People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.
Be grateful, not hateful. Embrace reality, the alternative, to fight it, stinks.
Gratitude. When we put our mindset into a place of thankfulness, it shifts our perspective. Not because we pretend that certain struggles aren’t there, or because we deny or ignore them, but because we are able to give balance to the negative with recognition of the positive.
With the right lens, we can see the many blessings and good growth that surfaces amidst trouble. We’ve all heard about rose colored glasses. Where do they come from? Learned? Grace? I’m not positive; I think both. I know from experience awareness and practice help cultivate a better life. The grass is greenest where we water it, a therapist friend reminds me.
You do need to reach out and grab the rose colored glasses, and put them on. The action of doing this will shift your mindset into the positive. A simple thank you can eradicate worry and replace it with joy. Giving thanks is at the core of every spiritual tradition. I love the practice in Native American spirituality just before a person is about to take the life of something~an animal or even a tree ~ they first give thanks for the sacrifice that is about to be made on their behalf. I was raised saying grace and giving thanks at dinner time. As I write this, I think to myself ~ ‘I need to honor this tradition by practicing it, not admiring it.’
Twenty years ago a friend had a year she describes as her “annus horribilis.” (This means “Horrible year” in Latin, a term the Queen of England used to describe a year filled with challenge in the royal family.) In a year, my friend lost both her young parents, her beloved mother-in-law died, and she went through a divorce. She later told me that each day she would make a point of finding three things to be grateful for, and that had helped her get through. She still practices gratitude today, each day, while walking or having coffee. My friend says she doesn’t meditate. Meanwhile, that’s exactly what she is doing.
Here are three mindful practices for you to choose from; please choose one today, and do it.
There’s more on gratitude at the bottom. But if you only have twenty minutes today, please put your practice first, remembering that reading about gratitude does not change your heart or your head, practicing it does.
- Write a beautiful thank-you email or note today to someone for whom you are grateful, or whose kindness has meant something to you.
- Get a pen and paper and write for 15 minutes. Identify one problem or frustration in your life. The first few sentences can describe the challenge, then write about all the wonderful blessings beneath that.
- Make a list of 25 things you are grateful for, big and small. Friends, kind gestures, chirping birds, spring light. Complete a whole page. Or two. Then go back and say thank you for each one. Notice how this makes you feel.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.” ~ Melody Beatty
“ I thank God for my handicaps. For through them, I have found myself, my work and my God.” ~ Helen Keller
Please feel free to share your “results” in comments. What you practiced today will have a positive ripple effect.