Find your grateful place and space.
As the year come to a close it is only natural to contemplate the year that has just been, the highs and the lows.
As I write down a list of memorable events for the past year, I quickly realise I have not written a single negative thing down- and there were a few.
Did I simply choose to see my life through rainbow coloured glasses?
The answer was “YES”…
“Gratitude is a way of seeing that alters our gaze.”Dr Robert A. Emmons (PhD)
I was simply so grateful to have arrived in this moment, where my life simply held together and I was in peace with that.
The whole year, written down in chronological order, appears as a gift in front of me and it feels good to gaze at that piece of paper.
I have come a long way.
I spent most of my days “chasing my tail”, but practising gratitude has been that oasis in the middle of a dessert, the solid ground beneath my feet, the island in the middle of a stormy sea…
5 Surprising Ways to practice Gratitude daily:
1. Focus on surprise
At the end of the day meditate on acts and events of gratitude that surprised you.
By looking for the element of surprise, novelty and the unexpected, you will be changing your thought process, which contributes to a better sense of wellbeing.
“Gratitude is a fertiliser for the mind” says Dr Robert Emmons and the element of surprise will help to hold on to gratitude and shape new thoughts!
Seek a new way back home from work, seek a new walk with your dog, try a new asana or a new way of practising asana and pleasantly surprise yourself…
For me, moving to a new home created a myriad of opportunities to be pleasantly surprised.
Away from the stress of moving, packing & unpacking there were new paths to explore with my dog, new ways to get home, new people to say hello to and new friends.
2. Do a downward comparison
No, I do not mean to look down on others… I mean look up on your own circumstances.
The human mind is hardwired to make comparisons and often some comparison can be deadly to gratitude, turning into simple envy.
If we stop to notice what we take for granted though, in this moment, we can shift our perspective and change our experience for the better.
You might not be in a great place, but by taking a moment to do a “downward” social comparison and appreciate what is good in your life right now, in comparison to others, you can discover how well-off you truly are in blessings.
“If you can’t have what you want, then decide to want what you already have.”Anonymous
3. Chant the Gayantri Mantra 40x everyday
The mantra is a chant to the Sun God, the life-giving Sun, who always gives and never receives.
This mantra is meant to give thanks to the sun for lighting our path, literally and spiritually.
ॐ भूर् भुवः सुवः ।
तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यंभर्गो॑ देवस्यधीमहि ।
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥
I personally believe that this chant is also a way of showing gratitude to yourself, appreciation for all that you are.
However hard it might be to speak nicely to ourselves, the Gayantri mantra removes this barrier.
We are all enlightened beings…
4. Get Moving
Being active makes us grateful.
I would add being outdoors and active makes us grateful.
I am totally appreciative of movement; having spent far too many days and nights stuck in a bed, hospital or my own, unable to move, I feel honoured to be able to climb on the top of a hill and admire that view.
A walking meditation has been the time saving solution I have frequently resorted to.
As I walk, without talking or chanting, or making to-do-lists, I navigate my way around as if I were in an art gallery.
Every building, every tree, every sound becomes a piece of art and often little surprises stare you right in the face:
5. Your Yoga Practice
Grateful for the opportunity to step on the yoga mat and give your body and mind the compassionate attention it needs.
As we practice and recognise the different patterns of emotion and thought become grateful for the opportunity to be here in this moment and in my case, away from the housework and the constant caring for my family…
“Why can’t they just do it themselves?” I think to myself as I close my eyes and I notice my “exacerbated” breath….
As a business owner, it is so easy to get caught up in the negativity, but in order to be of service to others it is imperative to practice gratitude.
As we discover ways to be content with who we are, what we have, how we feel, our past and future, we discover our heart.
It is from that place of our heart where, as yoga teachers, or business owners, mothers, fathers, employees and more we can be of service to others and find peace for what we do, peace within ourselves and ease of being…