If there's one thing I want to do it's help others be more grateful; I attempt to operate from a place of gratitude with everyday, despite setbacks or successes. I believe that to be grateful is to access the greatest joy in life. Here's how I know:
Why You Should Want To Be Grateful:
I'm a cancer survivor, writer, and former yoga teacher. What I've learned from those three experiences is that every day, in every possible way, we are practicing something. It doesn't always feel like it, because we've finished the training week at work or because our real world problems feel like anything but amateur - but the truth is, every moment is still practice.
The myth is that 'practice' means the before period, as we learn and hone a skill. The truth is, 'practice' is just a regular, ongoing execution of the skill. It can be likened to one's 'work'; the activity that a person continually does on a regular basis. That said, a life of happiness requires practice. And a life of practice requires attentiveness.
On my worst day, it takes a lot of determination to remember to be grateful simply to be alive. In fact, sometimes it's such a struggle that at the end of a truly trying day, I never did get to gratitude. And that's ok. It's a practice. If I were a doctor, my practice would be "Gratitude and Associates". I go to work every day, and sometimes it is work, but it's rewarding, and it is my work. To be grateful is work, but it's the most rewarding work because to be grateful is to be joyous.
In many of my conversations with women today, it feels like they're doing a lot of practice without a lot of thought. We complain about our boyfriends' shortcomings and how sick we are of our jobs. In doing so - even in conversation - we are practicing discontentment. The more we talk about it, the more the discontent flourishes. In the magical land of women, we somehow made up the idea that 'just getting it out' and venting the problem helps, but venting doesn't, and has never solved the problem. It just dissipates it, making it feel like the responsibility is now shared. But it's not, it's just more gossiped about.
In yoga, there is a saying to 'do your practice'. It means to come to the mat, regardless of the stresses weighing heavy on the heart and shoulders, and do what is essential to honor your body, your mind, and your soul. The practice evolves each day, it feels differently on a Monday than a Wednesday, it has different rewards and sweet spots in your 20's than in your 40's, but it is ongoing, and takes determination. It is not a matter of an end goal, it is a matter of continuation. It is one's work, one's personal practice. And in every posture and at every interval, it takes awareness to understand what's going on, and why.
How to Be Grateful - Practicing Tips:
- Start with yourself: how you treat yourself directly influences how you treat other people and situations in your life. Make it a habit to intentional speak messages of gratitude to yourself and others
- Set reminders for yourself where you'll see them: post it's around the house, timers on your phone. It might sound cheesy, but if it's the routine that wakes you up in the morning, it's the routine that can wake you up from being dissatisfied in the afternoon too
- With each moment of practicing gratitude, allow the feeling to seep deep into your heart. Take a moment of pause to feel the physical and emotional sensations of being grateful and appreciative. That way, it becomes richer and more encompassing each time you practice.
- Tell others! Gratitude and joy are contagious. The more you inspire others to be more grateful, the more they'll inspire you too!
Every single day, in every single moment, we are telling ourselves something. That message is your practice. To be grateful, you must practice gratitude. You must make gratitude your practice.
SO....What are you practicing?
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