Yoga at Garden of the Gods on our last trip to CO
GRATITUDE – the basics, and then gettin a lil personal
Ok, so you think about it, you hear about people “practicing gratitude,” you see people like Moi- actively doing a “gratitude challenge,” maybe you hear about it in your yoga class, or see bits and pieces on the blogs or social media feeds you follow… The question is, what is gratitude really? And why is it something we have to consciously continue to draw ourselves back to? It seems kind of silly to embark upon a gratitude challenge, right? Well, lemme tell you, as in human nature, sometimes we forget to take a moment to be thankful. Sometimes, we are so wrapped up in what is happening around us, what may be taking over us, bringing us down, stressing us out, etc… that we need a moment to remember to recognize gratitude for all the good things we have in our lives! A constant balance, yin and yang- life has good times and less than ideal times. Through the ups and the downs, it’s good to bring us back to gratitude.
Says it all!!
WHAT is it? So let’s back up, and keep things simple. Gratitude is just that. The act or thought of being grateful, of giving thanks.
WHY do we do it? We acknowledge thanks, and practice gratitude to better ourselves as human beings, we do it to acknowledge the hard work of others, to recognize the efforts of people and the movements of the universe. We do it to remind ourselves that our lives are so good, in so many ways. That people care about us, that we care about others, that we can lead each other to that place of positivity and happiness. That place where thanking each other lives and thrives. We do it to remind ourselves in good times that we got what we asked for, that the universe heard our thoughts, and responded! We do it in bad times to remind ourselves of the good that still surrounds us.
WHEN do we do it? In both ups and downs, it is important to practice gratitude. Human nature, we tend to think about why we should feel grateful when things maybe aren’t going our way… However, if you isolate the practice to when things are bad or less than ideal (as I like to say), you may forget to be thankful in the moment when things are going beautifully. You want to be thankful in as many pieces of your life experiences as possible. Gratitude deserves a nod at any point. This is why I enjoy the exercise of 30 days of gratitude, or practicing gratitude in a daily mantra… It’s good for your soul!
HOW do we do it? Whether recognizing it, performing an act of gratitude, meditating, connecting spiritually, etc… there is no one right way to practice gratitude. We can think, feel, or create energies that lift us up, the same way that we can make space for gratitude in our lives.
My Gratitude Challenge: For me, I found that the second half of this summer was exceptionally challenging for me. Both emotionally on multiple levels, and spiritually. I found that I was practicing less and less gratitude, meditating less, and not practicing mindfulness the way I used to. I found that I let stress and anxiety take a hold of me, in a way I had not experienced in a long time. I very quickly lost sight of gratitude. I had a lot of thoughts about turning 30 (in 10 days!), and very much wanted to enter 30 with a new sense of positivity, energy, wellness, and spirituality. I thought that this challenge may help me kick start these feelings and energies. And let me tell you- it was freakin hard at times! Proof of a rough time, when you find it challenging in the day to day to find things to be positive about, or grateful for. Which I have not encountered, in a long time. Life is a constant ride… like a long drive. Sometimes we hit bumps, sometimes we are ill equipped to deal with the elements in our vehicle of choice, sometimes we have easygoing flat lands, sometimes it gets dark and hard to see, sometimes the views are breathtaking- and remind us why we are on this ride…
For me, the end of summer was one of the harder parts of this drive, very bumpy, like driving a small car along unpaved mountain roads. And now I am finally reaching flat land… and those breathtaking views are just around the corner… I can feel it. This gratitude challenge has forced me to find an aspect of every day that I am thankful for. Even if I couldn’t piece it together at first. I let myself take my time, and reach it eventually.
If you are struggling with finding positivity in your life, even if just at this point in time, I strongly encourage you to practice gratitude. In your own way, or to challenge yourself, write about it, hold yourself accountable for wanting to make positive changes in your life. As a wellness coach, I do think I am more in tune with these feelings and emotions, but by no means lead a life that is always above the clouds. Happiness, positivity, gratitude- it all takes work and consciously driving yourself to get back to a certain mindset. We are all human, we can get derailed from our path from time to time. Gratitude helps bring us back… The moral of the story? Practice gratitude! Remind yourself of all the good, the joy, the light. Even when it gets dark and hard to see, its there, waiting for you… What are some of your stories of gratitude? I’d love to hear how you practice, or what brings you back. Wishing posivibes and a meaningful gratitude practice to you all.