So many yowl at the despair of a political system devoid of compassion and an earth that is shedding biodiversity, losing the breath of clean air, and becoming a crematorium. They blame with an anguish that contorts their tone and an anger that blinds. They hate the callous greed of an invasive politics and economy. In the passion of animosity, it is easy to forget how to be grateful.
This is not the shallow visualization of the more that you want but the recognition of the plenty that we have. The desire for excess is tempered by gratitude. In appreciation we satiate longing and fill the voids carved by modernity’s angst. With gratitude we throw out less and buy less. We also love more.
I have recently embarked on a practice that has allowed gratitude to work better for me. I think of it as gratitude journaling and meditation. And of course, like all good ideas, I have sense found that gratitude journaling is not unique to me. Others have also written about it.
Here is how I have set it up for myself.
Name ten gratitude’s. That is enough to force contemplation and the reach for meditation. When the next gratitude does not come rushing in, stop, take three deep breaths to clear the mind. If a new gratitude has not come to you, take three more breaths and let your body and mind be empty to accept the generosity of creation. I have never gone past six breaths to be given ten points of gratitude. Most days no meditation is necessary.
Do not be repetitive. Every day I wake up with overwhelming gratitude for my family. To avoid being repetitive and mundane, I am careful to be specific naming gratitude of gestures, kindnesses, and unique characteristics.
Expand the sphere of gratitude. Don’t be trapped where you sit; go beyond. Include gratitude of passion, people (including self,) community, the earth, knowledge and learning, sensualities and home.
Focus on wonder and surprise. These are life’s little teachers that can so easily go unnoticed.
Allow this to be a daily routine and allow it to be a gift. Don’t cover it with guilt or shame when it gets displaced by life’s busyness or a disrupted routine. Come back to it, with gratitude, when you can.
Do not do other kinds of journaling in your gratitude journal.
Don’t journal in bed. Be in a place that you can be or see outside, even if it is dark when you journal. Facing the outdoors directs our mind beyond ourselves.
When finished in the morning place your gratitude journal next to your bed so that you can read it before you go to sleep, thus priming your dreams with the things you are grateful for, and so that your journal will greet you in the morning.
Remember to express your gratitude to those who have created it.
Read back in your journal to take inventory, be grateful and learn how to better weave your life with gratitude.
In a previous blog I had spoken about letting your home speak to you. Focusing gratitude toward your home can help you listen to it.
Let gratitude be an aspect of becoming regenerative in attitude.
I am grateful that you have read this.