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The Gratitude Game: 21 Days to a Healthier, Wealthier, More Beautiful You

There's so much in our lives that allow us to exist that we walk right by without noticing -- even our breath. Today, more than you have in a while, feel that interconnectedness with the air, the soil, the sky. Be very, very aware of and in awe of the divine nature of this creation.
11/03/2014 03:24pm ET | Updated January 3, 2015
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Day 3: Gratitude
Today's Mantra: Gratitude

The Origin of Money is Gratitude

Let go of thinking for a moment, and just imagine, without judgment, this concept: The origin of money is gratitude. This is very, very difficult to understand. Even for spiritual people.

Have you ever experienced a moment in your life, when you would have done anything to save someone or something dear to you? Did the miracle arrive? Are you still grateful? If so, why not put this book down and send a note or a gift to that gift giver who delivered the results you so desperately wanted?

Before money, there was gratitude. You could barter your time, your expertise or your talents. When someone did something for you, you did something for her in return. They shared meat from the kill; you shared fruit from your farm. My grandfather, who lived well into his 90s, shopped at the local mercantile until the day he died because they offered him credit during The Great Depression. His gratitude spanned more than half a century.

Today, the expectation of money has taken gratitude out of the game. Are you grateful for your job? Have you ever stopped to give thanks for it? Or do you just expect, in a bit of a cold-hearted way, that check to arrive because you've done your penance at the old nine-to-five (or these days, more like nine-to-nine for professionals).

Nobody had to discover electricity, or figure out solar power generation, or how to juice up the power lines and make your toaster pop! With the press of a finger. If you are in tune with the truth of this, and are grateful for all of that, you can offer back something valuable of your own. Money is the easiest, most convenient bartering tool, rather than delivering bread to someone daily, or cleaning their house for them, or shimmying up a power pole. But dollars and cents aren't the only currency of value in the world.

Magic Tokens of Gratitude
Money is a magic token of gratitude in its highest sense. The reason you don't feel that way yet isn't because that isn't the core essence. It is because your life is in such a state that you cannot feel good about things that you really should be counting as a blessing.

What are you worried about? Instead of looking forward to each day, do you wake up annoyed, or afraid, or loathing something? Those worries, doubts, fears, annoyances, bills, burdens and issues can and will be dealt with over the course of this 21-day Walk to Wealth that we are taking. There is a way out of debt consciousness, out of struggling to survive, and into thrive, wealth, abundance and prosperity consciousness. And it is not by ignoring the problem. It is by boldly facing your problems and employing time-proven solutions.

Other "magic tokens of gratitude" are time and talent. If someone has done something amazing for you, and you are not in position to pay her for it, then think of how time or talent might be a gift. Many people barter time and talent all of the time. Charitable giving is one way -- something you'll experience on Day Five when you donate at least an hour of your time. Mentoring is another. When you are "giving" it is helpful to think of this as "in the overflow." So, do not over-give so much that you are draining your own well dry. And remember that a gift given with the expectation of something in return is not a gift at all. That is a loan. So, when you do give, give freely and with maximum outflow, knowing that charity, like love, is a ripple in the pond. It expands in concentric circles far beyond your touch, and even beyond your sight, every time.

The Zen of Discomfort
Maybe it's hard for you to feel grateful for anything right now. That's really okay. Gratitude, like love and happiness, are not things you can force. For many of us, these are all elusive states. You cannot chase them down and strangle them into existence. You can't say, "I'm grateful," and mean it, in the same way that you can say, "I'm going to breathe deeper," and then take in a lung full of air. Gratitude, love and happiness are sensations that we feel organically after something happens. They are affects of an external stimulus. In order to feel the thrill, we have to create the circumstances that spark the emotion. Fertilize the soil of your soul, and from there gratitude blooms.

The fertile soil of gratitude begins with simply counting your blessings.

So, today, even though you are not there yet with the feeling, I will give you some tools to being the practice that can eventually lead to an honest feeling. You must step in the direction of where you wish to go. The way to gratitude, which you don't feel yet, is a process. As Lao Tzu says, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single footstep."

Today and tonight, at least twice today, stop and count your blessings for at least five minutes. Don't stop until five minutes is done. Set a timer or the watch on your phone.

Can you name 25 things that are blessings in your life? Say out loud, "I am so thankful that ____." Elucidate each gift out loud. You can thank God. You can call and thank someone who made that miracle show up in your life. You can celebrate health.

When you start counting your blessings, you will find that you have a lot of conveniences that make life easier and more enjoyable. You have a lot of gifts that people give you. When I was a young mom, I liked to watch Hook starring Robin Williams with my son. He has to find his happy place in order to start thriving again.

Gratitude is that simple. It's finding your happy place. As you are walking along today, think of those things that make you beam. Remember how you felt -- all of the senses. Write it down. Journal it. And then think of another, and another. And then try to figure out which one is the biggest blessing in your life. It could be what you are seeing while you are walking. Oftentimes, we are so in our head that we don't even notice what's around us. We don't look at where we are.

Think about your children. Your career (if you love it). That first car that you bought. There has to be at least one moment in your life when you were dancing on the ceiling. Make these memories come alive. Do a Happy Place vision board -- at least in your own brain. Remind yourself, and have visual cues, that take you to that Happy Place. Not that future happy place that most people do for their vision boards, which is a variation on the theme, "I'll be happy when... (I find true love, I win the lottery). Celebrate the miraculous moments you've already enjoyed, but have neglected to honor for a while. And, as you think of them, say, "Thank you." Out loud.

As you say "Thank you," for those memorable moments in your life, you might naturally feel grateful for whatever led to that beautiful experience. Use the words "Thank you" as a discipline today. Say it so often that you feel like a mash-up.

"Thank you bed. I'm so grateful that you are such a fluffy bed. I had a great night's sleep."

"Thank you, son. Look at how fast you got dressed. Now we're going to be early for school. Thank you."

"Thank you, my sacred companion. You have no idea how great it is to have you in my life. You inspire me, and waking up to you each morning is a dream come true." Think of something that your sacred companion does that makes you respect her.

Thank the people at work. Thank the trees for providing oxygen so we can all breathe. There's so much in our lives that allow us to exist that we walk right by without noticing -- even our breath. Today, more than you have in a while, feel that interconnectedness with the air, the soil, the sky. Be very, very aware of and in awe of the divine nature of this creation.

Book Excerpt from The Gratitude Game. © Natalie Pace 2014. Published by Waterfront Digital Press.