It’s been a while since last Things I Love Thursday post and since I wrote in my gratitude journal.
Life got really busy with the new and old job and the fact that we are in the process of moving in a new place didn’t help at all keeping that routine going. However, even if every night I didn’t actually write down what I was thankful for, randomly during the day I would actively notice of all the things I was grateful for throughout the day. That kept me in that state of happiness as I become clearer about what really matters to me. In fact, I can say that I’ve never been so positive in my entire life. Even if I am worried about something, my worries seem to fade away much faster.
Practicing mindfulness of gratitude regularly make you more connected to life and realize that there is a larger context where your personal story is unfolding. Removing all of the endless wants and worries of your life’s drama, even for a limited time only, is liberating. Cultivating thankfulness for being part of this life and feel blessed also bring out feelings of generosity, which create additional joy. Gratitude can soften a heart that has become too defended, and it builds the ability for forgiveness, which creates the clarity of mind that is ideal for spiritual development.
Surround Yourself With Positivity…
So now we all know that being grateful and appreciative is very beneficial, but have you ever noticed that it’s often easier said than done? It is especially hard to find reasons to be grateful when you feel stressed out and overwhelmed. Sometimes finding the good in a difficult situation can by pretty challenging. For some reason we often tend to look at a situation with the ‘glass is half empty’ approach. This tendency to see the negatives instead of looking at the positives is deep down in most of us. It can be very hard to resist take on the perspective of negativity when you are surrounded by it.
Do you know someone who never has a bad word to say about anyone or anything? Someone who just naturally sees the sunlight, even around the darkest cloud? I do. My husband is. How do I feel when I am around him? I feel refreshed and positive!
What about on the other end of the spectrum? For many years, I worked in an environment where there was always someone who always needed to point out the negative aspect of every situation. How did that make me feel? Definitely not empowered, especially since negative attitudes can infect those who are exposed to them regularly.
My point is that when trying to cultivate a greater sense of gratitude, we should seek out those whose has the tendency to be positive and upbuilding, and to avoid spending too much time with those who like to dwell on the negative. Choosing our peers wisely can really help us to cultivate greater gratitude and appreciation.
Another way to use giving thanks to appreciate life more fully is to use gratitude to help you put things in their proper perspective. When things don’t go your way, remember that every difficulty carries within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. In the face of adversity ask yourself: “What’s good about this?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I benefit from this?”
If you have problem at work, be grateful you have work. Be grateful you have challenges, and that life isn’t boring. Be grateful that you can learn from these challenges. Be thankful they make you a stronger person. Think about people who have made life hard for you and all the things you accomplished because of them. Even the negative things in your life can be hidden blessings, worthy of your gratitude.
When we practice gratitude, we take away the focus from the negative and focus on the positives instead, and we look at solutions rather than problems giving us more emotional balance. The simple act of saying “thank you” to someone can make a big difference in that person’s life. Just taking that minute out of your life to tell them why you are grateful toward them is important to them. For any Thing, Being, Feeling or Event, big or small… every thanks you give ripples out like a pebble sends waves across the water.
This brings me to the why I wrote this post…my friend Amanda. Yesterday morning in my inbox I found a beautiful and powerful “Positive Vibration” message from Amanda, of whichI want to share with you as it left me speechless and grateful to have an amazing & special woman like Amanda in my life. Amanda wrote:
Hey lovely Ladies! I’ve been in Florida the past few days for a conference and it has been wonderful. I’ve been running down to the beach every day….the water is so healing, it’s gorgeous, warm, just so warm and soothing and fantastic. Yesterday, I was running along and saw a woman throwing something back into the water from the shore. I slowed down to see what she was doing and then overheard her explaining to two elderly women that she was throwing “fighting conchs” back in because the tide had gone too low over the sandbar and they were never going to be able to get back to the ocean themselves. There were probably about 7 or 8 of us all standing there looking at the conchs. The woman picked one more up and threw it back in and then one of the elderly women said, “Too bad there is so many of them; we’d never be able to save them all” to which i responded, “Haven’t you heard of that story of the old man throwing the starfish back in and the little boy telling him he could never save them all…..” then I picked a fighting conch up and threw it back in and said, “and the old man responded, “It mattered to that one didn’t it?” So, why don’t we all pick up just 6 and we could save most of them. So, we all starting picking up conchs together and throwing them back in the ocean, and we got really into it and in less than 3 minutes we had saved them all. It made me smile. But also, it made me think of you two beautiful ladies, and how your light and energy save me so frequently and throw me back into what matters most.
Then today, I was running along the beach just before sunset, taking pictures here and there and finding neat shells. I had been saying that the only thing I absolutely had to see while in Florida was a dolphin. I came to a dead end and the only way to keep going was to wade through 3.5 feet of water and walk from sandbar to sandbar to get to other shoreline. So, I took off my running shoes and socks and waded to the first sandbar, but felt compelled to stay there and just enjoy the water on my legs and feet and run my fingers along the thousands of broken shells on the sandbar’s edge. Then about 10 minutes later, I see something out of the corner of my eye, something moving, like a fish jumping out of the water. Could it be? yes, it had to be! I turned to a woman walking behind me and said, did you just see that? “see what?” I point in the distance and say, “It looks like dolphins, is it? Do you see them?” A huge smile comes across her face and she says, “Wow! Yes!” There were 4 or 5 of them swimming together and jumping out of the water at times. They took their time swimming across the horizon and I soaked in every minute. They went just out of sight as the sun began to set and right before they were too far to see, I turned to another woman and asked her, “Do you live here?” Yes, she does. “Oh, you must see dolphins all the time then, do they come here every night?” she replies, “No, I haven’t seen dolphins in this bay in about 6 months I would say.” I say nothing and point to the dolphins in the distance. She becomes really excited and smiles, and says, “I am always so busy looking for seashells, thanks so much for pointing them out to me, I never would have seen them! They’re usually down the coast by the pier, but haven’t been here in so long!”
I wanted to share this story with you, because I have been in a negative space for a few weeks now, and haven’t felt the synergy or connectedness that usually am open to. I needed this time by the ocean to reflect and recharge and cleanse. One of things I reflected upon is my amazing friendship with both of you, and how you are both so skilled at helping me see things that I sometimes don’t allow myself to see….you help keep those doors open, and keep those positive vibes flowing. What we want is always at our fingertips, thousands of broken pieces, like those shells, just waiting for us to connect the dots and feel how special this life can be. thank you for pointing out the dolphins in life to me – you are precious gitfs that I am always grateful for.
After I read that I felt an extraordinary deep sense of gratitude. I felt more joyful, more attractive, more vibrant, more satisfied, and more present to giving and receiving love. Now, it’s your turn. Take a deep breath, settle yourself for a moment and then complete the following sentence, I feel so very grateful for . . .Trust me this will help you begin, right NOW, your shift into more grateful living.