January Theme: Gratitude(as suggested by Melissa at Operation Nice) . For more details on what RAOKA is and how you can be a part of this awesome crusade, see details below this post.
“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” ~Johannes A. Gaertner~
Being in a state of gratitude can completely transform one’s disposition. The more we pause to consider the things we have to be grateful for, the more we begin to focus on those things. And the things we focus on, we tend to draw toward ourselves. Therefore, the act of focusing on our blessings tends to bring more blessings into our lives.
I invite you to test this assumption for yourself. You may wish to use the following practice – or create your own gratitude ritual. Continue your practice for at least 21 days, as that’s how long it takes to develop a new habit. At the end of the three week time period, sit back and reflect. Are you feeling more gratitude throughout the course of your days? Are you starting to view your life in a more positive light?
This works and I am here to vouch for this practice as I did practice it all last month. To be honest, this has been with me for a very long time. I just wasn’t regular in my practice. But, since this time the raoka theme was Gratitude, I restarted a regular ritual.
The Gratitude practice:Choose any time of day (more than once a day if you’re able) to practice gratitude. This short routine should only take about five minutes of your time.While lying or sitting down, allow your breathing to slow and become steady. Pay attention to at least three full breaths.Now record in your journal at least five things that you are grateful for.As you record the items that you are grateful for, stop after each entry. Allow yourself a moment or two to really feel the gratitude. When we open our hearts to all the good fortune in our lives, negativity (temporarily, at least) will take a back seat. We begin to realize that despite the difficulties life may hand us, we are truly blessed.
My Grandfather was a master of the ‘attitude of gratitude,’ even though he never participated in a formal gratitude practice. He didn’t have to. He was one of those fortunate people born a natural optimist. Most of us have to work at it!
Grandpa had plenty of reasons to complain; especially later in his life, as he lived for years with some rather debilitating medical conditions. But, he didn’t spend much time feeling sorry for himself. In fact, he was one of the most optimistic people I’ve ever met. He always saw the silver lining behind every cloud (both literally and figuratively). Over the years, we made 40 plus vacations as a family,and any time we were cursed with a rain shower while out in the monsoons in Mumbai, grandpa could be seen pointing toward the sky and saying, “Hey! Do you see that bright spot? I believe the sun’s trying to come out!”
As you might guess the sun did not always come out during those rainy monsoon days in Mumbai, yet grandpa’s optimism was contagious. Because of his ’sunny’ disposition, our family would start to see the silver lining in our situation.
“Oh well,” My mum would say, “At least we won’t be sweating today.” “Hey, Grandma and Grandpa!” we would exclaim, “It’s still raining so the park won’t be too crowded. Do you want to go play?”
Soon grandparents and grandchildren were heading off for a rousing game of throw-ball, and my mum would happily steal away to the local stores while my brothers and I ran off to explore a few of the local shops. The entire gang was enjoying our family vacation – sun or no sun.
We live in a world that can bring you down. We’re all aware of that. You don’t have to look far to find the negatives – just check out the headlines in the local newspaper or glance through any online news source. Not to mention the personal hardships we all face at some point in our lives as well — medical issues, financial concerns, problems with our jobs, our spouses, our children…
Most of us are not natural optimists like Grandpa. But for the rest of us,it’s amazing to see how a little spontaneous gratitude can help to lighten a gloomy attitude.
For example, it’s quite dismal and overcast this morning as I write these words, and I’m facing a list of ‘to do’s’ that’s terribly daunting. Both of my knees are sore from running errands outdoors this past weekend (exercising on pavement is not ‘knee-friendly’), and from 100 miles away, my hubby is worriedly awaiting some important interview results.
Now these are all very real concerns, but if I were to stay in this brooding ‘head space’ I doubt I’d be able to reap much joy from this day or share much joy with others, for that matter. Therefore, instead of spending the entire morning focusing on cares and worries, I’m making a conscious decision to spend my next few moments contemplating a few of my many blessings.
The wonderful phone conversation I had with my dear friend last night.
The coffee in my cup, that seems to be extra dark & rich today.
My Hubby and Daughter, still sleeping comfortably within the home we have the privilege of sharing
The very interesting-looking bird that just came to rest on our back window.
My good fortune in being able to rearrange my schedule so that I’ll beable to spend a few days at the end of the week with my family, and…
Wait! What is that I see peeking out from behind that huge gray cloud up there? Well, what do you know? I do believe the sun is trying to come out!