I make an effort every day to be grateful. I really do have so much, and even though there are still experiences I would like to have and goals I would like to achieve and a dream kitchen I’d like to cook in, I make an effort to take stock of my life and have deep gratitude for everything I’ve already experienced. From family and friends, to travels, to a job, to mundane things like having read a good book, I am grateful. But, being human and having an ego, many days I fail to remember what is going well in my life and fall prey to a list of things I cannot seem to bring about (at least not yet) or circumstances that seem out of my control.
On those days, it’s really great to have an arsenal of tools to combat the victim mentality that comes with whoa-is-me. One of the simplest, in theory at least, is to write no less than 25 things I’m grateful for each day. Sometimes I challenge myself to come up with 25 new things each day, and other times I allow myself to put “my kids” at the top of my list every day. When I am feeling like challenging myself I up this to 50 things for which I am grateful each day. My favorite way to kick the “lack” mentality is to call one of my two sisters. We are all problem-solvers, and none of the three of us have the patience for a great deal of whining or sitting in misery. When I’m ready for a shift I call one of them. They hold me accountable, remind me that I have choices (even if I don’t like all of them) and remind me what is going right in my life. Much to my chagrin, they will also repeat things they’ve heard me claim I want only to have them and call them whining because I don’t so much like what I’ve created once it arrives. SO grateful for my sisters! Lifetime-style movies are another great way I get myself back on track. I immerse myself in the story and find common ground and am so grateful for that.
Regardless of how we come to gratitude, the real key to a gratitude shift is to be genuinely moved by the people, experiences and stuff in your life. To make a list isn’t enough if it’s just a mental inventory of what you have. To experience true gratitude means to feel a stirring of thanks, warmth and peace with where you are and who and what is in your life. Since the greatest creative energy we have comes from our emotions, it is so important to feel emotional thanksgiving. From that place you can always get more. Some days it may only be one thing that you can find to have gratitude about. But that one thing offered in soulful prayer of gratitude can change your life.