I am so glad that we are in a time where talking about being grateful or #blessed is a trendy part of our culture, just like yoga or sustainable food sourcing. Anytime there is a trend towards happiness, self discovery, love and appreciation, I am in. These trendy practices have been around forever of course, but I feel today people are seeking more then ever before. We are in challenging times and with the abundance of social and news media, we are no longer in a bubble where ignorance is bliss. We need to focus on what is good in the world just to keep the faith. If you and your family are lucky enough to be safe and well fed on this planet then you have every reason to be grateful. It feels like we should be in a constant state of "how the heck did I get so lucky" and what can I do to help others find safety and health care. But sometimes we get caught in the day to day and even if logically we have the perspective, we may not always feel gratitude in our hearts.
I feel so wrong even saying this...but have you ever felt like daily gratitude gets a little stale or boring? Do you ever feel like because you are saying thank you for the same things everyday: thank you for my family, running water, hot food, my morning coffee, sometimes you become disconnected from how glorious these things actually are. We should count these blessings daily and they should not be taken for granted, but sometimes it feels routine or less heartfelt.
"This is a wonderful day. I've never seen this one before." — Maya Angelou
I have days where a simple run through my list of blessings blows my mind and I can't believe how lucky I am. Usually these moments of gratitude come spontaneously from music, a meditation or yoga class, even an intense spin class can bring me to tears. Spontaneous gratitude is amazing and impactful but there is something about the consistency of a structured gratitude practice that seems to create true magic. Plus, It seems as if most successful people swear by the benefits of making it a daily must: from Oprah to Richard Branson and many spiritual leaders and religions. I believe it is the daily practice that strengthens the neurological pathway, changing your brain and intern changing your life. Just like working out at the gym, you can't it once and maintain or achieve results. You have to do it consistently to see results. But how can we make it feel less routine and more heartfelt, honest and inspiring? When I asked this question the answers started to appear (of course).
I am Grateful for my daughter:
1-She reminds me how fearless and strong we are born, that we need to hold on to that brave heart, not let society or failure take it away.
2-She is loving and affectionate. Reminding me to slow down and make time for hugs, kisses and connection.
3-She reminds me to love myself. I want her to always love herself and never lose the confidence and self love that we are naturally born with. If I expect that from her, I must lead by example.
4-She gives me perspective. Small things are small thing, time passes and she and the rest of my family is what is most important.
5-She teaches me about myself. She reveals and challenges my weaknesses, motivating me to step up in all aspects of my life.
Just as I was starting to feel checked out of my current gratitude practice (a true spiritual seeker problem), I tuned into a podcast by Marie Forleo where she graciously said "when it comes to gratitude the dividends are in the details". Aha! This is the refresh I needed. Basically she explains that you do not need to write down 10 different things, pick 1 thing and list 5 very specific things you are grateful for when it comes to that one thing, person or situation. Take the classic "I am grateful for my family" and break it down. Choose 1 family member and list 5 specific things you are grateful for about them.
Let’s take our gratitude practice to an even deeper place. Can you find things to be grateful for even when you are in the midst of a painful experience or troubling time?
When I heard Author and media expert Ryan Holiday talking about how he challenges himself in his gratitude practice, I immediately understood how impactful it could be. Ryan tries to find things to be grateful for in hard situations, thinking about ways to be grateful for a hard situations or perhaps for a person that wronged us. What did the situation or person teach you? How far have you grown from surviving your hardships? This new take on gratitude is not only a good way to review how you have grown as a person, but it also gives you a greater perspective and perhaps an ease that everything happens for a reason. Things do not happen to you, they happen for you.
“Convince yourself that everything is the gift of the gods,” Marcus Aurelius said, “that things are good and always will be.”
Thank you for letting me share how I am taking my health and happiness to the next level one day at a time xo Anna.
My Brave Girl.
Follow my personal fitness, nutrition and personal journeys and explorations.