My friend Sam Beasley taught me how to get more of what I love in life. He calls it active appreciation -- here's how he explained it to me:
Sam asked: "Do you like where you live?"
"I love where I live!" I answered.
"Good," Sam said. "Then here's what you do. Every morning and every evening, for ten minutes or so, walk through your home and notice the things that you really love. An old quilt your mother made, a vase you inherited from your great aunt, a piece of furniture you treasure, a room you love to spend time in, a piece of art, or whatever it is that you love. Touch these things, run your fingers over them, and say out loud, 'I love this; I'd like more of this.' This is an act of 'active appreciation' in which you tell the Universe that you are deeply grateful for these blessings. You show appreciation and you ask for more. The Universe is a giant YES machine -- it will always send you more of what you pay attention to."
Sam summarized: "If you don't like what you're getting in your life, change your prayer. How you live your life is a form of prayer; what you pay attention to is a form of prayer; what you express gratitude for is a form of prayer. If you want your life to be different, your prayer must be different."
"Schedule this time on your calendar, just as you would any other appointment," Sam added. "Because if you don't schedule it, you'll start forgetting to do it. This is scheduled gratitude -- active appreciation."
"Once you've done that," he said, "start practicing active appreciation in other ways. When you walk your dog, look for three things you're grateful for. When you're driving to a business meeting, look for three things to be grateful for. When you're out running errands, look for three things to be grateful for. You want to train yourself into the gratitude habit."
I've been following Sam's instructions for some time now and the results are amazing. I feel like a very rich woman. I walk around happy almost all the time. I notice what's right in my home, in my business, and in my life. I give gratitude for my pets as I stroke their fur. I am grateful for my home-based business and count my blessings when I sit down to write every day. I give thanks and appreciation for my wonderful family, my loving friends, my car, my garden, my neighborhood.
I give thanks for money in the bank ... and I say a quick prayer of gratitude every time a check arrives. I kiss the checks and say, "Thanks, God." I make sure to write "thank you" on every check I write ... because I'm grateful to have money to pay my bills.
Sam taught me that gratitude is more than attitude -- it's action.
BJ Gallagher's new book is "If God Is Your Co-Pilot, Switch Seats" (Hampton Roads).