Some time back while scrolling through a social media site the following words caught my eye … ‘I don’t believe in gratitude’. Well I do, and that my friends, is what this blog post is all about ~ the good fortune of connecting to conscious gratitude.
Now I understand that life can be very hard sometimes ~ we all have our mountains to climb, but we also need to learn from them and move on. It’s when we can’t see the blessing for the pain that we allow ourselves to be held captive by the past, and gratitude can then be very hard to find.
Of course no one feels particularly grateful when they are in the midst of suffering or drama, but in my experience there is always a lesson which lies within it. And when we find it ~ when we see it clearly, feeling grateful is a big part of letting it go and moving forward. And then, when we bring gratitude into our daily experience we find more and more to be thankful for.
I connected to the magic of conscious gratitude over thirty years ago. For a short time I kept a gratitude journal, but as I got into the habit of feeling grateful on a daily basis my journal became more and more superfluous. Instead I started a new ritual, one which I still practise today ~ I never fall asleep without finding five things to be grateful for in my day. And as you can imagine, falling sleep became a divinely uplifting experience. Every night I drifted off amidst thankful thoughts with a smile on my face. And every morning, I woke with the same smile and the same thankful heart.
As you can see I’m a huge believer in gratitude, but this doesn’t mean my life has been without its challenges these past thirty years ~ some of the mountains I’ve created have been very steep indeed. What it does mean, is that being consciously grateful for what I’ve learned, and for the simple joys and blessings in my day has been part of what’s helped me stay positive through some very hard times.
Many of the stories I’ve told in this blog have been about overcoming past hardship. But in the telling of them I can honestly say I am not emotionally connected to any of the hard times, and it’s because I am grateful. For me the challenges are stepping stones. I look for the lesson, the catalyst for growth ~ that’s what I identify with and what becomes part of who I am. That is the gift. I connect to what I’ve gained, and move forward. And in my world, there is always a gain ~ something for which I feel enormous gratitude.
When we look for things to be grateful for we begin to appreciate all the little things ~ the simple pleasures that we once took for granted. So I live with the joy of both appreciation and gratitude ~ I appreciate the joy of every moment and I am grateful that I experience it. And today, I still have my nightly gratitude ritual, albeit somewhat improved. I now include five things that I am grateful for in my future. I feel the gratitude as if I already have them in my life, and appreciate and visualize each desire in all its glorious detail. It’s a magic thing to do. Try it ~ you will be amazed by what starts to happen when you live in the state of gratitude and appreciation! It opens your heart like a flower.
And remember, a belief is just a thought and we can change our thoughts anytime we choose. As they say, what you resist persists and where focus goes energy flows!
Inara Hawley © 2013