“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ― Epicurus
What is gratitude? Gratitude is not something achieved and then forgotten, gratitude is a state of being and living. It is a state of mindfulness that stays with us always, accompanying us in times of joy and times of sorrow. Gratitude is not something that is outsourced or outside of ourselves, gratitude is stored deep within our being and always there supporting us and/or waiting for us to embrace it. Gratitude is simply being able to understand that everything that takes place on our path and in our life is meant to be and when we accept this, we can be one with gratitude and live, think and act mindfully and from a place of knowing. In this kind of awareness, we can better ourselves by seeing the silver lining in the hard lesson learned, the beauty in the pain we have felt, to allow our suffering to be a tool to us rather than to be wasted. Gratitude is honoring all shades and hues of our life.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Here are five simple ways to connect and honor the truest form of gratitude:
1. Honor Time: gently understand that time heals all, that by allowing time to support you in the healing process, you can allow the emotional experience to soften and be released. Try not to hold onto the experience, but give it to time, honor the passing of time and the letting go in distance from the experience that once hurt you. On the other hand, the joyous moments will pass as well and honor this passing, as all things have a place in time and space.
2. Honor Present: when you can soften enough to stay in the present moment, not wandering back in-time or overthinking the non-existing future; you can then begin to shift your judgments and perceptions and you can observe your emotions in the present moment without weighing it down with the past that no longer exists or the future that has not even arrived. This allows you to have gratitude for the exact moment you are in.
3. Start Within: what does it mean to start within? It means that every morning when you open your eyes state a few things that you are grateful for, but not out-side of yourself. For example: I am grateful for my breathe, my two eyes, my hands, my body, my feet, etc. True gratitude starts from within and is not surmounted by anything that you have done or created. Only after you have mastered this deep gratitude can you begin to be thankful for the food, the house, the clothing, the job so on and so forth.
4. Spread Kindness: when you share kindness with others you are nurturing the kindness within yourself. Practice giving sincere compliments. Remember to thank others for what they have done for you. Write a gratitude letter to someone who has supported you. Smile at a stranger. Pay-it-forward, donate your time, energy or if able monetarily to a person or foundation of your choice. Be mindful of your words, how you speak to others and what you think of them whether you know them or not.
5. Gratitude Journal: daily writing is a divine therapy for your being; mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Every day, or as often and frequent as you can write down in a specific journal the things you are grateful for. This can include experiences joyous and painful, people, things within yourself, things outside of yourself…so on and so forth. But the simple act of writing them down in one specific journal will give you a source to go back to time and time again and see with your own hand and pen all the ways gratitude fills your life.
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ― Marcel Proust