that had to do with kindness and uplifting energy and that I had personally experienced. In the beginning it was challenging to find five things to write. After some time I tried to go for ten. After many months, maybe a year maybe two, I ended up filling up over a page every evening with all the good things that had happened or that I had noticed that day. I would even scribble something over to the next page, there was so much to be grateful for Every Single Day. It took time to get there but it was worth it.
Gratitude changes our perception of life. Gratitude opens us for happiness. Gratitude improves the quality of our life. Isn’t that what we all want as we grow, evolve and go through the many challenges of life: To have a base of gratitude within us that can ground us in the goodness of life? I believe gratitude is the skill we could all use to go from here into the rest of our life with a good heart and free mind for all things to come.
If you feel you could do with a practice that lifts you up from how you feel about life now, maybe start writing something down that you are grateful for every day? See how it goes, you might notice a difference after a couple of weeks’ time.
I wish you well! Annette X